Tag: writing

Letter Writing…

Well, my letter writing seems to be at a steady stream.  I have 5 penpals so far, a guy in France, and ladies in Germany, Bath, Finland & America.  I had written to a lady in Belgium but received the letter back saying that the address was incomplete, so messaged her as I had copied and pasted her address from her message.  Yesterday, I received a message asking if I would write to a guy in Russia, so what the hell, although I find writing the first letter always a little hard as I never know what to say or how far to go.  Do I just do a page intro and leave it at that or do I write something longer with no reals scope on discovery?  Getting a happy medium is quite the thing.  My penpal in Hamburg sticks to one sheet of A4 paper, both sides which work well, but I can be a chatterbox in the letter writing side, and when sending to my one in Bath manage usually 9 pages.

Postcards are coming thick and fast from Postcrossing, and with extras from my friend at Cupcakes & Canter, who was a great help with the penpals and quite an authority on the subject.

Now my mission is to get a penpal in Japan.  I learned to speak Japanese many many years ago and loved everything about the culture and the place, so thought I penpal there would be fun.  Maybe find one in New York as it is a place that I love to see on films and the TV, and maybe one in Australia or New Zealand. Oh, and Iceland too!

Penpals Update…

And we are off.  A lady in Hamburg contacted me and wants to write, so YAY!, here we go.  She is sending the first letter which I am looking forward to receiving and starting this journey again.

I have also been chatting to an 82-year-old chap who wants to write, but can only use email as he has tremours so writing is a no-no, which is fine with me, so email it is, not exactly snail mail, but I can live with it.  I used to correspond to my 85-year-old Great Uncle via email, although we had never managed to meet. My Mum was adopted and when I finally found her family my Great Uncle found me via Ancestry.com as I had him in my tree, we emailed quite a lot, but unfortunately, he died last year after a short illness.  It was a great shame, as he had said that he would like to meet me and my Mum and due to his eyesight, I said I would drive over to visit him, saving him travelling, he agreed, but, as he was not feeling too good said that he would arrange some time soon, alas that never happened.  Although we never met we wrote to each other each week.  He was a fascinating man that I wish I had got to meet.

One of the downsides of the sites I have joined is one has to be paid for and so far, no one wants to talk to anyone.  The free one everyone wants to talk, some want husbands, romance, money and other things that are yet to be revealed.  My profiles states I am looking for snail mail pen pals but so far I feel that it is being ignored.  Oh well, I can always ignore and delete.

I have also returned to Postcrossing.  I have been a member since October 2007, but in 2011 I stopped sending as the cost to send a postcard as I had quit my job due to professional disagreements, that is to say, my boss wanted to do illegal things and I disagreed, so I walked.  I kept thinking over the years I would pick it up again and sent 2 in 2015 and did not receive a single one back which was not what the rules of Postcrossing dictate.  I have received 214 postcards in the past, so let’s see what cards I get and where they come from, and of course, I will share them here with you all.

I have checked out also some swap sites to and joined, so it looks like it may start to be a busy hobby for me.  Of course I will leave time to knit, and in all honesty, I think I need to pick up my needles again as the hat project I was doing has sat there since April, begging me to finish.

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Penpals…

I wondered the other day, how many of us had penpals when we were growing up, and how many of us had them when we were adults too?

I never had a penpal when I was a kid, living in a small village (of French origin) there was not exactly an opportunity to have one, hell, my primary school consisted of just 28 pupils, and apart from general subjects with a huge overdose of religion, yes it was connected to the church, there was nothing to inspire people to look further than their own garden gate.  No one I knew ever went on a foreign holiday, it was all quite alien.

When I was in my early 20’s I decided I wanted a pen pal, the internet did not exist, so this became a challenge.  I had no idea where to start.  By this point, I was working in the city, and on my lunch popped into WH Smiths as I knew they had international papers and odd publications you would never find elsewhere.  The New York Herald had nothing in at all but was an interesting read.  I tried several foreign publications including Le Monde, but nothing seemed to have the information I wanted.  In the end, I asked one of the staff there if they could recommend something, and to my surprise, she knew exactly the paper.  It was one called Loot, which had every conceivable advert you could think of, and I guess you would compare it to Craigs List on paper.  Adverts for cults, sex, personals, animals, you name it, it was getting sold in this paper, then close to the back, there it was, penpals.  I have no idea where they got the information, but I jumped right on it.

I ended up with quite a few people I wrote to, which suited me well as there was a great shop called Athena that sold coloured writing paper and envelopes, and there was also a few places you could get other designs of writing paper too just around the corner from work.  Some of my pals dropped off and stopped replying, so I dropped them too, but I had two that were constant writers, both from California, one Heather from Burbank and the other Rocko from San Diego.

Both came to visit me.  Rocko was a little over the top and was a party animal.  I was living about 2 miles away from the city at the time, so nightlife was easy to get to and walking home was good.  He was supposed to stay for a week, which I took off work, however, he stayed for a lot longer, which really was a strain as I was used to living on my own and in the end it really started to affect our friendship and my bank balance.  His friend was killed when he was over and that was my queue to make him go home, which was a battle.  He was not convinced that he should go, even though it was his best friend, but I persisted and eventually, he went after staying for about 6 weeks.  I heard from him once more after that, and then he vanished without a trace.

Heather, however, was a delight when she came to visit me.  It was 1998 and I had moved to a seaside town 25 miles away from the city, and she was touring again.  We had a great time, she only stayed for a few days as she was covering a lot of the UK visiting penpals and distant family.  We carried on writing for many years, then the internet came with email, so we ended up emailing each other, which was novel at the time, but I really missed getting snail mail.  Our emails slowed down over the years but still kept going, however, they soon stopped when FaceBook arrived.  To this day we are still in touch with each other through FB, but it’s not the same excitement that was felt when a letter dropped through the door.  I have FB but don’t really bother with it, as I really don’t feel the need to see every aspect of everybody’s life, warts and all, so it is there for the odd message and to keep up to date with the dog trainers.

About 10 years ago, I tried to start up writing again with penpals and had a few who then all wanted to swap to email, talk about colour me disappointed.  M started about 6 years ago to write to a few American prisoners, who were all quite charming, but then the begging letters started, asking for him to send money to them.  He did, to begin with as he knew they did not have much, but this turned out to be an error and they asked for more and more, and unfortunately, he ended up cutting ties.

I keep thinking that I would like to have penpals again, but knowing the way past ones have wanted to switch to email puts me off, and as for writing to prisoners, I would be happy to do that, but hey, I do not need someone that begs for cash in each letter.

Blogging, a short history

blog-buttonI used to blog, and I really do me blog a lot.  From mid 2003 till late 2008 I had my own server, I blogged about everything many many times a day, and I loved it.  But at the end of my blogging days, I had family members criticising me about content that I put on of my civil partnership.  I had not asked any of my siblings to it because we just wanted something small and to our way of liking especially without any interference.  The photos that were taken that day I started to put on my site, my stepfather decided that he did not want the pictures there as one of my sisters may be pissed off at the fact that he and my mother were there.  I replied that it was my site, my wedding, and to get over himself.  However, the critique and messages started to come thick and fast, and in the end, having my own Britney Speers moment, I lost the plot and deleted the whole site.  Thousands of posts, photographs and close to 6 years of input vanished.  I did not delete it in the usual way either, I went full tilt and made it beyond recovery using military grade software.  Needless to say, I was angry with the reaction of family, and it really did spoil the day, yes it was after the wedding, but I look back and remember it not for the lovely day that it was (drunken too), but for the spleen venting that came after.

I learned my lesson that family should be blocked from knowing about my writings, and any social media that I am on.  9 years later and they are truly blocked on all social sites, and I never tell of any writings I have done over the years.  I have tried to blog and everytime closed them down as I did not feel I had it in me, again the bitterness of the past creeping into what was a passion.

Now, 2017, I feel I want to write and blog again.  I have a passion for knitting photography and reading, so this will be a main base for my blog, mosstly knitting though as I love it.  I have in the past few months written poety, so maybe that will apear here too, who knows.  One thing I do know, I am here to stay.

Till next time….

 

Writing

I started writing many years ago on a platform a little like this. The platform was easy, clear, and a community that was there to offer help and comments. I had always wanted to be a writer and reflected on my writings when I was a kid, doing a project in the summer holidays that usually caused me to use three or four writing books, which were full to the brim of my findings and thoughts.

The platform was the latest thing, and blogging was a word that had just seen the early light of day. I would read others writings and get enjoyment from them, especially a lady called JoJo (sounds familiar?) who was rather helpful, and gave some good advice on writing. Whilst there I was able to read her writing, she wanted to be a writer too but unlike me she had a million stories to tell and wrote with increasing volume. Some of her captive audience would get to read chapters of new stories, I too was one of those lucky readers. She persisted on her writing and is a very successful writer.

I found the platform at the time was restrictive and I wanted to branch out not just on writing, but adding other things to my blog, so bought server space and installed Typepad. This was okay, but again I felt restricted, so installed WordPress which did all that I needed. I was ready to write.
I posted at first once every few days, but then I started to get the bug for it and was writing several times a day. When I was at work I would think of something and either make notes or log into my site and write.

8 years passed, and I was still writing each day, and had a massive audience, and was not just writing for me, but for them too. In September 2008, I had a spat with a family member on what I had published on my site. Needless to say, it was not in any way offensive to anyone, but they decided that I could not celebrate getting married to my partner and publish the photos as it may cause a problem to them as my siblings were not there. So my wedding day memory was marred by this crass comment. Not only was it selfish of him to mention such a thing, but demanded that I remove the photos. Rage ran through me like hot lava, and anyone who knows me, knows I have no fuse, I just go from calm to explosion in a fraction of a second. As such, and obeying my temper, I deleted not only the “offending” article but my whole site. Then closed my account with the server providers so I could not resurrect it ever again.

Since 2009, I have thought about writing again, but with a heavy heart sitting in plain view of my thoughts I got as far as one or two posts then deleted them too.

My partner was always, and still is supportive of my writing urges. I went out and bought Scrivener so that I could write my novel, which is developing in the background. I got the bug again, but things do tend to get in the way of a writing session, be it life in general or just lack of imagination, some things do take time. I took up challenges to get my creative juice flowing again, and it worked, but I ended up wanting to write a completely different story to the one I was on.

I realised last month what was missing. I needed to write other things and talk about things. My mind could not stay in the same place too long, as like me it grows bored of the same routine and the same outcome, it and I needed a place to just go with the flow and create something that was organic and could change as and when it was needed.
My little part of the internet needed to be a secret shared amongst strangers, a place where no known eyes would peruse. I wanted something that would not identify me and in turn ensure I would write. A name generator would give me an indentity and a name to write under. Augustine Chain sounded like a name I could live with. It gave a thought of past times in history for me, so here it is, my new identity. Utopia is something we all want, and I identify with monkeys. An ape would be more fitting due to evolution, but I needed to be one step out. Therefore, Utopian Monkey was born along with Augustine.

It is not a dirty little secret that I write, but I like the idea that it could be, almost like a “bit on the side”, but this mistress will not cause my partner to divorce me, give me an STD/STI, drunk text me in the middle of the night, or turn up at my door screaming its love or lust for me. It is what it is, a place to write and think, a place to read, and a place to fall in love with words again.

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