April Catch-Up

Any Human Heart

April catch-up image

It has been a strange few months as March and April have been full of health issues.  First, I had a middle-of-the-night dash to A&E, where I was quickly diagnosed with Sepsis, brought on by kidney and bladder infections.  I was immediately put on treatment to bring me back from the brink.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is when you have an infection and your immune system goes into a crazy overdrive, starts attacking your organs and causes inflammation throughout the body.  It is a life-threatening but easily treatable when caught early.

Visit The Sepsis Trust for more information.

Recovering from Sepsis is much harder than I would have ever believed and I was medication for quite a long time after getting home from the hospital.  However, I was on the mend and just when I was finally starting to feel much better, I felt the same symptoms coming on again!  The A&E doctors had told me that if I suspected I had another infection I should come straight back, so that was what I did.  I was showing early signs of sepsis but I was put straight on antibiotics which seemed to stop it in its tracks.  Then it was back to trying to get better again.

Basically, not dying has taken up an incredible amount of time recently!

Getting ill is strange after having had cancer.  In a strange way, it takes me back to those old moments.  Laying in bed recovering = feeling like I have just had chemotherapy.  Going back and forth for hospital appointments = feeling like I am waiting to get some horrible life-changing results.  It is amazing how the brain can immediately trick you into thinking something else is going on and bring old emotions back up.  In some ways, the biggest challenge getting better was the mental battle rather than the physical one.

Needless to say, all of this put me rather behind with work, University and writing but I am finally getting back into the swing of things and I’m still in that dizzyingly excited period you get after you’ve been ill for a long time, where you just want to throw yourself into everything because it is just such a relief not to feel ill.

Writing

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.53.04However, in March I did have a short story, ‘Connected’, published in Fifty George Street literary journal.  It’s future fiction, imagining what it might be like trying to stay connected in a technological world.

You can read it on the Fifty George Street website.

Reading

I have read some wonderful books in the first quarter of this year, so I wanted to recommend my top 3 but I am finding it so hard to choose!  So I have ended up going for 4.  All 4 books are emotional but amazing and take you on a complete journey of the heart.  I highly recommend them all to you…

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Maillot ~ The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss ~ Soho by Richard Scott ~ Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Writing Workshop

After listening to the wonderful feedback I have received from people who have taken part in the ‘Let’s Start Writing’ workshop they have a had a bit of a revamp to include the chance to get more feedback on your writing.  I am thrilled with it and can’t wait to get started on Monday 7th May.  If you think you may be interested, please sign up here!

Let’s Start Writing

Sign up now to join the Let’s Start Writing Workshop starting Monday 7th January 2019

£20.00

For the rest of the month, I plan on getting on with writing and working and giving my body time to get stronger and stronger.  What have you been up to?  What have you been reading, writing and doing?  Leave a comment down below so we can have a chat.

Happy April x

Let’s Start Writing!

Creative Writing

I have very exciting news…

REGISTRATION FOR MY NEXT LET’S START WRITING WORKSHOP IS OPEN!

Taking feedback on board I have re-designed the LET’S START WRITING workshop to include a chance to share your work with the group and get encouraging and useful feedback to help you develop and go on to write more!

This online workshop spans over 3 weeks beginning on Monday 7th May 2018.

To ensure everyone has good feedback PLACES ARE LIMITED so book now!

First Week: Monday 7th to Friday 11th May, I send you a daily email with a discussion, tips & hints, examples and a small task.

What could you spark in 10 minutes copySecond Week: You have time to write a short story and send it to me, I will then format (remove emails etc.) and make a document of all the groups writing and send it out.

Third Week: You have a chance to read everyone’s work before we have a text only chat where I will give feedback, and we can all give words of encouragement, talk about what we loved, what we would like to have read more about and why, and so on.

I have specially designed the daily tasks to be done in 10 minutes.  Trust me… you will be amazed what can be achieved in 10 minutes of writing!

You don’t need any previous experience and all writing prompts will ask you to draw from your own life and experiences, so again, no need to be nervous about coming up with epic novel ideas!

Let’s Start Writing

Sign up now to join the Let’s Start Writing Workshop starting Monday 7th January 2019

£20.00

What previous participants have said…

This workshop was exactly what I needed. The beautifully presented, upbeat and thought provoking emails sent every morning were a welcome bit of ‘me time’ after the school run. As a mum of four little ones, finding time to sit down, think and write is challenging but your short 10 minute exercises made it feel achievable and although they only took ten minutes, the ideas, inspiration and techniques will last far longer. I enjoyed it so much that this mum of four with no time on her hands has just signed up to the next stage!

– Emily Taylor

I had been thinking about writing but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.  By day one I suddenly had an organised list rather than randomly going from one thing to another.  By day two I was able to face that blank page and the words just kept coming.  The freedom of just writing was exciting.  I loved every day of the workshop and was really looking forward to receiving the
emails and discovering my next task. The workshop was clear with guidelines and examples which made it all very easy and the fact that we only needed to give 10 minutes a day made each task very do-able.  I now have a clear plan on what I would like the outcome for my writing to be, and an abundance of lists to work from.

– Lesley Barlow

I loved the course. I am a total novice when it comes to writing and you have given me some really useful tools to get me started. I love a list and a mood board and would have never had thought to use these as a starting point and for inspiration for my writing. Thank you Nicola, through doing this course you have opened up my mind to viewing and approaching writing in a different way.  

– Sarah Bienvenu

The two short courses have been very enjoyable and very therapeutic for me. I was taken on an unexpected journey. You can’t get better than that!  I really enjoyed crafting the final story in the Let’s Start Writing course.  I would like to say a very warm thank you. I will keep a look out for your next set of emails on writing courses.

– Christine Grieves

Let’s Start Writing

Sign up now to join the Let’s Start Writing Workshop starting Monday 7th January 2019

£20.00

A Sunday Six Word Story

Creative Writing, Writing & Blogging

Apologies if you received this earlier in the week – the WordPress app and I were not getting on! 😉

Anyway, as I was saying…

I thought I’d publish a cheeky little six word story! I usually put these on my instagram so of you’d like to see more, follow me over there but for her, here’s today’s Six Word Story and I personally think this truly is a story we should all remember, all the time…

Happy Sunday x

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stay in touch... copyimages-2 Unknown-2 images-1

Connected by Nicola Bourne

Creative Writing

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They say when someone dies that they leave a hole in your heart but I don’t think that’s true.

Instead, they add something to your heart.  It has the shape and weight of a large boulder and its forever in the way.  It makes it hard for your heart to keep working.  Hard to breathe.  I tried explaining that to a woman at work and she told me about someone her friend knew who had a tumour inside their heart the size of a pea.  I think she thought that would help.  Empathizing by sharing a parallel story.  They did both involve hearts.  Maybe the emphasis was lost over text message.

That is why I bought him online.

Read the rest…

Published on www.50GS.com, 14th March 2018

That Dreaded Day

Uncategorized

I originally posted this blog two years ago but it still rings true…

Nicola Bourne

There is a time in every cancer survivors year when a dreaded day (or two…) comes around.  They are of course the dreaded check-ups!

I remember the first time I had to go back for a check up, pushing back the tears as I arrived the hospital.  The familiar sights and smells… immediately I felt like I was driving back for yet another chemotherapy appointment or to get some more “it’s worse than we initially thought” type horrible news.

I have gone so far as to actively try and avoid these dreaded days but they always catch up with you, usually encouraged by husband saying “Nic, what’s happening with your appointment?”  “seriously Nic, what’s happening?”

Well I couldn’t make the last appointment so I will rebook… you know…. next month… or maybe the month after… no rush hey?!

“Actually Nic – yes, there is.  Your delaying the inevitable and if there is something…

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January Catch-Up

Any Human Heart, Blogs, Creative Writing, Goals, Journey Back to Health, Writing & Blogging

january catch-up copy

The Joy of January

I have to confess to usually hating January. It’s cold, its dark, the Christmas lights that were making everywhere look so pretty are gone, money is tight and it’s so cold that I’m left clinging to the radiator like we are shipwreck survivors.

The Change
This year I have changed my whole attitude to January and have been embracing it. After the craziness of Christmas, I’ve been taking this quieter month as a real opportunity to have some downtime and spend more time quietly at home. To take care of my house a bit more, to read with my children. My evenings have been spent snugged-up indoors having a hot bath and reading one of the awesome books or box-sets that I got for Christmas. I have been enjoying the gentle quietness January brings.

Reflection
This time also allows for some quieter reflection of what I would like to achieve in 2018, rather than the big – I wanna be skinny – resolution, I can take time to really think. I mean, obviously, I do want to be skinny but I am able to take the time to really think about how I am going to achieve that. But also consider life goals, work goals, what writing I want to work on, family goals. To really think about the year ahead and what will be best for us all.

Soul Detox
I also decided to have an online detox in January and have been attempting to Marie Kondo the hell out of my life. It’s still a work in progress but if it doesn’t bring me joy… I’ve unsubscribed and unfollowed. I’ve changed my notification settings so that my phone isn’t pinging every two minutes with notifications that I don’t need to see urgently. It’s been really nice to receive emails and notifications that do bring me joy, and it definitely feels less overwhelming.

January’s Close
Now that we are nearing the end of January, I am loving seeing little shoots appearing in the ground and I hope that I too will be able to step into February feeling entered, refreshed and renewed.

January Writing Workshops

The Let’s Start Writing Workshop that I ran at the beginning of January was fantastic and we had such a wonderful time. I love running this course as it’s so much fun seeing people trying something new for the first time and loving it.
And great news – starting on Monday I am running another two courses that you can sign up to…

There are plenty of testimonials on the Writing Workshop page so take a look.  Enjoy the rest of your January and I hope to see you on one of the courses soon.

Nicola x 

 

On This Day – I was Diagnosed with Cancer

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From the archives… I posted this last year but the message remains as true as ever…

Nicola Bourne

It was the 4th January 2012 that I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  My dad coming over to watch my 3-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son whilst my husband took me to the hospital for my long-awaited colonoscopy.

I knew instantly that there was a problem, as soon as the consultant began the procedure – the weird looks and awkward silences when I asked what was wrong.  The nurse wouldn’t tell me what was happening, saying only that I should wait for the consultant to come and see me.  When the consultant finally did come, he said that he wanted my husband present.  All of this combined with the feeling in my heart and stomach meant I knew, before the consultant told me.  I knew that I had bowel cancer.  You can read all about my diagnosis here if you want to know more…

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Registration Open!

Creative Writing, Writing & Blogging

Hello all,

I have great news!  After the successful Let’s Start Writing Workshop that I ran in September, I have decided to run it again in January – perfect for your New Years Resolution to write more or for your to buy for someone else for Christmas – and you can now sign-up for the next Let’s Start Writing Workshop now!

new writing workshop

Read all about it here…

Non-Fiction November Recommendations

To Love To Read

It’s non-fiction November and I love it.  There are SO many wonderful non-fiction books, everything from creative non-fiction and memoirs to literary journalism and essays.  There is something incredible about reading something and knowing that it is a true and lived experience.

These are just a few of my favourite non-fiction books that you might want to think about picking up this November…

71UzoY91DTLThe Outrun by Amy Liptrot

I loved this book.  It is a memoir following Amy Liptrot through a point of major change in her life of extremes.  Going from living in one of the most remote and quietest parts of Scotland to a hedonistic lifestyle in London that quickly spiralled out of control and finding her way back again.  It’s incredibly moving, beautifully written and gives an amazing insight into the mind of an addict.  This book will also make you want to desperately visit the Shetland Islands!

51D5+AsHk0L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

This book is so unique.  Nelson is also a poet which I think comes across in her work because the sentence structures are so stunning.  This memoir reflects on the woman’s body through the lens of Nelson’s relationship with her body when she is pregnant and her gender fluid partner’s body as they transition.  The text is very fragmented and jumps around time like she is trying to piece all her memories together.

9781408859261The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury

This is one of my favourite books of all time.  Katharine Norbury’s memoir is  one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.  It combines memoir and nature writing, following Norbury’s journey to the source of a river in the UK after she has a miscarrige.

This book does broach the subject of miscarrige, although its not discussed in length, I think its worth giving a trigger warning for a very sensitive subject.

91h3nXHn+dLMen We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Ohhh this book!  Writer Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life in just five years!  In this beautifully written memoir, Ward reflects on her relationships with these men and what lead to their deaths, as a way to look at the circumstances that young black men who live in poverty often find themselves in.  Let your eyes be opened and your heart moved by this incredibly honest book!

coverNo Is Not Enough by Namoi Klein

I am reading this book at the moment.  It is about ‘shock politics’ and how someone like Donald Trump (who she calls the ultimate logo) can become President of the USA.  Although it’s about America, a worrying amount is relevant to the UK at the moment!  It also looks at how we, as societies can stop letting fear taking over and bring unity back. As Klein says, ‘This is a look at how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script.’

51dyNorWnNL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer by… me!

Given that it is non-fiction, I kinda feel like I have to mention my book.  Part self-help and part memoir this book moves from diagnosis to getting the all clear, trying to offer everything that I learned along the way.

 

Do you have any non-fiction books that you would recommend?  If so, please leave a comment in the comments section below… I am always looking for books to add to my list of books to be read!

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Happy Reading! x

Why September is the New January!

Creative Writing, Writing & Blogging

Why September is the new January graphicThere is something incredibly renewing about September.  The earth may be beginning to shut down for the winter but in doing so, it becomes more alive.  Tree’s become more vibrant and colourful, new produce is being freshly harvested.  The earth is changing so visually, it is like the world is inviting us to consider how we can make changes with it.

And it is not just the earth that evolves at this time of year.  Work picks up as people are ready for new projects they put on the back-burner over the summer and full of ideas to put into action.  Social engagements get busier as the kids head back to school everyone heads back into the office meaning that we can all get a semblance of a routine back into place.

Seeing a huge proportion of the population returning to education also serves to ignite a feeling of wanderlust and working to your next achievement.  You do have to wonder if this is a psychological conditioning that comes from our whole childhood, teaching us that September see’s the start of something new – a new school year, new teachers, new (and the very exciting) back to school stationery.  Is that something we carry into adulthood, the feeling that September is a new beginning?  Maybe, but there is no denying that September is a much more transitional time of year than January, for the earth and for us.

With the autumn transition comes a return to self, a renewal, a chance to consider what we would like the achieve in the last quarter of the year – and beyond.  What we would like to do for ourselves.

January may have the market sewn up for new beginnings and resolutions but in reality, the 1st January is basically the same as the 20th November – except your knackered and skint after Christmas.  However the change between August and September, that is when things are really changing, and why Autumn is the perfect time for trying something new, considering changes you want to make and making new *school* year resolutions.

fall quote

If you fancy trying Creative Writing as your autumnal resolution, sign up for my free

Let’s Start Writing Workshop 

It is going to be super relaxed, super fun and an amazing chance for you to start thinking a little more creatively and to allow some simple techniques to get you started writing.  I have designed for all of the tasks to be easy, under 10 minutes and each email is filled with tips and hints.

Remember to pass on details of the course to anyone else who might be interested and I can’t wait for us to get started!

Nx