It's been a very long time since I last blogged, for which I apologise, but I've needed the break. It's been a very mixed time with a lot going on. First of all, two friends died, one was someone I knew from years ago, and had somewhat lost contact with her, but I was still very saddened by her death. The other was someone I knew from a private online group, but nonetheless had got to know well and respected. Very sadly, she killed herself. It was only 15 months since my younger step-brother had killed himself, although in very different circumstances, but a lot of emotion was stirred up. However, I kind of had to suppress all of that because I had too much work to do, and I knew if I allowed the feelings to surface then I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my writing.
My MA portfolio/dissertation is due in next Friday - 31st August - but by some miracle I actually managed to get it finished and handed it nine days early! I used the opportunity of my portfolio/dissertation to write some more of my book about my experiences with asthma - the very serious alongside the light-hearted. I'm now about half way through with 30,000 words done. I enjoy writing it, and I hope that others will enjoy reading it, and get something out of reading it too, but writing it also stirs a lot of emotions. It's quite emotionally draining really, writing about all those life-threatening situations, or even just some of the more humorous times in hospital - they've all occurred after/during times of severe illness. Cathartic as it is, writing about it is also hard work. So yes, I'm pleased that I can have a bit a break from the intensity of it, and enjoy the rest of life.
It's a bit strange thinking that I've finished my MA. It's good, but it's odd. I've been studying continuously, either for my undergraduate degree or for my MA since October 2006. What do I do now? Of course, the answer is that I allow myself a bit of holiday and then get back to the writing, but it'll be different with only my own deadlines to adhere to. I might do the occasional short course at Newcastle University. Some of the shorter post graduate creative writing modules are open to the public, so that would be a good way to keep in touch with the department and some of the people. I haven't ruled out the idea of doing a PhD, but I decided that I didn't want to go straight on to that. I think I'd like to take the time to write the rest of my book, and then some children's stories about Zachariah Zebedee, and during that time I might work out what I might like to do a PhD on. Creative writing PhDs tend to consist of writing a book, and also the research you put in to the writing of the book. My current book doesn't really lend itself to that, what with the research for it being me living my life ;o)
The other thing that's been going on for me is an on-going problem with my mouth. My tongue has been very painful for months - since February. I went to GP several times and was treated with anti-fungal antibiotics for oral thrush, but with no effect. After the more powerful anti-fungal antibiotics proved ineffective a swab was taken and it turned out that there was no oral thrush or any other fungal infection present. The GP then thought that it might be a kind of oral eczema that can be pre-cancerous/cancerous, as I'd developed some very painful lesions on the sides of my tongue. He referred me to an oral surgeon. I've been up to the hospital twice for that now, the first time seeing the registrar, the second time the consultant. Thankfully it turns out not to be a cancerous problem, but I've had that worry hanging over me. So instead of what my GP thought I might have, it appears that I have a combination of two problems: Fissured Tongue and Burning Tongue Syndrome. Because of my complex medical history and allergies to lots of things, including some medications, then they're going to start treatment conservatively with a mouth guard to wear on my bottom teeth at night and in the evenings (and as much as possible) :o( I think the point of this is try to give my tongue a rest from resting against my teeth, which may be aggravating the situation. Hopefully that'll work, but I have to go back to see the surgeon again in three months time to see how things are going. I have to say that it's been quite a worry, although I didn't realise quite how much I was worrying about it until I got the all-clear last Thursday.
That's probably enough of an update for now, but hopefully, now that lots of things are settling, I should be back with you much more regularly.