New blog! TheLL!!! 

•August 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hey! Remember I’m trying to switch over to Medium. But I still want all my WordPress friends to catch my stuff! Here’s the latest on me & The Lemay Leveller. 

New Blog! Please follow! 

•August 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hello all! I’m going to start blogging here – please do follow me and share! 

Soup! Colchester, That is: ColchesterSoup

•July 27, 2016 • 4 Comments

Hello all!! I am writing this blog on my phone, such is my dedication to both blogging and the subject at hand today. Forgive me for any errors, I am used to writing on a keyboard, and to me, part of the writing process is moving about and handling the keyboard much like playing the piano. I have to try a little harder on my phone, as good as it is. 

Yesterday, Karen from ColchesterSoup reminded me that it’s been some time since I’ve blogged. Ever the inspiring friend, she often helps me remember what I’d like to do. And I’d like to explain the dedication at the beginning of The Lemay Leveller to ColchesterSoup. 

First an explanation for those not in the know: Karen brought @ColchesterSoup to our community. It is a concept tried and tested in Detroit. The idea is simple, if my long winded explanation may be slightly less so. 

Three people or groups pitch to win a pot of money. Where does the money come from? From the very people attending that night. (Affordable at every other month) Everyone who attends the evening pays £5. For that, they get endless bowls of delicious handmade soups (two to choose between), rolls, and a vote. They will listen to that evening’s three pitchers and then decide who wins the pot of money (that’s the hardest part of the night!) 

In the meantime, a family friendly, fun evening is had with a fascinating cross section of Colchester’s inhabitants. The evening is worth the £5 simply for the fellowship and networking that it offers, let alone everything else. 

As for the pitchers: they can ask for money for pretty much anything. They each have five minutes to say what they need the money for and how it may benefit Colchester. And be creative! Most things happening locally have some kind of local merit. 

While I was working on the final revision of my book, The Lemay Leveller, I pitched for money to help pay the editing and publishing fees, in the name of hard work, culture and protecting literature from being owned by the elite. On that night I lost, I was up against stiff competition, but I was told the numbers had been close. 

Despite “losing” (or rather, as it feels, simply not winning the pot of money), that night was a huge success for me. One man donated his recent lottery winnings to me on the night. Others donated directly to my gofundme page. Others decided then and there that they would buy the book when it came out.  Best of all, I met people who have become dear friends to me. 

When ColchesterSoup were invited to participate in the council led festival “The Art of the Possible”, a new event was created: meetSOUP, with ColchesterSoup running it.  People from all over Essex were able to pitch, and Karen kindly invited me to try again for The Lemay Leveller.  Well. You know how it went. Of course I was happy to talk about my book again, no matter if I won or not!  So I pitched again. But this time, I won!!! It felt amazing. It was a huge boost to my confidence as a first time, self publishing author. And now, almost a year later, and my book sales are still modest, but they are growing each month as more and more people try it and then recommend it onwards. Who knows? 200 years from now it might be highly valued literature. And it will be known as having been nurtured by a community that values the arts, the uniqueness of the individual, and how, if that uniqueness is nurtured rather than wasted or abused, it can become a success. That, is what ColchesterSoup, means to me. And on a larger scale, it is this spirit of initiative that makes Colchester the wonderful place to live that it is. 

If you need money for yourself. If you know a charity who does. If you have an idea but no money to get started with, visit http://www.colchestersoup.co.uk and fill in their super easy application form. Who knows? It could be you holding that winners frame! But either way – you’re going to win just by going. You’re going to feel welcomed, a part of an active, engaging, lively community, in a town I’ve deeply come to love. 

If you’re reading this outside of Colchester, why not see if you have a local Soup? And if not, why not do what Karen did. She learned of the movement coming from Detroit, and brought it to us, pushing on the trend throughout the UK. It is micro funding, community funding and togetherness, at its best. 

Sexism & Europe: Why I’ve been quiet of late

•June 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Colcestrian

portrait-of-little-girl-crying-and-sobbing_vj8jawaqf__s0000I’ve been very quiet on the Twitter since the recent Colchester elections.  To be honest, they burned me out.  I got so drawn in that I lost focus on actual human thoughts and was found babbling about Greenstead Ward in the lean-to, hovering over litter trays.

My regular life, outside of doing Colcestrian stuff, is quite complicated and of course includes everything that matters more to me than local or national politics.  I have a family who rely upon me and despite being very socially-involved themselves (even the 9yo boy) still suffered politics-itis over the month I was churning out Q&As with the Council Candidates.

It was a very worthwhile event, and though I won’t say it was responsible for changing the face of local politics, it engaged a lot of people and became a topic of conversation in itself.  It surprised me.

But now, I am burnt out.  I’m…

View original post 193 more words

Terrorism and Toxic Masculinity 

•June 18, 2016 • 2 Comments

The one thing that nearly every terrorist attack has in common, is that for the vast majority, they are committed by males. Males of every colour, religion, nation. We are dealing with many things in our modern “Terror”, but among them is a toxic culture of masculinity. 

Every time a man listens to a woman’s perspective, every time a young boy is taught that violence is not for play time, every time I bring up feminism (again!) we are all trying to combat against the violence that the male identifying psyche has created. The pressure is there on boys from their earliest moments, to be tough, to be stronger than the others in the playground, to be the best at football. Boys are discouraged to play with dolls or soft toys, the very same toys that teach little girls empathy and how to look after other creatures. 

We all bear social responsibility on this issue, by allowing the boys in our lives to be fully human. By teaching them. By teaching our girls the same. Toxic masculinity has defined a millennia. It’s time we changed the direction of the tide. 

Rest in peace Jo Cox, MP. 

A blog within a blog, on PTSD

•June 17, 2016 • 2 Comments

Hello all!

 

I just wanted to stop by and say I’ve blogged on another platform!  Shocking behaviour, I know, cheating like that, but you know us writers, we’ll write anywhere!

 

This time I’m writing on a really awesome site, that covers all things PTSD related.  June is PTSD Awareness month, and I’m doing my bit by writing a few pieces about PTSD and how it affects me, and those I love.  You may find the first one here, which is on the subject of trigger warnings.  Trigger warning: rape. 

 

Stay safe x

Time for a Change

•June 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’m here to send a message to the many people who I engage with on social media (twitter, Facebook).

 

When I was born these things weren’t even invented.  It’s a new thing, for all of humanity, and we’ve all got to live with it in one way or another.  I have decided that I am changing the way I live with it.  I should say, how I am learning to live with it. I am learning again how to live after narrowly avoiding death in the Spring/Summer 2015, my priorities and views on the world have changed, ,and I need to change my habits accordingly.  Now that I am here and living in 2016, I have to learn what it means to live with a time bomb in my head (have fun googling AVMs) and how to best handle that.  That includes stress, which is possibly the most dangerous thing to my physical wellbeing.  Well haven’t I learned the hard way, how social media can induce stress… so I am backing out of as much of it as I can safely and happily manage.  I have to make a lot of decisions about how I want to live my remaining life.  Fighting with any Tom, Dick or Harry who pops up is not my choice.

 

I am so bloody sick of abusive people, and people who insist on everyone thinking and feeling exactly the same way.  I raised myself by reading the classics and learning about debate.  I don’t see very much productive debate, just a lot of hot air and harassment.  I’m tired of the arguments, “In or Out or Shake it All About”.  I’m tired of the MRA jumping down my throat every time I speak about women’s rights.  I’m tired of others standing by and watching it.  I’m sick of being unable to express even one little feeling or thought without getting an onslaught of unasked for advice which is usually micro-aggression (not always so micro), or links telling me I should feel another way.  There seems to be no room allowed for people to be different from each other.  People are losing the ability to debate without resorting to insult.

 

For the purposes of our children’s charity, Perkin’s Family Trust, and those precious friendships that I have that largely depend upon tools such as Facebook to maintain, I will not be going altogether.  But I will be trimming my friends list down to only those who I know well, interact with regularly, and get along decently with.  I will continue blogging and sharing that on twitter, but I will not engage with anyone on demand.  I enjoy sharing family moments, quilting moments, learning moments.  I will keep my Facebook interactions to those, and let twitter promote my blog, book and charity work.  I will continue to express political thoughts, including those on feminism.  No one can silence me, but I am taking back some of the access control.  Those things, and the people with whom I interact with on those lovely issues, are too good for me to leave the field altogether.  A dear friend of mine expressed surprise over this decision, because, as she said I “wrote a book to provoke debate”.  That’s a fair comment!  But that’s just the point.  I spent all those years living in hell and then more years afterwards writing about it.  I am choosing to do something different with my coming years.  I will still allow The Lemay Leveller to be the lightning rod that it was written to be.

 

If in the process of this, I “unfriend” you, please don’t take it personally.  It doesn’t mean that I think you’re a bad person.  Maybe you’re not quite the right person for me at this stage in my life.  Or maybe you’re the friend of a friend but we’ve never gotten to know each other.  Or maybe you’re so hard on everyone around you that I have decided I am safest to limit my contact with you.  Or maybe none of the above.  I don’t mean any harm to anyone, but it is time that I start taking my own wellbeing more seriously.  The stress that is coming with being an opinionated woman online is getting to be too much, and I don’t owe anyone a nervous or physical breakdown.  I want to be off grid for a while, apart from this blog and personal communications.

 

Best wishes to all,

Erin

 

(featured image tongue  in cheek)

 

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