Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year, 2018.

Hi everyone

It's actually quite unusual for me to be awake at this time of the night. In previous years I have struggled to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve, and usually failed. I just used to get so sleepy. And also panicky - I felt that sleep was so important for health, I was pretty obsessive about getting enough of it. If I didn't sleep well, even for one or two consecutive nights, I would become really worried about my health and do everything I could to get back on track.

But in recent months, actually in recent years, I have had occasional bouts of insomnia. It started, I think, with a family holiday in France five or six years ago. It was so swelteringly hot, and the apartment we stayed in was so cramped and uncomfortable, that I hardly slept for two weeks and to my amazement I survived.

I still didn't like the occasions when I couldn't sleep, but after that I didn't panic so much. Which is lucky because over the last year or so, sometimes I have had long periods of not sleeping well for no apparent reason. I suspect the onset of the menopause and the fact that my lifestyle is not as calm and stress-free as it used to be (I can't remember ever thinking my life was stress-free but it must have been if I was able to sleep so well...?)

Where is this navel-gazing going? I knew at the outset of the piece...I have forgotten already. That's what lack of sleep does for you, maybe. If what I set out to say was important, I will remember and fill it in here, if I don't remember then it doesn't matter.

Anyway, I am awake and I thought I would write a blog post quickly. I have been quite unwell for the last couple of weeks - I had the flu and could hardly get out of bed for several days. I have been complaining like mad to my family members, trying to elicit sympathy. Not a lot was forthcoming, which I see as a healthy sign - I don't really want my loved ones to over-identify with the suffering of others, not even my own... Also, I guess they knew I wasn't as ill as I thought I was. Or something.

I really want to be better in the next day or so. I have things to do - the new school term starts on Tuesday (it's Sunday now) and one of the children has exams. I drive three of them to school each day - they could catch the bus but they prefer to be driven and I see it as part of my motherly duty, plus it saves the bus fare.

Paul takes our eldest to her school, which is a little further away, and she gets a minibus home. She will finish school in six months. That seems incredible. She will be properly grown up, education done, unless and until she goes to University, which I don't think she will do this year. She's planning to take a gap will be interesting to see what she does with her time.

I don't usually write about my children on here. It doesn't seem relevant, and it's personal. But what I am thinking about is how they are all growing up, how life changes when this happens. We all know how the various life stages work but it still feels odd when you start going through a new one. Luckily for me I still have young children - I am not ready to be an empty nester just yet.

I am looking forward to moving on with my career though. Hopefully I will be accepted for the PhD programme and from there move on to a career in academia. In the meantime I will keep writing, finish 'the novel'. A friend sent me a link today to a review of another book I wrote, on Goodreads. I had forgotten I even wrote it but the review was really encouraging - short but sweet, five stars and 'I loved this book'. So I looked at the other reviews, and the reviews and ratings for some other short books I wrote on Goodreads - a lot of them from India, for some reason. And I thought - wow!

I wrote these books under different pen names and, of course, my memoir is written in my maiden name. Now I am wondering whether it is time to come out into the open, to bring all my books under one umbrella, that of my real name. Whether it's time to stop hiding.

I didn't think those books were much good, so I didn't promote them, and now I am thinking perhaps that was an opportunity wasted. That's also why I wrote them under pseudonyms. When I write something really good, I told myself, I will use my real name. I will know when that happens.

Maybe though, that won't happen. Maybe I will never write anything that I consider to be really good. Maybe I just need to look at what I have already written and be proud that I tried (also, as I said, the reviews and ratings are encouraging so I should allow myself to be encouraged by them).

If I go ahead with the name change thing I will let you know on here. It won't be in a hurry, I really have to finish the novel before I get onto anything else.

Meanwhile - Happy New Year everybody! Maybe it bring you all you wish for and more. XXXX


  1. Hi Louise, you are truly an inspiration to many. Living with the daily symptoms of this insidious disease is hard enough, but you are also a wife, mother and academic. I applaud your strong resolve and desire to overcome. You are doing great. Please keep it up and know that you are a wonderful mother. The fact that your eldest is almost done with school bears testimony of your commitment and dedication.I am rooting for you to succeed.

    Kind regards

  2. Hi. That's really kind of you and I appreciate your sentiments, but I don't have an 'insidious disease' or any daily symptoms of it!