There are five categories to the awards, poetry, short story, graphic story, narrative non-fiction and, of course, novella. And seeing as I can’t write anything short (sub-3000w is practically flash fiction in my world), novella was definitely my thing. See, there aren’t too many awards or competitions which actually cater for the novella, so it’s marvelous that one as excellent as the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s awards does so.
There are short lists of five nominees in each category from what they say was over 600 entries, so you know, pretty exciting to be one of their number. Go check out the full short lists here:
Winners to be announced soon so fingers crossed, but really, I’m just thrilled to be on the shortlist…
Editor extraordinaire Ellen Datlow has posted her long list for the Year’s Best Horror vol 5 and it’s filled with some excellent reading suggestions so you should all just go see it. And yes, I was over-the-top excited (no, not in that kind of way, you filthy-minded dears; in a professional writerly way) to have an appearance in there, for my tale ‘The Stuff of Stories’ from Surviving the End. It’s awesome company to be in.
But that’s not why I’m posting the link here. (No, seriously) I’m posting it because there’s an awful lot of reading material out there today and these sort of lists can often point you to some of the best of it. And I do love a good list. Indeed, very little does it for me like a good list of books and stories, to send me clicking about teh internets hunting down new material with which to blow my mind.
So get reading, kiddies. Find something to blow your minds. There’s some beauties in here:
Seriously, I keeled over in a first aid course once. We weren’t doing anything but talking about the kind of wounds a first-aider might encounter at the time. No pictures, no graphics, not even pretend make-up wounds or anything. Just a lecture. There was the instructor standing up front, merrily telling us all about gashed-up arms with bits of glass sticking out of them, and there I was heading straight down, falling off my chair in a faint at the mere mention of nasty bloody injuries.
How embarrassing is that, hmmm? I grew up watching Freddy Krueger slash-and-quip without batting an eyelid, but these days I can’t even compare kitchen-accident-wound stories without getting as giddy as a gal gracing the cover of one of those bad 90s romance books featuring Fabio. Which is an image guaranteed to turn anyone’s stomach, ugh.
Now, I don’t recall the horror movies and novels of my youth leaving me feeling all faint and head-spinny. The slasher flicks of the 80s, the gore-ridden Evil Dead originals, the Stephen King novels I consumed by the dozen. (Much to the distaste of one particular high school English teacher who, if I recall, outright refused to believe me when I tried to tell her King’s novel It was ultimately about the loss of childhood innocence. According to her, you can’t have that and evil killer clowns at the same time. Naturally, I begged to differ. But baiting English teachers was my high school hobby, so there was nothing new in that.)
These were fictions filled with gore, with horror, and also with terror – which is quite a different thing – but they weren’t, well, torture porn. The blood, while there was plenty of it, was somehow less real, I guess. Or perhaps it was just the psychological terror found therein was greater than the physical horror exploding out at me – though if you’ve seen the original Evil Dead trilogy you’ll wonder how that might be possible. Maybe it was just the technology available to film makers back-in-the-day just didn’t allow for as realistic portrayals of nastiness as it does now.
Yet I’m not writing this to decry torture porn. It’s a (sub)genre with its own merits and limitations, it has an audience wide enough to support its continued creation, and some of it has impressed even me and my weak stomach – the original Saw movie, for example, was a very good and, yes, innovative movie. And if perhaps its originality has been tarnished over the years by its zabillion clone-like sequels, well, that’s also a staple of the horror genre from way back. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, all those haunted villains from my childhood were also the subject of sequels which replayed the same story with the same horror over and over and over again, spiralling inwards with ever diminishing scares. It’s just something horror does.
Obviously torture porn is Not My Thing. I skip it, for the most part. Quite happy never to see Hostel, even though I adored Eli Roth’s earlier Cabin Fever. Felt a bit of a pang when I decided to forego Wolf Creek, but so be it. And I’m decidedly careful before agreeing to watch certain things. Anything by Takashi Miike, for example. Awesome film maker. I adore his storytelling. Yet I’m still too nervous to watch 13 Assassins because the thought of Miike and samurai battle scenes seems like a totally awesome, and for me potentially unwatchable, combination.
(If I’m wrong on this, someone please let me know. I do plan to watch it one day. I just need to get up the nerve first.)
Just an aside – Miike’s Audition was the first film I ever saw in which I had to hide behind my hands. In fact, it was the first film I ever saw that I couldn’t actually watch in entirety – I had to fast forward through chunks of that elongated revenge scene at the end. (Yes, you know the one. If you’ve seen the film, you know it. And if you haven’t, go watch it, it’s a great film. Just, well, be aware of that scene. The one that Keeps. On. Going.) And I loved Miike’s Masters of Horror episode… right up until I had to stop watching it because I was, yes, going to keel off my chair.
How did this happen? How could I be simultaneously a lover of horror stories and yet struggle to keep conscious through some of it?
I should point out that I don’t actually make a habit of fainting all over the place. Aside from the first-aid-course incident, and another delightful moment when catching up with a couple of friends who decided to hold a “my nasty knife accident story is bloodier than yours” conversation over lunch, I’ve pretty much been able to keep my head, and stomach, where they should be. But that’s mostly because I’ve learned not to look, not even to listen. I’ve become the scaredy-cat hiding behind the lounge cushions at crucial moments.
It’s not that I’m too scared, I swear to you. It’s that I really am not good with blood and guts of the realistic variety. And today’s fictions are awfully realistic, you know.
See, while I’ve not always had to be careful of horror fiction, I have always been bad with blood. This isn’t some queasiness which developed along with the grey hairs in my head or anything. My mother will tell you (should you be silly enough to ask her) about how when I was very young I could break an arm and not much notice, but skin a knee and I’d be panic-stations, freaking out, the-sky-is-falling-dammit!, screaming and all round misery. More than one teacher felt the need to comment to her upon it through my early school years.
Of course, my mother will also tell you I had teachers describe me as morbid. But that’s only because I wrote a short story about a ghostly hand which went about strangling anyone stupid enough to stay in a haunted room where a hundred years before a young girl had been locked in and left in to die.
What can I say? Even at the age of eight I was writing horror, even as I was screaming at the sight of blood.
I don’t believe in the false dichotomies of terror vs. horror. I personally may prefer the terrifying prose of a literary ghost story to an hour and a half of visuals in a flick about the torture of witless teens, but body horror, physical gore, it’s all a viable, legitimate and necessary part of the genre. Some aspects of horror will lend itself more to the psychological, to the terrifying, to the subtle, while others will be more about the physical, the over-the-top, the horrifying.
But the two are not mutually exclusive. One can and should inform the other. I can read The Monk and get my fill of physical gore – that scene with the nun and her dead baby, anyone? – from what is ultimately a classic terrifying tale. And John Carpenter’s The Thing is body horror at its most awesome, yet depends on its incredibly claustrophobic atmosphere and the seriously dense paranoia of the story for its real terror.
Ultimately, horror is about the frights. The scares. (Yes, okay, and sarcastic one-liners when surrounded by buckets of fake-looking blood. Humour can be an entrenched part of horror too.) Whether it be an MR James ghost story or an Eli Roth movie, that’s what it’s meant to do. Scare us. Repulse us. Make us question the dominant authority. Horror has to rock the status quo, it has to shake the bars of social assumption, of society’s rules, of perceived good taste.
Horror has to threaten. And in being threatening, to individuals, to society, to the dominant order we otherwise wouldn’t consider challenging, it makes us think.
That is why I have always loved and will always love horror.
Even when it makes me giddy enough to fall off my chair.
Here, I have a picture of it:
Looks innocent, doesn’t it? Well, looks can be deceiving. In that bag were all our hopes, all our fears, all our future. One way or another, our future lives were going to be decided by what was in that bag, or one very much like it.
It’s the bag that contains all the IVF medicines and instructions, because on the 14th of February 2011, we began cycle one of IVF. It failed. Failure is the statistical norm for IVF cycles. The odds are decidedly not in your favour. But you go in anyway and you hope your little guts out and you just promise yourself you’ll deal with whatever comes. You try not to cling onto your hopes too much, so as to make the disappointments easier to bare, but you can’t help it.
It’s a bizarre experience, IVF. It takes up every ounce of your concentration and focus and emotional space, yet at the same time you typically don’t tell anyone else about it, so it’s this huge momentous life-changing thing happening all below the surface. Not that it was entirely that way with us. We were telling everybody about it, family, friends, strangers we bumped into at the supermarket, the world at large.
Hey, I was blogging it. Sharing with the world one of the most invasive, intimate, confusing and expensive medical experiences you can have.
Here, go have a read, the whole story’s here, from start to finish: Fun With IVF
So anyway. Cycle one failed. All our little embryos arrested sometime before day 3. And it was perhaps the most devastating thing I’ve ever experienced. But we weren’t going to give up yet and cycle two kick-started somewhere around April. Again our little embryos were not making it beyond day two, except for one. Just one. One keen six cell embryo. Our precious little Six Cell.
Today, our Six Cell turns 1. Luke Edward was born on the 8th of February 2012.
So Happy birthday, my son. I’m not sure you’ll ever really understand just how much we went through to get you. But you don’t need to. You already know how much you are loved and adored. How much you are the centre of our lives and our world. You’re here with us and that’s all that matters now.
I hadn’t wanted to go. Not because I didn’t want to attend my friend’s birthday celebrations, but simply because I didn’t know how to leave the house yet. I had a three week old baby and I was lost in a world turned upside down, with little sleep and no experience in what I was doing, or indeed, confidence in myself to do it, either.
And I knew I would have to feed him there. So that being the case, I also knew I simply couldn’t go.
Luckily, darling beloved, who has had two children before, waved aside my fears, bundled myself and baby up into the car, and off we went anyway. It was terrifying. But the lighting was party-lights dim and people smiled and cooed over the baby and I found myself a dark corner to set up camp in and, with a deep breath, when he next asked for it – and believe me, back then, my baby was looking for feeding every 1-2 hours – I fed my baby.
Struggling to slip out a boob from a maternity-friendly top – my wardrobe then, as now, consists of clothes solely chosen for this purpose – and get the baby to latch onto it, all without showing too much flesh and breaking any social taboos. Which is not easy when you’re a first time mother struggling to figure out how to breastfeed properly and it still takes several goes to latch the baby on, plus it’s still painful from the cracked nipples which haven’t healed yet, and you’re not sure if you’ve got enough milk yet, and the whole thing is just confusing and scary and you’re just not sure what you’re doing at all.
But I did it. I fed him successfully, in public. And best of all, nobody battered an eyelid. I felt a bit of confidence build.
A while later, another couple with a baby arrived at the party. But when that mother fed her baby, she covered the both of them in “a modesty sheet”. That is, a large sheet she draped over both herself and the baby while breastfeeding. Yes, sitting there in the corner of the room, covered in a sheet.
I freaked out. Was I meant to be sitting under a sheet when I fed my baby too? Was that the social etiquette of public breastfeeding? Had I offended half the party by feeding without one? Could I just go home now and die of shame?
Look, I was full of post-partum hormones and severely sleep deprived, or else I might have approached the situation a bit more rationally. But the fact remains – I knew I had every legal right to breastfeed my baby whenever and wherever I needed to. And I knew I personally supported the rights of women to breastfeed their babies wherever and whenever. But I wasn’t sure of the accepted social etiquette and in my vulnerable state, I was terrified of committing some act of social taboo, when all I really wanted to do was feed my baby, and if possible, not be trapped inside the house going stir crazy any longer also would be nice.
This is why the opinions of older, privileged male television commentators, publicly expressed to a very large audience, absolutely matter. Because all politics of the situation aside – and the politics of it is important, but that’s not what I’m talking about here – it has a very real, very personal impact. A very negative impact.
What new mothers need most is support and encouragement. What the recent airing of opinion that breastfeeding mothers need to be more ‘discrete’ and ‘classy’ about it (anyone care to define discrete or classy in this context?) actually does is send the message to all mothers that public breastfeeding is still something you can only do if you’re prepared to stand up to wide-ranging criticism, social disapproval and the expectation of shame.
In reality, it’s not. I have been breastfeeding for almost a year now, so I’m a lot more experienced, comfortable and emotionally stronger than I was. In the last 11 months, I have found myself having to breastfeed in places as diverse as food courts, the pub, the library, many cafes, many more parks, doctor’s waiting rooms, restaurants, other people’s houses, on a peak hour train, and any number of other places that I’ve forgotten. Sometimes I was nervous doing it. Sometimes I didn’t think twice. Never did I have a choice – my baby was hungry, he needed to eat. And never did I use a modesty sheet, because for one, I felt ridiculous having to hide beneath a sheet when out in public, not to mention it would call far more attention to me than otherwise, and two, I don’t think my baby deserves having a sheet draped over him just because he needs to eat. Anyway, he would just rip it off, regardless.
And not once in that time has anybody shown me any sign of offence or made me feel that I should be ashamed. Maybe somebody thought it. Maybe somebody tut-tutted to themselves. But if so, they kept it quiet and to themselves, and nobody has ever shown me any sign of it. I hope – no, I believe, because I have faith in people – that that’s because almost everybody just accepts breastfeeding as normal and doesn’t care a jot about it. And if there are one or two out there who have felt uncomfortable seeing my baby feed, then I hope – no I believe – that they stayed silent about it because they knew if they tried to shame me for doing it, then they would have been shouted down and shamed themselves, instead. Because it is fully socially acceptable for mothers to feed their baby’s wherever and whenever they need to.
This is why opinions publicly aired on television and in major newspapers matter.
This is why public nurse-ins matter, such as those held at the television studios where the older male commentator first aired his distaste for indiscreet public breastfeeding, however its defined, and at the public pool where the breastfeeding mother was asked to leave. Because when negative opinions that can have a very real, very negative impact on new mothers trying to breastfeed are made so publicly like that, it is important to counter-act those opinions. For everyone else to stand up and say – it is okay to breastfeed in public and those negative opinions judging you are actually what are socially unacceptable, not you.
New mothers need support. And it takes guts, sometimes, to breastfeed in public, when you know you have to, when you don’t have a choice, because baby is hungry and you need to feed him or her. Especially when you’re new it to and you don’t have the confidence or the emotional space yet to deal with standing up against an imagined court of public opinion.
I have never known any mother who does not do her absolute best to be as discrete as humanly possible about breastfeeding in public. Not a single one. Yet as this article in The Conversation shows, one of the biggest reasons woman stop breastfeeding so much earlier than modern medical advice is because of the feelings of shame and discomfort over breastfeeding in public.
This is why opinions publicly aired matter. This is why nurse-ins matter when negative opinions are aired, to show public breastfeeding is normal, healthy and perfectly fine. This is why this is still an issue.
And this is why the most important thing we can do is simply go on feeding our babies, wherever and whenever we may be, and to go on just ignoring anyone near us who is feeding their baby, because it’s only a natural, normal, everyday behaviour that isn’t worth commenting on.
When the negative and judgemental comments from public figures stop, that’s when the political battles will have been won. And the personal ones too.
Articles linked to in the above:
Nina Furnell in Daily Life (The Age) on the nurse-ins and protests against David Koch’s comments on breastfeeding: http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/showing-your-breasts-in-public-20130121-2d23h.html
Jennifer Wilson on her blog No Place for Sheep – one of the many women who have taken up the issue on social media and received an amazing amount of criticism for speaking up about it, including from some who otherwise support public breastfeeding: http://noplaceforsheep.com/2013/01/22/breasts-class-public-space-language-as-a-tool-of-repression/
Yvette Miller in The Conversation on the public health ramifications of comments such as David Koch’s: http://theconversation.edu.au/feeding-frenzy-public-breastfeeding-is-good-for-us-all-11707
Tehani Wessely on her blog A Conversational Life, about the fact it is illegal to ask any breastfeeding woman to stop or cover up, as breastfeeding has the full support of the law: http://thebooknut.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/breastfeeding-anywhere-anytime/
David Koch in his opinion piece in The Age committing to his earlier stated views that women should be more discrete and ‘classy’ about breastfeeding in public: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/i-have-an-opinion–always-have-and-always-will-20130121-2d39n.html
My tale is one about a troublesome tooth and is called, yes, ‘Tooth’. It was inspired, I’m sure you’ll be all unsurprised to know, by a trip to the dentist. It’s amazing where the fodder for short, sharp horror tales can be derived, isn’t it?
I did have excellent fun writing the sequence about the drilling, you know, whizzzzzzzzzzz…..
See, once upon a time, I went to the dentist and she said there was a cavity and I needed to have the tooth filled. So although it was otherwise a perfectly good tooth that didn’t cause me any bother, I did as she advised and had the tooth filled. And it didn’t feel right afterwards, it was very sore indeed. The dentist said it would be sensitive for a while, but this was becoming string-around-the-doorknob-desperation levels of pain, right up to the day when my head seemed to implode with ferocious fire-breathing agony. And no, that’s not overstating it. My face was all just one big ball of jarring pain so strong I couldn’t speak, spreading from the tip of my chin to the greying roots of my ever-in-need-of-a-dye-job hair.
So stumbling back to the dentist go I, clawing my way through the fog of agony stemming from my mouth. Dentist diagnoses an impacted wisdom tooth – which was not the tooth which had been filled – and whips it out in a jiffy, leaving me feeling much better. No more face-peeling-off pain. Except days go by and the troublesome tooth is still extremely sore. Even just the movement of my tongue against it had me squealing. So back I go again and this time it’s diagnosed as an infection in the former-wisdom-tooth socket, with the sore tooth still resolutely ignored, and I’m popped on antibiotics and, yes, all is well.
For about a month. Then my face implodes again and this time I insist she drill into the tooth that is actually sore to check it out, and what do you know, but the roots of the tooth are already dead. All black and withered. In fact the tooth has been dying all this time and there’s an abscess the size of your fist (not to scale) living off it.
Hmmm. Can you see where I get my tendency to tell dental horror stories? This is the point, incidentally, when I write the first draft of the story which will end up in Midnight Echo 8.
Anyway, after three courses of antibiotics fail to clear up the infection, and multiple attempts at root canal get only half way through before the abscess flares up each time, and the temporary filling falls out more than once, I get pregnant. All dental work ceases. My tooth feels much better for it.
Oh, did I mention I came to this dentist because I was a very nervous patient who’d had a couple of bad dental experiences before? And she was recommended to make me feel better? No? Well, there you go.
I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.
Sooooo…. life toddles along. I have the baby. I sell the dental horror story to Midnight Echo. I pretend to forget about the half-finished root canal because the abscess no longer hurts. I nick into the dentist when the lad is about seven months old to get the temporary filling re-filled, at which point the dentist suggests we just leave the tooth alone for a while longer, you know, while the going is so good.
And I agree with her.
I am an idiot.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch… While all this is happening, I get a new part-time day-job working for – wait for it – the Dental Association. TRUE. And it’s a fantastic place to work. I even feel a little bit guilty writing a horror story about dentists when I now work with so many of them and they are all wonderful, caring professionals. But only a little, because a story is a story and that one is a goody, no matter how admiring I am of the dental professionals I now work among.
And all this brings us up to last week, when I walk happily into the Dental Association members’ Christmas Party, select a small salt-and-vinegar chip from a nearby bowl, crunch down and…
Yes, in a room full of dentists, I break my tooth.
And this occurs on the very day that Midnight Echo volume 8, with my story ‘Tooth’ – a tale inspired by this very same troublesome tooth, let me remind you – is published.
ARGH, WHAT DID I DO TO OFFEND YOU, GODS OF KARMA-FATE-COINCIDENCE???
Seriously, this is a true story, every ounce of it. And you have to laugh. I’ve got dental bills roughly equivalent to US national debt, but I can’t stop laughing at it. I mean, who breaks their tooth at a Christmas party for dentists? I think I’ll be contacting the OED soon to suggest a new definition for irony and it’ll just be a picture of my broken tooth.
So make sure you go buy Midnight Echo volume 8. Because all the forces in the universe aligned to bring you this story…
I’ve subsequently been to see a new dentist, one recommended by my colleagues at the dental association. And yes, the tooth has to come out. It can’t be saved, cracked up under the gum-line, still infected and all. So bye-bye tooth. I’m off to an oral surgeon in the next few days and then it’ll be gone. But I don’t mind so much. I did get one hell of a story out of it, after all.
The story is called Tooth and you can go catch a preview at Midnight Echo website: http://midnightechomagazine.com/2012/10/21/midnight-echo-issue-8-preview-kathryn-hore/
Go have a look. While you’re there, don’t forget to pre-order the issue. Or even better, subscribe.
Anyway, just a quick one today folks, dashing about being busy and all that, but more on this to come soon…
See this space? Watch it.
Only I’m at the emerging bit that is well before the (beautiful etc.) butterfly shows up, and the caterpillar is instead stuck inside the cocoon metamorphosing from green-brown wriggly thing into the big-winged flying thing.
Can you imagine what a caterpillar mid-change might look like? Squished in the dank, fetid space of the rotting cocoon, body pulsing and repulsing, all gooey with muck and slime, physically pulling itself apart, stretching new flesh and destroying old? I’m fairly certainly we’re talking The Thing territory here. Especially that bit where they catch it in the dog-pen mid-transform and there’s dog heads and blood and raw flesh and spinning tentacles and dripping monster all over the place.
Yup, that’s me.
Not thinking so ‘beautiful’ now, are you? Ah, the power of a dubious analogy far too over-played.
Anyhoos, I take on the label emerging because (a) on the scales weighing up my published works v. my rejected works, there’s a firm plonk as the ‘rejected’ side crashes down on the desk, and (b) I had to pick a box when joining my local writers association and that one seemed the most appropriate. I’ve a handful of published pieces of short fiction out there making their way in the world and I’m working hard on making it many more, while along the way collecting a lovely bunch of rejections. Which I figure makes me emerging. Probably.
Oh, who knows. It’s not like you need to pass an exam to prove you’re a real writer. There’s only one thing you need to do to consider yourself a writer:
Yeah, you heard it here first, kids. Like no-one’s ever said that before. Except sometimes we don’t listen. I’ve been writing since I was six years old, but it’s only been these last couple of years since I started taking it seriously enough to chase publication – and even then only after I actually began racking up the odd publishing win or two – that I was confident enough to call myself a writer when out in public. And even now I’m prefacing it with ‘emerging’.
It appears I still feel the need to justify the one thing I have done compulsively since I was old enough to hold a pen, by offering proof that professionals in the field think I’m worthy to be a part of the writers-club. It’s possibly because I grew up in the Olde Worlde Before-Internet Days, when everything was analogue and even a digital watch could cause a stir. Back in said olden days, publishing was about the printed world and self-publishing was a vanity operation. The world has moved on now, of course, and self-publishing is a serious enterprise, but it’s hard to shake the “I am a real writer because other people think so!” thing I clearly have going on.
Still, let me just sashay sideways for a moment and consider the broader writerly world. Because for a blog post about when you can call yourself a writer and when you can’t according to the mystical gatekeepers of cultural wisdoms or whoever else comes up with this stuff, I’ve so far been pretty light-on in the commonly-agreed definitions department. That’s because the commonly-agreed definitions are not, as such, commonly agreed.
As part of my research for this post – yes, I did research! Like year 9 students across the country, I spent a couple of minutes googling and skimming the results – I found emerging writer can and has been defined as:
Someone who has not yet published a book, but has published in journals and magazines; someone who has only published one book; someone who does not have an agent or book contract; someone who’s had less than 6 items published; someone who has no more than 3-4 professionally published items; and someone who is in the process of creating a distinctive practice and set of concerns and producing a significant body of work, but whose recognition within the field is limited. Yeah, I liked that last one too.
And in the correct timescale of these clearly scientific and precise calculations, a new writer precedes an emerging writer and an established writer succeeds one. Kind of like those evolutionary diagrams of man learning to walk upright. So presumably if one can work out where the agreed definitions of emerging lie in the greater scheme of things, then one can figure out the others as well, and we’ll then all know who we are and where we are and the world will be just right.
I mean, what else can you say to all that? Sure, competitions and opportunities specifically aimed at new or emerging writers need a way to define themselves, and so they do – see above series of definitions for reference. But when we’re talking about how we define ourselves, how we label ourselves, how we present ourselves to the world, or just think about ourselves within the confines of our own heads, well…
A writer writes. If you write, you are a writer. So go ahead and call yourself whatever you like.
I don’t mind calling myself an emerging writer. It seems to fit, cocoon and all. I’ve just started having my work published and I’ve a way to go ahead of me. And it really does feel a bit like my own personal Thing, stretching out fleshy bits, tearing off others, trying to figure out the new shape of writer-being I want to become.
I’m not sure where my writing will go or what it will turn into, but I do feel like I’ve started. Now I just need to keep going so as to find out…
Anyway, to business. I have the utmost pleasure of hosting a guest blog today. Katie Moore is a blogger from the US who writes about all things motherhood. As a fellow writer, I do love to spread the love, so make her feel welcome now.
Jogging for the New Mom: A Way to Stay Healthy and Have Fun
As a new mom, jogging helped me feel energized and ready to conquer any challenge that life threw my way. Psychologists consistently recommend jogging as a remedy for patients who want to feel motivated, inspired and energetic in life. Jogging also helped me develop endurance that allowed me to engage in more intense workout sessions. For the new mom who is on the fence about jogging, here are the top 5 reasons to choose this form of exercise.
1. Have some “me” time
Going on a morning jog can help you start your day out the right way. You can gain clarity on the things you want to accomplish for the day during your jog. Your jog can serve as your “me” time to think about whatever you like. It is essential that you treat yourself to some “me” time every day, and jogging can be the perfect way to find this time.
2. Enjoy the outdoors
Jogging can provide you with inspiration in life. If you have a trail near your home, then you can try jogging outdoors and enjoy the breathtaking views of nature. If you have a beach near your home, then jogging in the morning near the water can provide you with tranquility and peace. You will find that jogging outdoors can provide you with a sense of centeredness and inner stability. Whenever I felt a bit frazzled from my home duties, jogging outdoors gave me an outlet to the world outside of my home.
3. Develop strength
Jogging helps women develop immense strength in their lower body and abdominal regions. When you start jogging, you will notice how much stronger and fit your legs feel. You will also enjoy the muscle definition that your calves and quads gain as a result of jogging on a daily basis. Your abdominal muscles will also become defined as a result of jogging.
4. Increase your distance
Jogging gives you a sense of accomplishment. Every week, you can add a small amount of distance to your jog. I kept a running diary to track my performance and feel accomplished as I filled it. By going farther each week, you feel like you are moving forward in the achievement of something greater than yourself. You can also use jogging as a metaphor for any goals that you are seeking to achieve in your life. Jogging can help you stay focused on maintaining a positive mindset for the achievement of your goals in life.
5. Gain confidence
As you are becoming stronger and running longer distances, you will inevitably gain more confidence in yourself. Not only will you gain confidence in your physical appearance and body, but you will also gain confidence in the clarity of your mind. You are able to gain mental strength and clarity when you jog on a regular basis.
Jogging is a great exercise for the new mom. Jogging provides one with spiritual, mental and physical health benefits. Since people define jogging differently, I recommend speaking with your doctor to find out which pace would be best for you. Just like my doctor gave me advice on circumcision, cord blood banking, diet, and pain medicine; he also told me which exercises would be best for me as I tried to both stay healthy and have fun after giving birth.
“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”
There’s not a lot of time for anything else when you’ve got an infant-sized youngun’ in the house, you know.
You know that post that’s maybe a couple of items down the front page of this site? The one that says something about a plan about how I was going to write once the baby came along? Yeah, well, it didn’t work.
Total amount of time to write with a newborn in the house?
Trusies. It was the only thing I found difficult to put aside when focusing on the kid. Everything else I was happy to junk: day job, corporate career, housework, sleep. Could go without any of it. But writing… ah, that burn of the addiction. That I missed.
Not that I entirely went without. I strung together a word or two, when the opportunity arose. Redrafted a couple of lingering tales. Collected some more rejections for the electronic pile.
Even got an acceptance I wasn’t expecting. Woohoo (and more on that later).
But regular, everyday, workman like writing time… nope, that disappeared entirely. And oooh, how it’s been itching just in that metaphorical place impossible to scratch without offending polite society.
So, anyway. Why am I gabbling on about this now? Because there’s been a shift in the last week or two, my internet lovelies. I’m starting to get the odd hour or two back on a regular basis.
In other words: it’s time. Time to return to the fray. Time to get the fingers dancing once more upon the keyboard.
Time to write.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends.