Saturday, 28 August 2010


The Amazing Singing Feet. Yes, I know my toenails need cutting...

It's been a bad week, but today I am celebrating.  "Is she mad?"  I hear you asking. No.  But I have been listening to my feet.

Okay, yeah, probably I am mad, but whenever I listen to the pain in my feet, I find out what I need to do.  Usually it's as simple as: 'Sit down, you idiot, we're hurting because you've been walking around too much!'  But this week, they've been shouting through a megaphone pressed right up to my ear: 'LISTEN TO US!!!!!'

I'm celebrating because yesterday I listened to my feet in an active way, and they showed me how to move forward.  The pain was really getting to me, and I curled up in bed with my laptop and began to type whatever came into my brain.  All the whining, moaning, complaining, the anger and resentment, the 'why me?' stuff came out.  As if the pain itself was speaking.  And as I was typing, I realised I'm not the only one who feels like this.  There are thousands of us in Britain, millions all over the world, all locked inside bodies that are angry with us, bodies that have downed tools and are refusing to cooperate.  The difference is that I can write and draw.  And maybe, just maybe, there are people who want to hear my pain speak because it is their pain too. A community of people who think they are alone, and who need to know that they are not.

Lying in bed feeling pale and pastie.
Don't get me wrong.  I don't want to be defined by my illness.  I don't want it to be the only thing in my creative life.  But I've got skills that enable me to communicate how this dis-ease feels, and maybe I could use them to make my life and those of others a better place.

So here is the project.  To rifle through my journals from the last 12 years and find passages that relate to the experience of ME, then collate them into a manuscript, together with drawings and cartoons, and a bit about how I got here.  And then see if I can find a publisher who is interested in marketing to the ME community.  It may come to nothing, but on the other hand, it may motivate me to keep listening, keep moving forward, keep healing.  And in the end, it may help other people too, and that would be nice. Really nice.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bad Feet

Yesterday I wasn't having a bad day.  Today I am. Terrible pain in my feet and hands.  But I managed to do this:

Bad Feet day, Rotring Artpen and ink

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bad day

I've been having a few bad days recently, which is why Michael Nobb's latest post rang bells with me.  He talks about the things he does when he is having a bad ME day, to nurture himself, cope with the exhaustion, and find a sense of achievement.  When I am having a bad day, its usually because I haven't been giving myself a break.  I haven't been listening to my body, so my body shouts at me in the loudest way it can - by stopping me in my tracks.

The other day I spent two delicious hours mooching about in the Millennium Library in Norwich, which is one of my favourite places.  Two hours just choosing books, just looking at the pictures in books, just reading a little here and there, to whet the appetite.  Bliss!  One of the books I came across was this one by Bobby Baker, an album of watercolours she did during a period of serious mental illness.  It's very moving, and at times a little disturbing.  I've been looking for ways I could use my drawing skills to help my healing process. Bobby Baker drew how she felt.  I find that hard to depict.  But I can at least draw how it looks when I have a bad day:

Bad day, dip pen and acrylic ink.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


The Vestry at Herstmonceux Church, East Sussex.  

Just wishing for this kind of serenity right now.

Monday, 2 August 2010


For me as a Pagan, Lammas is a religious holiday which I observe on the first two days of August.  Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals, the celebration of bringing in the cereal crops, hence it's name, a derivation of the Medieval 'Loaf Mass'.  For me it is a time of looking back over the year and considering the fruits of the seeds I have planted in my life.  There is still time to plant, though, so I also consider what else I want to do to get to where I want to be come October, and Hallowe'en.

In the last post, I talked about the cartoon I made to commemorate the 'Help for Heroes' charity match.  It was a big deal for me that there were three professional artists there who all praised my work with enthusiasm.  And the recipient clearly liked it too!

(And then, when I arrived here in Sussex, at the home of our friends, I found that they had framed and hung a little cartoon I did of them last time we were here - I was so touched!) 

This time last year, I would never have even put pen to paper, let alone let anybody see my drawings.  And I had totally forgotten how to use watercolours.  The seeds I have planted this year have been about my art - about getting out of my own way and drawing and painting, in whatever small way I feel I can, without judgement.   I won't say without fear, because its still a scarey process just to get me as far as the drawingboard, but its a start.  Lately I've begun to feel I am really getting the hang of it, and the General's cartoon was an enormous milestone.  So this is the 'loaf' I am celebrating this Lammas, the fruits of my labours, the first step on my way to becoming more 'myartistself'.

Enough of the cereal crop, then.  What will the Autumn Equinox bring, the fruit crop of my life?