I’m not dead. No, really, I’m not. I occasionally smell like it but my vitals still register in spite of chronic fatigue.
Is it really true, though? Yes, it is! I spent a buttload of time familiarising myself with the laws and regulations around self-publishing, taxation, and early retirement. Now I have finally published my first anthology of folklore short stories: The Good Neighbours.
The anthology is available now in ebook format and will be available in print in June. You can find a whole list of retailers here.
This has been a truly emotional time. I’ve wanted to have a book out since I wrote my first one-page short story at the age of nine. The dream has been with me for a very long time. And it doesn’t end here, of course — I’m intending to continue to tell old, Danish folktales as fiction, with every anthology having a theme of its own.
One of the hardest things to accept about fibromyalgia is that it doesn’t get better. That there’s just one way it can go – and it’s not uphill. I’m never going to get well; I can only hope to alleviate some of the symptoms. It’s been a rough year doing that. I fought fibromyalgia, and to paraphrase Bob Marley, fibromyalgia won.
That’s why it’s so quiet here. There’s nothing going on to write about, unless for some reason readers want an endless tirade of complaints about health (let’s be honest here, no one does, adulting is hard enough as it is). I’ve been able to visit Emilie once since December 26. I’ve left the house twice in the same period – the other time was to have blood drawn. You know your life is exciting when the high point of the week is a nurse who can hit a vein the first time instead of having to jab you six times to get the blood flowing!
The wet weather of 2019 really has done a number on my asthma. The moment someone starts brushing down a horse, runs a broom across the barn floor, or spreads straw in a box, my lungs step out for lunch. The husband’s come up with a solution in the form of a dust mask but I’ll readily admit that I feel ridiculous, having to wear a protective mask to pat my horse.
Emilie thinks it’s silly too. She spent an hour trying to lip it off my face because I look and sound wrong. I’ll never stop being amazed at how prehensile a horse’s lips are. She very nearly managed to untie the string knot at the base of my skull.
Spring is coming now, though. The first snowdrops are out, and while I solemnly tell them to back under and wait another month, the weather service does claim that we will get a winter this year. I wish they were wrong; frost and cold is something I can dress against, but this constant wet air and rain, there’s no fix for that. But again, spring is coming. Statistically, the odds of another year with constant rain and no sun are minimal.
The thing about not being able to walk far is that you learn to appreciate the things that are close by. A beautiful garden full of wild flowers. Horses playing in the field. A cup of coffee sitting in the grass, while big red mama Emilie grazes nearby, watching me like I was her foal.
I have a thing for cobalt blue glassware. The way that it captures the sun, causing patterns of blue to dance and flicker across my living room floor, the intensity of the shades. There is something deep and mysterious about these lights and patterns, and I can sit and look at them for hours. Fortunately, these bottles and vases are pretty hefty, too, because the cats regularly push them off the sill. Because cats.
I snapped this one last spring while I was still surprised at just how much water the Spang Å river system detains when the sluices get closed in winter. The entire valley floods. That line of fence poles? That’s the river. Everything else—is not. Supposedly.
Low key photography is a skill I have yet to master. On this one occasion, though, the Sun and Piv conspired to create a tableau of flame and darkness and all I had to do was click the button.
Another river valley picture, also from spring. The colours and sharpness of this one amazed me; I had only owned that camera for a day and I was so very fascinated with what it could do.
Here is to hoping that 2020 will be a little kinder health-wise. I mean, I have a camera, I want to go out there and use it.
Few things put me in a better mood than watching little girls play with very big horses. Tiny human beings learning the power of asking gentle giants nicely instead of demanding and scolding. Watching reservations on both sides melt away and turn into mutual trust.
Any equine can do training with poles, obstacles, and new sensations. There’s no magic secret, just communicating. Exposing horses to new things help them learn to trust that we really do know best—so that when something unexpected happens, their response is to ask us what to do instead of bolting or panicking. This is a game humans and horses play together, where humans come up with challenges and obstacles, and horses show humans that pshaw, that’s nothing.
Training last Sunday turned out to be day of the cold-bloods. I present to you, in no particular order, haflinger Nando, Jutland draft Emilie, and fjord pony, Loke—the cold-blood allstars.
Emilie has always had a thing for little girls. Remember this one from a few years back?