Thursday 10th December
There is a writing update further down, so keep reading!
Busy day today. I tutor maths in a primary school on Thursday mornings, and I’m usually quite tired when I get back and today was no exception. I managed to microwave some packet rice, because I’ve got to go back to work soon until 8pm tonight, making it a VERY long day for me!
I also had a visit from a physiotherapist today. I had requested someone to come round and see if there are any walking aids that can help me move around the house more easily. I was originally told the wait would be months, but I did explain that in 15 years I have asked for nothing, and just got on with the business of living from day to day, but now I am asking, I’m being told there is no help for months. They changed their minds and sent a physio out who told me that there is nothing they can suggest to aid my walking. So that’s good to know (sarcasm). They won’t prescribe a stair lift to help me up the stairs, so if I want one, I’m going to have to sort it myself (or ‘gerrit dun mi sen’ as we say in Nottingham). I did get a brand new urine bottle out of the visit, so every cloud…
I can’t afford to move house, as I can’t get a mortgage. My salary has taken a massive hit since I left the Local Authority. ‘Workforce reduction’ was to blame: I wasn’t a direct casualty, but my team of 13 play and youth workers was cut to a team of 1 almost overnight, and trying to keep provision open in my area became difficult, to say the least, and certainly more effort than it was worth. It seems to me, that through the harsh austerity measures we have experienced in the UK over the last 5 years, the easiest cuts to make and the first services targeted are those to the people on the margins of society – children, disabled people and older people. And the cuts keep coming. I will have to be reassessed for PIP (which replaces Disability Living Allowance) soon, and if I’m honest, it terrifies me. Working with disabled people for most of the week, I see people being turned down, almost as a matter of course, people who are clearly struggling. I look at my own situation: I use a manual wheelchair to get around, I work 2 jobs, I support my family. If I do not receive an equivalent level of support through PIP, I am going to lose my car; if I lose my car, I’ll lose my job; fill in the rest yourselves.
For me, writing has become a tiny light shining in the darkness of my life (If my wife and children read this, please know that you have ALWAYS been bright spots in my life – that’s a given). It has enabled me to have something else to focus on. I can’t pretend it’s always easy, because it isn’t, but what it does is it takes me away from where I am at that moment, and that’s a GOOD thing.
I’ve managed to squeeze some time in to write this before I head back to work, and hopefully tonight, I’ll have enough left in the tank to get some more done. I’m thinking I will do some work on designing my new website, which I will be revealing next year, to coincide with the release of my first book, which will be a hand-picked selection of my stories, which will also be released simultaneously as an audiobook. I want to make my site look more ‘professional’. This WordPress site has been amazing, and I have learned so much over the time I have had it up and running, but I think I am ready to try something different, and coinciding that with a book release seemed as good an opportunity as any!
Writing this blog and posting regular updates certainly seems to have had the desired effect, in that my writing habit is a lot healthier than it has been, and I would recommend anyone with designs on being a writer think about a blog. It doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all of writing blogs, and I’m certainly not aiming for that, but I do feel that along with my writing I also have a thing or two to say about my disability, and hopefully some of you can find it interesting (or amusing!), or can relate to. Find something that interests you that you are passionate about, and write about it! At worst, it’s a great way to avoid that ‘blank page feeling’, and at best you might just garner a few new readers that get you on the way to selling your first short story / novella / book!
What about you makes you unique or different?