About Steve Cripwell

Lets just say that I'm not in the first flush of youth. That doesn't mean I am old, far from it, but I can remember the Beatles first arriving on the scene in the 60's and that was my heyday. I love to write so I do, about anything and everything, whatever pops into my head. Working full time restricts my output but I write whenever the idea and the opportunity arises. I have been writing since my 20's but never had anything published. I used to belong to some writing critique groups on the web but that was a long time ago, so as I get more free time I'll become more prolific again. I live in West Yorkshire in England with my wife Sue and our two minature poodles.

Let’s talk about Anxiety

More openness and honesty from my brave and beautiful daughter

dreambigfordixie

Yesterday was World Mental Health day and it got me thinking. There is still part of my story I have yet to share.

My anxiety.

When I started this blog I hadn’t addressed it. I hadn’t realised I had it, and it hadn’t peaked. Over a year later I can see things a little clearer.

I think in light of yesterday, it’s time for me to talk openly about this aspect of me. So I will try.

I guess as I got older I became a bit of a worrier. Not in a debilitating type of way, but would get extremely nervous about things that many seemed to just take in their stride.

Then I had Maisy and suddenly I worried about everything. If she was poorly, I was worried about missing something. I worried she would choke on her food so cut things up really small or didn’t allow…

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NaNoWriMo Approaches

It’s that time of year again. The time when I decide whether or not to take up the November writing challenge. I did it last year, won and have spent ever since trying to make my effort into something readable. I’m still working on it and its grown to over 90,000 words as I try to get it to a suitable ending.

In the past, I’ve always struggled to start or got bogged down in the middle somewhere. Lost focus or lost interest or just found that time had overtaken me and then it was difficult to get started again. I’ve been lucky to be able to use Scrivener to break it up into manageable chunks and lately I’ve started using Ulysses, which does the same but in a different way. In fact, I’m writing this in Ulysses as it allows me to post straight into WordPress and onto my blog. Easy.

I need to make up my mind shortly though as that will give me time to research and plan during October. Although I’m pretty sure that things will be busy for me in that month so as you can see. I’m a long way from deciding as we head towards the end of September. Have to wait and see I suppose.

If I abandon my 90,000+ word project for a couple of months whilst I indulge myself on NaNoWriMo will I ever start it again? On the other hand, if I do that and then come back to it will reading it again guide me to a suitable ending? Dilemma – I’ll let you know.

Waiting…

Another post from my lovely daughter and her lovely daughter x

dreambigfordixie

Always waiting.

Waiting for an appointment with one of her specialists.

Waiting for a therapy to begin.

Waiting for a returned call.

Waiting for a test.

Waiting for test results.

Waiting for equipment to come.

Always waiting for something. Always counting down the days.

And now we are on our biggest wait of all. Her open heart surgery. And it’s becoming really tough.

We found out at the end of May that the board of surgeons had agreed with Dixie’s cardiologist, that the best way forward was surgery.

We waited until the end of July to meet with the heart team. We were ushered first into a little room with one of the heart nurses. And even though he was a great resource of information my mind was blank.

I listened to him talk about how she needed to be given the ok from a dentist before they would operate…

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Ulysses Writing App

I have written before about the use of writing app’s as an aid to productivity so I won’t repeat myself here. I will however tell you about my experience with Ulysses, as writing tool from The Soul Men. It’s not exactly new but it’s new to me and, so far, I love its simplicity.

Since acquiring an iPad Air I have been looking for a writing app which is easy to use and fully functional on this device. I have waited for Scrivener to deliver their much promised iOS version which is now on the market and working fine. Anyone who uses Scrivener will know what a great tool this is particularly as it is now a true cross platform piece on Mac, iOS and Windows via the Dropbox cloud storage facility. But whilst I was waiting for the iOS Scrivener App to be developed I discovered this wonderful writing app called Ulysses and fell for it immediately.

It’s quite unlike anything I’ve used before. It is so simple and clean that it inspires the writing process. I am currently writing this post on my iPad and it is set in ‘Typewriter’ mode which means the line I type is always in the same place and so I look at a single line of text as I’m typing it on the page. This stops the distraction of looking back at what I’ve typed previously and so I’m not flitting back and forth, editing as I work. (This has always hampered my progress, as I constantly ‘fiddle’ with work I’ve written but I don’t wait until the draft is done)

There is full Mac version too and also an iPhone app and they all work in iCloud so there is an almost instant update on all these devices without the need to do anything but type. It removes the need for the writer to constantly save work as it is saved automatically in iCloud, if you have an Internet connection or updates immediately you go back online. I can’t remember how many pieces of work I’ve lost because I failed to save them properly. There is so much more to this great bit of software which I don’t,t intend to describe here but I would encourage you to have a look at it.

Look in the App Store for it, you won’t be disappointed. Sadly, there is no Windows version. Or check out the website http://ulyssesapp.com

How do you follow that?

mm

 

I have just finished reading this book, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It’s a book which took him nearly thirty years to write and finish it and then have it published. There are many books written about war and many of them about the Vietnam war but there are few that can depict such a real insight into the conditions which were endured by a young generation of boys. Sent to a strange country to fight an enemy, young boys, much like themselves. Who they were taught to hate but never met. Spending days and nights in wet, humid jungle. Often without water and proper food and every minute scared of every shadow. It is funny but often gruesome and it is a true story based on Marlantes own experience of the war. Where seventeen-year-olds commanded ten to fifteen men and a twenty-three-year-old officer was responsible for every waking and sleeping hour of the lives of over two hundred. It’s a tale of bravery, sacrifice and of how quickly they grew up when facing death, leeches, near starvation and even tigers every day.

It’s actually the second time I’ve read this book in two years. The first time I devoured every page and felt loss when I finished it. Having finished reading it again, albeit a little slower this time, I once again feel that loss. I’ve tried starting two books since but can’t really get going on either. I seem to find that when I have read a book I particularly like, so what’s the answer?

How do you get started on another book after a really good read? I know I’ll just persevere until a book clicks but I just wondered what the secret is.

 

A bump in the road.

Next episode from my wonderful daughter

dreambigfordixie


So, a funny thing happened this weekend. And when I say funny, I actually mean shit.

We had a cardiology review for Dixie. Which was odd in itself as we weren’t due to be seen till May!

Anyhoo, so off we go. Daddy L is in tow as its a Saturday appointment!

We have the usual chat with the lovely cardiologist. She looks at Dixie’s last few weights and I explain the recent weight loss was down to a bout of illness.

She asks the usual questions. Is she breathless? Does she sweat profusely? We shake our heads. So far so good.

She performs the echo and manages to get some pretty decent pictures of Dixie’s heart. I’m feeling nervous as always. Then she finishes up.

‘The heart is still the same’ she says and inside I breathe a sigh of relief. Phew. As much as I hate limbo land…

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Grammarly et al

I’ve fallen in love with Grammarly, an app extension of Google Chrome but also available in Windows. It seems to work really well and monitors your use of grammar and spelling, even on those websites which don’t normally spell check for you. (Something I have found to be essential in recent years). On initial set-up, you advise it to use either UK English or the USA English dictionary, alleviating a source of irritation that most spell checkers present to UK writers.

The added bonus is that it checks the grammar too, so the occasional incorrect word use is highlighted immediately. In effect, it’s doing a form of first line proofreading for you.

It’s available to use in its free version but enhanced features are added if you subscribe  to the Premium, where it monitors many more areas of your text including sentence structure and writing style issues.

Have a look at the website https://app.grammarly.com/

I think you may like it too (No I’m not on commission)