A Small Blue Ball of Pain

oorange tulip behind barbed wire
Tulip behind barbed wire

Originally posted May 2022 in the midst of an autoimmune flare-up.

Small Blue Ball

I am a small blue ball of pain.

Curled up.

Can’t eat. Can’t sleep. Can’t write.

Life on hold.

Wondering what went wrong. Why I am here again.

bluebells, small blue ball

A pause by the bluebell woods on the way back from hospital. A biopsy may provide answers to the mystery of me and my strange body, who knows?

The flowers smell sweet. I breathe them in.

lilac. small blue ball.


An easing comes. A moving on from the small blue ball. A sort of ‘pinkening’. Lilac flowers are taken in from the garden, and I sit in a delicately scented cloud of beauty.

Then, a few steps, and I am outside.

Camelia. Small blue ball.

It is glorious. Painful still, but better. I can envision being well again.

The sunshine. The breeze. I love it all.

pink bench and blossom
Blossom caught in the pink bench.


Thoughts of writing come. I left my poor characters in the middle of the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. War. A situation far worse than my own. I must release them from it soon.

Cover Reveal

Before all this, before I became ill again, a cover was designed. My own photos of stones from Aikey Brae Stone Circle were used.


The main character in the book is neurodivergent.

As am I.

Illness makes me open, bared and true. Pain peels back layers of politeness and hesitancy and doubt. I just say things. And, I just am.

I still hope for a summer release, a later one obviously, maybe early autumn. My body will have its say in the matter. But it will come…

Update: Sisters at the Edge of the World came out in September 2022

Ethereal and spellbinding... says the Historical Novel Society of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land…

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide/Barnes & Noble

See the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

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89 Replies to “A Small Blue Ball of Pain”

  1. Your prose reads like poetry. Hope you have an answer to what is going on with your body and a beautifully pain-free summer with lots of writing accomplished.

  2. Caught in the paradox of beauty and pain, thank you for taking us all into the flowers of it, and the place. I look forward to your new book. My thoughts and prayers are for your healing.

  3. Our pain is always uniquely ours.
    As a neurodiverse writer who lives with chronic pain I have empathy for the temporary loss of writing. I had a stroke that took my writing for several years.

    But there is an emergence on the other side and I believe that these painful yet ultimately temporary losses inform our writing. People who have suffered can write in layers of missing in a way that others cannot. We can bring a nuance to suffering and hope and overcoming. We develop insider’s knowledge about the little things that can get one through the day. And of course we learn a lot about the difference between true and false friends.

    Stay strong. Even when medicine can only provide some answers it is possible to learn to live with the uncertainty.

    1. Thank you for your wise words. I am sorry to hear about your pain and stroke.

      Indeed, all our experiences inform our writing. And our relationships 🙂

  4. So sorry to hear you have been unwell again, nice to read your blog which so eloquently expresses the glimpses of beauty and encouragement that shine through in our times of pain and sorrow! Praying you get well soon. Your new book sounds interesting and the cover looks great!

  5. I hope the docs have some answers for you! Pain is an interesting phenomenon and I like what you’ve done with the colors – and also happy that the blue ball went away! Get well and I’m looking forward to your next book.

  6. Glad to hear you’ve found some relief, my friend. Hopefully you’ll gain some answers soon too. Flowers do help, don’t they? Breathing in fragrance and fresh air of spring is a pleasure and perhaps all the more appreciated in recovery?
    I absolutely love the new cover! It will be released at the right time to be enjoyed. I hope you continue to find relief from pain and joy in the beauty around you.
    Best, ~Sheri

  7. I hope you find an answer and it satisfies your need to know whatever it is you need to know to heal in whatever way presents itself.

  8. Don’t know what health troubles you have, but I wish you well ❣️ your writing has a sense of wonder and a foggy mood in it. So lovely!

  9. My body has always been a mystery too and I am 74. At times, especially last year, I thought I must be nearing the end but no. The first time it was a twisted colon. God did that hurt but it was removed and without complications, just a dreadful stay in hospital that put me very low mentally. 2 months later I was back, this time laid down with tick fever which I do not recommend. So I sympathise with you and wish you quick recovery.

  10. Sorry to hear your news. You live in beautiful surroundings. That must help. All the best, James

  11. ‘… Pain peels back layers of politeness and hesitancy and doubt…’ This. So glad to read in your newsletter that you are doing better … hope the biopsy gave you some sorely needed answers.

    1. It did. I have a very rare condition. Unfortunately not much is known about it, so there’s a lot of trial and error with treatment, but it’s good to know anyway.

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