What Paul Abbott told me.

Yesterday I talked to Paul Abbott. Yes, the award-winning writer of Shameless, Clocking Off and State of Play. My heart was thumping as I put myself before him. But I needed to tell him how the interview he had just given resonated with me.

I needed to tell him I understand when traumatic childhood experiences fuel a compulsion to write. It’s not a prerequisite, but for some of us, it’s there: that urge to turn pain, rage and injustice into something beautiful.

In Paul’s case, it fuelled a prolific productivity and success at a young age. Dramas that people wanted to see; scripts that producers wanted to commission.

But at the height of this, struggling to process the exposure, he stopped. There was a mental health crisis. And he wasn’t, as he put it, “ attending to” his writing.

I found myself telling Paul that’s where I’ve been (minus the being famous bit!). And that I’ve been giving myself the hardest time over it.

But the thing is when he did start again, Paul Abbott wrote like hell. “I hit the ground running. “I had not been hiding…..I had been incubating” he said.

That gave me hope.

I told Paul that I’d come to the festival to reconnect to my scriptwriting. He looked at me very directly, almost impatiently and said:  “You are connected to it”.

I found myself welling up, which tells me I believe him.

So, thank you to Mr Abbott, to the team behind London Screenwriters Festival  and to myself for getting here when I felt I no longer had it in me.

Love and Kindness Always, Rachel

#LondonSWF #LondonScreenwritersFestival

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When I said I wanted life to surprise me…

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I take responsibility. When you end a dysfunctional part of your life, I said,  “you open up space for life to surprise you…” . I invited life to surprise me and then I committed to sharing the result with you.
Of course, I wasn’t expecting that to be a new, longer-lasting, deeply debilitating, can’t move, won’t work for a year bout of depression.
But that’s what happened.
Fuck. I couldn’t share that. Not here.  Not then.  Forgive me.
But I am doing it now. Not the details, but the fact of it.
I did not spent 1000 hours crafting this post because that kind of perfectionism is partly what got me into trouble in the first place; brought on an anxiety so annihilating that I ceased to function.
Better to accept the imperfection in anything I write (or do) than stay silent. So, this is me just checking in and saying hi, speak again soon – definitely in fewer than twelve months anyway!
I’ve retitled this site with my name to allow me to post pieces beyond the remit of my mentoring.  But how to pursue what you value, make a living, and stay well are themes that will continue to feature.
Right, enough explaining myself.
Love and kindness always, Rachel

Links for you

Campaign to end mental health stigma and encourage people to reach out: Time to Change Wales

Book on depression that I found helpful and enjoyable: Sunbathing in the rain: A cheerful book about depression by Gwyneth Lewis


 

 

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Stuck, burnt out, up against it? Where do you go from here?

“But what have I done wrong”, my boss asks, all innocence and bewilderment. I lean my five foot two inch frame towards her: “Do you really want to do this?”  My concerned colleagues leap up, ready to save me from myself. They think that I, a petite, and apparently sweet, teacher in my late forties, am about to throw a punch.
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