Music & Memories

Music & Memories

The Power Of Song

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Music has always been a huge influence in my life. I’m not some kind of musical prodigy, and I can barely carry a tune, but I love music. I can’t remember the last day when I didn’t listen to music; it’s the first thing I listen to in the morning. To me, there is nothing better than waking up to a good tune.

I have often confused people though, as they ask me what kind of music I’m ‘into’, and when I give them my answer, they simply don’t understand. My answer is simply this: “I like pretty much anything” and the thing is that I genuinely mean this.

There are very few songs that I actually dislike enough to turn them over. I could probably count them on one hand, if I’m honest.

Music for me is central to everything. Most of my memories have music linked to them. For example, when I hear Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Old Friends’, I think of my sister. We always said that we’d be like the friends in that song, sat on the park bench like bookends. I will never hear that song and not smile, even though it is now bittersweet, as we won’t get to do that.

I remember the moment that I became a Christian, because of the song that was being played at the time. It was the song ‘Majesty’ by Delirious? and I was at one of their concerts. That song will always be special to me, and remind me of that moment when I made a choice that I have never regretted.

Of course, there are songs that remind me of sad times, too. The song ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ by Dean Martin was playing when my Grandmother died. It literally sang her out. We were all there with her, and we sang along to it. In truth, we sang her out, too. I can’t listen to that song without crying. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.

The thing is that music can evoke so many different emotions in us, and I love the way that certain songs can make me laugh or cry or give me shivers. The way that it has of making me feel something so deeply, in a way that no words or pictures can, amazes me.

Do you have any special songs? Let me know in the comments. J


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Vigilante By Shelley Harris

Vigilante By Shelley Harris

A Review

At the start of this year, my friend started a book club. Our first book choice was “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman, which I loved and have already reviewed. You can find that here:

The second book selection was the subject of this review. I only wish that my reaction to this book was the same as that of the first one.

I truly hated this book. The story was weak. The characters were weak. The entire premise was more than a little ridiculous.

Before I go any further, I will issue a spoiler alert, although I hardly think I will be spoiling anything about this book, seeing as there is practically nothing about it to spoil.

We begin the book with a disappointed and discontented housewife, tidying up after her careless husband and teenaged daughter. I am not going to do more here than say that I don’t like tidying and chores when I am the one doing them. I like them even less when I’m reading about someone else doing them. I can think of nothing more boring.

We then are introduced to her husband’s superhero comic book that he’s drawing. Enter the green eyed monster. The main character becomes jealous (of a fictional character), and sets about designing her own super hero costume for a fancy dress party that they are invited to.

The costume in itself, is ridiculous. I don’t know of any super hero that would wear fishnet stockings, and red high heels. Regardless, the costume was finished, and while on the way to the party, the main character intercepts a mugging.

From here, ensues a series of “Should I?” and “I really shouldn’t” moments, where the mc can’t quite make up her mind what she wants to do, which left me (the reader) wanting to simultaneously strangle her and kick her up the proverbial behind! I mean, seriously, a young girl is discovered missing, presumed kidnapped, and rather than calling the police, this woman agonises about whether she’s going to put on the costume and go to look for her or not.

The entire thing was, to coin the phrase of two members of the book club, “pretentious crap”. There was an emphasis put on women in stereotypical roles. The downtrodden housewife, living a double life. The butch lesbian police officer. The closeted lesbian teenager. All in all, it was simply too much politics, and not enough story or premise.

The language was flowery, and just way too much. The author even had the bare faced cheek to use the phrase “I won’t mince words” after a particularly lengthy passage of text, where the salient points could have been conveyed in half the words.

There was, however, one thing (and just the one, mind you) that I took from this book and that I found valuable. This was the technique shown the main character when she attended a self defence class, and was taught that if she was attacked, then one of the weakest points on an assailant is the little finger, which, when grabbed and pulled back, will make them let go.

This is something that, almost two months after reading the book, has stayed with me, and that I can say is very valuable.

Overall, though, I do not recommend this book, unless your main goal for reading it is to make yourself lose the will to live… multiple times. I’m serious!

If you’ve read it, what do you think about it? Do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear your views.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo

The Beginning

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

Well, yesterday, I began a month-long writing challenge. National Novel Writing Month that runs throughout the course of November, has been going for a number of years now. I have participated several times, but this year, I thought I would try their spring challenge, titled “Camp NaNoWriMo”.

The principle is basically the same. You write throughout the month of April. You have support from a huge network of peers, who are also doing the challenge. The difference is that you set the target. You can write anything you want, or finish off a piece you’re currently working on.

The thing is that there is an added freedom in this challenge, which isn’t there with the November variant. So, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m hoping that it will jump start my steps back into writing, and that I can actually get something fully drafted by the end of the month.

So, I’ve picked out my projects, and made a start. One is the story of a teenaged girl whose father is arrested for being in a relationship with one of his students, but this isn’t just any student, it’s her best friend. The story picks up just as this becomes public knowledge and Allie (mc) sees her father arrested. We will then follow Allie as she walks the path of a pariah; a girl marked with a sin that is not hers.

I’m really looking forward to getting on with the story and to writing freely for a while. I don’t intend to plan too much, because the story has been inside my head for a long time, and I have a fairly confident knowledge of where it is going to go.

I also intend to work on a middle grade fantasy about a dragon school; a dark YA fantasy about a girl who can pass between her world and a world inhabited by daemons; a short story for the writing course I am doing; and the novel that I’ve been working on for the last year.

I know it seems like a lot of projects, but my mood is very unsettled at the moment, and after talking with a good friend, who is a huge inspiration to me, I have decided that it’s okay to have multiple projects to work on.

I’ll keep you guys updated, and if you want to join me on the journey, drop me a note in the comments. J


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

I’m Baaaaack!

Photo by Justine Camacho on Unsplash

I’ve let this blog slip massively. I’ve not been well (emotionally and physically) and it’s been very hard to summon up the energy to do any writing at all. I just haven’t been able to motivate myself to do it, whether that’s ‘it’ is the action of sitting at my computer and typing, or whether it’s the mental process of coming up with things to write. Either way, things haven’t got done, and posts haven’t been written, and it got to the point where I had to say to myself that I had to take a break, for my own sanity.

I’m feeling a little better now, and have been able to write, so I’m hoping that I can get back on track with this blog, because I really have missed it.

The thing is that sometimes, life gets in the way, and in the past I would have blamed myself for not being strong enough to be able to cope with it, and to also get on with things (like writing these posts), but I am slowly learning that it’s okay to say that I’m having a bad day, and that the post I want to write will wait until tomorrow, and it will probably be better for me giving myself some time. I’m not saying that I never have those feelings of ‘not being good enough’, but I am more aware of them now, and I can try and practice being kind to myself.

So, I guess what this post was really about was to say that I’m back, and that I hope you’ll join me on this next journey this coming month. 🙂


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Pageant

Pageant

A Poem Of The Self

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

A vision of perfection,
The mask is put in place,
Bright smile now pasted on,
She hopes it’s not a waste.

The darkness crashes in,
She’s lost, and all alone,
Yet coming from within,
She’s toppled from her throne.

The old ones never tell,
Eyes unseeing, see,
They say that all is well,
But it will not ever be.

She fell and now she falls,
Freely breaking down,
She won’t go to the ball,
But sits there with a frown.

Tears will flow down cheeks,
And her beautiful dress is crumpled,
She’s been sad for weeks,
She’s broken, trodden, trampled.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Piling On The Pressure

Piling on the pressure

And why I’ve decided to give myself a break.

Photo by Lysander Yuen on Unsplash

Being a carer, there is a LOT of extreme and constant pressure on you. Your life becomes something that is not about you at all. Your entire existence becomes wrapped up in looking after the person that you care for.

A large number of these carers will, at some time or the other, experience burnout. They will get to the point where, no matter how much they want to, they literally cannot physically or emotionally, give any more.

I know this feeling, and it isn’t a nice one. Dependent on the needs of the person that you’re caring for, there can be immense pressure:

“If I’m not there when they need me, will they hurt themselves?”

These thoughts can go round and round in the mind of a carer, until the fear is almost crippling. I know it was for me.

Carers very rarely put themselves first. They always come second, never will they put their own needs above their loved one.

I can remember days when I was so exhausted, and had the beginnings of a migraine, and even then, I made sure that my sister was okay and that she had everything that she needed before I actually took the painkillers I needed and took myself to bed.

Since my sister passed away in 2017, I have been struggling to adjust to a life where I am not a carer. The habits I learnt back then have taken a long time to break. For example, I used to try and cram as much of my writing and art and craft into the morning as I possibly could, because I knew that the minute that midday came, I would be needed to fulfil my carer duties.

Although this has not been the case for more than a year now, I have only just been able to allow myself time in the mornings in order to relax, in the knowledge that I can now, also work in the afternoon.

It sounds so simple and so stupid, and yet, it has been a real issue for me.

This week, I have, rather than giving myself daily schedules, simply set out the minimum number of hours I wish to spend on each thing (writing, studying, artwork, crafting). I haven’t really looked at whether I am on track or not. I am just simply allowing myself to spend the time working on these things, but the targets being there helps my badly behaved brain to not panic about not achieving enough.

Through this process, I am giving myself permission to have some breathing room, and so far, my productivity has flourished because of it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Going Old School

Going Old School

A Practice In Reminiscing

I remember the Christmas that my parents bought me my first electronic word processor. I remember the excitement when I tore the wrapping paper away, and when I opened the box and switched it on, watching the screen whirring to life. It was a Canon StarWriter, and I loved that machine.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the first time that I realised that I didn’t have to just read books, but that I could actually create them, too. That Christmas, I started writing on that little word processor, and I loved it. The feeling of freedom that writing gives me is like nothing else on this earth. It is a joy like no other, and I am sad to say that I had lost it for quite a while.

The thing is that until the last year, I had been a carer for fifteen years, and if I’m honest, that took up most of my time and energy, leaving me very little left to give to my writing.

That changed in October 2017, in a heartbreaking way, when my sister, and best friend (whom I was caring for) passed away suddenly. It has taken me a long time to get to the point when I finally feel able to focus and dedicate the time to my writing once more.

The thing is that, having made that decision, I have struggled to write using my laptop. There are any number of distraction free apps on the market, but none of them prevent the constant notifications that are forever at our finger tips.

So, I started searching to see if there was something else that I could use, which is when the memory of writing on my little word processor as a child, came to me.

Now, obviously, we are in an age, where portability is essential, so, while I got out my StarWriter (yes, I still have it, and it still powers up flawlessly) to use at home, I began looking for something that would be a good, portable alternative.

This is when I stumbled upon this gem. The AlphaSmart Neo2. Looking at the writers forums, I saw that a number of novelists were working from this device rather than from more modern, and possibly high tech devices.

The thing is that the Neo2 does exactly what I need it to. It gives me a full sized keyboard, and a small screen, which I can see about six lines of text. There is no internet, and no pesky notifications to distract me, so I can simply write, write, write. The screen works in bright sunlight, and with a lamp, so I can literally take it anywhere with me, and the battery life is approximately 700 hours, on guess what?! Three AA Batteries!

I have had this device since Saturday, and I can honestly say that I have probably written more in these few days than I have in the last month or so.

This is the thing though… as humans, we have a tendency to over complicate things, with fancy apps, and cloud backup, when really, all we need is the ability to put the words in our head down in some way.

With my Neo, I simply write, and then when I want to transfer it to a document, I simply connect it to my laptop with a USB cable and “send” the document there. In fact, I’ve done that with this very post that you’re now reading.

I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but for me, it has given my writing a new lease of life, for which I’m so grateful for.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Social Media Breaks

Social Media Breaks

And Why I’m Taking One

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Lately, (thank you depression), I have found myself spending more and more time on social media, not actively commenting and talking to people, but simply passively reading posts.

It has become somewhat of a time killer for me, and I have far too many things that are important to me that I need to spend time doing, so I am taking a forced social media break.

I have three deadlines coming up at the end of the month, and I have a LOT of work still to do before they are ready to submit. I also have writing ideas actively flying around my mind, which I really want to be able to focus on, and I know that if I don’t cut off my social media time, then I won’t get anything done, because sometimes, it is simply less painful to read about other people’s lives, that in is to engage in my own, but this is not something that I want to do.

I’ve also found myself becoming very jaded about social media. While it can be used massively for good, I have also noticed that so many people seem to simply play lip service to others, and this isn’t something I want to be a part of. It is fake and untruthful, and not for me.

As an example, in the last week alone, I have witnessed people leaving friendly comments on others’ posts, even though I know that they don’t get on, or even like said person. This is not for me. If I can’t say anything nice, then I will not say anything at all, but I won’t say something nice in public, simply to stab the knife into someone’s back in private. I will not do this, and I have seen it one too many times lately, so I am going to take a break for a while. I am still going to post my daily photo journal, which I named #myy33project, because that is a year long project, which I don’t want to lose. I will post this on Instagram and share it to Twitter and Facebook as normal. I shall also share my blog posts, but that’s all.

To be honest, and without meaning to sound maudlin, most people won’t really miss me anyway. I’m okay with that. I am used to being fairly invisible, and it makes this transition far easier for the moment.

So, I guess, unless you read these blogs, this is goodbye for the foreseeable future.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Back On Track

Back On Track

A Rough Week

Photo by Hasnain Babar on Unsplash

This week, I haven’t posted much on here. I’ve been feeling quite low and I’ve not really done much, if I’m honest.

I guess that’s what I have to deal with thanks to my depression and TMJD *eye roll emoji*. Seriously, I’ve spent most of the week with a pounding headache and pain shooting down my neck and through my eyes.

Added to that, I found a lump in my dog’s neck. The vet did a fine needle aspiration, but there was a forty eight hour wait to get the results back.

Now, forty eight hours doesn’t seem like a particularly long time, but when you’re waiting for results of something like that, and you have this charming little thing I call ‘writer’s brain’, which has a tendency to imagine every possible scenario, and automatically panic about the worst case, then it can feel like YEARS!

Thank goodness that when I phoned the vet, they said that it was just a swollen lymph gland, and that it should go down by itself.

The reason I’m telling you this, is because it explains my absence. I have been a nervous wreck, with no real drive to write, or post, or create, even; but now, I’m ready to get back to it. I can’t promise anything particularly brilliant, but I’m willing to try, and I just hope that you will like what I write.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Depression

Depression

The Cold and The Darkness

Photo by Matthias Heil on Unsplash

I’ve struggled to name this post. I’ve been wanting to write something about depression for a while now, but the words have always failed me when it actually came to writing it down.

It’s hard to write about depression. It’s even harder to live with it. Some days you wake up and everything’s good. You feel energised, and ready to take on anything. Then there are the other days. The darker ones, when all you want to do is roll over in bed and sleep and sleep until the darkness fades and the sun shines again.

The thing is that ‘depression’ has become a buzz word. It has become something that is all too common for people to talk about, with phrases like; “I’m sooo depressed” and “I’m just a bit down” being thrown about everywhere.

The people that say this very rarely have any idea of what they’re claiming to have. Depression isn’t fashionable. It isn’t a quirk, and it certainly isn’t something that is fun to have.

There are so many aspects of depression that people don’t talk about though; the unglamorous things, like when you haven’t taken a shower in over a week, because you simply can’t summon up the energy, or when you eat junk, because you can’t be bothered to cook, and you aren’t really sure if you’re hungry anyway… There are too many examples to list.

When I was fourteen, I felt exhausted all the time. I struggled to get up in the morning. I couldn’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time, and I was off school for a number of weeks. It was like life was just too much like hard work.

My Mum took me to the doctor, and they did all the usual stuff, and then took blood samples, to check if I had glandular fever. The bloods came back negative, and the doctors (in their obvious wisdom) decided that I was just making it up — nice! In their defense, it was almost twenty years ago, and back then, children and adolescents weren’t diagnosed with mental health issues.

At the time, I didn’t really know what was happening to me. I just knew that I felt exhausted. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I was scared; and when the doctor said I was making it up, I was hurt.

I wasn’t making it up.

Back then, I didn’t understand, but now, I know what it was. I was clinically depressed, and the doctor missed it. I’m not angry with him. It wasn’t his fault that the rules were like that back then, and I didn’t tell him everything, because I was ashamed.

I still feel ashamed today, but there’s nothing I can do to change it. I have depression. It is a part of me, and all I can do is make the most of the good days, and make the best of the bad ones.

And above all: I must not give up hope.

We must not give up hope.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.