Thursday, 28 February 2008

Blog Birthday

It’s my birthday today. Well, my blog birthday that is. Happy Birthday Blog! Yes indeed, one year old today. I will never forget how it came about. A good friend from London sent me a card through the post containing two bits of upsetting news: firstly, she and her family were moving to Geneva (mixture of loss and envy); secondly, she enclosed a cutting which made her think of me and thought would make me laugh. Actually, it made me cry. It was the article in The Times on Wife in the North, journalist Judith O’Reilly. Partly as a result of that article she has become a household name in blogland and beyond and already had a considerable following. I was gutted. I'd missed the boat again. Someone always gets there first.

Yet I, too, had been wrenched from my southern homelands (having previously been wrenched from the joys of living in Italy) and dragged, almost screaming, certainly crying (I do a lot of crying – good release!), ‘oop north’. My close friends knew how hard it was for me to make the move at that particular time in my life, which was decidedly not a good moment, and had been following my progress. For some time I had planned to write about it. I’d thought about approaching magazines to offer a regular contribution on the subject of moving from south to north and from city to country, with the added insights of time spent abroad. I’d once been a freelance writer, you see, and I felt I finally had something to write about again. If only I could find the time. Unfortunately, my depression (exhaustion led, but with deeper roots) had set in big time and when I was first up here it was all I could do to get up in the morning let alone be proactive and creative. Hence the years had slipped by and I’d done nothing about it. When my friend sent her card and the cutting, I was just coming to the end of my long journey out of the dark tunnel. I was just thinking once more about approaching some magazines or local newspapers. Country Living magazine was my first target, but before that I wanted to flex my writing muscles again – and a blog seemed just the right way to do that. Quietly, unnoticed.

So I sat down that very afternoon and worked out how to set up a blog. It was all rather nerve-racking. I felt I was entering this whole new world: a world which I’d studiously avoided and didn’t really understand. The hardest part was deciding on usernames and the title of the blog. Rather alarming to have it all set in (oxymoronic) cyberstone. But there it was, finally, an endless white page on which to pen my thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences. No editor. Just me, for better or worse.

And so View from the High Peak was born. Shortly after, a friend pointed out the competition for a columnist, via blogging, in Country Living. I entered enthusiastically into the game – then came to wish I hadn’t as it soon became clear that it was a hopelessly ill-conceived idea with no proper rules and getting more and more out of hand by the minute. The effort that so many put in was not rewarded. I wished I’d stuck to my original plan and just submitted my ideas in the traditional manner of a freelance. But no matter. It pushed me into writing almost daily for a month or so – and the cyber friendships that came out of it, and the excellent writing to be enjoyed, more than made up for it. PurpleCoo is the result of that fiasco – so every cloud has a silver lining and none more so than this. It is so comforting to be among such talented, kind and funny friends in a space that could otherwise seem very lonely.

Unforseen events, unfortunately, overtook me again in the middle of last year, with all that school nonsense that some of you will know about. I'm still trying to make up all the time that was lost - hence I have not been able to do much writing. As I blow out the candle, my wish is that I find more time. I will, because I wrote a diary for many years when I was younger and have always had an unhealthy need to record moments, hold thoughts, stop the clock, observe, look back, reflect, explore emotions, learn and grow. Is that not what life is all about, after all?

11 comments:

Elizabethd said...

I am sorry to say that this is the first time I've read your writings...I dont know why, I just havent caught up with you. Sorry, as I have skimmed through lots of your posts and really enjoyed reading them. As an ex teacher too, you brought school alive again! Dont stop now.

Inthemud said...

Happy Birthday to your blog!
Interesting to read how you came to blog, we all have such interesting stories to tell.
I know exactly what you mean about wanting reflect on moments, events and the past and what better way, than this. I too used to write a diary every day for years , still up in my parents attic, should get them down really.
Good to catch up with you, not called in for a while, sorry.
The whole CL experience has a silver lining, otherwise we'd never have reached here in Purple coo land! Have a great day
E X

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Well a very happy birthday to your blog. It's a great blog and well worth the read. So why don't you write a book about your blog? Isn't that what Wifey has done?

Crystal xx

wife in the north said...

There is always room for good writing. I hate the idea that cutting made you cry. I wouldn't let the fact I got a book out of it put you off - the opposite really because sometimes it means there is an appetite for it.(Liz Jones I see is also coming out with a book about moving to the country.) Maybe you could put a fictional spin on your experiences? Or maybe keep it non-fiction - you experience will be different to mine in any number of ways and you will in any event have different things to say. Good luck OK.

Cait O'Connor said...

Oh I am glad you are blogging again or have I just missed you? Do you announce it on Purplecoo? February is my blog's birthday month too, she will also be a year old, I must get a candle lit. I may well copy you and dedicate a paragraph or so to how she was born.
Thank God CL cocked it up I say!!

Milla said...

Oh don't talk to me about being, in my case, several steps behind. Every time a semi-chick lit thing comes out I slap my head (metaphorically, am far too squeamish) and cry, Of course! I'm in a bookgroup, I've been to Cornwall, I've had Christmas, I've written a blog, I've had an affair. Oh, steady on, perhaps not the last one. But curses to them all, ghastly over-achievers!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Happy Birthday to your blog too . . .so glad that yo uare writing again - and when you can't if just means the time isn't right . . .you can't rush these creative things you know.

So glad that you joined us on Purplecoo you are one of our 'originals' and is truly remarkable how well we have all stuck together . . .

Love and Hugs

ww

elizabethm said...

Great to have you blogging again. I had somehow missed that you had started so lovely to find a few to read. Happy Blogging Birthday.

LittleBrownDog said...

Happy Birthday, H on the H! As a fellow freelance writer (& one who knows of the battles that mean getting up in the morning sometimes seems like a struggle too far) - I can empathise exactly with your feelings expressed in the first para. And, yes, Purple Coo is indeed a very special silver lining, with many, many unsung heroines whose writing it's a privilege to read. What do you think about a book of collected purple writings one day?

A most enjoyable and thoughtful read.

lampworkbeader said...

Many Happpy Returns. It's great to see you are blogging again.
Very enjoyable

GoneBackSouth said...

Hello this is the first time I've seen your blog, but I'll return another time, when I'm not falling asleep, to read more. Always nice to e-meet a kindred spirit ... I was also inspired by WITN to start a blog ... only it took me a year to get round to it! And when I did get started I was going in the other direction - from north to south. Best of luck :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...