Category Archives: Day to Day

How I deal with the complicated nature of balancing my disability and my degree studies.

Ways of Looking by Ossian Ward.

One of those books which I’d have missed if my tutor hadn’t recommended it. It breaks down viewing artwork into a formula which I can’t wait to try out.

  • Time: 5 breath rule. Just look at it whilst you breath.
  • Association: Do I relate to this piece of art? What do I feel?
  • Background: What’s the artist’s story? What’s their meaning behind this piece?
  • Understand? Has this helped you see the art from the artist’s point of view?
  • Look Again: Has your perception or opinion changed with this information?
  • Assessment: What do you think of the art now?

Apparently this is different to when Ossian Ward is critiquing a piece, when he uses Quality, Consistency, Endeavour, Originality & Bravery.

When I’ve read some more, I’ll come back and expand this post.


Terms and Definitions

Thought I ought to add a space that crosses all the units of my degree of terms I had to google!

  • Avant Garde. From the term advance guard. Forward thinking; radical; experimental.
  • Marxism. The belief that capitalism is unsustainable and socialism’s time will come. That the fundamental problems facing modern society are inherent in the capitalist ideology.
  • Postmodernism. Not a movement, a philosophical ideology that crosses industry.

The Seven Basic Plots

by Christopher Booker.

I loved this book so much I returned the ebook to the library and bought it instead. As a reader who inhales books, I have found this book so enlightening. Although the downside is now I’m breaking books down as I read them.

The book is constructed with four parts. The first part is the plot types. I’m half way through and loving it. So many notes….I’m still reading this book, it’s a whopper of a book, so I shall add to this post as I go. 

So the first part is the plot types. Christopher Booker, what an apt name…sorry I digress, has broken them down into 7 types. He then takes each plot type and breaks them down into a plan. For example, the first plot type Overcoming the Monster, I now realise how many of my books are this plot type. I read mostly fantasy sagas and they fit this type really well. Then C. Booker breaks the Overcoming the Monster plot down into the journey. Anticipation, Dream, Frustration, Nightmare, Escape from death, Death of Monster. Even watching the Avengers has become a different adventure!

At this point I’m torn between breaking the whole book down for you, or making you buy a copy. For now it will be making you buy a copy. 

Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

by Christopher Butler.

This is one of those books that looks fabulous, a concise book to illuminate the reader. Then you open the cover and realise you need a dictionary for every other word. Rather than translating Postmodernism into a book for the masses it, which would have been fantastic, this reads as an academic essay. You’d have to already understand postmodernism for this book to explain it to you.

I shall endeavour to find a digital copy so I can use the inbuilt dictionary to translate this to english.

Part Two – Creative Reading

Oh my goodness, I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to make it into the next part. I’ve had an awful 2 years, and I feel like I’m just finding my feet again. The awful hyper-vigilance and night terrors have finally gone (thank you SSRI Sertraline).

Now I get to settle back into my studies, hope the OCA will give me a 6 month extension so I don’t have to cram 4 assignments into 1 1/2 months, and expand my art world.

Blue wings on a yellow sky, acrylic paint on paper.

Spreading my wings and moving forward.

Loading signal, white background with a blue circle moving clockwise

Getting back in the saddle

So I had a disastrous year for my mental health. Between social services’ “crisis management team” not reading my notes on PTSD, a rude neurologist who believes that M.E. is psychological, and the incredibly stressful process of an OIA appeal against OCA and disabled student allowance, I’m finally finding my feet again.

The brain fog has been horrendous and the Complex PTSD keeps setting off my ME. It’s been incredibly difficult to find my baseline to restart pacing. The pain in both my body and spirit has been overwhelming, with no room to process anything else. It started to settle after my local NHS wellbeing service finally found space for me, however after an assessment they told me they couldn’t help as my case was too complicated. I feel really fragile and am hoping that my degree will distract me until I can actually get some counselling. It’s proving difficult to self refer, and the NHS claim they can’t help. Depression seeped into my life and its been hard to find any motivation to get dressed, let alone read course notes.

The OCA has been deafeningly silent. I apparently have a new tutor.

As I try to pick myself up and move on with my degree I wonder what obstacles I’ll have this year. I had to withdraw my appeal for a non medical helper last year due to my mental health, and I wonder how bad asking for help will be this year. Everyone claims that the disabled student allowance is supposed to provide help, but what I need is assistance to get around. When you can’t even leave your house without assistance telling me to get a book out of the library is as difficult as flying to mars. No-one understands. The course material states I should go to a gallery, engage with art first hand, that secondary resources aren’t as good. What happens when you physically can’t get out?


After a break of 6 years, due to my deteriorating health, starting my degree has been the catalyst for me picking up my camera.  My husband has tried several times over the years to get me engaged back in to my photography, but with little success.  The combination of losing my mobility, strength in my upper body, and the growing anxiety in my gut prevented me from having any faith in my ability to be able to still take photographs.

Sat on Perranporth beach, with a camera strapped to my wheelchair, made me face so many emotions I felt I’d dealt with.  I had been a professional photographer. And it hadn’t been until I had to close the business that I realised just how much I LOVED MY JOB.  From those nervous brides tentatively putting their tights on wondering if the groom was sipping whisky, through to hyperactive children who barely kept still for a millisecond.  Then I got ill.

So as I tentatively dip my toe back in the photographic world,  please be kind.