Accidental Boosts

If you follow me on any other social media, or know me in real life, you might have noticed that I’m drawing and doodling and sketching and painting, and generally being an expressive soul all over the place. I have work colleagues who are reassured to see my doodles all over scraps of paper as they know I’m based out of that location for a while, and others who in the past have zealously gathered up those scraps before I can throw them in the bin to keep hold of them.

I mention this because I’m starting to return to writing and drawing in my journals, especially as I’ve been gifted with, and also acquired for myself, a number of different sets of brush pens and other lineart tools. It has prompted me to develop new refinements of my artwork. It has also meant that I’ve returned to drawing around odds and ends that I’ve written in the books as I can’t stand having wasted space in them.

Drawing and Writing as usual

Sometimes these are fiction fragments or bits of a story that I’m working on, and sometimes they are more thoughtful pieces that I’ve written – often while the black dog is barking and worrying at my heels.

I write these pieces to ground myself and force myself to acknowledge the positives and available options around me. Sometimes they are light and fluffy, and sometimes they are from a lower and more stubborn place, plodding along like a donkey pulling a cart through the mud.

Many of these pieces end up on Instagram to break up the flow of selfies, cosplay pictures, book covers I’ve enjoyed encountering, or other random facets that I highlight in any given day. I present them “as is” without comment, simply because I want to preserve them somewhere, and I like some aspect of technique or design and want to show it off. I certainly don’t expect to enter into long conversations about them as they’re usually just dashed off while watching tv or something.

This piece however got a response from someone who read the text and found it spoke to them – that it was what they needed to hear at that point – and that even though they often use writing for similar purposes they don’t feel the confidence to post them online. This spoke to me – partially in recognition of the power of similar moments as I’ve encountered them, partially being glad to have been able to give someone a lift in that moment, and partially a disbelief that I have been able to affect someone in that way. Its humbling and more than a little cool to receive that kind of feedback, and I hope I managed to not sound completely awkward in responding to that person.

Blargh

Its been a bit of a week – mostly just non-stop at the library – and I’m exhausted both mentally and physically.

We’re in the middle of the Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages children to read six books over the summer. It is proving to be surprisingly tiring work, alongside the “business as usual” elements. We ask about what the children have read, give out little prizes, put on craft events, and generally smooth the way with sometimes harried-looking parents when things go wrong (like missing booklets or lost items).

It’s all done with – as best we can – a bright smile and encouragement, but it’s draining. Add to that both staff shortages (because library staff have families and need holidays too), and new people who need training on the job and it should be no wonder that I feel like I’ve been put repeatedly through the wringer.

So of course, with no reserves left, the black dog has got a good grip on me and is doing all the usual lies: that I’m boring, no fun, have no friends, and that everyone would frankly be better off without me.

And yet: I’m making kids smile, and so there’s a thing. The writing will continue, the Instagram posts will flow, the doodling will continue. I’ll post a few here perhaps so I don’t feel guilty about not updating here as much too.

Self care: I’m not very good at it, but I’ll keep at it.

Slow but Steady

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I’m not saying my day was slow, but I had time between customers, book wrapping, stock control and making hot drinks to doodle a bit, well quite a lot. If nothing else it distracted a number of people long enough to make them agree to pay fines on a couple of occasions.

This evening saw the Charleesi’s first game of Cards Against Humanity, playing against myself and Ladies M and P. I say it’s her first game, but I suspect this to be a slight embroidering of the truth. Maybe her authorly leanings were showing in how narrow my victory was, and in how eyeball scorchingly evil some of her responses were. I’m so proud.