Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The messengers

Today I read "The Messengers" by Edward Hogan.  His other book "Daylight Saving" was well-written and impressed me enough to want to read more of his books.  I'm glad I did -  "The Messengers" is an even better read.

The Messengers is about a teenage girl, Frances, who has blackouts followed by an irresistible urge to draw. And recently her drawings have become both better and much weirder. Frances discovers that she is drawing scenes of a person's death that will take place in 2 days time.  She has only two choices: show the picture to that person within that time frame or someone she cares about will die instead.

She learns all this from a young man, Peter, whom she has recently befriended.  He is a messenger too, and says that the death is preordained and messengers are powerless to do anything other than pass on the message to the victim.  Frances rebels against this negative view and believes that the future can be changed.  She starts trying to save the people in the pictures and persuades Peter to do the same.

I can't tell you any more or I will spoil the story for you.  It is a gripping read.

The book also explores complex themes such as families and family breakups, belonging, loyalty and personal power and responsibility.    The characters are sensitivity drawn and the pace is well-handled.

The Messengers is a multi-layered  page-turner.  I've given it 5 stars.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Making inroads into Footsteps

During my recuperation, I have still managed to do some work on Footsteps.  It has been in fits and starts as my concentration is not fully functional yet.

Today was spent working on a chapter in which Ellie finds out what is in the old box she found under the floorboards.  Of course I'm not going to tell you here what she discovered.  You will have to read the book.  When it is completed and published that is.

I made a decision at the outset to try out the Snowflake method for planning, plot and characterisation.  I found it incredibly useful at the start.  Even my incomplete Snowflake plan was enough to give me the confidence to finally start writing.

I've more or less been following the plan for the first eight chapters, but it will soon be time to give my Snowflake an overhaul and update.   This will be the time for more detailed planning of the next 8 chapters.

Yes I know what Hemmingway said about first drafts.  Footsteps will end up being re-written several times before it is complete.  However without any planning I don't think I would even get to the re-writing stage.

Novel writing is always a marathon, never a sprint.

Monday, 21 April 2014

DIEP Surgery + 16 days

I'm now just over 2 weeks post surgery. The worst part was the night after the operation when I had to keep very still. No turning of my head and no arm moving. I had to ask the nurse to scratch my nose for me! I kept asking the nurse what the time was and each time it was only about half an hour after the last time. That first night went on for ever!

After that I generally slept ok at night and relaxed during the day. The nurses were able to check my reconstruction without waking me up which was amazing. I was in the High Dependency Unit for 3 nights. Within a few days the physio had me up and walking down the corridor clutching a bag of drains. A couple of days later I was down to one drain and then finally the last drain was out and I was discharged a week after my operation.

I've been home just over a week now. The only complication I am having is purple patches and blisters. My surgeon is keeping an eye on them and taking photos for comparison. He thinks it is just bruising and bleeding from all the Clexane jabs.

The purple seems to be turning red, which hopefully is a good sign. I am due to see him again on Wednesday.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

D(IEP) Day + 1

So far so good.  It is over 24 hours since I came out of theatre and I feel reasonably OK.  I will be in a high dependency unit for a couple of days, then back to a regular ward.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

DIEP-Day - 2 The big clean

With the help of the house robots, I gave the house a thorough clean today.  I'm not going to be able to do housework for a while afterwards and I don't want to come back to a tip.  Gave the garden a bit of a tidy as well.

Tomorrow I will have my swimming lesson and then I will mow the lawn for the first time this year.  Then it will be packing my bags in preparation for a very early start on Saturday.  I have to be at the hospital for 7:00am

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Living with cancer uncertainties

This is part of a poem I read long ago - a fragment of Fragment.
I think about it sometimes, particularly when I read the blogs of others who are snared far deeper in the same net.

Only, always,
I could but see them---against the lamplight--pass
Like coloured shadows, thinner than filmy glass,
Slight bubbles, fainter than the wave's faint light,
That broke to phosphorous out in the night,
Perishing things and strange ghosts--soon to die
To other ghosts--this one, or that, or I.

DIEP-Day -5 Pre-op assessment

I had my pre-op assessment today.  Just the usual tests, form filling in, questionnaires.   The nurses were very pleasant and I feel like I'm in safe hands.  I found out more about the operation and recovery.  I will be in a high dependency unit for a few days which sounds a little scary, but it is really just so they can keep close tabs on my flap.

I will have to be very careful when I finally get home - not lifting things, no cooking and no housework, at least initially.

By this time next week will be a couple of days post-surgery.