Editing A Novel While Mothering - It's Not for Sissies But It Is For Me

As you know I'm editing my first novel. This is my fourth draft...or fifth draft? I've lost count, all I know is this is the most detailed painstaking one yet. It's difficult to say exactly how long I can Read more

We Planted Our Garden With Trees

The dream is for the house to disappear, more overgrown with every passing year.  On a foggy St Patrick's morning we planted 50, mostly native Irish trees. Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Willow & Hornbeam. Lawn, begone... Even before our house Read more

Vincent Browne

Watching Vincent Browne from Sligo last night would do little to inspire. The first thing that struck me was how the 'creep' of deprivation in this region could go almost unnoticed and I mean by we who live here. Read more

Dublin (Part 1)

I have returned from my trip. Darling Dublin, it was wonderful, for I am bored with life here now, there is no colour, no nourishment in it. And it's not the few people who are very good and worth staying Read more

A New Painting

Good morning friends, Friday again, thank goodness. I was just saying on fb last night how even though I'm a stay at home mother I still look forward to weekends. I get so tired of routine and the sameness of Read more

How to Live on One Modest Income or Less

Do you dream of quitting your job or of working part-time? Do you wonder if you could cope mentally, financially? Or maybe you are unemployed, job hunting and feeling the strain. Work is so tied up with our feelings Read more

Editing A Novel While Mothering – It’s Not for Sissies But It Is For Me

As you know I’m editing my first novel. This is my fourth draft…or fifth draft? I’ve lost count, all I know is this is the most detailed painstaking one yet. It’s difficult to say exactly how long I can spend on just one paragraph or one sentence but;

hours,

hours,

hours.

Projections for finishing this draft at my current pace of, glacial, are approximately sometime next year. I’m not ok with that.

lib collage

Take this week for example, but first consider that not only do I want to get on with editing, I also feel motivated, able and driven to get on with editing.

Last weekend was great, we stayed home, worked in the garden, painted and I got some work done. I was in flow again, bliss. I wanted to keep it going and with Easter holidays looming I had only one week to do it.

fairy 2

My middle girl, beautiful, sensitive, witty and wise : )

Still I set myself a target of two more chapters by the weekend. At least then I could hit the holidays with a calm sense of all being right with the world because virtues of process aside I have to feel that I’m moving. I don’t count glacial as moving.

The plan was so simple, not ambitious at all, just a mix of two dawn starts and three playschool mornings on top of which I was starting on two new chapters, not touched since my last draft, so not completely sick of them, yet.

It would be enough, only it didn’t happen. A combination of events, chief of which, Sadhbh developed a really bad cold and had to stay home all week, and, being firmly in lambing season meant no Adrian for those early mornings.

fairy

An absolute joy of a child, my little boo Sadhbh

Any of you who can relate to this feeling, of another week, it’s not the first, and, there always seems to be something, another week of feeling I’m getting nothing done, will know how torturous it is and the mental gymnastics you have to deploy to stay sane.  The rest of you who don’t relate, will think me mad and that’s ok. I think the same.

I’m ok with that.

In order to deal, my mind is in overdrive, mindfulness, gratitude, acceptance, a great savouring of things, practiced, with fiery intensity.This is where I need to be now, being the chief thought holding the fire, this moment, here, now.

Then a feeling of camaraderie, of understanding and sometimes horror, that this is the story of creative mothers since the beginning of time. That while our part of the world has evolved to the point where the needs of wives and husbands are equal, and my husband is uber supportive and loving, it is still a problem that is yet to be solved, the problem of self and motherhood.

Next, I remind myself that I can use this time to do things that will support the work whenever I finally do get to it. Like the problem of clutter, too much clutter weighs on my mind, so no writing time is time to make that better. Then with reading, painting, blogging, journal writing, searching material for my fb page, taking photographs, daydreaming is important, being out in the garden, enjoying the children, their imaginations.

shay

My eldest girl Shaylyn, our house in morning fog and from inside, in the gloaming…

All these things support and at the same time, scorch my mind, they support the book, one way or another so that it is never not being worked on. The paradox being, I do all of these better whenever I’ve written. And so it goes on, I want in, I get in, I have to leave, I need to get back again.

Talking with my mum she felt not many would have done it with small children, they would have waited.

My dad said I should start the next book.

My friend Madeleine Kennedy, an Australian artist said;

It’s difficult to manage  your time with small children but if you wait until they are older there’s the very real danger of never getting started at all.’

Madeleine’s words filled me with terror and my book is written so I think that’s my answer.I couldn’t have waited. And I can’t start another book, yet. I have to finish.

Recently I was reminded of Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs through some inspiring and stirring I felt, quotes from him. I remember studying and enjoying his work as part of a Social Psychology module for my PR Dip many years ago.

Based on his theory, I’m pretty much fulfilled, I’m doing what I’m capable of, or, considering this post, I’m damn CLOSE as I can get at the moment. But I am in the process of realising my potential and that is not only huge, but rare, even though, according to Maslow, everyone is capable of it. I’m lucky any way that you look at it, my activities are in line with my deepest self, so I can console myself and say, I’m not just in a state, well I am a lot of the time, but I’m also in a state of perpetual becoming, of self-actualization.

cloud sky

A recent painting plus the sky on that evening

That’s the latest from me. Actually I could talk all day but I have to go, still, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in comments if you have an opinion on this area.

I hope you have a brilliant weekend. Chat to you soon fellow traveller’s.

Read more about Maslow’s theory by clicking HERE

sky a

 

 

 

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living 2 Comments

We Planted Our Garden With Trees

The dream is for the house to disappear, more overgrown with every passing year. 

On a foggy St Patrick’s morning we planted 50, mostly native Irish trees. Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Willow & Hornbeam.

Lawn, begone…

trees fog

Even before our house was built we knew we didn’t want a standard garden with ordered beds and so much lawn. The dream was something between the prairie or cottage styles you see in magazines, plus lots of trees and our own vegetables.

The dream behind the dream was, still is, something magical, wild and otherworldly.

No one said it was going to be easy, luckily my approach to most things is, why not?

The struggles to achieve something of the house we’d envisaged, from design and throughout the building process are legendary. They can perhaps be summed up by saying no one wants to give you what you want, they want to give you what is convenient for them. 

You could also say some people lack imagination but at least once the house was built the struggle ended and it quickly became our territory to do what we wanted in. We’re agreed now, it was worth the hassle.

This is the beauty of your own four walls where the only impediment to imagination or expression ever is money, and it hasn’t stopped me so far, though the words of Dorothy Parker come to mind;

‘I’ve never been a millionaire but I know I’d be just darling at it.’

My point is your home is your castle, but not your garden.

I think it’s because the limits to having the garden you want are not individual but cultural, plus, if your’re in Ireland, weather.

When it comes to options beyond a lawn, no one can tell you anything because no one knows.

The extent of wisdom may be that nothing will grow, we were told this many times, unless you have tons of money to spend. And that folks is about the height of readily available wisdom on the matter. 

Our garden is one acre, with a hill at the back. It’s a difficult site, that part the advisors got right. Leitrim land is wet, the joke that is close to the truth is, you can buy it by the gallon.

Still, we planted fruit trees and shrubs including apple, plum, blackcurrant and raspberry, ornamental trees and shrubs like lilac, laburnum and cherry. Our hedging, already in place, is whitethorn, sycamore, holly, blackthorn, blackberry, wild rose and sally. We also planted an organic vegetable garden and oceans of flowers including deep beds of wildflowers, sigh.

I can’t wait to see them again.

There was a learning curve with the flowers. When we planted them first I wondered how we’d weed them.I quickly learned you don’t. We have planted so many bulbs, seeds, shrubs and flowers now the weeds are being crowded out, you can’t see them anyhow, or tell the difference. Now every year I have deep swathes of flowers and grass and no weeding. We just keep sowing and planting…

wild

As bewildered beginners we were open minded, willing to experiment, to fail and to learn. We cultivated a survival of the fittest mindset, a kind of loving and benign neglect. We were just willing to give things a go.

In the early years with babies I found myself in the house more than I’d hoped while Adrian did what he could while also working full time and farming. Real life is such a pain some/all the time. So far so good but we still had a lawn, a rough rushy, thistle filled wide open lawn.

Funny, in the house I love clear paths and space while outside I crave the overgrown, secluded walkways.

When it came to buying the trees we had to balance our desires and plans with cost and potential loss if the trees don’t make it. With all that in mind we opted for optimism and the least expensive option of very young trees or whips as they’re known.

And just think, if they work we’ll see leaves in just a few weeks with the start of the growing season. That will be so exciting! For every tree that makes it the ground will be helped, especially with varieties like willow that take in a lot of water, not to mention ten oak trees with their potential centuries of life and life giving ahead of them.

In spite of the immense challenges our vision has remained the same, only thanks to the wonders of the web we have been able to find methods that answer our questions, like Permaculture and Coppicing.

In coppicing a tree is repeatedly cut down so it starts growing new shoots that can be then cut for firewood, for eternity! Well, for the natural lifetime of the tree. Can you believe it? It’s knowledge like this that fuels the flame, how wrong our current system is, how un-educated we’ve all become.

So our own interpretation of permaculture, not forgetting we’re far from expert so it’s just our feeling, is as follows;

Permaculture for Dummies…

  • Forget ideas of how a garden should look, how would you like it to look? To achieve? For example, we’re working to achieve a wild garden to blow the senses, low on maintenance and cost, high on colour and native species, that will support the earth, local wildlife and ultimately us i.e. through timber for the fire and food of course.
  • Plant a lot of stuff, as much native as possible. And if it dies? Plant more. Think in terms of more is more, manifest abundance.
  • Remember that cuttings are free. Ask neighbours, family and friends not forgetting the lanes. To date we’ve rescued a few baby trees growing in lane verges where they’d no chance of survival plus one woodbine and oodles of cuttings.
  • Add all green waste to your soil. Start a compost heap, I’m still amazed at the amount we can generate. Adrian sectioned off a corner of the garden with wooden palettes, couldn’t have been simpler, and there’s no smell. I throw all my veg waste in there.  Start saving all your lawn clippings and add back to the garden. Collect and add untreated cardboard, leaves, cuttings, just keep putting it down. You can do this one section at a time and plant directly into the mess which very quickly rots down.
  • The idea is that in time, all that grows is returned to the earth.
  • In the early days you’ll have a lot of mowing, just like with a lawned garden, but as it grows up you’ll have less and less, eventually no mowing to do.
  • Permaculture is healthy, organic, pretty much cost free and low maintenance.

In an ideal world we’d have had the funds to do some groundwork first but like anytime I think it would be nice to wave my magic wand, Adrian’s response is Sure where would be the fun in that!Clearly he likes hard graft!

He and my brother, Colm, dug drains themselves to give these trees the very best chance in life.

To sum up folks, lawns are relics, think trees, wildflowers and veg, this is the future. The future is now…

house

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living, FAMILY 3 Comments
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    • We Planted Our Garden With Trees March 24, 2015
      The dream is for the house to disappear, more overgrown with every passing year.  On a foggy St Patrick’s morning we planted 50, mostly native Irish trees. Oak, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Willow & Hornbeam. Lawn, begone… Even before our house was built we knew we didn’t want a standard garden with ordered beds […]
      Jane
    • Vincent Browne March 12, 2015
      Watching Vincent Browne from Sligo last night would do little to inspire. The first thing that struck me was how the ‘creep’ of deprivation in this region could go almost unnoticed and I mean by we who live here. Hard to expect others to notice, that we don’t notice ourselves. Erosion of services, interesting word […]
      Jane
    • Writing (Inching Forward) March 5, 2015
      Hello from my kitchen to wherever you are… I had such a good day of editing yesterday, I felt limitless after it. I thought, I have to keep this going but it’s been a struggle this morning. Even with my smallest girl taking a nap, it just seemed impossibly hard, as it does sometimes, as it […]
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    • Next Day Delivery Launch March 3, 2015
      Morning all. You may remember last year I attended the summer season launch for NEXT at the gorgeous Cliff Townhouse in Dublin. You can read about that and see all the beautiful photographs HERE. Well a few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch of NEXT’s next day delivery service in Ireland. Unfortunately […]
      Jane
    • Dublin (Part 1) March 2, 2015
      I have returned from my trip. Darling Dublin, it was wonderful, for I am bored with life here now, there is no colour, no nourishment in it. And it’s not the few people who are very good and worth staying afloat for, and it’s not my house that I’ve conjured, can paint all the shades […]
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    • Thank You! February 24, 2015
      Hello dear friends. After the intensity of yesterday it was great to get back to normal today but I have to say I was so touched by all your comments and messages, here and on fb. Rest assured I am not one bit discouraged, I believe in the book. I haven’t had a chance to get […]
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    • I Lost February 23, 2015
      Goddam it folks I lost, I didn’t make the shortlist, for the novel competition remember? It’s been a hell of a day, I really wanted to win. Me and the other 499… less 6, then 10, then 11, more on that later. It’s been a strange week, or two. I haven’t been able to give […]
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    • A New Painting February 20, 2015
      Good morning friends, Friday again, thank goodness. I was just saying on fb last night how even though I’m a stay at home mother I still look forward to weekends. I get so tired of routine and the sameness of too many days. I crave, I live for even the slightest changes, like no school […]
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    • What Does Your Homeschool Look Like? February 19, 2015
      Somewhere along the line it occured to me that all education happens, not at school, but at home. As parents I think most of us start out with a great feeling and hope for education and for supporting our children who will of course be brilliant students, artists or sports people even if we’re not, […]
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    • How to Live on One Modest Income or Less February 10, 2015
      Do you dream of quitting your job or of working part-time? Do you wonder if you could cope mentally, financially? Or maybe you are unemployed, job hunting and feeling the strain. Work is so tied up with our feelings of worth and security but is that right? I think we know that for most people […]
      Jane