I don’t do that anymore..


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I’ve been saying that a lot lately. To myself.. otherwise it would get very dull. Call it a midlife crisis or whatever, but I am fed up of trying to be someone I’m not. It ends now.

Primarily, I will no longer worry about money. I have spent a lot of time and energy (neither of which I have oodles of) worrying about where tomorrow’s meal will come from, what we are going to do when the electricity switches off and we’re on emergency credit yet again.. and so on. I am sick of trying to figure out ways of making money, tying myself in knots thinking of things I could make to sell, how to advertise my business (I am a private tutor) when really I have as many clients as I want, trying to write articles to sell to magazines and stressing so much I don’t write a word.. blah blah.

You know what? My time and energy could be much better spent.

For example..

Making art (yippee love that one!)
Writing for fun (fun? Really? Oh.. it’s supposed to be FUN)
Writing letters to people to help put a smile on their face *
Swapping art bits and pieces with fellow art journalers all over the world)
Actually enjoying being with my family rather than thinking I should really be trying to make money instead..
Drawing with crayons. Don’t underestimate the joy of digging out a box of crayola and just scrawling on a piece of paper!
Watching more films (my husband will like that one!)
Reading more books

This is what I do now. This feels right. Whatever happens, happens.

Love and blessings,
Rachel x

*if you want me to write you a letter (or someone you know) just send me a message with name, address and why you/they would like a letter (it can be ‘I just like getting letters’ or ‘I feel a bit crap’ – all reasons are valid 🙂 I got the idea from http://www.onemillionlovelyletters.com

There came the gentle rains


As morning filled with silence,
He rolled over gently, not to disturb
the cool, pale skin.

Flowers wilting, forgotten
dusty photos blending with the walls
and worn, half-patterned rugs.

The candle burned its last breath,
layering chill over chill.
He asks,

“Still there, my love?”
A tender kiss, a stroke.
“Of course”, he sighs,

lying back beside her, her hand in his.
Morning light fading grey,
there came the gentle rains.



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Chapter 1

He remembered the noise from last time, it didn’t sound any less painful the second time around. At least this time it seemed quicker – none of that waiting around for hours, days even, with nothing happening. He heard his mother-in-law shout ‘push… push!’ and strained to listen to how worried she sounded. They had all seemed worried though, it was an anxious time. Faces coming and going from the house, panting up and down the ladder to fetch water.. no… more skins.. whatever would keep them busy, he supposed. All he could do was watch from the front of Punn’s house and hope, desperately, that it was another girl.

A while later, after more shouting followed by too much silence, he heard a baby crying (or was it screaming) and the adults laughing. Come on, what is it.. I know its alive, he thought. His mother-in-law’s head appeared at the top of the ladder,

“He’s alive!” she shouted unnecessarily at the world in general. Then, to him in particular, “Albus! A boy at last!”

His heart sank, as he managed a smile to his mother that didn’t betray his sadness.

Food was scarce after the famine last year. They all knew that, they were all aware of the consequences. Albus put down the grinder he had been holding and headed inside his neighbour’s house. Gressie squealed as he descended the ladder inside.

“Daddy in!” she laughed and rattled the bottom of the ladder. “Daddy ladda”.

“Careful Gressie honey,” he said as he reached the floor. “Give Daddy a cuddle”.

Punn’s wife, Lesha, must have seen the tears seeping into his eyes, but she said nothing and walked through the doorway into the other room, to give them some time together.

“Gressie see baby! Gressie see baby!” the toddler giggled.

“Not now darling,” Albus replied, and pulled her closer.

She could walk well now, run even, but she was tiring as they reached the trees so he scooped her up and carried her the rest of the way.

“Not long now, Gressie.”

He was letting the tears come now, what did it matter, what did any of it matter now that he had a baby boy.

They reached the clearing, where the ritual had been performed time and time again, ordered by Nistrid, the tribe leader and many before him. Albus placed his beautiful daughter on the large, bloodstained tree trunk.

“Sshh, baby, sshh, it’s ok”.

She didn’t struggle, just looked at him adoringly, and gave a giggle as if it was another game and she wasn’t sure when he was going to make a stupid face or hide behind his skins and play peekaboo. Her face changed when she saw the axe, but her devotion and trust meant that her expression was now just one of curiosity.

“Was dat?”

She lifted her finger to point at the tool she had seen used for building, farming, cutting trees.

“I’m so sorry,” Albus wept as he raised the axe high above his head, knowing that his daughter had now become surplus to the tribe’s requirements. “I’m so sorry. I love you”.



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Standing at the gate, she watches. One hand in her shorts pocket, her finger traces the edge of the steel, deliberately pushing the point of the blade into her fingertip. Perhaps there’s blood, that would make it real. She wasn’t sure if this was still a dream, but the sudden pain makes her inhale sharply and she knows. What happens next is up to her – she almost faints with the feeling of power, finally having control. No, taking control.

The gate opens and she picks up her lunchbox, lets go of her mother’s hand. Disappearing into the throng of animated, vapid chatter she gives a quick wave, stops briefly at the classroom door then turns and heads for the staffroom.

Enough (1)


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“Where are you going?” you ask for the seventh time that day.

I retreat to the bathroom, squat on the side of the bath and try to decide how many minutes is long enough, or too long. By craning my neck a little I can see the beginning of the path that leads through the wood to the road, the bus stop. I close my eyes and imagine the path, in darkness.. trees either side, twigs underfoot – fast, exhilarating.. I wonder, briefly, for the seventeenth time (or so) how long it would take me to get to the wood from the bottom of the garden. Remembering the bruise is too fresh, too raw, I decide to have an obedient week. I quickly flush the toilet, and pad downstairs.

“Have you been up there thinking of ways to leave me?” you smile. “As always,” I reply, trying not to smile too much, or too little.

a letter of invitation for CBT


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Dear troubled soul,

I am really sorry to hear that you are struggling with depression at the moment. We have all had it and know how miserable it can be. I hope after speaking to Vanessa last week you are starting to feel a little better. To help you further, we would like to invite you to talk to Vanessa further about the issues you are facing. The date, time and venue are detailed below. We understand that you may find it difficult to attend this appointment, but hope that you will see the possible benefits. If you decide you are are unable to attend, we would be more than happy to talk to you over the telephone.

We all hope you feel better soon,


Your lovely CBT team


Actually, the letter that arrived was this:

I am writing to confirm your initial assessment appointment on:… at….. with…..

The appointment is expected to last 45 minutes.

If you are unable to attend your appointment please contact us asap so we can offer it to someone else. Please note repeated cancellations and failed attendances may mean you are not offered another appointment.

Yours sincerely…..


But I like to think that the first letter is what was in their hearts 🙂



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He catches my eye, a musician amongst fighters, carrying a violin where a sword should be. His face knows that something, or someone, must die for new life to start. The marching begins and he is swaddled with the harsh band of infantry – innocent, destined. I absent-mindedly feel for the rose, the only purity on me now, waiting, almost breathless, wanting to close my eyes which ache with the conflict. I sense my heart as the group turns away in unison, their unwanted brother compelled now to finish what he begun. Uncomfortable dreams surge from my memory once more – the commander, the exploiter, the pain of knowing that he begged for isolation and cried for darkness. All at once the footsteps halt. Silence. I wait, longing to hear the sweet sound of his violin once more.



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There’s a cloud.  It’s not black, it is cool and white, but I know there is something behind it.  I fight so hard to be calm, how can that make sense?  I can see the earth, I know it as if it is my own, but it is guarded and I have to find a way back in.  I surround myself with a wall of books, no-one can sit beside me when I read.  The glass tips over and spills a new universe, in pieces.  It is hard to choose which piece to follow, even harder through tears.  Before me is justice, stern, serious.  But I see past him, beyond the books, the letters.  There is a new universe just beginning, developing.  A birth.  I am ready.

on trial


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My new CBT friend called this morning for the first time.  Not to ask me how I was, to sympathise, empathise, make me feel better – but to ask me in ten different ways how likely I was to harm myself or my children.  She tapped away on her computer while asking me her list of questions (tap tap tap), adding up scores for anxiety, low mood, phobias (tap tap tap).  I could sense the judgement, the concern for my children.. “I will talk to my supervisor” (we have a face-to-face appointment in three weeks time, I guess she wasn’t all that concerned then).  This is modern therapy, tap tap tap.  I want to help myself but to do that I need to put myself on trial.  I guess I am a modern woman – the call went exactly how I expected.

tap tap tap

blessings… the birds and the trolls


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We were asked, “what have you done today to make you feel proud?” or words to that effect. I inwardly scoffed at the woman who said she had given a blessing to everyone she passed on the street. My gut reaction soon turned to admiration and I still feel a little ashamed. The memory of it reminds me to keep my mind open – that woman had passed a blessing to me, more than just a nod in the street – I wish I could remember her name.

A few days later I found myself silently muttering “peace be with you” or some such nonsense, at people I passed. I was embarrassed, it felt silly at first. Soon it became easier, and the more I did it, the more I was filled with happiness. Can one positive thought change the world? It felt like it, one thought at a time.

The concious, worded thought became a blessing, a mere positive push towards at person.. some magic. Within days it had become shimmering dust – I could actually see it falling, showering those below it with positive energy. And with it I too was filled up with the stuff. The dust needed a vessel – a tiny bird became my new imaginary friend and she hopped along beside me until the magic was needed.

The amazing thing was the supply of this dust, this blessing, was inexaustible. Power passed on from one to another.

I still have the friend, the bird, although she hides and its as if she really needs me to remember her before she appears. She also has a friend, a troll, although I haven’t seen him for a while. He used to make me laugh, pulling faces at the blessed on the bus while the bird did her thing.

Maybe I’ll see the troll again soon. I miss him.