Breathe in, breathe out, and another month has zoomed (not literally) by. We finished our anthology judging after a manic four weeks. Not allowed to say more at this stage. I am seriously considering joining the NAWG at their Literary Fest in September, if I can face the five and half hour car journey on my own, after a full day at work. It would be great to meet those folks I've only spoken to via email and zoom.
In addition to judging a national competition this last month, I’d also agreed to be one of the judges the Birchington Literary Festival short story competition last weekend. I think I had a couple of weeks for that one, which I did at the same time as the nationals. Ali Boots was the winning entry with her short, The Joy of Giving, and yes before you ask, she was one of my top three.
The Birchington Festival went very well, with great feedback. I want to thank Geraldine Watson for her effort, time and commitment organising such a monumental event. Its sure to be on again, maybe in 2023, if Geraldine can face another event so soon.
I’d also like to thank George, for helping me with my heavy tomes and portering them around the festival. Sorry I didn’t catch his last name, but I know he facilitates Birchington Together, works at Thanet Earth and is part of Roger Gale’s team. Thank you George.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event. My session on Character Building was well attended, and the facilitator of the Folkestone Writing Group has asked me to do a session for her group in the near future. Geraldine reported the feedback was very good. After my session on Saturday, I had some time to sign and sell books in one of the marques. Sunday saw me there again, with a Q & A session and a short story reading session. Not wanting to stand by I decided to enter the Open Mic Poetry competition, and though my poem Time Line Through Thanet didn’t come anywhere, I really enjoyed taking part. Several of the entries had me in tears they were so emotional.
This weekend I’m off to the Alexander Centre, as Faversham is having a two-day Transport Festival throughout the town. I’m excited and also frustrated because Aquasapien Three is back from one of my Beta-Readers, and I can’t wait to plough through it in preparation for publishing. The cover is already in the mock-up stage with Pegu Designs.
Away from my writing front, I’ve upped my fitness levels in the last few days, performing 20 press-ups and 20 sit-ups each morning along with 60 kicks in preparation for my next karate belt. Yes, I’ve finally taken the plunge and agreed to try out for my brown belt. It will be the last grading I ever do as old age in the form of crippling arthritis is catching me up – fast.
Our karate style, Kyokushin, is I think one of the toughest when it comes to exams. It works like this: first belt exam is 1st red. It takes about 40 minutes with 10 press-ups, sit-ups etc to show a basic level of fitness, then your karate moves, kicks, punches, strikes and and blocks.
The next person, taking their 2nd red belt (There’s two belts per colour) has to turn up when the 1st red belt starts their exam and do all the 1st red moves with them, before they can then spend the next 20 minutes demonstrating their own moves and fitness levels for the assessors. Then we go on to 1st blue, 2nd blue, 1st yellow, 2nd yellow, 1st green, 2nd green. Each person has to take part in the entire range of belt moves from 1st red to their own colour.
Now we get to 1st brown. We have to stand there and do all 1st red moves, then 2nd red, then 1st blue, 2nd blue, 1st yellow … It takes about six and a half hours, and at the end of that? I have to be able to do 20, one-minute fights with whoever wishes to fight me – usually black belts. I think I’m slightly insane to this at my age. Writing is definiately much safer.
However, before all that I have training, with a mock exam on the 19th of June and the final do-or-die event on 3rd July. I managed to get to green belt in Shotokan karate in my twenties…
Covid taught me many lessons about living.
You have one life. Live it well, for you may not have tomorrow. And if you do. You are the lucky ones. Remember that, for those that were not so lucky. They will live through you and your deeds. Don't waste one single day regretting things you could have done.