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Bereavement, Reflection and Moving Back into the World

Bereavement

There are those touched by this pandemic in a way which will live with them for the rest of their lives;

there are those who have really struggled with the isolation and it has adversely affected their mental well being,

and there are others who have sailed through and managed to ‘get on with life’ quite cheerfully throughout.

Of course there is overlap too.

Sometimes I think it is hard for each group to appreciate the other’s situation.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and sympathy from friends, family and the wider community of Kinghorn when my Mum became ill and my father died of Covid back on 10th January.

Normal life ceased.

Dad died at 93 years old. He had been retired for longer than he worked, he had enjoyed a good healthy life, dancing and travelling with Mum until two years ago…. and the end was thankfully very quick. He didn’t suffer too much so we were told.

Mum is still unwell, but she is being well cared for and we can speak to her on Zoom and phone (which we could rarely do when she was in hospital.) That’s all I can ask until, hopefully, I will see her again.

Reflection

My writing life ceased, although I continued with obligations for others when I could. Certainly at a slower pace.

…but my Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to wallow.

On reflection, two days before Dad  passed away, my last conversation with him was so positive. Looking back, he was thinking of me and the wider family and not himself.

‘You are happy up in Fife?’ he asked.

‘You’ve got a good life there, haven’t you?’

As I stood looking out over the Firth of Forth, as a container ship floated into my line of vision, I remarked, ‘I wish you were standing here with me Dad.’

At the end of our conversation I told him I loved him. Not something I have said very often in my whole life.

Looking back, we were both saying goodbye, and that is a comfort.

Moving On

Neither Dad nor Mum would want me to wallow anymore though.

As well as supporting other authors, part of my psyche is to create, to write and to let the words and ideas flow, later moulding them into  a form just right for sharing.

I hope to begin to focus on my projects again.

And so, slowly but surely, I will return to a ‘real’ world. Not the ‘normal’ before lockdown, but a different normal, building my confidence to be part of the writing community once more.

  Mum and Dad with us on Guernsey only   Three Years ago

 

What am I going to do in my writing life in the next few months?

  • Continue writing my current project ~ another Mystery Inspired by History
  • Publish a little book of encouragement for your adults, needing support finding direction on life following this pandemic
  • Get together poems I have written in the last few months about dementia
  • Promote my two mysteries.

…and that, I think, is enough for now.

MURDER, Now and Then will be only 99p on Kindle from 22nd February to 1st March 2021

MISSING, Past and Present will be only 99p on Kindle from 1st to 8th March 2021

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Filed under Memoirs, Mystery inspired by history series, Writing

Review, Reflect and Move Forward to 2021 (and a festive Giveaway)

If I knew in December 2019 when I reflected on the previous year what I know now, would I have made different plans and had other aspirations? Who knows!

2020

Early March

               Click cover for link to Amazon

… saw the launch on my second ‘mystery inspired by history’ novel

MISSING Past and Present

at the last social gathering in Kinghorn, a cheerful event held at the Station Gallery.

 

More used to face to face bookish activities rather than on line, I must admit to have struggled with social media this year, having spurts of activity, interspersed with period when I just could not get my head around it.

(Like everyone, being unable to visit my elderly parents was a constant worry; both having dementia but attempting to live independently. It is only when the security rug is swept away that you realise just how much loved ones rely on visits from family)

April/ May

I worked on a little book of encouragement for young people who need direction and a bit of positivity; a project I began a few years back. I hope for it to be released February, March 2021. Watch this space for a cover reveal in the new year. 

June

 

 

Unable to be creative I worked with local ladies in Kinghorn to prepare

‘Kinghorn Lunch Club Social Memories;’

a lovely little book which, among other wonderful ideas, was a much needed morale boost for our elderly folks during the pandemic.

Click on cover for link to Amazon.

 

 

 

July

I actually began to write again, focusing on the sequel to MISSING.

August

With infection rates lower, the highlight of the month was visiting my elderly parents which was a mixture of heart wrenching moments but relief to be with them.

September/ October/ November

Working with fellow Eventispress author Brian Kerr, whose third book 

How to Value a Skylark ~ The Countryside in a Time of Change

will be launched in January 2021.

(meanwhile my parents were hospitalised not with Covid and transferred to a care home, where both are now cared for and safe. I still long to see them but when it is safe to rwsume my regular visits down south ~ the culmination of a very stressful and upsetting time. So hard not to be with them when they needed us most!)

Click on cover for more information about Brian and the book. 

 

Charity Sales

Sales of Kinghorn Lunch Club Memories and The Healing Paths of Fife (currently sold in aid of Kirkcaldy Foodbank which covers Kinghorn, Burntisland and surrounding areas as well as Kirkcaldy) 

£673

has been raised to date!

I would love it to reach £1000 as soon as possible!

On reflection, in the writing world I have some achievements to be cheerful about in 2020.

What do I long for in 2021?

~ First and foremost to see my parents and to spend some quality time with them. Both having dementia, I cannot make up for a whole year lost, but I want to do my utmost to make their lives as pleasurable as I possibly can.

~ Secondly I wish Brian Kerr every success with his new book. 

I’d like to reach my goal of £1000 through the sale of ‘The Healing Paths of Fife’

Yes, of course I would love you all to read ‘MISSING Past and Present’ and with that in mind I am willing to give 10 ebooks away if you’d like to email me ~  dianariduna@yahoo.com

…and finally I’d like to wish you all a safe Christmas,

        …that you’ll be vaccinated soon in 2021

                  …and that you can be reunited with your loved ones as soon as possible in 2021.

 

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Book reading, Marketing your novel, MISSING Past and Present, The Healing Paths of Fife, Writing

Light Bulb Moment of inspiration ~ Just a Sentence ~ then a Story Plan

HAVE A NOTEBOOK AT ALL TIMES

Do you have a notebook, or a plethora of notebooks to hand when inspiration for writing strikes?

Sound advice!

All it took was just a sentence popping unbidden into my mind:

‘While picking blackberries in the hedgerows one day, I found a dice.’

CHOOSE AN UNUSUAL PROTAGONIST

I had already decided to write about a homeless person but wanted to choose an unlikely character, This one sentence was the perfect lead to my protagonist, Dot. Picking blackberries is second nature to her and thus she would be a ‘jam making women’s institute sort of lady’, the sort who you might pass unnoticed in the street. If a lady like that who hadn’t done anyone any harm, well almost, became homeless, straightaway I felt that the reader would feel empathy towards Dot when her husband went missing.

BACK STORY

Then I began to think of her back story. Holding the dice which I had found one day it struck me to be a fantastic tool for Dot’s memories while she was trying to recover from the breakdown of all she had known. (Her memories were not personal ones to me by the way, except maybe one, but I’m not going to admit which one.)

 

 

SUBTITLE

No one deserves to have their life destroyed, but what sums up the overriding question in Dot’s mind as she tries to make sense of it all.  Life is never fair but

Is Life Just a Roll of a Dice?’

My subtitle came to life.

MISSING Past and Present on Amazon

SETTING

The scene of picking blackberries could be an idyllic one, but in Dot’s case it was a means for survival, to glean from the countryside. What was it like to survive when homeless.

MAIN THEMES

This led to the main themes in my novel, as explored in previous blogs, leading to further tension and miscommunication.

Homelessness, soup kitchens and food banks

Mixed race relationships

Multi faith marriage

Gender inequality

Prejudice, racism and acceptance

SUMMING UP

Thus, finding a dice in the hedgerows gave me a sentence.

Out of the sentence came the protagonist, back story and major setting.

This allowed me to develop my plan, including themes pertinent to my story.

What originally inspired you to write your latest novel?

If you would like to be a guest writer on this blog why don’t you take the Dice Challenge and get in touch with me diana@dianamaryjackson.co.uk

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Filed under MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Planning a novel, Writing, Writing a novel