Friday, 31 August 2007

The Sheepdogs Tale

I have recently read a book called "Three Bags Full" by Leonie Swann, I will write a review soon, but it set me thinking. I have been rather authoritarian in telling all my stories myself, there are others involved who should perhaps be given a voice. It would also allow me to concentrate on my wip for a while, if it doesn't work then I won't have lost anything, except my fellow bloggers maybe!!!!

So here goes, over to you Mist, you can go first.

Woof woof woof, oh sorry I got a bit excited then, forgot you lot have a funny language, luckily us sheepdogs learn it an early age, at our Mama's knee to be precise. Sheepdogs are born not made, it's in the blood. Anyway this is my story, from the day I was born, how I came here and what I do every day.

Mama is a Belgian Sheep Dog, type Malinois, now I know that lots of you will be surprised to learn that I am a sheep dog[I know she was] as you will be more used to those black and white Collie types, they are not bad at the job but they don't have our presence. You never see a sheep talk back to us! Papa was a lurcher, "flighty" Maman called him but luckily the only traits I inherited from him were speed and the dislike of being treated for anything!!!

There were just two of us puppies, born in November 1996, Maman called us the "Chosen Ones" I'm not sure why.[*Note from Sheepish: there were actually 13 puppies but only homes for two so only two survived, I never told Mist.]

We had a great time ,free to roam the farmyard from daybreak to nightfall, as much milk as we could drink, bedtime stories from Maman, the occasional visit from Papa but he was always in a hurry. It was Maman who taught us our manners, what to do around the humans, they had to be obeyed, but they were fair and mostly left us alone. That is until the day they came with more humans, Maman told us to be brave as we now had to leave her for a life elsewhere. We would be working for these other humans who, if we behaved ourselves, would look after us.[* Collected at six weeks old from the Pig farmers.]

So that was when I first met them. It wasn't a good start. The first thing they did was put me in a big metal box[*a landrover] that seemed to float and bump over the ground, we sped away from the farm and I could see the fields moving up and down, closer and further away, it was a nightmare. I'm afraid to say that I disgraced myself I couldn't help it. I felt so dejected by the time the box stopped moving, but they were very kind, no raised voices or slaps on the nose. Maman had warned me what would happen if I didn't do as I was told.

I soon worked out that she was the Shepherd and she was the one I had to obey, she was the Boss and obediance is what I do. She was surprised at how quickly I learnt, I couldn't understand why until the other puppy [*a Basset Hound] arrived from England, but then that's her story. It did explain though why she was so delighted with my desire to please her!!!!!I had my own place in the Barn, they seemed to know that us working dogs need a space to call our own, where you can relax but be ready for any job that comes up. I like my freedom, come and go as I please, and because I know my boundaries I do not abuse this freedom. Unlike some dogs I could name!!!

I like the summer best when I can wander in and out of the space they call the kitchen, I have to knock in winter, they are not very hardy and have to shut the wind out. I am getting older now and spend more time with them than I used to when I was young, there were always so many exciting things to do then. I will have to tell you another day as I have some work to do now, she who must be obeyed is calling, and I must go. Back soon I hope.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Back to work. Morning Pages.

Monday morning I celebrated an anniversary.
On Monday the 26th of August 2006 I started writing Morning Pages, basically two or three pages of whatever came into my mind, every morning except Sunday. And one year on I am still writing my Morning Pages. I am quite proud of this because as an inveterate procrastinator it is an achievement for me to stick to something for so long.
I came across the idea of these pages via Fiona Robyn's Creative Living blog although I think it is recommended by several writers. The idea is just to help the creative juices to flow by sitting down every day and writing two or three pages of whatever comes into your head. And to make a habit of it so that it becomes second nature to you. And that's what I have been doing for the past year.
I have to say that what goes on the page is quite often of very little consequence, in fact it's very often complete drivel but it's words and it's a good habit. I also use them to set myself targets each week in an attempt to keep the PROCRASTINATOR in me at bay. It works sometimes, not always of course, but sometimes is better than not at all!!!!
So I'm back from my holiday and ready, more or less, to get back to work. I have set myself some new targets which I shall rely on my fellow to help me achieve.
Target 1: 1st draft of Novel [90,000 words] to be finished by the end of November. That is basically 5,000 words a week.
Target 2: Blogging back on track, aim for two posts a week.

There I've said them out loud and I am hoping that the act of committing my desires to the page will help my motivation. Feel free to berate me if I appear to be failing, but be gentle as I am hard enough with myself.

"Goals are simply dreams with a deadline" So I have set my dreams a deadline.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Taking a break

Just to say that we are off to our house near Carcassonne towards the end of this week, we shall be away for about 10 days and do not have internet down there yet so will be silent for a while. We have some friends arriving tomorrow who will be looking after the animals while we are away. One of the downsides of sheepfarming is not being able to go away without organising sheepsitters.

I expect to return with a renewed enthusiasm for my blog and my novel both of which have suffered recently.

I hope that the foot and mouth outbreak in England will soon be over as the last outbreak was devestating. I can imagine the heartbreak of seeing your livelihood destroyed in front of you, and I know that for many farmers it is their lifes work and not just a job. I can remember the feeling of panic when some cases appeared in France, the thought that I might lose my flock was very stressful. Atleast this time all exports have already been stopped. I fervently hope that the outbreak has been contained.

Anyway I'm off to pack my bucket and spade see you all soon.