Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A blogger recommends...

The wonderful Erika of The Flight of our Hummingbird, a far more worthy a recipient of any award than I am, has just bestowed a Lemonade Award upon me. On her blog she sings my praises, but also confesses she is still new to blogging and didn’t have enough people on her blog list yet to pass it on to the required 10…

Over the years I’ve periodically been invited to join in the passing on of awards or different memes to fellow bloggers, but truth be told I always felt a bit uncomfortable with them. Either they would always end up going to the same people, or I would worry I’d missed someone out and they would feel a bit hurt. Or both.

Additionally these awards always demand to be handed out and perpetuated, which triggers the anti-authoritarian in me – what right do they have to dictate my behaviour!!!?

So while I am flattered Erika has given me this award, and I’m not averse to grabbing any smidgen of praise I can for my cavernous ego, I won’t be participating in awarding it to other bloggers. However, if you are one for these kinds of things I'm sure she won't mind if you pop over there, take a look at the rules and adopt it to hand out to other blogs you follow

But with the recent change in the landscape of my blogging world, I’m aware there are many more readers of these Ramblings now than there used to be, so over the next few months I plan on periodically putting up posts pointing anyone who’s interested in the direction of other blogs I consider particularly noteworthy.

No awards, just heartfelt recommendations.

Today I’m going to feature two blogs from people with very different backgrounds and current circumstances, yet share one or two distinct attributes that press the right buttons for me.

Both give the inside perspective on an outsider’s experience. And as someone who has always felt on the outside - where the yearning to belong is in constant conflict with a derision of the “acceptable norms” that reject us – good writing on the subject is always a delight to me

The first is Mary Witzl of Resident Alien
Mary originates from the desert climes of California, and is therefore one of the few people I’ve ever met who genuinely enjoys the wet Scottish weather. However, in a wry twist of fate she’s spent the past year teaching English in a very hot, very dry Turkish outpost.

Mary has spent the majority of her adulthood living in different countries, and only some where they spoke English. She met her husband in Japan, and both daughters were brought up there in their early years. She has also lived and worked in Holland, Wales and, of course, Scotland, where I met her a couple of years ago. The title of her blog, Resident Alien, reflects living as a foreigner and often being treated sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly, as “not one of us.”

Mary is a storyteller par excellence. Each of her blog posts is a self-contained, well-crafted wonder, capturing a moment in time, an experience or observation. Strung together and they reveal a world of humour, bemusement and warmth. She never really has a bad word for anyone else; her empathic nature means she always sees their point of view, even if it is laced with occasional frustration at the lack of reciprocal thinking on the part of those she’s dealing with.

For when you want to sit down with a mug of rich, fair-trade coffee and just enjoy a damn fine read, I can’t recommend much higher.

The 2nd blog I want to mention is Sang Lee’s Yellow Son.
On the surface, Sang Lee is about as far removed from Mary as you can get. He is unmarried male and spent most of his life in the one country. However, as the son of immigrant Korean parents, chunks of his life have been spent battling treatment as a foreigner in the place of his upbringing since the age of 6. His writing brings the conflict between a family demanding he be Korean first, and a culture demanding he be American, to life.

Sang is another first class storyteller. From the opening sentences of his posts I’m hooked, wanting to know what happens next. And by the end I feel I’ve been on a journey where I’ve learned something, either about the world or about myself.

Unlike Mary, who I’ve known since the beginning of her blog – in fact I even gave her a few helpful tips on how to get it set up – Sang is a recent discovery. But already I’m hooked and busy working my way back through his past posts, building up an ever larger picture. Fortunately, as his blog is quite new, at the time of writing he only has about 34 posts to go through, so my life will become my own again fairly soon.

I do hope he continues to blog for many years to come as I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.

So do take the time to visit Mary and Sang, leave a friendly comment and, if they appeal, then add them to your regular reading lists.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I am a blogger...

Blogging: (blŏg-ging)

. An enjoyable pastime;
. A way of expressing emotions, ideas and opinions in a public realm;
. A way of meeting like-minded people bypassing geographical or cultural barriers
. A form of self-medication

My name is Kim… and… I am… *cough* … a blogger.

At first it was a wild ride of new people, new ideas, new ways to express myself. It was exciting, you know? All these people, all these colours, all these flavours – it was intoxicating.

And they noticed me. The came and posted on my blog. The told me they liked what I wrote. Then made me feel special, like someone important, you know? They did.

After a while, I guess the freshness of it all wore off, but by then I’d established relationships with other bloggers. The whole blogging experience matured. I was able to meet and talk to other bloggers on equal terms, rather than feeling like an indulged, excited puppy. And I was treated with respect.

Do you know what that feels like? To have people respect you? I mean real respect, not fear? Respect without having to kill anyone first?

“Smug” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Oh sure, there were some who didn’t always get it. There are always those who think you’re serious when you’re joking. And some who don’t take offence, even when they should. Not everyone understood everything I blogged about, but that didn’t matter. They still came back. Or at least enough of them did.

I don’t know at what point it happened; when the cross over began. But then, who does? Probably much longer ago than even I can guess at. Let’s face it, it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, so it’s not unlikely I hid it from myself for a quite a while.

But at some point, blogging moved from being an activity of exploring new worlds to escaping existing ones. No longer was it primarily about personal growth, it was about distraction.

As self-medications go, it’s not as harmful as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, organised religion or voting Republican, but it is not without its darker side.

That’s not to say there wasn’t anything to be gained from blogging, only that my motivations weren’t necessarily what I thought they were.

Over the past month or two, at a point of huge emotional vulnerability, I’ve been spending more and more hours on the computer. And the sudden and massive influx of visitors, followers and commenters from the Blogs of Note link has given me an excuse to throw myself into something to help me ignore the pain.

But as anyone who has ever self-medicated with anything will attest, it doesn’t really work. Short-term benefits very often only make the long term damage worse.

Still, at least I’m finally off the front page of Blogs of Note, so I expect the number of new visitors to drop off dramatically.

The stupid thing is, it should make no difference at all how many people read my blog – I am accountable to none of them, only those with whom I have built up a strong relationship.

Politeness tells me I should reply to every comment and visit every commenter and follower.

Experience tells me I’m using it as an excuse to run away from my life.

So I’m going to cut back on my comment replies, and limit the number of blogs I visit, and I’m going to attempt not to feel guilty about it.

My name is Kim, and I’m a blogger.

One day I hope to return to being just a man who blogs.

Friday, September 25, 2009


When someone we love dies, we are broken beyond healing.

It is not a wound that will eventually knit back together; instead we are smashed and shattered beyond repair.

The only way to move forward is to take the pieces and build something new with them. It might superficially resemble the original, but if you look closer you will see parts are missing, and other things have been created to fill the space.

We do not recover and come to terms with their loss; we build ourselves into someone who might be able to survive their absence.

Nobody ever tells you this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogging Advice?


While some of the craziness of getting picked up by Blogs of Note is beginning to die down a bit – I’m currently only getting about 700 visits a day rather than 5,000 – I’m still trying to work out the best way to deal with the change in circumstances.

Sitemeter visitor stats for the past 4 weeks

It took me 4 years to build up to having 40 followers, and in less than 2 weeks I now have in excess of 750.

How many of these new followers will stick around has yet to be seen. In fact, there are some bloggers I know who I’m pretty sure at this point would make a game of how quickly they could lose them all again by being as offensive as possible (yes you know who you are).

And while I have to admit a certain temptation…

One of the things I seem to have been overwhelmed with is the vast number of new bloggers asking me for advice on how to create a successful blog and/or to visit their sites and comment. But there are 2 problem areas here.

The first is the obvious logistics of it all, if I still want a life.

As I’ve built up my blogging connections over the years, it’s been done in a slow and steady fashion: one or two at a time; several visits, several comments back and forth and eventually deciding whether I would add them to my sidebar to make it easy for me to find those who were beginning to make an impact on my thoughts and outlook.

But I simply do not have enough hours in the day to spare to take this approach with hundreds of newly connected bloggers.

I have made several random clicks and left a few comments here and there, and already I’ve found some fascinating people, but it’s going to be quite some time before I manage to properly build up any relationships to the point of regular visits and sidebar listings.

The other problem area is the sense that many new bloggers seem to think this massive influx of visitors implies I know what I’m doing. But in a way it reminds me of an old joke a Ukrainian friend once told me:
A millionaire from America returns to his native village in the Ukraine for a visit. He is welcomed warmly and invited to tell his tale of fortune and success.

With the village all gathered round, he beings…

“When I left here, I was not a rich man. I met my wife on the boat to America, and when we landed at New York, I had but 5 cents to my name.”

“How did you survive?” asks one of the villagers

“Well, with that 5 cents, I bought a dull and dusty apple. I cleaned it and polished it and managed to sell it for 10 cents.”

All the villagers lean in a bit more, and one asks, “and then what happened?”

“Well,” he continues, “with that 10 cents, I bought 2 more dull and dusty apples. I cleaned and polished them both and was able to see them for 20 cents”

The villagers are now on the edges of their seats, as one of them asks, “and then?”

“Then, my friends, in the true spirit of the American Dream, my wife’s uncle died and left us 4 million dollars!”


However, there are 2 pieces of advice I consider the most important (others may feel differently), which I will pass on to any new blogger wanting to create a blog worth visiting more than once:

The first is practical:

try and make sure your blog is easily readable
  • - Small paragraphs are much easier to cope with than large swathes of unbroken text
  • - avoid having vivid backgrounds like red, or complicated images behind the text
  • - avoid moving images on the page – they just pull the eye away from the text and are irritating

The 2nd is to ask yourself,

What is anyone who reads this going to gain from it?

Assuming you are wanting strangers to find your writings interesting, leave comments and come back again (if not, then none of this applies anyway), then you need to give them a reason.

Is your post educational, entertaining, informative, amusing, goading, containing insights, looking at things in an unusual or unexpected way?

Why should anyone care what you’ve written?
“Me and Tracy, right, we went to the shops today and bought some magazines. I saw Gary and ignored him.”

So what? What’s the story? Where’s the insight, humour or pathos? Why have you shared this with me? What response are you hoping to get? Can you write it in a different way to help you get the response you want?

(UPDATE: Broken Down Barman has taken that line and turned it into a post of insight, humour and pathos - well, humour anyway - well, if you share that kind of sense of humour... Click here )

Experiment, play, explore, spew forth. Your blog is a place for you to write whatever you wish.

But if we want people other than our close friends and family to read our blogs, we do need to make it easier for them.

Other thoughts on what I've learned about blogging over the past 4 years can be found here: 500 Posts

Monday, September 21, 2009

14 Years

14 years ago I was 28 years old. I had recently graduated from Dundee University as a mature student with a 2:1 degree in Philosophy.

14 years ago the future looked good. With my new degree I knew the world was going to beat its way to my door to offer me a well paid career utilising my creativity and intelligence.

14 years ago the trial of OJ Simpson was moving towards its dramatic climax. We all knew he’d done it, and we all knew he was going to walk free because corrupt and racist cops had framed him.

14 years ago, it was 5 years since I’d first met Maggie and her children, who were then aged only 9, 7 and 4 and were now 14, 12 and 9. These days they are now 28, 26 and 23.

14 years ago our son, Rogan, was 3 months old. I had not bothered looking for a job since I’d graduated, preferring instead to enjoy fatherhood across the long warm summer months, and knowing the world was going to beat its way to my door to offer me a well paid career utilising my creativity and intelligence as soon as I was ready.

14 years ago my hair was shortish on the top and longish at the back, as suited the fashion 10 years previously.

14 years ago Mel Gibson adopted a dodgy Scottish accent, painted his face blue and yelled FREEDOM! a lot in Braveheart. In the film he also sported a hairstyle that was shortish on the top and longish at the back, as suited the fashion 10 years previously.

14 years ago Maggie and I got married. It was a small affair. I think the whole thing cost less than £87. We had very little money as I was unemployed, but that didn’t matter because I was just starting to apply for jobs and it was only a matter of time before the world was going to beat its way to my door to offer me a well paid career utilising my creativity and intelligence.

14 years ago, if I had been given a thousand chances to predict the future and the path our lives would follow, I would have been wrong on every account.

Except one.

14 years ago I knew, as our hearts and souls entwined, we would be in love with each other forever

Happy anniversary my love x

For anyone who loves back stories, visit Tin Wedding Anniversary written 4 years ago

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Put the wider side on the right and pull it down so it’s much longer.

Fold it over the shorter side and back round… do I do that once, or twice?

Start again…

When was the last time I wore a tie?

Loop it up through the top and push it down between…

Nuts. That doesn’t look right. Start again.

This is stupid. I wore a tie every day to school for 5 years. I even wore a tie at least twice a week when I was a web consultant.

Stop thinking about it. Empty the mind of conscious thought. Allow muscle memory to take over…

Ah, success.


2 hours later my stepson asks if I can help him with his tie. Standing in front of him I realise I have no chance. I ask him to face the other way so I can put my arms around him and try and tie it from a more familiar position.

Then I ask him to find a stool to sit on because he’s 6 foot tall and I’m not.

Arms over his shoulders.

Put the wider side on the right and pull it down so it’s much longer…

Nuts! I put my own tie on this morning; why can’t I figure out how to do his?

Forget conscious thought…

Ah, success.


When we meet up with everyone else, there isn’t a man there who doesn’t have a black tie on. I briefly wonder how many struggled with theirs.


The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful spring day.

No. It’s still autumn.

7 months of winter have not passed, only 4 extremely long, emotionally crippling weeks. The toll on the family has been enormous, especially for Maggie.


Elsie Simpson: 13th May 1920 to 10th September 2009

The world is emptier without her wonderful smile

This time, on this post, forgive me for not answering all the comments individually.

It has been an extraordinarily tough time with all sorts of aspects I cannot go in to.

However, I greatly appreciate all the words of warmth and support.

And welcome to all the new visitors to this blog who have taken the time to say hello.

Now I have a new post up, I'll close the comments on this one.

Thank you all once again for your kind words.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Windows of the Soul

I’m currently sitting at the computer wearing my wife’s glasses, trying to focus on what I’m typing. It’s not easy as she has bi-focals and at the moment, only the stronger, lower part of the glasses make much difference, so I'm constantly having to tilt my head back and forth, and dizzyness is never far away.

Under normal circumstances I don’t need glasses but I’ve just come back from a check-up at the optician .

photo of me in the optician's chair, courtesy
of my daughter, Meg, using my mobile phone

Apparently I have unusually small pupils (and I’m not even a nursery school teacher… ba-dum tish!) and this, means I have better eyesight than I should at my level of deterioration.

If you’re into photography, it’s basically all to do with smaller apertures giving a larger depth of focus/ depth of field (click here for Wikipedia’s explanation). If you’re not, and weren’t interested in lenses and light in physics lessons in school then you probably won’t want a long explanation now either, so I'll not bother.

So if my eyesight’s better than it should be because of a quirk of nature, why am I wearing my wife’s glasses just now?

Well my tiny pupils meant the optician couldn’t actually take a photo of my retina, so had to give me eye drops to widen them. The image he had up on his screen moments later looked blurry to me, but he assured me it was in focus and my retinas looked fine.

Even blurred I thought they looked kinda cool, so I asked if he could email them to me. He took my email address and if/when they turn up, I’ll stick them on this blog post.

He warned me everything would be out of focus for a couple of hours, and when we stepped out into the sunlight I was virtually blinded by the glare. Meg had to lead me home by the hand as I squinted and stumbled along the pavement.

Meanwhile, it does at least finally explain a minor mystery that's occasionally bothered me over the years.

We once watched a programme on TV about how when you fancy someone, your pupils get larger when you look at them. Maggie was always deeply suspcious of the fact mine never became huge, despite my protestations that I did indeed fancy her something rotten. Enlarged pupils for me are just ordinary sized for everyone else, it seems.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Be careful what you wish for…

OK, this has begun to get a little scary. In a little over 24 hours I’ve had 5,000 visits, over 75 comments and more than quadrupled the amount of followers it’s taken me 4 years to build up.

I’ve also been through a range of feelings about this sudden exposure to a large number of people after being picked up by Blogs of Note (see previous post).

Elation: Woohoo! Finally my brilliance has been recognised. It’s just a matter of time before fame, fortune and a book deal are forthcoming. Global domination will be mine!!!

Disbelief: Nah, this can’t be right

Suspicion: Is this a wind-up?

Embarrassment: this is like 1,000s of strangers turning up at my door with no warning; where I’m still in my dressing gown and slippers, haven’t cleaned my teeth yet and am aware I don't have enough teabags, milk or biscuits to go round.

Fear: What if some of these people are axe-wielding, stalker maniacs?

Smugness: see this Dr Maroon? Recognition for my greatness! I kept telling you I was an Übermensch, but would you believe me???

Bemusement: Why are all these people visiting and commenting on my wee blog?

Guilt: There are some really superb, far superior blogs to mine, which really deserve this level of recognition and aren’t getting it – why haven’t they been selected instead?

Trepidation: Oh shit! Does this mean I’m going to have to start producing something good to satisfy all these newcomers?

Disappointment: 5,000 extra visitors and only 120 extra followers? That’s less than a 2.5% conversion rate!

Panic: what if my regular readers get put off by this sudden influx and stop visiting?

I’m currently on Daunted, as there are now rather a lot of comments to reply to. At this rate, it might take some time to do so, so if you have left one, please be patient.

In fact, while you’re waiting, I’d strongly recommend going off and looking at some of those other fine blogs on my sidebar

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blogs of Note

Rather than the usual one or 2 visits an hour to this site from people looking for Naked Bearded Men (and leaving disappointed), Sitemeter is telling me I'm currently getting about 1 a minute and they're all coming in from Blogs of Note, Blogger's very own "here, take a look at this one" site.

I have no idea what I've done to gain the recognition, but I know when I do turn up to a new blog, it's not always easy to get an immediate idea of whether it's the kind of place I'd like to explore, or would rather spend my time doing my own dental work with a swiss army penknife.

So welcome to all those who've just arrived for the first time, and for those who want a quick overview, take a look at the New Here? Read This post, and for those who want the 1 sentence summary:

I'm a portrait photographer with a background in Philosophy who lives in SW Scotland and was going to be a writer, but then started suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a battle with Depression; and I'm happily married to a textile and mixed media abstract artist, and I have 2 children (one of whom has Down's Syndrome), 3 stepchildren and 3 grandchildren, and I play the bouzouki and mandolin, and...

Sorry can't do it - take a look at the Find your favourite topics labels on the sidebar on the right, or take a quick scan down the front page to get a sense of this blog.

Oh, and I am one of those bloggers that usually replies to comments, so do take a moment to leave one saying hello if you hang around long enough :)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brambling Distraction

Every year I drive for miles to find a decent crop of brambles (that's blackberries to anyone South, West or East of the border of Scotland). This year I've found a surprising number in the garden.

Yesterday, in fact, I managed to fill a one-litre ice cream tub, having done the same a week or 2 ago.

Anyway, this is just a filler post because there is far too much deeply emotional stuff going on I'm not blogging about.

But as it is Autumn, and it is Bramble Season, here is a link to Maggie's Bramble Crumble recipe.

And here's the wee story I wrote about bramble picking a couple of years ago.

powered by ODEO

The sound quality isn't brilliant, so if you'd rather read it, it can be found here:
The Biggest Bramble You Ever Did See

Monday, September 07, 2009

Well that's all right then

I recently read a blog post by Khanh Ha, about how he has received the contract from his publisher (Dear Author), and this line in particular gave me a jolt:

I read the manuscript delivery date: January 1, 2011. Ready for publication? No, he told me. Ready for pre-press process. There will be galley proof for me to read, edit, correct, before everything is locked down.

Back when I started this blog, I was a writer in potentia (of more than blog posts). In fact, when Maggie & I decided to change our lives, the idea and vision of becoming a writer was an incredibly powerful motivator to face, and go through with, all the necessary challenges and upheavals to sell the business, move to a different area and turn our lives in a completely different direction.

I would no longer be a professional web design consultant with a business card never more than 24 inches from my fingertips. Maggie would become an artist and I would write stories. Short stories, comic book stories, novels, screenplays – whatever took my fancy.

I sold the web design business, we moved to SW Scotland and I set up this blog to discipline myself to write regularly, and to try out different styles of writing. I discovered the delights of flash fiction, and through a mutually entered competition met the wonderful Mary. I went along to a Storytellers weekend workshop where I met the very different but equally superb Eryl. And throughout this time I was busy writing a graphic novel with an illustrator friend of mine, Dave.

But the Chronic Fatigue gradually crept in without me realising, at first. Not only did it slowly and insidiously coil its tendrils through my body, leeching my energy, it also sapped my motivation and joie de vivre.

It took a couple of years before I focused on photography as a way to draw myself out of the Depression and find a new direction in life I could truly enjoy, and I’m now in a much happier place (shitty things in life aside).

But the point of all this is I’ve wondered many times how it would be if I’d continued with the writing, or took it back up again; wondering even if I’ve let myself down by abandoning it.

And yet when I read Khanh Ha’s post, and about how long it is between the time of writing and the time of publishing, and all the editing that will need to be done to satisfy the publisher; and how all this is long before it gets promoted and read by anyone; all I could feel was a profound sense of relief I no longer had to think about it.

No regrets, no twinges of “what if”, and no guilt.

I now know I have laid that ghost to rest.

I am so much happier being a photographer.

And, as I commented in a post on Mary’s site not too long ago, I never have to deal any more with that gut tightening, spasm inducing reaction to people asking if I’ve had anything published yet.

Bliss :)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bea Last

OK, enough of the wallowing in self pity. I can only take so much, although it seems even that is considerably more than anyone else around me can put up with. I was tempted to just delete the last post, but somehow that seems unfair on the wonderful people who took the time to comment and tell me to stop acting like a wuss. Occasionally I just need to scream at the universe, and if that's not an option, write a blog post about it.

So, on with the show.

I recently did a photo shoot with a wonderful artist, Bea Last. She creates large abstract paintings, which have an incredible quality of light, texture and emotion to them. Unfortunately, small web sized images cannot begin to capture the intensity of her work.

Luckily for me, she wasn't wanting my photographic skills for her paintings, but for images of herself. Whether you are publicising yourself through the web, exhibitions or magazine articles, people want to see photos of the artist, despite the fact most artists I know would much rather hide behind their art than stand in front of it.

One of the more enjoyable aspects for me was she was not looking for glamour shots and positively embraced the lines of a life lived, that are beginning to form and settle in. She has been seen as the "pretty little thing" in the past and has no desire to battle the patronising superiority of some in the art world who were more interested in her looks than her art.

Bea Last

Although she did draw the line at me offering to add more wrinkles, for me it was a delight to explore the face of a person comfortable in their own skin.

Infinitely more interesting than an airbrushed, impossibly smooth skinned 21 year old.

This next shot developed out of something completely unplanned.

Bea was sitting up against one of the only clear areas of wall in her studio so I could take the head shots. I pulled back with the camera and saw this composition.

Bea Last in her studio - click for larger image

With the figure in the middle of the image, and the revealing of the reflected light on the left, I would never have considered setting up such a scene, and yet somehow it worked. And once we did selective colour on the paintings, the tubes and the paint splatters on the skirting board, Bea was delighted with the outcome and I was able to enjoy a wee *smug* moment.

If you're interested in seeing some of the other photos of the session with Bea Last, I've put up a gallery on my Photography website just click on this sentence


The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I live with isn’t crippling in the sense of, say, not being able to move about, dress myself or have friends round to visit. I can do these things fairly easily.

And I can do more: I can go out and see friends, I can drive places, and I can wander up to the shops, so long as they’re not too far and there’s not too much to carry back. And if I gauge the energy flows right, and tip the balance with a well-timed cup of real coffee, I can even go out and do photo sessions with friends and clients.

And because I have learned not to rush, not to overdo things, and become more skilled at finding ways to conserve my energy, there are many days when anyone who didn’t know, would never suspect there was anything wrong with me at all.

But where it really makes itself felt is in the complete lack of reserves.

Get the timings wrong, overdo things, push myself a bit too far because I forgot – and I run out of energy very quickly. It feels like someone’s pulled out the stopper and I can feel myself deflating. Ever lain on an inflated air mattress and pulled out the plug? It’s not a dissimilar sensation.

And if I keep going because there’s no choice, I reach the point of utter exhaustion with terrifying speed.

At that point it’s rather like being extremely drunk, but without any of the feel-good factor: lack of coordination, dizziness and a complete inability to focus my thoughts.

It’s not just physical activity which creates this state though, but emotional intensity too.

And right now the family is going through an intensely emotional time, from which there can be no happy endings.

And the guilt I feel for not being able to be as strong for everyone as I need to be, and they need me to be, makes it a thousand times worse.