Who am I….
(Updated May 2015)
I am Gill, 62 and am separated from my husband whom I married in June 2011.
I have moved from a 58′ narrowboat on the canals in Staffordshire, to a studio flat in retirement housing in Berkshire. Fortunately a river runs through the gardens and I can still wake up to the sound of noisy ducks in the morning.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and then just before Christmas 2012 I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which was a great unexpected shock to both my husband and I. Sadly our marriage has not survived my diagnosis, and my long term plans now include my daughter who will become my main carer in the future.
I want to record my daily life and thoughts to look back on when I no longer remember. I hope I have 15 years at least before I am no longer me. So I will try and write as long as I can.
I aim to be honest with my thoughts, and maybe ask questions and talk about things most people don’t want to face and talk about.
MY PHOTOGRAPHY – Why I take pictures
As I have Alzheimer’s and in the early stages of dementia, I struggle to learn new information because it is not retained in my memory, so learning to use the settings on my camera is practically impossible. Some days I remember something but often than not I don’t.
I call them my Filigree Images because I liken my pictures to my brain which I think of as a growing piece of lace. Images create memories, of people, place and time, and that is the part that will slowly diminish for me.
I love art of all kinds and see things around me that stimulates a thought, and would make an interesting picture but capturing what is in my mind doesn’t always work out!
The type of images that stimulates my brain are; patterns, shape with accents of light, colours, and incongruous scenes before me. I a not very good at taking scenic photographs because there is too much information for me to process. The less information the better my brain works!
I love doors, architecture, people and close up images; perhaps they are a means to escape from myself. It is theorised that ‘dreams’/thoughts/obsessions of buildings etc, represents the self.
See what I did there? I have just thrown in a bit of psychology theory at no extra charge 🙂
My pictures must provoke a curiosity for me. I have no illusions that I am a fantastic photographer because:
- I can’t hold the camera still enough – physical difficulties in remaining still (and not falling over!)
- I cannot see details quick enough – problems with visual perception
- I cannot crouch low into a position to get a different point of view – Joint problems and arthritis
- Usually have no idea what setting to put my camera on and there is no way I am using Auto!!
So you can my see problems.
Pictures are important to me as my memory becomes worse. Images may be replacing words? in some way I hope they become part of recording my Alzheimer’s Journey.
MY BOOK REVIEWS – Why do I review books?
Brain training apps can bore me to tears…yawn, and I need a way to constantly stimulate my brain, keep those neurons firing and maintaining pathways to stave off memory loss a little while longer. What better way to do it than to read and then review books.
I began a relationship with classics at a very early age. I would read everything I could get my hands on and some of that was my fathers old Grammar School books such as Macbeth, a four inch dictionary with drawings, and his school text books on how to use grammar. A child’s training for a stimulated mind starts with stories. Not cartoons, or games, but real words. Words that conjure up a myriad of images in a childs own head, and that starts with parents reading to them from the earliest of ages, then the questions begin……
I have never stopped reading and now review my books for a wider audience. I call it Great Book Escapes because that is exactly what it is.
I have studied Psychology, History of Science and Astronomy at University, I have worked in Computing and IT, Mental Health, Counselling and 16- 25 year old homeless young adults. When I came across young adults from background of drugs and alcohol abuse, and abusive childhoods, and I saw them reading books in my last job, I realised their hope for the future. I have now retired, and spend a lot of my time stimulating my brain and imagination with books of all kinds and reviewing them in a variety of places.
Do I know what makes a good book? Sure I do, I know what I enjoy reading, I know how language can make you feel part of a character, a book, and what makes a great book to escape into, it may not be exactly the same if you read it because each person enjoys stories differently.
Can I review a book effectively? Sure I can, I love the intricacies of a novel, I love the way authors write beautiful lines that stick in your head. Words that are so profound, matching all of the great philosophers. I enjoy a good plot, a twist, an unexpected turn, I enjoy what is in the head of other people who can make it real on a page. I love what books teach me that I never knew or understood before. Several authors have emailed me personally about my reviews so they must be ok.
I absolutely escape into a book – I escape my Alzheimer’s, I escape if I am not feeling well. I always read other peoples reviews to get an idea of what a book may be like, then read it to make my own mind up.
Hopefully people will read my reviews and want to read that book too. 🙂