This wasn't quite a Sunday Sunrise over Swindon as I took it at 8.30 this morning out of the back window at my dad's. The sky was gun-metal grey (which doesn't really come through), but I still like it.
Right. It's a New Year. Let me start by saying I hope you all had a good Christmas, hope you also have a great 2012, and thank you too, for coming back to my weekly ramblings!
This blog was going to be an upbeat, rip-roaring 'Whoop-di-doo', but on Friday afternoon I found out that my father (who you'll know had been in Hospital for three weeks late Nov/Dec for tests), has got terminal cancer.
We'd half-expected it (having not heard anything from the Hospital before Christmas), and we don't know any more than that at this stage, but it's kidney cancer apparently. Cancer doesn't run in our family. My mother died of lung cancer (but that was from smoking), and my father's very cross, especially as he's not in any pain; looks well, and apart from the minor op he'd been waiting for (to get his heart valve replaced), could probably have gone on for another twenty years if it wasn't for this. (That's him on Christmas Day.)
This weekend has now been unexpectedly difficult and rather busy. Today's blog was going to have included a couple of other sections (which I'd been working on), but I haven't had a chance to get them finished, unfortunately.
It's my birthday tomorrow (9th), and we're having a little Chinese Take-Away for the usual crowd on Monday night, as nobody has the money (or enthusiasm), to go out as they're all on a diet after Christmas, so we usually end up with a Chinese or a £6-a-head meal at the local Harvester (which is ok, but just doesn't feel 'special' enough for a Birthday).
That's just a downside of having a Birthday around Christmas though, although it could have been worse. I'd been due on Christmas Day apparently, but seemingly managed to hang on in there for a couple of extra weeks, which isn't like me because I hate being late for anything!
Christmas is the one time of year when I eat and drink everything I really WANT to (guilt-free!), and I've worked my way though the best part of a whole tin of M&S jumbo salted peanuts. They're nectar to me, and I'm having serious withdrawl symptoms as I write this (Saturday 6.30 pm), because they're all gone!
The downside though is that I daren't even get on the scales. I've never felt so old, fat and fed up, but what's really making me more fed up than normal is that my one goal in life was to make my father proud of me, and to 'prove' to both him and everyone I know (who've seen my life get worse and worse every year since 1994), that I AM actually good at something, but now the clock's well-and-truly ticking.
He thought I was crazy to give up work to write. It's now nearly five years since I did. I've written a novel (which is earning me a few bob in Royalties every month now); in late 2010 I started doing my weekly blogs (and was thrilled to get 3rd place in the Daz Soap Blogger of the Year 2011); I've done quite a bit of radio over the last year, did my stand-up performance, and I even earned the princely sum of £32 in November for the first-ever 'freelance' article 'What I wrote'.
Success? Hardly. It's not where I'd hoped to be, but I can't give up now (well, I could actually, but what would be the point of that?), so I feel like I've got no option really but to carry on trying. Achieving what my father would consider to be 'success' (ie for my book to be on sale in shops - Amazon means nothing to him!), or for him to be able to tell everyone I'm being paid to write for something TV/Radio/Soap/Magazine-related), has suddenly become the most important thing in the world to me now, and I really want him to see that before it's too late.
I make no apologies for asking anyone reading this blog to think whether they might know anyone, anywhere who might be interested in either giving me some regular paid writing work, or if they might know of any Agent who'd be interested in my book, to just make that call/send that email and maybe help me get the 'lucky' break which has eluded me my whole life!
Pffftt. This is SO not how I'd hoped to start 2012, but we just have to get on with it, don't we? I should count my blessings. There's people a lot worse off than me, and at least I have the determination to carry on (which is always half the battle), and at least I don't have to get up every Monday morning to go and do a job which I hate, like so many people do.
I live hand-to-mouth, but I'm very good at it, and I don't have any debts. I have a roof over my head (for now), so I am thankful for that, and thankful for the glass (or three) of wine and the large bowl of pasta I'm about to go and eat once I've written this sentence!
PS It's Sunday morning as I write this last bit. Right. I'm absolutely determined that I'm going to be completely upbeat and positive this year. I took a huge step towards taking better care of myself last night (more on that in due course), and I'm jolly-well going to give everything 100% in 2012, so that in my first blog NEXT year I can write 'Wow. 2012 really was a great year.'
Bring it on! Let's all go that extra mile this year, shall we?