Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

(I hate) Being sensitive

IS peace and quiet in your own home a privilege reserved only for the moneyed?
Why? Does not people from all walks of life have the right to a have that choice also?
Do you really think HSP (high sensitivity) is something that only happens when affluent? It’s no blessing, it’s a curse, unless you can afford a secluded cabin when the world around you gets too much.
With a baby howling out back in the neighbours courtyard (and has done for over an hour now), three soundsystems pounding out techno, rap-reggeton and something else I have no name for, the feeling of panic in my body is steadily rising and the impossible need to get away is threatening to suffocate me from within.

Last night I was so sure I could write that last missing chapter in the morning, but waking up to this? How am I supposed to even stay sane with this? How am I supposed to work in this constant bombardment? I’m not a successful author so there’s no money for an office, let alone a soundproof one. I work at the kitchen table. I like working from home because I like the love of our cats around and the comic relief they provide. When I get stuck I can wash up or do the laundry.

Now every nerve feels frayed, my heart is pounding a tattoo in a RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!! and I can’t stop it. I can’t think.  I seriously can’t think.
All my ideas have fled and are out of reach, every last one scrubbed away by the auditory torture and I don’t even know what I was going to do. My hands are shaking and the rest of my body trembling. All I want to do is lock myself in the bathroom and cry. Cover my ears with pillows and and blankets, and rock back and forth in catatonia. So that’s what I’m going to do.
loud people
I’ve come to hate Cancun. I hate how no one gives a shit about being considerate. I hate being sensitive, it’s a fucking curse and I’d happily swap it for being more hardy and be able to live and be more at ease in this loud world that to me feels more like assault every day.
Who the hell wants to be sensitive and feel deeply?
I can’t get away from it because there’s nowhere to go. Everywhere is full of people, and where there’s people there’s always someone who thinks it’s their duty to make as much noise and pump out muzak as loud as the speakers will go. Unless you have a car and can drive and park up in the jungle somewhere.

Now it’s finally stopped – after 3 hours+ for this time. Every muscle in my body is still tense, tighter than a piano string. Every idea I had is gone, Every single idea, every nuance I had to guide the word magic to weave together a story is gone without even leaving as much as a trace. The word notes on the paper from last night means nothing any more. And that makes me cry even more. Now all I feel is empty and crushingly depressed.  12742607_1028001063927972_7883913622580101030_n

Re-writing my life?

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With the leg still in the cast this is more true than ever I suppose. Writing has become my life – because it’s one of the few things left in it, even with the challenge it is to find a position to write in. It’s a trade off – less pain, muddled head. Clear head: spine, head and neck hurts.

I very much look forward to getting a splint in a couple of weeks, and with that hopefully some more mobility. I know the cast was to immobilize me and that it has done well, but I still have stuff I need to do. I want my mobility back, and a life.  And I look forward to be able to feel the cats tails under my feet again so I don’t tread on them quite as often…IMG_20160203_093625

To catch you up, I was in a traffic accident 3 months ago. I have no insurance and is now faced with perhaps choosing how much mobility I will have for the rest of my life. Wasn’t planning any marathons, but I’d like to be able to walk easy etc. Do I have surgery and work to pay that cost back til I die and have no money to do the things I want to do, or do I live with a splint and hope for the best? And be grateful to still be here? Focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t? I should add I love long walks, rambling and hiking. And I don’t want to have to write that last bit in past tense.

It’s not as if there really is a choice, no bank will lend an unemployed unknown author that kind of money anyway, so the question is mostly hypothetical.

Strange as it may sound at 47 I finally had a body I was happy with. For a brief year I could look myself in the mirror and like what I saw. Now that’s gone by the wayside, at least for now.  To say that I’m not bothered and not grieving would be lying.

To get back to the topic of writing, like one of my inspirations – Daphne DuMaurier – I write from a longing to be someone other than myself and a need to explore other possibilities, the ones not available to me in this life thus far.
Terry Pratchett said he didn’t want to get a life because he already felt as if he was trying to lead three already. I on the other hand feel more like Katharine Johnson, (a close friend of Nikola Tesla) in that it feels like I’m still looking for my life, and that so far I’ve mostly lived someone else’s.

My books are set in locations I have dreamt of visiting or would like to re-visit. Places that intrigue and inspire my imagiNation. They are also a case of the story choosing the writer, a phenomenon I hear more and more author’s talk about. Right now I couldn’t even get around an airport without a wheel-chair.
I write to live. I can’t imagine not writing. If I was stranded on a desert island with no hope of ever publishing I’d still write.  It’s part and parcel of who I am.

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That said, I hope there will be readers who will love my books as much as I loved writing them. And that my writing will bring me a new life, new friends, travel and the purpose I have always craved.

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Small Victories, 1 December 2015

I’m counting small victories. Being able to sit up for ten minutes. Having a shower unaided. Manage laundry. Still to come are simple things like mop the floor…

This is my first time at my computer in a while. After researching for almost a year, I wrote the first draft of Seeds of Soultraction in a month during October and early November. I’d gone back to editing Andino Andina, then walked to the local market and stocked up on vegetables. It was an ordinary day, or so I thought. When my husband came home we considered shopping before or after dinner: I was hungry, he wasn’t, and since he often falls asleep after dinner I chose to go before dinner… straight forward.
I knew to leave my new phone on the kitchen table, didn’t question why and since I expected to be gone for less than an hour my rational mind agreed.
Off we went. Supermarket one, supermarket two, purchases stored in the compartment under the seat, back home. Easy peasy. Only on the way back we got ourselves hit by a drunk driver. We had right of way and were going slow (25-30km/h). I was looking the other way, and the first I know is screeching breaks and shouting. A drunk youth on a borrowed bike, without a license, ran a stop sign.

It all happened very fast and I don’t remember much, and what I do remember is in odd snapshots. I remember screaming until someone got our overturned bike off me. Too stunned to move, I just lay where I’d landed after pulling free, in the middle of the intersection. Two young men carried me to the curb. When the ambulance came I could not remember where we lived, or even my date of birth. That’s when I observed I must be in shock.
I stared at my left leg and knee that had taken the full impact complete with road-rash, swelling, disfigure and Hurt, as did my neck on the right side. The arm that had protected both our faces on impact was scraped a little. Other scrapes and bruises were at that point to minor to worry about. I could not move and when I tried to stand on my other leg, nausea and blacking out forced me down again. I scanned my body and my guides confirmed no bone was broken, but tendons and ligaments were torn etc. All I could think was “They’re going to cut off my favourite pair of denim shorts -indeed the only ones I have right now. Crap.”
Just touching the knee made me retch with pain. Later, back home, any time I tried to stand up, the nausea would be instant and the feeling of fainting immediate.

Then everything is a blur again. A young man who spoke good English bought me a bottle of water and an icepack. He also reminded me the bike was not as important as us being alive. Much as I agree, well, it’s darned useful to get around and we’d only finished the repairs from last years incident three days prior. Honda no longer makes spare parts for the BizPlus.

The next day in a desperate bid for coffee I’d made myself stand up, holding onto and retching into the sink. That’s when I saw the portal open and understood. It was classic and so bright it was difficult to look at. This had been a choice point, the pain I felt in my neck was where the other me had snapped hers. The fainting spells was where she surfaced briefly to consciousness. I felt rather than heard a voice say Are you coming? And I mentally stated NO; I’m not leaving my husband, our cat, and I have two books I want to see out in the world first! I felt the other me die and the portal closed again. It was 11am and in the moment of closing the nausea and faintness was gone in an instant.

It took me a while to process. I was almost vegetable state, snoozing and staring at nothing for the first three days. Milou slept with me on the mattress, purring whenever the pain got too much in spite of the med’s. All energy I had had to be preserved for getting to the toilet.
I was not angry, or resentful, and that surprised me. Somewhere in my mental fog I knew there were bigger things at play here. Seeing portals and feeling the word co-creation on replay in my head does that.
We could have screwed the driver and the bike’s owner for every penny they would earn for a very long time, but ruining their lives just was not the way forward, I knew that.

After a week I had the bright idea of “I could spend this time writing, just give me a pencil and paper”. I found I could not. There was severe mental fog going on as well as a knee filled with what felt like razorblades and a leg under constant Chinese burns. I read some books instead in my waking moments. I could only sit up for minutes at a time.
Still, I was truly grateful. It sounds odd but it’s true. I was at home, I could recover with my beloved cat, instead of in a hospital I could neither afford or wanted to be in. Here, in ordinary hospitals, few speak English and family is expected to provide most of the care. In my case that would have meant Mario, before and after a 14 hr work shift, still recovering himself? In a room with several others, in pain, comings and goings all the time, no mosquito protection and the food… It does not bear thinking about.
Milou overrode her inherent dislike of sleeping close to anyone – cat or otherwise- and have spent most nights next to me – except on the full moon when she took the night off from nursing me to attend the cats allnighter party!

Thus, no matter how long it takes… there’s a lot to process. Some really old stuff that I really have zero desire to revisit. And sure, I rage against that, but I’m not going to bore you with it. I also rage against desperately wanting to move house and being stuck at home. How can we look for houses when I can’t walk? It’s likely to be a long time before I can, and before I can ride pillion again. I’m learning to ask for help and being dependent and I’m not enjoying it one bit. So here I am, watching the slow aurora borealis of bruising come and go on my leg from mid thigh down to my toes and occasionally wondering wtf?

I also sad because wanted to do the December Art & Crafts market on Isla; I spent a lot of time this summer and autumn making things especially and here I am… There’s work I promised to do and that now has to wait, and more work that I was looking forward to do that I will not be able to in the foreseeable future. There may be emails and enquiries in my mailboxes that I have not been able to reply to as I’ve not been able to get to the i-net cafe. I’d only had my phone for three days and thanx to being left at home it is intact, but I’d had no opportunity to download any apps for it before this happened. It makes me worry that I’ll thereby create for myself a reputation for being flaky and unreliable.
I have a little go-juice but equally it can be zapped by pain in minutes. When it’s spent it’s gone; all I can do is pass out on the mattress for the rest of the day. .
I was listening to a recording of Wendy Kennedy being interviewed by Rob Gaultier on a downloaded episode of Enlightenment Evolution Radio where she mentioned choosing the slow road rather than a near death experience, and that helped with the processing too.
I want to take this time to thank the Sisters of perpetual disorder on isla who helped in our time of need, with a care-package and crutches so I can hop around the house. Your help is so appreciated you have no idea and has helped enormously making life less difficult.

I know I’ve asked for an exit point quite a few times in recent years, but one where my beloved blames himself just would not do. Not one where he will forever ask himself Could I have done it better? No. I never blamed him. He did all anyone could have done in that situation, certainly more than I, being a lot more experienced at driving a bike.

It also makes one question the self, what if we had gone shopping after dinner? What if I hadn’t gone back to get… whatever? The queue had been shorter? What if we’d driven just a little bit faster/slower? What if the bike had started on the first kick? You can drive yourself crazy thinking like that. If it’s going to happen, it will, one way or another. My soul clearly thought I needed this experience so here I am having it. As the little voice after the X-files used to say (at least on English tv) I created this (or was it I made this?). If the option was to have died, no matter how long I take to recover, it is progress…
All things considered it’s something I’d have preferred not to have had to go through.
So please, next time you’re tempted: drink OR drive. One or the other. This is one way you don’t want to change another’s life, trust me on that.  And always wear good knickers.
The furry Angelic wants her dinner. I can do that.

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Lauren Z accident

Women & the Mexican revolution

With (Inter)NationalNovelWritingMonth underway I’ve had little time to work on anything else, so I apologize this is a bit rough and not really how I wanted it to be after feeling so deeply inspired after visiting the Museo Nacional del la Revolucion in Mexico City.  Maybe next year…

Women & the Mexican revolution
November 20th is the day we commemorate the Mexican Revolution, one of the most brutal struggles of the early 20th Century which lead to the end of the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. Mostly we are only reminded of the men: the leaders and the politicians, more often forgotten are the women. Revolucion museo

It can be hard for people today to imagine the cataclysm that gripped Mexico during the Revolution. At the beginning of 1910 the population was around 15 million; by the end as many as 2 million people had died or left the country – that is 1 out of 7. The physical destruction and social disruptions were immeasurable, but on a more positive note workers gained previously unimagined rights; the campesinos won the right to own the land they worked, and the status of women improved immensely.

So many of the photos of the Mexican Revolution were taken with a train or rail road tracks in the background. Rail roads played an monumental role in the struggle. One of the accomplishments of the pre-Revolution Diaz regime was to criss-cross Mexico with rail road tracks. These were built, operated, and owned by foreign corporations. It is difficult to appreciate the importance of rail travel in Mexico in those days unless you understand how mountainous and difficult much of the country is. Up until the mid-20th Century roads were often little more than dirt paths. With a rail roads, armies could travel distances in hours that would have taken weeks on foot.

the real revolucionariesThe word Soldadera comes from the Spanish soldada, a small allowance a soldier received so he could hire a servant. A wo/man who collected the allowance was therefore a soldadera, a person who cares for soldiers.
The Mexican armies at the start of the Revolution lacked many important facilities possessed by more modern armies such as commissary and supply departments, and a medics.
Soldaderas performed many of these functions, but on a relatively informal basis. They set up camp, fed the fighting soldiers, cleaned their clothes, patched them up when they got wounded, retrieved their bodies from the field if they were killed, searched the bodies of the other dead for supplies and equipment, and performed innumerable other small tasks that made their men’s lives, and the life of the whole army, more bearable.

The Mexican Revolution saw two types of Soldaderas: the female soldiers who fought alongside the men, and the majority of the Soldaderas—the women who accompanied the soldiers but were not soldiers themselves. These soldaderas were sometimes called Adelitas (more about this later) and were mostly women who followed behind the large battalions, carrying kitchen utensils, and sometimes even their children. When the soldiers made camp, the soldaderas found ways to procure food from nearby villages and cooked and washed for the fighters, as well as kept them company at night.
Though the Soldaderas played a crucial role in the Mexican Revolution they never got the credit they deserved. What more, the story of these brave women have been suppressed, distorted, or simply forgotten.

As soon as they safely could, most of the revolutionary generals disbanded their female units and rid themselves of women of all ranks. This despite their military value and the proven heroism of individual soldaderas. It was simply too much for the leaders of the time to handle. Most women did not draw wages as they were not official members of the various armies. Aside from being summarily dismissed, many were denied promised pensions for their own service or that of their slain husbands.
Unfortunately this rather reinforces the major perception of soldaderas as simple, unthinking camp followers, women of easy virtue who might even be prostitutes.
Those who could went home and some had difficulty adjusting back to civilian life, dealing with social shame and sometimes with no family left to rejoin. Many died in poverty.

The public image that remained of the soldadera has gradually been taken over by film makers and marketers and distorted further. More often they show female revolutionary soldiers as femme fatales, curvaceous and long-legged, holding their weapons suggestively and they gazing seductively.

The real life of the Soldaderas was tough. The army’s horses were often better treated because the generals viewed women as expendable. The horses on the other hand played vital combat roles.

The Mexican author Elena Poniatowska describes them as:
“…slight, thin women patiently devoted to their tasks like worker ants–hauling water and making tortillas over a lit fire, the mortar and pestle always at hand. (Does anyone really know just how hard it is to carry a heavy mortar for kilometers during military campaigns?) And at the end of the day there’s the hungry baby to breastfeed.”

Anxious on train“Anxious on a train” is one of the most famous photos to come out of the Revolution. The woman on the left scans down the train for her man, while the very young, and very pregnant, girl on the right gingerly makes her way down the steps. The women behind them carry wicker baskets of provisions. More often the women were left to travel on top of the railway carriages, which could be argued was better than to walk (carrying supplies and heavy cooking utensils) but it still left them dangerously exposed to the elements such as sun, rain and wind.

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Another painting, Las Soldaderas (1926), by José Clemente Orozco. Orozco’s murals captures the feeling of long marches, the weary women trudge behind their soldiers. Their heavy bundles contain the food and other household goods that make their life in the field.

What happened to these women when her man was killed or she otherwise became separated from him? There was often no place to return, and had she done so it could be very dangerous for her. Rape by passing soldiers or deserters was a common fate of Mexican women in this period. According to Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska, women of every social class were kidnapped. Stolen women would often become soldaderas. Having been dishonored, they could not return to their villages. Women who lost their men would often quickly form new arrangements with other soldiers to survive.

Working conditions for the people living on Mexico’s many haciendas were nothing but slavery. Beginning in 1910, workers rose up, raging against the oppression they and their ancestors had experienced for hundreds of years. Often they killed the owner before they left. Indigenous women often followed their men into battle, and later (with their men gone) many remaining women chose to simply take their chances on the road rather than be sitting ducks for rape and pillage.

Adelitas

Adelitas

As the revolution progressed more and more women became actual combatants. Unlike in the early days when a woman might pick up the gun of her wounded or dead spouse and plunge into combat, these (mostly middle class) woman appear to have been mobilized as a unit, and such units began to appear more often as the war continued.
Some generals were reluctant to accept a combat role for women, much less give them leadership positions. So women may disguise themselves (like Petra Herrera, initially calling herself Pedro) in order to be allowed to fight and to gain promotion, this under Pancho Villa.

Poniatowska writes :
“They nicknamed her ‘El Echa Balas’ (The Shooter) because of her violent character. She’d shoot her carbine squatting behind adobe walls, her aim better than that of a torpedo. On one occasion, two soldiers argued over who would be the first to rape a young girl they had kidnapped when ‘Pedro’ rode up to where they were and claimed her ‘for himself’. The soldiers, afraid of her aim and her knife-handling skills, let ‘Pedro’ take her. Once they were far enough away, Petra Ruiz opened her blouse and said ‘I’m also a woman like you’, and allowed the confused girl to go free.”

“…Herrera blew up bridges and demonstrated extraordinary leadership abilities…having gained a reputation as an ‘excellent soldier’, one day she showed everyone her braids and shouted ‘I’m a woman and I will continue to carry out my duties as a soldier using my real name!’ … Petra Herrera continued to fight in combat and took part, together with some 400 other women, in the second Battle of Torreón in May 30, 1914…Perhaps it was because her worth as a soldier was never formally recognized that Petra was motivated to form her own brigade which quickly grew from 25 to 1,000 women.”women of the mex rev

The female soldiers often ‘belonged’ to bands of rebels fighting against government troops. Many of them dressed like men, acted like men, rode horses, marched and fought like any of the other revolutionaries. One of the best known is Margarita Neri, a Mayan from Quintana Roo who became a commander in Emilio Zapata’s army.

Soldiers in arms

Soldiers in arms, men and women fighting side by side.

Some Soldaderas were feminists and socialist activists who not only fought on the rebel side, but fought for women’s suffrage, fair wages and affordable housing. More often middle-class, these soldaderas and revolutionaries were often educated and motivated by ideology much more than a desire to accompany their men.
Dolores Jiménez y Muro (previously a school teacher) was involved in drafting the ideas behind the “Political and Social Plan” which led to the Complot de Tacubaya. And even though that attempt to overthrow Díaz and install Madero as president failed, her writings influenced Emiliano Zapata’s own ideas of social reform.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Emiliano Zapata was a true social revolutionary rather than a simple opportunist. He was also famed for his respectful treatment of women. Zapata’s forces was described by one as “not an army, but a people in arms.”

Children too accompanied many of the armies, sometimes participating actively in the battles. The fierceness of the young who grew up practically in the revolution is hard for most to comprehend, yet testimony of it exists. In 1916, a girl named Elisa Griennesen Zambrano was living in Parral, Chihuahua when US troops arrived looking for Pancho Villa. Thirteen-year-old Elisa was outraged when the local Mexican men did nothing as invading troops arrived. So, she took charge. She got the women and children together and asked them to bring whatever was at hand: weapons, sticks, and stones. Infuriated, with their arms in the air, the women surrounded the American commander and forced him to shout “Viva Villa, Viva Mexico” as he ordered a retreat.

So when next you visit a Mexican restaurant and see the popular version of La Adelita: a beautiful woman wearing a pair of ammunition belts across her chest, holding a bugle in one hand and the Mexican flag on the other and smiling, know that there is so much more: When you hear the song Adelita, the classic corrido (soldiers’ ballad) that pays homage to all the Soldaderas. Adelita is a powerful ballad of love, bravery and patriotism and tells the story about a young woman who is in love with a sergeant, and he with her. Adelita is beautiful and brave; she follows her man into war and has even earned the respect of the colonel. In one version (there were many) she died gloriously by blowing herself up to prevent Diaz’ forces from seizing Villa’s ammunition supply. It was so popular among soldiers that the name became synonymous with the term soldadera.

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I hope this has given you something to ponder and remember on this day, and in this current state of affairs. Where do we want to go with this? Focus on that. Peace.

 

As far as i have been able to find out, all pictures used are public domain.  If not, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add credit or replace said picture.

Blessed Samhain to you all

Blessed Samhain to you all.

Here’s one from the archive, I’m focusing on the upcoming NaNoWriMo right now, but I am also working on something for Mexico Independence day that I started in Mali.
A very blessed Samhain to you all, x.

Questioning move-ability

Here’s some Questions to ponder on a rainy day, when you can’t sleep, or whenever.

What i was contemplating was this – how many would move or relocate if money wasn’t an issue? Seriously, think about it. Would you?
Where would you move to? Why? Really? Be honest with yourself. How would you live?
I mean, seriously live, not “live in a mansion in some hazy I won the lottery” kind of automatic reply.

For example, if you didn’t have to think about public transport (if you don’t have a car or access to one and can’t currently afford to buy or run one), would where you’d choose to live change?
If you didn’t have to think about living within the confines of the public transport grids to get to and from work, not worry about are there being supermarkets within reach and how to get produce home after shopping.

If you are used to the constraints of limited funds being on your own or starting again, finding somewhere small enough to afford, in town, where there are possibilities for work. Let’s say transport is available, as are suitable jobs. Then what? Or should I say where?
What would be your priorities? Preferences? Criteria? What’s important to you? Would you want a town-house? Small cottage in the countryside? Would you really want to grow your own food or is it just a dream because, well, right now you can’t? A flat? A commune? Is pretty walks and nature a priority? Fresh air? Or is trendy restaurants nearby, shops and clubs more your thing? Hustle and bustle? Peace and quiet? Lots of people or solitude?

I’ve lived in so many places I never wanted to, and so few I actively chose. Ravenswood court for example, a place I really liked the look of and never saw a single place for rent. Or places you can’t move to because finding employment or even get a foot in the door would take months. And it had to be a real job, one that paid enough to pay the rent, food, bills etc.

How many would stay where they are given the opportunity to move? And not pipe-dreams. “Of course I’d go to Mexico/the states/Australia/ take your pick” Would you? Leave friends, family, all you ever known, for a new city? New country? New language? Start again in a place where you knew no one …

Photo by Rachel Moscato, "You never forget the first time you pack your life into two suitcases and a backpack".

Photo by Rachel Moscato, “You never forget the first time you pack your life into two suitcases and a backpack”.

So often I heard youngsters complain about the Isle of Wight, but how many had the guts and get up and go go elsewhere? Just a short hop away with the ferry and still too scarred to make the move.
And I’m wondering locally too; how many would move given the chance? Leave the same two bed dwelling they share with 15 family members squeezed in? Do they like living together? Or is it because it’s all they’ve known. Is it safety in numbers? Or constant company? I don’t know. Do you?

Think about it.

The Paperback is OUT!

At long last THE PAPERBACK OF THE SPIRIT OF FLYING IS HERE!!!  And what a long strange at times completely exhausting trip it’s been!
My labour of love – I hope you enjoy reading it.

Currently available in the UK on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1v0tQUL
And in the USA  http://amzn.to/1uHjSFr

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Introverted adventure to Malinalco

I recently went to Mexico’s quirky capital, D.F.– Distrito Federal – on business and decided to tag on some writing time and make it a two in one, just for me. Going on my own was not the original plan, it just happened that way.
I’d forgotten how enjoyable and liberating it can be travelling on your own; doing what I want when I want, no one to take into consideration, no wondering if your companion is bored, or being bored myself with other peoples choices. No fears over missing out; I can relax in the evening with a book back at the hotel room, rather than feel irritated and overloaded in a bar; a compromise to a travelling companion who thinks we should go out; it’s what people do on holiday isn’t it… No packed days of stuff that you have to do or fit in, just a couple of ideas and see where I end up. A lot of cosy bookshops and cafés then…!

Random cafe in Mexico City

Random cafe in Mexico City

I’ve been asked a lot how I found out about Malinalco, or Mali as the locals called their picturesque little mountain town. Happenstance is how. I was in a hurry so I ran into the bedroom, grabbed my Mexico travel book, threw it on the kitchen table in passing en route to the toilet… Out of curiosity looked I looked where it had opened when it landed, read it and thought that sounds good, why not head there? So I did and it was lovely. Truly beautiful.
During the week it was a tranquil, relaxed haven with Wednesday market being a film-makers dream. So much so it felt out of integrity to take photos of all the traditionally dressed up traders with their wares and handmade crafts, come from all the little villages and towns around for the day.
Roll around Friday and the week-enders arrive; hotels and guest-houses fill up, the amount of shops and restaurants triple and the town centre becomes party-central until the wee hours of the morning. Time your visit to suit your recharging needs.

2014-08-20_17-34-53_116Going away to write did not work out quite as I had imagined for a variety of reasons. I missed my husband and the cats yes, that was expected.

Part of me wanted too much to explore to be disciplined. Where we live there is little or nothing I haven’t already done countless times, so being in a new and beautiful setting with wild rambling walks and culture at my fingertips, I wanted it all; Inspiration, experiences, nature, exercise. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a nature person, I do like the absence of other humans and the company of trees and other pretty greenery. Add to that an Aztec temple, museums, and lots of craft shops.
To just lock myself in a room (which I chose specifically because it had a desk instead of a tv) or sit on the balcony, felt a bit like ignoring a buffet when you’re starving – dumb and counter-productive. It also made me feel too weird and judged, though I don’t expect anyone actually took any notice.2014-08-22_10-29-55_164

There was also the old pressure stalking me, ready to pounce… Others may hunt down all the sights for great shots to show friends back home, and to sustain themselves whilst saving up for their next adventure. I’ve realized I travel in search of spiritual connections, in the hope of encountering soul family. I look, I search, even though I know the futility of it all. I can’t help myself. My fear is what if “they” are here and I miss them because I didn’t “make the effort” and “push myself”.
That fear drives me on. I wander aimlessly, perusing, observing, smiling, trying to relax, be approachable. While part of me wants to scream at my soul creator come on, darn it! Something, someone. Make my effort worthwhile! Someone approach me for a change, strike up a conversation. We don’t have to become bff, just ten minutes of meaningful conversation, a connection, a spark of light and glimmer of hope at the end of a solitary tunnel, that the loneliness (not to be confused with solitude) won’t last forever. That it’s not the life sentence I’m beginning to fear.

For someone as introverted and highly sensitive as myself it is a truly horrible pressure to force yourself to “go out and meet and talk to people” because I think I should, but I have yet to find another way to make friends. Noone’s ever come knocking on my door saying “I heard you were in town, I’ve been expecting you. Want to go for a coffee?” and turned into a fast friend.
Just because I’m introverted does not mean I don’t want friends. It just means I’m not interested in what I call extrovert-fun; the bars, clubs, noisy shopping malls and crowded parties. It could mean walks, coffees, lunches, small groups or one on one.

View from the Aztec Temple

View from the Aztec Temple

Lastly it was the am I getting x pesos worth out of this day, x being the cost of the basic hotel-room and food etc. It goes something like this; if I’d been filling notepad after notepad with pages and pages of inspired prose of the kind that barely needs editing, then yes. Heck yes. As it were, I got some good character studies that no doubt will come in handy later when fleshing out the population in my current novel with personality traits and quirks that make them fascinating characters. But nothing near what I had hoped for.

When I started writing Andino Andina the writing flowed. It was a magnificent stream of inspiration and consciousness a writer – any writer – dreams of. Writing at it’s most enjoyable. I wrote for hours, not even pausing to eat, until my hand was all cramped up after some seven hours that I had to continue with my other hand, which is considerably less easy on the eye.

Knowing I only had enough funds for a few days and not producing “enough” to justify the expense to myself, I booked my ticket back home.
I then asked myself what I needed most; more culture nourishment or more nature (both being in short supply where we live) and decided on another 24 hours in DF, rather than listening to another night of bad karaoke while trying to focus and squeeze coherent sentences out of my pen somehow.
It turned out to have been a wise choice. I spent hours in the hazy sunshine topping myself up with the delicious coffee and warm atmosphere at the Mono Azul, watching the hang gliders high above, before catching a colectivo to the bus station in a neighboring town and bus back to the big city.

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

And that is where I met some truly lovely people; on the microbus, among them the flyers I’d been watching from below, making their way back up the mountain for another flight. It was wonderful to be really seen, in the moment. I have a honest interest in flying of any kind and if I go back I’ll definitely consider a tandem. They in turn showed a genuine interest in me and my writing. We didn’t swap email addresses or anything; it was not one of those meetings. But I came away with a smile on my face that lasted, even in the pouring rain, for the rest of the day.
Or maybe that was the sweet, wild strawberries I’d filled my thermos-flask with and shared with the hotel porter and the cleaner 😉

Until next time,
Catpaw

A gentle reminder, re-blog: War and Grief

War & Grief.

On the recent anniversary of the passing of my beloved Miaowser, and bearing in mind the recent climate of fear and challenges faced by the majority of people I know, I’d like to re-post this blog from last year.  Let us remember and learn from our past experiences so that we might not repeat them.

Love you Miao-Cat.

Real questions & real answers

“Questions are infinitely more interesting that answers; you can get any number of answers from just one question…” (Liz Rosales)

Here’s a link to the questions Christina Salerno of Living Quirky asked yours truly
http://livingquirky.com/liz-rosales/

Can you tell I’m rather chuffed (read excited) to get asked real questions by a real person 😉 especially since Quirky is one of my favorite words!

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