As a new bride in the 1970’s, I lived and worked in Tanzania for three years and Maurice and I loved to pack our two-man tent, fill our basket with fruit and vegetables from the market (we had nothing as sophisticated as a refrigerated cool box in those days) and go on safari in our free time. Elephants are my favourite animal. Sitting safely in our vehicle, we watched them for hours. They are beautiful creatures and poachers should be hung, drawn and quartered for butchering them. We returned to Africa after a thirty-seven-year absence and here are a couple of our photos.
Apparently, elephants have amazing memories. I was going to write next “a funny thing happened to me last Saturday”, except it wasn’t funny. To keep it short, I ended up in Accident and Emergency at our local hospital. A stroke or a tumour was suspected as I had completely lost my recent memory. I knew who I was but couldn’t remember Easter, my birthday the previous week, what year we were in, who was the Prime Minister – and other basic facts. After an emergency scan revealed nothing untoward was happening in my brain (make as many jokes as you like) – my memory slowly returned and “normal life” resumed.
BUT, it was scary for everybody and a bit of a wake-up call. It might never recur and explanations for the cause are guesses, according to medical experts. One of the possible reasons for “transient, global amnesia” is stress. Now, I consider my life to be pretty wonderful. When I see film clips of war-torn countries, I wonder how people can survive such emotional terror. This winter, however, has been more difficult than most and my head is always bursting with thoughts, ideas, solutions and maybe my brain is trying to tell me to slow down…to simplify, justify, rationalise; less is more – that old mantra.
This year has seen a huge increase in the time I spend on social media and I find the technical and business side of writing particularly challenging. It also decreases the time I like to spend on writing and, at times, I feel the fun has gone out of the experience. How do other writers cope with this balance? Can we share strategies, please?
Until I had my shoulder operation this winter I regularly played tennis and that was a great antidote to busy thoughts. If I go on a walk (which I love), I find I am still thrashing out story ideas and plots in my head… dancing round the kitchen sometimes helps, but – I do tend to burn food in the process.
I am really curious to hear what other people do to achieve calm and peace of mind. Let me know and we can share ideas. (P.S. I do believe in prayer).
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” (Dan Millman).