As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.

Ernest Hemingway, On Writing

It wasn’t intentional.

As a child, I did not declare out loud that I wanted to be a writer. I had no idea that it was what I wanted. I never considered it. Nobody suggested it. I dropped both English language and literature at sixteen. Other students were better writers with wider vocabularies and better grades.

I didn’t set out with a plan to be a writer, but I became one. It just happened. A happenence.

And, to give them some credit, the gods haven’t held back in giving me things to write about. And if they forgot to bless me with some magical talent at birth, well they gave me the capacity to learn, which I’d say, biasedly, is even better.

This place, Happenence, is where some of my writing (a small proportion really) has ended up. It’s here I reflect upon the things I am trying to understand, without judgement, although often and inevitably I judge without understanding.

Now you’re here, first, you’ll probably want to check out a couple of blog posts. If you can’t stand how I write then you’re not going to want to stick around.

I write about living. It’s not all pretty

Last night I was on my way home from work when, on reaching town, the colectivo (a kind of collective taxi) was enveloped in that acrid tear-gas smell, a group of gas-masked protesters stood nearby and we had to loop around because the carabineros (police officers) had closed the road. The driver frowned, I sighed, nobody spoke. A few streets further on I thanked the driver, got out and walked the rest of the way home.

I write about trauma. Sometimes whilst crying

In my writing, I reflect on how my trauma was a catalyst that changed my life, changed my brain, and how the therapy that followed changed how I live. Other times I reflect on conversations I have about trauma, particularly sexual abuse. Invisible scars that last a lifetime.

I also write about teaching, language and books

Despite my accent, the ever so slight lisp and requiring speech therapy as a small child, I’m called upon to advise on how one should speak English, including its pronunciation. Or maybe it’s because I have a warm northern accent and can empathise with anyone who struggles with those ‘th’ sounds that people turn to me and ask.

Or maybe my teaching comes down a willingness to mime and giggle and enjoy the process. I don’t really know, but people say thank you and I feel like I’m doing something good.

And isn’t language itself so glorious?

Second, you want to inspect the (kind of ) monthly newsletter. Some of my writing is exclusive to those people who smile to see an email from me in their inbox. Some of the things I’m more timid about saying so publically here find their way to publication through the emails.

Third, you might want to write to me. Or send me presents, like the wonderful lady who sent me a box of tarot cards after I wrote about having my cards read.

Welcome to my Happenence,

Catherine Oughtibridge

P.S. Whilst some names, dates and locations are changed to protect the identities of people I love. The essence is all true.

P.P.S. You can only improve by taking on feedback. Feedback for me is like pollen for the bees. If you have some to give, please take a deep breath, hit send, and share some with me.