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End of the year...

It's been five months since my last post, or thereabouts. A lot has happened.

In the spring I started dating a lovely man. We already knew each other and had many chats over the year or so since we'd met. In the summer we were a definite item and took our first trip away, to Cyprus. And we had agreed to move in together. And have our basement flat in London refurbished. I say 'our flat' because it was already his, but whilst it wasn't yet his home, it was mine.

Yes reader, I dated my landlord. But that's not all.

In the autumn, whilst I was on a work trip in North Devon, we got engaged. And in the winter - just two weeks ago in fact - we got married at Chelsea Town Hall. This was followed by a few days away in the New Forest, and a celebratory dinner held in Arundel for his family. So, yes, it's been rather a different year, with something for each of the four seasons! Hence my blogging hiatus.

Writing, though, is always on my mind. It's a constant. I haven't written anything for ages. I thought I'd wait until I felt 'grounded' again. Not sure when that will be though, as if refurbishing our flat in London wasn't enough stress on a new relationship (it wasn't really, quite exciting to see it all change), he then sold his house in Worthing, Sussex, and bought a place we both chose - a mid-century maisonette with art deco features, which needed lots of work. The past couple of months he, much more than I, has been up to his eyeballs in dust. We spend weekends down here, overlooked by the South Downs and just a minute from the channel. This afternoon we talk a short, brisk walk around Cissbury Ring, followed by a pub lunch. And having another home means there are more shelves on which to place new and old books, which is just as well, as the London basement has too many of them.

But the writing... I finished the first draft of a play earlier this year, which I duly sent to a few theatres, and then heard zip back. This is despite the fact that it received many good comments from friends who have track records in theatre acting. So this needs pushing come the New Year - as do a few other things. When I think about 'my writing', I almost feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of stories waiting to be told. But it's hard, this writing lark. Very hard. When I taught creative writing at Kingston University, whilst doing my PhD, I never felt it was appropriate to stress to students just how difficult a task writing can be - I mean, good writing that makes one feel as though they've done their story/stories justice. And yet most quotes referring to writing mention it as a madness, a sickness, undertaken only by those with neuroses. Yet most people I know want to write something!

Perhaps it's true that we each feel we have our own story to tell - but then this reinforces the notion that storytelling is innate in the human. The need for stories. And this year - 2014 - I have lived a story, in a way that I hadn't really done before. This year I've still managed to see enough theatre - although art has been somewhat lacking, having wanted to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy, which was widely lauded. And the Moroni at the same place. On the theatre side, there were many - including True West at the Tricycle... I shall have to do a list, as the titles of the others completely escape me. 2015 already promises much on the theatre front - yesterday evening I booked tickets for four plays - Tree at the Old Vic; Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre; Islands at Bush Theatre; and Time for Heroes at the Baron's Court Theatre / Curtain's Up. All in January and February.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the London theatre scene is electric and eclectic. And is one of the reasons I'd always be loathe to live full-time outside of London, or at least longer than an hour or so away. On the books front, I've barely read anything, except the occasional New Yorker short story and article. I bought Richard Flanagan's Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Colin Barrett's Young Skins, a collection of short stories. My husband (so weird writing that) bought me a couple of books for Christmas - a poetry anthology called Life in Verse, which is a very good collection; and a slim novella about a stray cat and a couple in Tokyo, called The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide (probably because I insist on feeding a 'guest cat' who appears regularly at the London basement. My parents-in-law bought me Clive James's Poetry Notebook, which I'm dipping in and out of and which I'm finding very engaging. Here's to 2015 and to increased creativity, which provides solace for those, like myself, who need it as respite from busy and demanding careers.


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