Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alone on a wide wide sea

I am "interesting". Don't you think? I do such an interesting thing. Blog. Did I mention I have a book deal? That is interesting isn't it? Let me tell you about it. Let me tell you about blogging. Really. I am such an interesting person. You will never guess what I did this week. I sheared a sheep. Before I sheared the sheep, I chased a fox. Have you realised yet what an interesting person I am? Oh yes, I picked a fight and moved a house. These are the things you do when you are interesting. I could tell you a story or two. Oh yes, I could tell a tale of ghosties and goulies and things that go knock in the night. I could reach out for your hand and have you gulping down your sorrow, then traitor to your tears, make you laugh at my jester wit. If you listened that long. You would have to listen. To me. Me. Me. I am worth listening to. I might have to ask: "Have I told you this already?" Even if I have, you might not mind because after all, I am interesting. I haven't always lived here. Once upon a rainy days, I lived in London town. Did you know that? Do you read my blog? It is an on line diary. They are very popular these days. Mine is anyhows or used to be. And a book, I am writing a book if ever I find the time in my full and busy life. I sometimes ask myself: "How do I manage with the kids and all?"
But I do. I will tell you about it if you like. At length.

I have become a man. As a woman, I would have conversations. I prefer not to do that any more. As a man, I am free to lob my anecdotes in your direction and fully expect you to catch them. I have not yet become a character. I am as yet too young for that; doubtless it will come. As a man, I do not expect to have friends. They take up so much time. Time which I could spend being interesting. Time I could spend telling you about myself. A friend might disappoint. I prefer to avoid disappointment. I know people up here though, oh yes. Quite well: some of them quite like me. And I know more of them than I did. Not just my builders either. I have drunk tea with some, broken bread with a few. Obviously, I earned my place at table. "This is Wifey. She moved from London and she blogs." Cue my witty take on Northern life. But friendship, ah friendship, that is another story. Not mine.

37 comments:

aims said...

Hmm - being the first one to comment on this is making me nervous.

However - this does ask the questions -

1. Why do people blog in the first place?

2. Are bloggers prepared to deal with the publicity, the constant 'nosy-parkerishness' of everyone who reads their blog, the advice that is given whether it's wanted or not, and the lack of privacy.

With those questions in mind - I will only add - that there are alot of people out here who wish you peace and time to write your book - and of course happiness.

Livvy U. said...

Hello. I hope, I really hope, that you are not as down as you sound. This cyber-community we all share is not, obviously, one of flesh-and-blood friendships, but it is a community of witnesses. We witness one another's highs and falls - sometimes when not even our nearest and dearest are seeing them. This can be a comfort, I have found. Please know, tonight, that your state is, well, witnessed.
Livvy

Flat Out said...

oh no. this will change. really. it's horribly difficult to cultivate the moss of new friendship. but it will happen. keep writing out.

Ian said...

How strange that in one of the friendliest parts of the country....

No, I don't mean that there is something wrong with you at all. I am just wondering if in other peoples eyes one could come before the other.

Who knows what you could write in your blog Eh!

Noticed that you are now being printed in the Journal.
Keep it up, maybe eventually you will no longer be a blogger and become a writer. Who knows where those lines blur and fade.

Till then, don't worry about it, Northumberland is a place where even solitude can be wonderful. I don't have many friends but those that I do have don't seem to have the need to fill the silences that many others name 'uncomfortable'
Don't rush, wander around, take your own time to look at what you want to look at and then just chat to people along the way.
Friendly place this.....

Iota said...

My guess (just a guess) is that one reason your blog is so popular (as well as the obvious ones to do with the quality of the writing), is that you strike a chord with so many women who have had children and/or moved out of a city and/or a full-time working life. I don't know what the answer is. Being patient seems to be part of it, and striking lucky another. And, dare I say it, lowering expectations of what the word "friendship" involves.

Steve Schewe said...

O dear wifey, I wish you peace tonight. I have the sense your pique was brought on by an unfortunate encounter ... perhaps an old proverb will help:

"Never argue with a fool in public, for passersby may not know who's who."

Let it go; tomorrow will be a better day.

Kaycie said...

I have been fortunate to receive a lovely note from you when I reached out after reading your blog. I wrote through tears and bared my soul. You were gracious and kind. I was touched.

I read because you write lovely prose about things both beautiful and plain.

I have a special place in my heart for you, Wifey. I am quite sure I am not the only one. Keep your lovely chin up.

Wisewebwoman said...

We blog to make sense of ourselves, to know there are others drifting in cyberspace, 24/7, needing no appointments or complicated dinner arrangements with us. They are just there, reading, contemplating, assuring, reassuring, sometimes mentoring. It is healing, this public journalling (sorry, not a correct word). Know I understand you, WITN, in the wee small hours. And writing a book is overwhelming. But press on. There is no alternative.

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

I know how you feel. I have been in another country and culture for over a year now. It does get easier, things become familiar, routine, less takes you by surprise, I have more to do; but the bottom line remains. Me, and my loneliness. I still feel raw from the wrenched roots. To give up soul mates, bosom buddies and settle for acquaintances, circumstantial friends, I find a bit soul destroying. It's hard to lower expectations when you know what you are missing. I assume (wrongly I am sure, that my friends back home are having a high old time in the rich pastures of their friendships) It's hard to keep 'making do' and have the energy to'give it a go' every single day. What we all need is one person where we are who really understands us. Not much to ask. I hope you find it. I'm still searching.

annie said...

I too moved away from close friends with whom I had sharee history so that no explanations were ever needed. I now have a much wider circle of friends but so far no one has replaced those to whom I was close to. I live in hope. My compensation is that I have a wonderful husband, our children are embracing their new surroundings and are building great friendships I have a better job than before and I love where we live. So its ok really.

Dee said...

paradise lost, you say it perfectly! Right from my heart. I feel exactly like that. I too have moved (countries, a few times) and each time you start anew, and feel a bit lost and frightened, but also excited at what's ahead and unknown. You also find out who your true friends are (and I was wrong there) and build or maintain relationships with them, that are different, because they are long distance, but I find that they are not necessarily worse. It DOES get better with time, but there are moments where one feels terribly bad about it all. Blogging is a wonderful thing to do, for many reasons. It helps me make sense of things, not just by writing my own but by reading others, especially yours wifey.

Natural Blonde said...

I can only refer you to the last verse of 'Message in a Bottle'.

Perhaps not particularly helpful..sorry!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Your writing is inspiring. You say what others think. You write about what others feel. I had very few friends before moving to Northumberland. Now I have learned what true friendship is.

Cathy said...

You have laid yourself bare at times in this blog and some may not be comfortable with that. But cyberspace can also be a very supportive envirnment and even lead to real-life friendships.

I think that whenever we hit adversity or undertake huge life changes it becomes clear who our real friends are. Sometimes it is not who we expect. I'm sure you will find another soul mate in time and I hope it won't take too long.In the meantime, take comfort in your cyber-support.

Mike said...

WITN, have you lost it? Can't figure out this one at all.
For what it's worth,I didn't have time to log onto your blog for a few days,looked forward to logging on this am, knowing there would be a few entries.I love your blog, always so interesting. You have a way with words!

Flowerpot said...

Been there and done it and now I have a fabulous lot of friends, new and old. But it takes time. Not that that's any consolation whatsoever at the moment....

Winchester whisperer said...

Errrr....Did that bullying session stress you?

Mike said...

Having read the comments after I posted mine, I now know what it was about. Sorry if my comment looks flippant, that wasn't my intention.I too know how you feel, and i feel for you. When i went part-time to be able to pick up my kids from school, the loneliness was terrible, and that was just a few hours in the afternoon.Sometimes, my darling husband took a half day, to allow me to go off and feel like a real person again. 9 years later, it's ok, and I'm now down to one child in the afternoon, for just one more year. I'm thinking about going back to work full time, but cherishing some of those times me and my 3 kids shared together.
BTW, this name is my son's, I don't know how to change it, and I'm female! Take a cyberhug from a big fan.

Poetess said...

Hello WITN

So sorry you are feeling low today. I'm also sorry that my fellow northerners have not done all they could to make you feel welcome. We are a friendly lot honestly, but the remoteness is an obstacle. Not enough Starbucks either. However when my children were young I too felt isolated until I started to volunteer. I don't know how old your children are but I used to help run a beaver group and cub pack. It was great because the kids were entertained at the same time and I still had a challenge and met loads of people. I know that the scout movement are crying out for volunteers. Of course you would have to fit it in around your writing.

Congratulations on the book deal. I'm new to blogging and didn't know your story. Love your blog

Poetessxx

debio said...

I am told that it takes at least three years to settle and make friends in a new place.

I understand from life in blogland that many of us are trying to settle into new lives.

Never believe that you are alone, WITN.

Brilliant writing - tomorrow is a naother day and I do hope you will feel less sad.

lady macleod said...

oh too sad that is, really sad indeed.

merry weather said...

Funny, informed, constant, calm (under pressure), vulnerable, open....what's not to like about you?

Who could need/want friends like them anyway? Envy and spite come out of greed and disappointment I guess. Your book deal comes in the middle not the beginning of your career, I think...

Challenge them to a quad bike rally - that would give them a blast and we'll all come to support you. Don't stop!

jane said...

Now look, you made me cry.

I understand entirely what you mean. For some reason, blokes find it OK to just be themselves, they are what they are. We women, however, need to find a reason to exist - we're thingies wife, somebody's Mum, we're so and so's PA, or that women you see in Waitrose with the weird hair - whatever. Sometimes you get fed up with the categories in which you find yourself and just want a one word description -"friend". I feel lonely even though I'm living in the same place I've always lived, but my friends have moved away, moved on, faded or drifted off and because I was so busy, busy, busy I just let them.

I know you're the sort of person who will make new friends in time once they realise you're more than a blog-artist, but you still have some great friends even though they're miles away. After all, it's only geography.

Maybe you should look at your own situation in the same way as your son who was excluded from play at school. You may not have a friendship bench but how about starting a reading group instead? With lots of wine of course.

Hope you feel happier today, your life sounds much more interesting than mine!

:)

Stay at home dad said...

You are obviously finding it easier to be a man than I am to be a woman WITN!

You do take on an awful lot. You could change things. It may not seem like it but you do have many options.

Sahd.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Merryweather darling, we Northumbrian women are not aliens you know.

knifepainter said...

Hope you feel better by now wifey.

(Que anecdote).....the people who have turned out to be my friends were never the ones I sought, nor the ones I thought would last.

@themill said...

Perhaps you're trying too hard - we don't all shear sheep or milk cows. I'm a farmers daughter and have no desire to do either. Just be yourself and relax. Friendship, like love, finds you when you're least expecting it.

merry weather said...

... of course not, M & M - I did not suggest Northumbrian women were aliens, er, who did mention that? Maybe I missed something?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I find it helpful to make some truffles, take them to the school gate and get people to sample them under the guise of wanting their opinion (which i do really)...i find people warm to me instantly when their mouths are full of gooey, fatty chocolatey stuff that I have provided. Especially when it's alcoholic chocolate. Which Mum doesn't need a quick shot at the school gate? Perhaps you could make some truffles?!

Just a thought...hope you are feeling better.

Norman said...

I am a Northumbrian living in exile in Lancaster. I moved from a very rural place, Halton-Lea Gate near Haltwhistle to a small Lancashire city that was at first bewilderingly metropolitan. Your move north is mine in reverse as it were. It took me years to feel "at home" here. Some changes are more subtle than others. For all both places are in England, they are so culturally different.
You are not alone despite your crie de cour.
I still hanker after my homeland but I know the reality is I'll probably stay here.
Even as cyber friends we're with you.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Merryweather, you may as well have done, or dragons, perhaps... it was the 'them' and 'envy and spite' and 'greed and disappointment' that I found most offensive.

merry weather said...

M & M, I really should be asleep now - but, but, you are keeping me awake. I am sorry to have offended you. How though? Why do you identify with "them"? Surely you are not one of Wifey's detractors ? Is it because you live in Northumbria ?...!

Perhaps I am being naive, but where does it generalise about Northumbrian women here anyway? People can be awful, we all know that and it hurts, that's all, OK.... looking forward to meeting you again... you sound fun...!

Vanessa said...

WITN, I am genuinely sorry that you don't feel at home in Northumberland and empathise with your feelings of loneliness (my husband's job has forced many uprootings on us) but what I really, really don't understand is why you're persevering with life in the north.

It seems to have been your husband's grand passion but he's in London all week. If he thinks that you'd all be better off living in Northumberland why isn't he there with you? Surely it isn't a condition of marriage that one party should live somewhere they're miserable just so that the other has a cottage in the country to come home to at weekends? Isn't a proper family life better for your children - is it a good thing that they spend so much more time with their nanny than they do with their father?

I read your blog often and am regularly moved or amused or informed but you have never answered this huge question that hangs over the whole enterprise - why?

Rivs said...

As a geordie chap who made the journey south some years ago to be met with disdain by the majority of the locals down here I would simply urge you to persevere... if that fails get the bus into Newcastle and get drunk, you'll make loads of friends then!!

Keep on keeping on.

mutleythedog said...

I am so sorry I didn't read this when you wrote it...May I join you in your boat dear heart? I would if I had to swim there...

aminah said...

when my computer died on me and I was offline for a period of three weeks, I felt suddenly liberated...as if I were living to much online and not enough offline and now that the mac is back, I have decided to live the real world and take this one with a firm pinch of salt...

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