Life Sucks and you Move On: 2013 365 Challenge #270

Focussing on what's important

Focussing on what’s important

You spend your life worrying about the little things – have the kids eaten a healthy tea, can I afford to take the youngest for lunch in the coffee shop or buy them new pyjamas? Then life throws you a curve ball, like being laid off or an illness, and all those petty worries seem meaningless.

Only they don’t. They seem huge; bigger than before. Because in a world gone to shit they’re the things you think you can control.

As parents we can’t keep our kids safe all the time, so we stress about making sure they’re fed and have slept well.

In work we can’t stop ourselves being in the next round of budget cuts so we focus on not getting fired at least.

You might have gathered that we got thrown a curve ball today. Not something I can discuss, except to say I’m gonna have to sell a whole heap of books to make a tiny dent in the financial hole that has gashed open beneath our feet. One of those life sucks and you move on moments, where, through no fault of your own, you’re suddenly at the bottom of a deep pit and need to start climbing.

No one’s ill, no one died. Though I may have to put my author dreams on hold for a while and get a proper job that pays more than a $10 royalty cheque every other month. For now, we pour a glass of wine, give each other a hug and say, “You and me against the world, hun.”

And file it away as a great story that may, or may not, have a happy ending. (I put a strapline on the back of my Baby Blues print version yesterday: “A happy ending is just a story that hasn’t ended yet…” Ho hum.)


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog: 


Claire peered through the battered window and tried to enjoy the view, but her heart sat like a lead block wedged in her chest. Low cloud still swirled around the pointed peaks of the fjords, but at least the rain had stopped. The pilot assured her the flight would be without incident. Claire decided she wouldn’t count on anything until she was on the ground.

The rucksack at her feet took up the same space it had done the day before, but in her mind it was smaller: diminished by the loss of her Helly Hansen boots and the tablet that had kept her company through months of solitude. In the new simplified world of travelling, when everything else had been stripped away – her car, her apartment, her friends – the impersonal black rectangle had come to represent home. Her contact with the world, her reading material, her music, her photos, her memories: all stored in the small device.

With a harsh laugh, Claire remembered a fantasy novel she’d read as a teenager, where the solution to the survival of a community of people was hidden inside blank black cubes.

Who knew that fantasy would meet reality so soon?

With a shrug, she tried to convince herself it was just a possession; no different to having her phone stolen when she was mugged.

Except everything was backed up to the cloud, then.

Pushing the dark thoughts aside, Claire gazed out at the view that had cost her so much. She searched for a sense of excitement at the thought of going home. Some feeling of returning older, wiser, with a pocketful of experiences. Instead, the future yawned ahead like the long snaking tunnel whose closure had forced her to hock her favourite possessions.

Oh, pull yourself together, Claire, for heaven’s sake. Enough maudlin crap. This is life, get on with it.

Sitting straighter in her seat, Claire focussed on what needed to be done, in order of time and priority. Finding the bus to Christchurch, or booking on another one if the tour bus had left already. Checking in for her flight. Getting home, getting to Dorset, finding a new car.

Beneath the mire, a flicker of joy bubbled at the thought of seeing Conor in a few days. His quirky texts had kept her smiling through the last few weeks, and she hoped that would continue even when he was her boss.

The hulking elephant in the room of her mind was Kim. Just thinking about seeing her again made Claire’s mouth dry. Her head throbbed with the thought of how to mend their broken friendship. Her countless emails had received no response, not even from Jeff.

I screwed up, I have to fix it. But how? I can’t give her another baby. I can’t unsay the words.

A thought Claire hadn’t admitted to herself before reared up. She tried to ignore it but it tugged at her sleeve.

And is it really my fault? Michael shouted it out for everyone to hear, not me. Kim never told me to keep it a secret. I’m all for taking responsibility for my actions, but where do you stop?

Claire ran her hands through her hair. She was tired of feeling low; tired of the world smothering her in blackness. She wanted to laugh, to get through a day without analysing her every thought and action. To feel alive again.

Do I really need possessions to make me happy? I don’t remember ever being this miserable when I worked for Carl, despite him being a tosser and life having no meaning. Suddenly now I know I want more from life and I feel like crawling into a cave and never coming out. What’s that all about?

Tears trickled down Claire’s cheeks, but she ignored them. Maybe if she didn’t give the black thoughts any attention, they’d go away.

Beneath her, the monochrome landscape continued on unending.


20 thoughts on “Life Sucks and you Move On: 2013 365 Challenge #270

  1. Oh Hun, I have to tell you that you are NOT the only blogger. I have heard this ‘story’ from as of late! I’m shocked actually at how many I have heard. Everything you said is right! Unfortunately. I run my three person household on very (very very) little every month; it just ‘happened’ it just ‘is’ is the way I have to look at it so I don’t drive myself insane with the Why’s! Theres no secret or easy way to survive this way but, we do survive. Don’t waste your energy on “the Big Why” (we call it). I ALLways ask myself before making a financial decision (or anyfor that matter): “is this part of the problem or part of the solution”–When I do this (& pray, somedays harder than others); I feel I leave open a crack in a door/window for the next breath of fresh (air) ideas to come blowing in and rise to the occasion, of creating a new way to manage. Good Luck, Many Blessings, and support during the times ahead. Jeanine

    • I am sorry for whatever has come your way. I am a big believer in intention and manifesting. Try to visualize what you want and need. Then please don’t give up your writing. Muddle through. Soldier on. If nothing else, it will make you a better writer when the storm has passed! Sending good thoughts. And sympathy.

      • I couldn’t give up writing even if I wanted to – I think I’d give up sleep first.
        My sister is very into manifestation – unfortunately I seemed to have learned from my father that when you’re happy bad things happen and my manifestation is working the wrong way! I’ve tried asking the universe to help me sell more books, but I don’t think I’m framing my request in the right way!

    • Financial worries beset us all, whether it’s meeting the bills every week or finding out a car you were hoping to sell to make ends meet actually doesn’t belong to you because it was reported as stolen. I fully believe we will find a way to keep fighting, however much we wonder how we got here. I just find it sad that so many of us have to fight everyday to survive. I also know that there are many many people, my friends included, who have it much harder than me! I am always very grateful for what I do have. Just keep swimming…

  2. I hope sunshine is right around the corner for you.

    From the rough drafts I’ve read, I think you are a great writer and Dragon Wraiths keeps calling to me like a jelly-filled donut.

    I wish you the best!

    • Thank you! Hopefully you’ll be able to read Dragon Wraiths soon, although I’m just formatting it for print and really want to give it another edit, now I have another year of writing experience under my belt. How do authors write more books rather than rewriting and rewriting their existing ones?!

      • Don’t know. My wife wants me to read the three books I bought at the library and a few on my kindle first.

        I could get her to make the purchase if I jumped up and down and screamed, “I want it! I want it!” But so far, I’ve decided to behave like an adult and not argue the point. I just wish I could read faster. I hope that my skill in that improves.

        I don’t know. I feel like I’d never had a thought of writing a book, except a really lame one I wrote when I was 14, until I read Tolkien. All started with a question, “Can I write a book?”

        I’ve got 6 major novel ideas now, 2 are going to be large series of novels. I guess you just tell yourself that one is better than the other, or will be better than the other and you abandon it. Don’t know, I’ve yet to finish one yet.

  3. Reblogged this on My First Fantasy Novel and commented:
    If you are looking for a good read with a low price tag, you’ll find it here. I’m excited about reading more of Amanda Martin’s stories.

    She also sticks with it through thick and thin, which is why I find her to be one of the greatest sources of inspiration and motivation as a writer.

  4. We are in the same boat Amanda. sometimes it amazes me how my husband and I are able to willingly sacrifice so many of our own needs just to be able to provide for the kids. Life is hard but we have to remember that we are stronger. 🙂 I hope everything turns up for the better for you.

  5. Did I mention that you have a beautiful family and cute kids?

    If ever you think you have little to be thankful for, or are unhappy, or just tired… look at this picture.

  6. You’re not the only one. We seem to be going through it all. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. I hope things turn around for you and your family. By the way, I’m enjoying reading your work!

  7. Pingback: Christmas Cheer: 2013 365 Challenge #354 | writermummy

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