Sunday, 27 January 2019


Something of a cri de coeur here ... a page that arose out of an appointment with my arthritis specialist.  She told me that the drugs I'm on were working, and I asked why in that case I was still in so much pain?  Oh, she said, I can't do anything about your pain.  She repeated this forcefully about three times, just in case I hadn't understood it the first time.  I wanted to scream and shout "what use are you then?", but what I actually did was cry, real gut wrenching sobbing from a deep place of despair.  Maybe it was necessary that I got that out.  Then, there being no alternative, I picked myself up and got on with life again ... and gradually made my negative feelings into this page.

I think the prickly cactus actually represents the ever present pain, but I put it down in the corner where I can make it smaller and more manageable.  The butterfly is about rising above that reality, and my attempt to live a vivid and colourful life despite it.
I was thinking about the way I'd cried from the depths of my being that day, and how healing it had (eventually) been, so I made my lady into a clown of sorts - the kind who presents a smiling face, which is what I do.  The doodles across the corners represent the layers of my life that most people never get to see or understand.
But then the words came, and the cry from the heart that SOMEONE has to see and understand my pain, believe in how hard this journey of 26 years has been and is.  That's all I wanted; acknowledgement.  Its OK to say you can't fix it, but I need someone to recognise its importance and how it dominates my life.
The painted face and the bright colours are the face I show to the world - let's face it nobody loves a Moaning Minnie, so I try very hard not to be one.  That can be TOUGH.
So this page isn't just for or about me, its also for and about all those who suffer chronic pain but try to put a brave face on it to spare the people around them the realities of their daily life.  Its a cry from the heart to just now and again be seen, heard, and sometimes even briefly understood.

You have to have that to make it possible to continue ...

Tuesday, 15 January 2019


When I was a lot younger, along with the majority of my peer group, I enjoyed listening to music radio.  Gradually I shifted my allegiance towards talk radio, the serious kind, which is BBC Radio 4 in the UK.  A decade ago I would have had the radio on most of the day, but then I began to select to stream only the programmes I really wanted.  Now I've come to appreciate quietness more and more, and have days when I don't turn it on at all.  It might just be me, but I wonder if less external noise is something a lot of people crave as they grow older? 

I started this page with no sense of purpose or direction, but chose to use soft blues for my painted background ... seeking a kind of visual quietness? 
I just let the blue collage grow and spread in soft curving shapes with no hard, straight lines ... and as you can see the grey shadow and black outline manages to delineate individual areas and yet at the same time unify the elements into a whole.  The word "life" just looked right when I put it there!
I added hair to the lady at the bottom and a little bit of doodling.  The pink just sort of crept in, but there's not too much of it.  That left me with a big blank space in the middle, and (after some staring into space) I just wrote this in it - a quote from the desiderata which I've always loved.
Some people might have left it like this, but I was unable to resist the temptation to doodle on it a bit more until a point came when it felt finished.
I've discovered that I need silence more and more - just as my health problems mean I have to rest a lot, so I also need to rest my poor tired brain or I suffer from sensory overload.  I could play instrumental music but I only do so occasionally, I'm just happy with my own thoughts a lot of the time, and do some of my best praying in that space.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Apologies for being missing ... my life was interrupted not only by the Christmas and New Year holiday activities, but also by being ill the entire time.  NOT the most festive of seasons, and therefore more time was spent on the sofa than at my desk working in my journal.

This is the solitary page I produced, and while its not necessarily one of my best or most inventive, it does capture that beginning of a new year feeling, always a reflective time for me.  Wishing to strike a positive note I painted the page red and added the beginnings of a collage border.
And then below you can see the border pretty much finished and looking suitably cheerful.
Adding black outlines, grey shadows and a human being turned it into something more personal and genuinely my own.  I like to think this Modigliani lady looks slightly doubtful but vaguely optimistic, where is where early January found me!
So then I set out my thoughts concerning a new year - I never make resolutions - but I am hoping for and expecting the usual mixed bag of highs and lows.  Bring it on because experience teaches that both turn out to be blessings in the fullness of time ...
Forgive me that this is somewhat brief, am still far from well - when you are immune suppressed you never get mild infections only Great Big Horrible ones that can put you in hospital.  It almost did but I talked my way out of it, saying that my Beloved would look after me at home better than they ever could.  Which turns out to be true.
Many Blessings to you and yours in 2019.