Helen Harper

Health and Happiness

  • December 19, 2013
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The events of this week have had me considering the vagaries of good health. It sounds cliched, I know, but why do some people enjoy (rude) health, while others suffer so much? Take me, for example – I smoke. I started when I was a teenager for all the usual boring reasons, and have never found it in myself to quit, despite numerous attempts to the contrary. And, yes, I know New Year is coming up and I could make it my resolution (again). I know the dangers. I know it’s stupid. But I still do it. If I woke up tomorrow with terminal lung cancer I would have no-one but myself to blame. The Religious Studies teacher I started working with when we were both green newbies and who died ten years ago from leukaemia (her second time around – she’d already beaten it once) didn’t smoke. She didn’t drink either. She’d just gotten married. So why her and not me? It doesn’t seem fair.

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Helen Harper

Writer’s Block

  • December 16, 2013
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I’m stuck. Well, not exactly stuck. I know what’s going to happen next in Eros. I don’t even have that much left to write. But somehow the words aren’t flowing. I sit down after work or at the weekends and, instead of feeling my fingers fly over the keys (which I do sometimes when the stars align), I’m barely managing a paragraph. Occasionally two if I’m lucky. I’ve been telling myself that it’s the end of the year. I’m tired. There is literally only half a day left of my day job at school before we break for the Christmas holidays. And goodness knows, if there’s any job that takes it out of you, it’s teaching. Secretly, however, I know I’m just making excuses. Is it writer’s block?

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