Saturday, 29 March 2014

Musketeer Madness and Finding a Hero

Over the last few weeks I have been captivated by the new BBC One drama the Musketeers. I have been swept up in the adventure and romantic tales. And I’ve fallen in love with the scenery, the storytelling and…. who am I trying to kid I fallen in love with the Musketeers – all of them, it took me a few weeks to figure out my absolute favourite but I’m not telling you here!

my current laptop desktop pic :-)

I also love it because it’s something we can watch together as a family. Often programmes are just a bit too rude or adult for youngest son, or too dull for oldest son to watch.

Oldest son has even lost interest in Dr Who and never even bothered watching Atlantis with us (or Merlin underwater as I renamed it – although the plots never seem to be set by the sea – didn’t Patrick Duffy have flippers and gills when he lived there or does my memory just stretch back a bit too far – I hope someone out there is keeping up with me!) 

We do watch Sherlock all together but I am sure much of that goes over both their heads. I found the wedding episode hilarious; they looked at me bemused. But with only three episodes in a row it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun.

The Musketeers has been on for ten glorious weeks – it’s the last one tomorrow and then what shall we do?

Youngest son does groan when there’s a lovey dovey scene and pulls a blanket over his head as he snuggles in beside me in his PJs ready for bed, his action makes me smile but he sits up again fully engaged in watching the fight scenes. Oldest son meanwhile has commandeered the other sofa and usually the remotes are stuffed behind a cushion nearby. “Turn it up a bit!” I call across the coffee table not wanting to miss a thing.

I just sometimes wish it wasn’t on quite so late on a Sunday evening when it’s school the next day but then again I do delight every Monday morning in discussing every detail with my best friend when we are out for our Monday morning walk.

There are scenes I can recite line by line which make me smile and some which have touched my heart.

“Anyone can tell a woman she is beautiful,” states Aramis, “But making her believe it is where the genius lies.”

Oh so true – I’m not sure I’ve ever truly believed than one – well maybe once but it seems like a dream it was so long ago.

And then there was Porthos falling in love with the beautiful widow Alice Clerbeaux , “A year is a long time without a kiss.” He says tenderly.

I melted, “…and three years is almost intolerable.” I desperately wanted to whisper back. But no one hears me.

Where’s a Musketeer when you really need one?

Despite their obvious character flaws we love them as heroes and I’d be happy for any one of them to sweep me off my feet and rescue me. But considering I am old enough to be d'Artagnan's mother and they are all fictional anyway it seems unlikely - Musketeer Madness!

But last week there was a very different scene that didn’t just make my heart flutter but caused my soul to sing.

Athos and Aramis were holed up in a convent protecting the queen. Things are looking bleak and desperate.

The mother superior asks Athos if there is anything she can do to help protect her convent in the coming battle.

“Can you load a pistol?”

Taking the weapon from him she begins to recite “Blessed be the Lord my God,” all the while expertly continuing with the task in hand, “who teaches my hands to fight and my fingers to battle. Psalm 144.”

Even though Athos’s smile barely touches his lips you can see it in his eyes – he is impressed!

Meanwhile I am smiling broadly on the sofa. We had read that very same psalm that week in a prayer meeting. There is something very special about hearing the word of God. It really is like “honey to my soul”.

I looked it up in the Message this week, a paraphrased version of the Bible with imagery that often challenges and inspires me. These verses were no exception…

Blessed be God my mountain

Who trains me to fight fair and well

He’s the bedrock on which I stand,

The castle in which I live

My rescuing knight

The high crag where I run for dear life

While he lays my enemies low.

Can you guess my favourite line? 

God is my “rescuing knight”! 

This is the language of romance and adventure I love so much.

I may have spent the last ten weeks daydreaming, getting distracted and yes I’m not really sure what to do when there’s no Musketeers to watch on a Sunday night but it’s reassuring to remember that there is a hero who will always be around and his words will draw me in every time.

God is my hero – maybe a little bit like a musketeer but actually a whole lot better! And He will be around long after this Musketeer Madness has ended!

Friday, 21 March 2014

A letter about being stuck...

I’m scared but from somewhere there’s a tiny voice that urges me on.

Then as I start to type the inevitable tears flow.

I thought I’d left this behind. I thought I could move on from here and re-invent myself as someone new. Someone who didn’t splurge her thoughts all over the page!

But some things can’t be boxed up and hidden away forever.

I guess I knew that really, deep down, I knew I’d come full circle eventually.

Now every writing idea I’ve held in my head for the past couple of months is clamouring to get out of my brain.

·         A fairytale – how did that one end?
·         The memories that made me smile and cry all at once.
·         A piece where I once more stamped my feet in desperation.
·         The fantasy that weaves its way through my brain before I sleep.

Oh such stories, so many words I’ve written in my head but haven’t dared commit to typing on my blog.

To say “I’ve been a bit stuck lately” is quite frankly an understatement.

At first I made a big show of giving up my writing daydreams, I spoke of the foolishness of declaring myself to be  a writer. I decided I’d be “ordinary” instead – whatever that might mean. Not always pushing to the front but hiding someway back away from the limelight. 

After Christmas I even lost my familiar front spot in my exercise class and after a week or so found I didn’t mind, I could still see the instructor and giggle with the girls at the back.

At the grand old age of 46 I reasoned it is time to grow up and live in the real world.

But my “growing up” has only led to a growing resentment. 

I’m stuck alright but on closer examination most of it is self-imposed. I’ve dug my heels in so deep I need help to get me free.

“When are you going to write again?”

“I’ve given up!” I say with tears threatening to bubble over every time I answer the question. A sure sign this is not what I really want at all.

However there are some people who sagely nod and agree it’s probably for the best. This writing process has been cathartic over the past few years but perhaps it’s best to move on. Step away from the blog!

Others tell me how sad it is, how good my writing is and how much they enjoy my words.

I almost laugh at that – sometimes I don’t believe I’m good at anything except making macaroni cheese and cheese scones! To be honest sometimes they don’t even turn out quite as good as I hope. I’m very self-critical knowing I could do soooo much better if I really put in the effort.

To write or not to write? I wish I knew what to do and in the absence of a clear strong voice I have let me heels sink defiantly in the mire.

And this is where I’ve been…if you’ve been wondering.

I recognize I can’t stay stuck forever. I long for sunny days when there’s a bounce in my step.

I don’t want to be a burden, I don’t want to be a pain, I don’t want to be the friend that ALWAYS whinges.

Of course I would love to be the leading lady in my own fabulous fairytale but I’m trying to be more content with being just an extra. Another face in the crowd. The girl at the back of the exercise class.

Perhaps it’s been good for me to re-evaluate my writing and my reasons for it.

No longer am I seeking to write my bestselling definitive guide to coping after the death of a loved one. I certainly don’t have all the answers. 

Having said all that I know my words have helped a few in the same way other people’s writing has touched my life.

But I’ve made the decision to no longer share all my blogs with everyone.

I long since gave up on my stats and finally I can honestly say I don’t care if only one person reads this. That’s more healthy isn’t it?

I'm writing for my pleasure and if my words speak to you that's great.

My thanks go to the people who have persevered in pulling me out of this mud – you know who you are and I am grateful for each word of encouragement. They have slowly dripped into my brain!

And thanks to God, who’s always there, somewhere, even if at the moment I get very little sense of Him near.

Because deep, deep down somewhere, I know for certain this is a gift that I can’t hide, that somehow, if I give it back to Him, He will use…and the details I will leave to Him!

Every Tuesday, Sabrina and Ruth link up for Letters To.  This is a prompted link-up, which means they provide a theme to base your post around and a space to share what you’ve written. This week’s prompt is A Letter to the Stuck