SURREAL TIMES: Tired Tuesday, the Day After Blue Monday

As we live in surreal times, I decided to call today Tired Tuesday. It is the day after Blue Monday, the official name for the third Monday of each New Year, which apparently, has been noted as the most depressing day of any year – not just one plagued by a pandemic. Surprisingly, I felt quite upbeat, as for the first time in 2021, I felt like I had a wasp up my arse, for the whole day, until I ran out of steam…

Dear Diary - Positive thoughts and affirmations for 2021 by Tessa Barrie

DEAR DIARY – POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND AFFIRMATIONS FOR 2021

Dear Diary, as 2020 was so goddam bleak, I intend to record only positive thoughts and affirmations this year.

Well, hello, 2021! I took down the tree and the Christmas decorations today because now that you’re here, there no point in hanging around, I want to get on with it. You’ve been a long time coming.  It’s been the longest 365 days of my life and, as I’m sure you’ve heard, your predecessor was a nightmare. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Things can only get better in 2021!

Around 6.p.m. I kicked off my jog pants, showered, washed my hair and dolled myself up.  Then, proudly wearing an outfit I had been given for Christmas, I took a stroll along the landing from the bedroom, looking longingly at the photos and prints, framed and hanging on the walls.  The hibiscus.  A watercolour from Barbados, prints from St. Lucia and a  photo of us all embossed on to canvas splashing around in the sea in The Maldives.  Treasured memories.

DARE TO DREAM – LIFE BEYOND COVID-19

I dare to dream about spending time with the people I care about, without being 2 meters apart.

I dare to dream about going out for a meal, or to the theatre – how I’ve missed the smell of the greasepaint – and listening to Little Black Dress cook up a storm in the Blue Note Bar with other live music lovers.

I dare to dream about a change of scene – I used to write poetry, just as well I gave it up.

I dare to dream about soaking up the sunshine somewhere with the gentle lapping of the sea in my ears, free to inhale the exhilarating, briny COVID-19-free air.  Joy.

WRITING AS A COPING MECHANISM

I imagine walking down the usually buzzing main shopping street, with the theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ringing in my ears. The only other sound is my boots connecting with the pavement as I walk. It is only me and tumbleweed. It’s a sad fact, and I don’t mean to be flippant, although the reference to tumbleweed is artistic licence. I never thought I would live through a global pandemic. Let’s hope I do; it’s not over yet. The threat of succumbing to COVID-19 is constant, especially now three different variants of the virus have been identified, but I am reliably informed that viruses always mutate. I wish this one wouldn’t!

In a Bah Humbug State of Mind

I started off December 2020 in a bah humbug state of mind.  Now, here were are on Christmas Eve and my mental state hasn’t improved.  Two days ago, I rearranged the sitting room and forgot that I’m not in my prime anymore, when I swung a heavy, high-backed chair from one side of the room to another and, my back gave way—what a time to self-incapacitate.

Creating Characters – Jack Wilde from Just Say It

Jack is the love of my protagonist, Lisa Grant’s, life.  He always has been, but they split up when Lisa was twenty-two after Jack proposed. Lisa had panicked, turning him down for a multitude of reasons. Too young, fear of commitment, terrified of going through the ‘monopause’ and turning in to her mother.  Instead of talking it through with Lisa, Jack walked away, leaving her alone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.  Eighteen years later,  and in the throws of getting back together, Jack has another hissy fit after misinterpreting an intimate moment between Lisa her ex, Rory, and flounces off back home to New York.

Creating Characters – Edna Fowler Would Be World-Renown Author

Edna is a member of both DAWG, the Didsbrook Authors and Writers Group and DADS, the Didsbrook Amateur Dramatic Society.  She is blessed with an unwavering self-belief that she is about to join the ranks of world-renown authors, convinced she is Didsbrook’s answer to J. K. Rowling, hence her rather suspect non-de-plume, E. D. Fowling. Edna is one of my favourite characters from The Doyenne of Didsbrook because every inch of her reminds me of one of Roy Clarke’s wonderful characters, Hyacinth Bucket. 

Creating Characters – The Gin-Swilling Miss Laverty

I would like to introduce you to the gin-swilling Miss Laverty, one of the characters from my first novel, Just Say It. The year is 1963, and my main protagonist, Lisa Grant, is four-years-old. Her mother, the self-centred Elizabeth, has hatched a plan with two families living down the road to employ a governess to teach Lisa and the neighbours’ young daughters.  

Creating Characters – Elizabeth Goldsworthy-Grant, nee Campbell

He stopped his tirade and got up to pour himself a stiff whiskey and, realising he was trembling, knocked it back in one.

‘Damn you, Will!  If we are going to make our marriage work, the least you can do is be civil to me. You’re widely regarded as being exceedingly bright.  So, you should be able to work it out.’

‘Work out what?’ He turned to glower at her, and hissed ‘insufferable as well as insane,’ before slamming his glass down on to the drinks tray and poured himself another one.

‘The dates, Will, they don’t add up.  Not with Jeremy anyway, and Grandbo only wants to walk a virgin up the aisle.  He told me to get out when he found out I wasn’t.’ Elizabeth started to sob.  ‘He was about to put his grandmother’s engagement ring on my finger.  It’s a sapphire… the size of a quail’s egg. Oh, Will, I really thought he was going to be the one. Unfortunately, he’s not interested in marrying a woman with a desecrated hymen, let alone one carrying a developing foetus. My life is ruined, and I never wanted children, and it’s all your fault!’

THE DOYENNE OF DIDSBROOK, MY PRIORITY FOR 2021

Finishing writing The Secret Lives of The Doyenne of Didsbrook, a murder mystery spoof, will be my priority in 2021.  She’s been ignored over the last few months, which I feel bad about, as Just Say It has been getting all my attention, but I’ve been missing her, ‘The Doyenne’, and her secret lives. LOVING MY CHARACTERS …

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SHORT STORY – KARMA

My mother and I were never close. There has never been an unshakable emotional bond between us. No invisible strand that binds a mother to her child, post umbilical tie. Even as a child, I felt more of an accessory than a daughter. She never tried to cultivate a rapport between us, so I never felt that ache. That overwhelming sense of dread that engulfs you when you think about losing someone you love.

Bah Humbug! 6 Things Taking the Shine Off Christmas

Bah humbug! I’m just not feeling it.  Does anybody else feel the same? I thought getting our tree and decorating it while drinking a few glasses of Mulled wine and listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas full deluxe special edition, might do the trick.  Well, it did, sort of. SIX REASONS WHY I’M STRUGGLING TO FIND ANY CHRISTMAS …

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ALTERNATIVE THERAPY: Writing to Heal – Article for Jersey Life

I was delighted to be a contributor for Jersey Life‘s December 2020/January 2021 edition. My brief was to write an article on the benefits of writing for mental health and general well-being, especially in light of COVID-19 and the effects of Lockdown, and I came up with Writing to Heal. It is a very personal account of …

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1st January 2021 – The Brexit Madness is almost here 😲

If you are like me, planning your long-awaited 2020 summer holiday in Europe will be a priority, but you can forget about bagging yourself any last-minute deals because, travelling in the wake of Brexit and a pandemic, means you need to allow yourself plenty of time to plan your escape from our sheltered UK shores.

DARE TO DREAM Travels Beyond COVID-19 Where are you Headed?

At the first opportunity, I will be travelling again, as soon as it’s safe. I have various autoimmune problems, so I am not taking any chances. I don’t want anything else. Even worse, I could be asymptomatic, and the last thing I would ever want to do is infect someone else. My Bucket List is typed, …

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LAZY READER SYNDROME – My Blind Spot

It does bother me that I spend everyday writing, but never allow myself time to sit and read a book these days.  But, I have decided to stop beating myself up about it because I do read.  I read a lot, but not always in the good old-fashioned way.

These days, thanks to the Internet, it is so easy to tap into a plethora of resources for literature, art and just about everything else… 24/7.  So I quench my constant thirst for knowledge browsing the Net.

LIGHTHEARTED HUMOUR FOR BABY BOOMERS

A chick, in my book, is a baby chicken covered in downy, yellow feathers up until the age of  6-weeks.   I’ve always bristled when the term is applied to young women, and I have always subconsciously disassociated myself from Chick lit, believing the genre to be driven by scantily clad, sex-driven female main characters.  I couldn’t have been more wrong and, although I’m not a fan of categories, it’s time to reassess the genre I think I’ve been writing in.

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