Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Creating My Odyssey: YOUR STORIES I've been reading one of my newslet...

Creating My Odyssey: YOUR STORIES 

I've been reading one of my newslet...
: YOUR STORIES   I've been reading one of my newsletters which has really inspired me! Alexandra Franzen http://www.alexandrafranzen...

I've been reading one of my newsletters which has really inspired me!
features a 'show and tell' post every so often. What a great idea, I thought! So I'm going to do something similar. So if anyone has any projects they're working on, do tell me. Whether it's creative, connected with travel, a business, home renovation, gardening, a hobby...
Another idea I've had is a more personal one. If you've  recovered from depression and anxiety or any other mental health issue, and are now working on a project you've been unable to pursue due to your illness, I'd love to hear from you, and I will write a post featuring your stories.

So, get to your keyboards/grab a pen and paper, and get writing! 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Creating My Odyssey: SPUNKYAND EVER SO SLIGHTLY WACKY!This is how...

Creating My Odyssey:


This is how...
: SPUNKY AND EVER SO SLIGHTLY WACKY! This is how I might justly describe our creative writing group, which I hav...


This is how I might justly describe our creative writing group, which I have, when the discipline moves me, expanded to include an art group which meets at my house the week following our monthly writing group gatherings. 

I'd been a member of both a local writing and art group for some time and thoroughly enjoyed both. I joined them as an aid and therapy for my brain - I was very up and down back then - and they worked a treat. The tutors were excellent and I grew very fond of them, but I can't remember which group came first! (Not that it matters.). I think I found the creative writing group initially - all kinds of writing, no real restrictions - and grew to know and enjoy the company of the members. Three members in particular. Two of them, lovely peeps, were members of a local art group as well. They suggested I pop along, so I did. Another great group. 

I didn't want tuition as far as art went, I just needed encouragement and inspiration and to swop ideas with other creative minds and the discipline to actually DO IT!  And this I did. So I belonged to both groups for some years, and the discipline of writing something to read out and create art every week transpired.

This all occurred while Husband was still working. When he retired I carried on as before and he began voluntary work on a local charity Accessible Boating. Ultimately he became deputy chairman of the charity, but he needed something else. He's a very creative bloke. He writes, and he's in continual building mode on his model railway, which occupies the garage and is the best one yet of all the railways he's built. Fabulous! I suggested he join the art group, so he did, his ultimate quest being to to paint a halfway decent backdrop to the railway (half done!).

Then Husband and I were introduced to open mic (open mike/microphone) nights by my writing group. These events occur all over the country and consist of like-minded creatives meeting up in the evenings and sing, play instruments, read poems, short stories, anecdotes, put artwork on display - you name it, anything (almost) goes. They usually take place in pubs or clubs where there's a reasonable entry fee, and even in members' homes. Because these events mostly cater to amateurs, there are very few rules - watch your swearing and don't make your offering too long otherwise your fellow performers won't get a look in and your audience will go to sleep. They're a great opportunity for those trying to break into the biz, such as poets, actors, singers, instrumentalists, artists, and to practice to a (hopefully) forgiving audience!

I'd grown used to reading anecdotal material and silly poems to my writing group, so these events held no real fear for me, and Husband was used to holding the floor at work, so reading out loud held no fear for him, either.

Sadly, a few years ago our bubbly art group tutor left to be replaced by someone who just didn't fit the bill for us. We left. And I was expelled from my writing group (true) for becoming too outspoken and critical! I had been cured in the brain department and now appreciated that, despite my fondness for the group, it had turned into a glorified coffee morning.  Another member, a friend, had left previously, and she was holding small, intimate writing sessions elsewhere. We joined her along with other creative friends and we've grown and matured into an intimate group of singers, instrumentalists, artists and writers. We all get on so well and hold 'mini mics' in each others' homes. We provide food and drink, and we play and sing and read and show art. Great stuff.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find another art group, so, my brain cured, I decided to hold afternoon sessions with our creative friends in my own home - the first time I've ever been able to do this. It worked, and I decided to hold them the week after our monthly writing sessions. This also holds an element of discipline - remembering to put it in the diary and invite members along.

Currently, Husband is the only male.  Our other male member had to leave, but Husband does love being surrounded by 'his' harem! We're always on the look-out for new members. I decided to title this article 'Spunky and ever so slightly wacky' because there is definitely an element of this in the group, and a sense of humour is a definite must! No sense of humour? No admittance!  So if anyone in our area of the UK (Hampshire) fancies a bit of creative company and inspiration. do please holler!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Creating My Odyssey: SWASHING MY BUCKLE!******************************...

Creating My Odyssey: SWASHING MY BUCKLE!
: SWASHING MY BUCKLE! ************************************************************************************ Although my fascination en...

Although my fascination encompasses the wild west - mostly - when it comes to dressing up and re-enactment, wiki/English Civil_War, cavalier and eighteenth century male costuming has always lit my dripping wax candle as well. Eighteenth century breeches, boots, velvet jackets, men's shirts - perhaps filly, tricorn hats, guns and swords are sooo exciting! Who doesn't want to swash their buckle? Okay, not everybody, but I luurve it! (Shame about my big bum. So not the right image).

     I've invariably worn my favourite feathered stetson, guns, knives and fringed pants or calf length 'buckskin' skirts as www.kitty-le-roy.co.uk and for a long time the cavalier look fought alongside wild west, but the wild west won out! 

     Why? People frequently ask me that. My fascination grew after watching
The Virginian, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Virginian_(TV_series)Alias Smith and Jones
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alias_Smith_and_Jones, and High Chaparral
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Chaparral on telly during the sixties and seventies, and
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butch_Cassidy_and_the_Sundance_Kidat the cinema (my westerns have to have humour). Perhaps I was a fella in a past life but I often wonder if it's in my genes/jeans.
An ancestor, great Uncle Herring, went to seek his fortune in the gold fields of British Columbia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Columbia. According to family lore he was 'burnt out of his homestead' by Indians but survived to head south to Los Angeles and join Sunkist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunkist , the orange juice production company. Wonderful story. Another family member (by marriage) prospected in Dawson City, Canada https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson_City. Up until the 1930s, when prospecting, he took up residence in a cabin that's been restored and is now rented out as the 'Gold Rush Cabin' https://dawsoncity.ca/accommodation/whitehouse-cabins/  to holiday makers. I've gotta visit and stay there.


     Back to reenactments. I managed - finally, to indulge in a few years of wild west living history, dressed in buckskin fringes, stetson, pants and holstered Colt .45 as Kitty Le Roy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KittyLeroy (the real item ain't someone I'd emulate today. I don't gamble or dance!). 'My' Kitty Le Roy is a saloon-going prospector/adventurer, and I re-enacted a gold rush camp with my pard/Husband quack Doctor Jack Coltrane. I enjoyed it once we had the tent up and running. Husband, being a bit of an exhibitionist, loves dressing up and this forced him to totally relax, away from his highly stressful job. 
     But damned anxiety got in my way, even after I'd recovered from depression, until I realised that living history, while I'm glad I've done it, just ain't my bag, man, which I feel sorry about. Interesting, because I had to distinguish between feeling anxious because of my illness, and anxious because I was genuinely anxious and that it had nothing to do with being unwell. Confused I was. I couldn't precede each event without being riddled with anxiety, because wild west events always, because of the nature of the thing, involved people (strange, that). I felt shy of folk (back then) and was constantly trying to prove myself - 'Hey, look! I'm Kitty Le Roy!' - until I reached the conclusion, after I had fully recovered and could see more clearly, that I was trying to do/forcing myself to do something that really didn't suit me. Such is life. I'm not an exhibitionist (shame) at heart, but while I was depressed, I was desperate to show off my interests, and this one in particular, because I'm an older woman into the west and guns! And my epic novel, Alias Jeannie Delaney, the life story of a devastating cowgirl who's the fastest gun in the west, came into that category.

     Time has passed and I still love the idea of dressing up and indulging in visits to festivals or conventions. Star Trek http://startrekspace.blogspot.co.uk/p/star-trek-conventions.html.
Steam punk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk. Mediaeval
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiddleAges. Maybe all three at once! I particularly fancy steam punk
wild west. Factual history with a bit of fantasy thrown in. I adore the costuming! Husband's niece, seriously into pirates, has influenced me big time. In fact, pirates, particularly the female ones - Anne Bonney https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Bonny and Mary Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Read and Grace o'Malley 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_O%27Malley - definitely float my galleon! Pirates are bad.
They travel galleons in the tropical high seas - I adore travel, the sea and the tropics, so this encompasses several interests all in one go - nicking treasure from equally bad, usually rich, people. I want to be a pirate! Husband has said he doesn't want to know cuz he was the one who had to organise it all. I totally get that. He said that if I really want to do something, I've got to organise it and he'll turn up on the day. Maybe I will.

Bonney, Anne (1697-1720).jpg
I research female outlaws, pirates, cowgirls, adventurers, you name it, and love the idea of emulating them. I browse lady pirates, 'normal' cowgirls and steampunk cowgirls on Pinterest  and the spark pops up in my brain. 

     Just to round off, A few years ago we had our daughter and twin granddaughters stay with us over Halloween. We all dressed up - Husband was Lurch the butler - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family - suits him. He's tall and can be gaunt when he chooses. Daughter was glam witch, the girls were mini witches and I was ugly old hag witch who hated children (figures). When local children knocked on the door to trick or treat, Husband would put the appropriate music on Michael Jackson's Thriller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA and open the window so that the music would drift outside, and we would answer the creaking door with big cackles from me and a gaunt 'Good evening.' from Husband. The kids would run screaming. No, they didn't - that was the Adamms family. After shrieking at the kids that I hated them and would have them for dinner, we'd hand over a bagful of sweeties. We all loved it and we were expected to repeat this performance every year in our cul-de-sac. We managed the next couple of years. Last year we made a Halloween animation film. Terrific fun!

     Yes, dressing up and being someone else for an hour or two is fabrilliant! I fully recommend it. I'd love to hear from readers who do any of this!

* Please let me know if you appreciate the links, or do they detract?

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