Day 1

Here I am. I’m showing up… I’m writing for 15 minutes right here – and yes, this is totally unedited, steam of consciousness… It’s Day 1 of the 14 day writing challenge (see the button in the sidebar). September is THE month – the beginning of the new school year, the beginning of my favourite season, Autumn, (although the horse chestnut leaves have been browning for a little while around here). Already, there are misty mornings which give way to bright sunshine – there is truly NOTHING like the light of an English September morning!! The birds are getting up later – a few weeks ago, they were waking me before 4am; this morning, it was 5.30am! And the nights are drawing in – getting dark as early as 8.30pm, whereas a few weeks ago, it never really got totally dark, even at 3am! So, the hours of September daylight are precious and golden. They ARE Keatsian – a life-long favourite poet. I was besotted by him aged 17, when we studied the Romantic poets for A-level English. Certainly, no schoolboy could compete for my affections – I lapped up every word from his pen – his poems, his letters, his quiet intensity. Forget that Mr Darcy character, I was a Keats groupie through and through!! And that adoration has never waned – and fair crystallised when I saw Jane Campion’s Bright Star film 10 years ago. It’s stlll my go-to dvd when I need a reminder of the delicate beauty of human love, although I’m still cross Ben Whishaw didn’t recite the whole of my favourite-ever sonnet ‘When I have fears I may cease to be’. I recited this poem countless times in my head when I couldn’t speak or read in the long months after my stroke. It become a touchstone, the proof that I was still ME even though half my body was paralysed and twisted, and my mouth and throat could only produce wounded-animal noises. Although a portion of my brain died when the clot denied it of oxygen that May morning in 2007, I was still ME – that teenage girl madly in love with John Keats, that 43-year-old wife and mother wading through the treacle of consciouness, trying to make sense of the world of bright hospital lights, constant noise and sensory overload… I was still ME, because I – I could remember John Keats and fragments of his poems learnt 25 years before.

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part of a journal page made in 2012 – 5 years after the stroke

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