Heya! How are you all doing? To be honest, I’m feeling very awkward and I have no idea how to open this post, so uh… here we go.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been very absent for most of this year and quite sporadic in my posting. There’s been lots of reasons for this, work being the main one, and there’s been lots going on–some good, some bad, some mediocre, life stuff. Anyway, I’m going to break this post up into a couple of segments and we’ll break down my life over the last few months and see what I’ve been up to.
Writing has been going pretty well. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of time anymore so I really have to work to prioritise my writing. In December last year, I finished my novel, working titled The Darkest Night, and it’s been resting for a while (ok, who am I kidding, I’m the one resting). I am hoping to begin editing it as soon as I’ve finished the first draft for the novel I’m writing now.
Speaking of, I’m currently drafting a new novel, which I spoke a little bit about November last year. It was supposed to be my NaNoWriMo novel, but I got distracted by the aforementioned Darkest Night. This one is called Beneath a Starlit Sky and it’s a pirate historical fantasy novel in my retellings of interesting historical women series. I love it so much and I’m enjoying it. I’m currently at just over 11k words and the inciting incident is past, we’re about to head off into the real adventure, and the love interest has just been introduced. I’m looking forward to charging ahead and smashing out a few thousand more words before the end of June.
Other than that, I’ve spent most of my writing time getting articles done for Kingdom Pen! I’m planning on reposting some of those articles here so you can read a few of them.
I haven’t had much time for anything else, like short stories or editing older novels, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to write a few short stories and maybe enter some competitions.
Reading has been great this year! I’ve read mostly audiobooks and mostly non-fiction and I’ve found some absolute pearls. I’ve read 45 books so far, and here’s a couple of my favourites so far:
The Chronicles of Narnia reread//5 stars//brilliant//of course//The Silver Chair is definitely my favourite//I love Puddleglum.
Lord of The Rings reread//5 stars, obviously//I haven’t finished yet as I’m waiting for my library’s audiobook Two Towers//I adore Fellowship of the Ring and the slow meandering pace//I just love Tolkien.
The Night Circus//4 1/2 stars//really lovely book that is perfect for my urban fantasy loving vibes at the moment//audiobook, but I want to reread a physical copy because I got confused at points.
The Eagle of the Ninth reread//I actually read this twice this year//possibly my favourite book of all time//I love it so damn much.
The Fires of Vengeance//5 stars//I was looking forward to this so much that I preordered it//I have never preordered a book before//this one did not disappoint and I am so keen for the next book!
All That Remains//5 stars//forensic anthropology is my niche at the moment//a beautiful book//I love Sue Black.
Frankenstein + The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein//5 stars//I adored Frankenstein//then read Elizabeth Frankenstein and loved it too//both are so dark//Elizabeth Frankenstein is one of the best retellings I’ve ever read.
After six months of unemployment last year, I finally got a job at my local hospital as a sterilizing technician (I clean and sterilize surgical tools, in case you were wondering) and then I was offered another job at the hospital pharmacy so I’m currently working two jobs and have been doing so for about six months. Both are casual currently, but I have applied to become part time at the pharmacy!
As many of you know, I love my dogs quite a lot. Previously, I worked as a dog trainer and I would love the chance to do that work again. However, for the time being, I am just focussing on my two–Hugo and Tora. Tora is doing great at flyball, which is a high-speed, high-adrenaline dog relay race, and we’ve got our very first comp next week (technically, it’s a mock comp, but its being run like a real comp. Our first real comp is the week after next).
Hugo is doing really well at his Rally Obedience, we’re working really hard on his aggression and he’s getting better slowly but surely. Here’s a couple of pics of my beloved beasties:
(So while I was writing that glowing report of my dogs, Tora jumped on the table, knocked off an enormous glass jar of peanut butter, proceeded to eat the entire thing and cut her tongue badly, leaving blood, glass shards and peanut butter all over the kitchen. I cannot believe my life some days).
Enough puppy spam! Let’s move on.
So, life in general has been pretty tough lately. I’m obviously not going to go very deep into it on here, but it will suffice to say that I’ve been struggling a lot with my health. My health has been in a very sharp decline for the past eighteen months or so, for various reasons. After the 2020 fires, my asthma, which has been moderate my whole life (controlled with daily medication and making very little impact on my life otherwise) has become much more severe. Most days, it feels like its barely under control and that’s distressing. I also have a few other health issues under investigation and I’m waiting to see a specialist (in August. Australia has a great public health care system, but the waiting lists are awful. I made this appointment two months ago). It’s been tough and I would definitely appreciate prayers.
Other than health issues, it’s just puttering through life really. I’ve been studying Australian Sign Language for the past six months and am just about to finish my course and start the next certificate which is very exciting! I adore Auslan and I’m so happy I’ve managed to finally study it properly. I’ve also made the interesting discovery that I’m a much more visual person than I thought I was. I used to always classify myself as an auditory learner, but since learning Auslan (I’m conversational now, providing the person I’m talking to is fairly patient) I’ve found out that I actually process conversations a lot more easily through visual means than aural communication. I found that discovery very interesting!
On a related note, I spent a whole beautiful weekend away at an Auslan Only Weekend in the stunning and gorgeous Stanwell Tops down on the coast. It was a voice off event, meaning I literally did not speak from 9pm Friday night to 4pm Sunday afternoon, which was wild but it was also so, so nice. There was so little auditory input and I finally realised how much sound I’m always cramming into my ears. It was lovely and I could literally live voice off the rest of my life and be happy. I might make a post discussing some of the things I’ve reflected on since that weekend at a later date.
Anyway, all that to say that I had a most beautiful time away and I loved every minute of it. I cannot wait to go back again next year and generally spend more time with Deaf people outside of the realm of Zoom (I hate Zoom. I hoped I would never have to see it again after running youth group on Zoom for six months last year).
What else has been happening? To be honest, not much. My biggest little brother turned eighteen and got a job (so proud of him!), my friends are all away at uni and miss them horribly, but treasure the little moments when we catch up so much more. The youth group I lead with is doing amazingly and we have a couple of graduated new leaders this year, which is amazing (shout out to them and the enormous leaps they’re taking in their confidence!) We’ve just started going back to real, live actual church after the lockdown last year and its nice to be able to catch up in person with people I haven’t seen in over a year. My town had a Covid case pass through a week or so ago, so we’ve had a bit of a corona scare, but since we’ve got such good measures in place, it hasn’t really impacted on daily life, except for a rise in covid tests.
I’m also trying to spend more time relaxing and have been working a bit on my only gentle and relaxing hobbies of knitting and doodling/calligraphy. Here’s a few of my just for fun sketches and doodles. I know they aren’t “the best” but I refuse to subscribe to this idea that we only share our work when we think it meets some totally fabricated standard of “goodness”. So I’m sharing with you in the hope that all the people I see being ashamed of their art or writing or crafts not being “good” enough will realise that’s a silly idea and share it as well:
Oh, and I’ve been going very well in my language learning (Chelsea, you may ask, how many languages are you trying to learn all at once? Three, my dear friend, is the answer). I finished my Duolingo Hawaiian tree and got a trophy, only to have the tree update literally a week later and add seven new lessons. It’s great that there’s more content, but also really??? And I don’t even get to keep my trophy? Rude. In addition to Auslan and Hawaiian, I’m also learning Scottish Gaelic, the speech of my far ancestors. I love it. And I’m also finding it comparatively easy to learn compared to Hawaiian. Is there some kind of generational thing in language learning? Probably not, but I like to think that I find it easy because of all that fiery Scottish blood in me.
And finally, I’ve still been dancing! Currently, I do an adult ballet class (that’s adult in the fact that its like, for people with bad joints, not adult in other ways, just to clarify) on Tuesdays and whenever I’m not working I do my Highland on Fridays. Obviously, we haven’t had any shows lately, which is a bit annoying but it is what it is. I’m still loving it every bit as much as I use to.
Anyway, that’s it from me! How are you all doing? What hobbies have you been enjoying lately? Have you had any five stars reads this year? Are you learning any languages at the moment?