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Hear Here

Declining years tend to mean declining faculties, especially sight and hearing. Glasses or lenses cope with the first, but age-related deafness creeps up on you. Low frequencies can still be heard, the deterioration is in the middle and higher tones. Vowels are low frequencies, consonants are higher; speech becomes less audible. The ability to filter conversations in crowded situations gets worse. We apparently hear between 25 and 50% of what is said and our brain fills in the blanks.

For some years, Iíd been suffering age-related deafness, but it seemed to have plateaued at a level where I could still cope in both English and, importantly for me, French. For a foreign language, you need to understand more like 70%.

Then in July, disaster struck when a party balloon burst very loudly near my head. It left me almost completely deaf for two days and even after a couple of weeks, my hearing was only partially restored. Suddenly, I was in a different, almost silent world. My wife had to shout at me and repeat herself ad nauseam and the TV had to be at disco volume. Going out with friends or to a party became a nightmare, I simply couldnít hear conversations. I donít exaggerate when I say I became quite depressed and frustrated, not to say remote, uncommunicative and bad-tempered.

Why is this relevant to WA and writing? Because my desire to write just wilted. I no longer felt in control, my joie de vivre had gone, along with my motivation and my imagination. I did manage a couple of pieces, but purely by gritting my teeth and dragging myself to the keyboard. Where I sat and metaphorically sucked the end of my pencil.

The appointment with an ENT specialist took nearly a month. He examined me thoroughly, then conducted tests. They confirmed permanent damage to the mid and higher ranges Ė I needed hearing aids.

The French health system is wonderful, but pays very little towards hearing aids. In France, a pair will cost you some Ä3000! President Macron is promising free hearing aids, because thousands of citizens need but canít afford them.

Guessing that Iíd require the devices, Iíd been doing some devilling on the web and discovered HearingDirect.com, who sell online at around a third of the French price. After discussion with their audiologist, I chose a pair, for which new stock was expected within a week. In reality, there was a delay of two months before delivery. My frustration just grew and grew, I simply wasnít very nice to live with.

So, has normal service been resumed? Almost but not quite, they ameliorate your hearing, they donít restore it. The aids themselves are practically invisible, sitting above each ear and connected by micro-tubes.

Until deafness hit me, Iíd tended to dismiss it as something that affected other people. Now I truly understand the many difficulties and the screaming frustration caused by being unable to hear and communicate. It does change your life, your outlook, your drive, your enthusiasm.

But my mojoís back, write on!

This Week on Writers Abroad
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This week on WA

After reading the Writing Goals for†Jo, Bruce, Nicola, Sue and Vanessa this thought popped into my mind; I walk with giants. I know they are goals, but I also know that many of them will be achieved. As a member of WA, Itís a wonderful opportunity to watch members struggle and then achieve. †There are no magical leaps to success in this business, and seeing the work in progress is a true inspiration

Joís Six Word Challenge is attracting participants like a magnet Ė what a great idea to start the morning journaling each day. †Nothing too overwhelming but enough to open any doors of resistance.† Wonderful work Debbie, Vanessa, Lesley and Jill.

Writing challenges for January are overwhelming! Nowadays itís about picking and choosing, I can remember years where finding enough competitions to enter was the problem.† Thank you Lesley, Angela, Alyson, Jo and Sue for posting in this forum.

A very tempting Muse Sue has posted for this week.† Several unusual ideas, one Iím tempted to try is to take an old short story and replace every ďtheĒ with a different word.† WHAT??? How will that work out? Beautiful photos and a word list that has† a couple Iíll have to look up.†

Bruce posted on Works in Progress the first and second chapters of his book ďMedium RareĒ.† Heís received several insightful comments from Alyson and Angela already.

If you have any special requests for the spring Planner let Sue know now.† You can do this under Forums>General>The Notice Board.

And thatís about it for the week.† If Iíve left out anything or gotten something wrong please let me know in the comments.† Best of luck to us all for 2018!

This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: site news writers abroad

The start to 2018 has been expectedly quiet as people recover from end of year festivities. My excuse is flu, but on the positive side it has given me the opportunity to read Ė I'm currently on my fifth book of the year! Hopefully, back to writing soon. Iím assuming others are being more creative.

To liven things up, Jo has posted a January 6-word challenge on the site, which should help everyone get going. Some of us have already posted. Itís fun, so have a go.

She has also started a Writing Goals 2018 forum so it could be the time to have a good think about that. Stating your goals publicly can have a motivating effect.

Alyson has posted a selection of January Challenges. Take a look and add to them if you like.

The Bragging Stool is taking a breather this week. Hardly surprising, as competitions and judging slows down for the festive season. Some competitions have been moved forward in anticipation of this and some results are pending, so fingers crossed for the coming weeks if youíve entered something. If you have anything else to brag about, publication, sales, and so on, we want to hear!

Lesley has supplied some brilliant prompts for this weekís Monday Muse, along with some inspiring photos. Laura is down for the Blog, but with a new-born baby on her hands Iím not sure how sheíll find the time to get round to this.

Have a productive writing week!

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