The Rower

Personal Blog

Rower
‘Rower’ by Graham Berry

The Concept 2 rowing machine, while not uncommon in most gyms across the United Kingdom (and perhaps the wider world) is now my church, boardroom, centre of gravity and now primary source of reflection. It is where I spend forty-minutes early morning, four days per week, because at almost fifty years of age, cardiovascular health  is now to me, far more important than anything.

Having spent many years favouring weight-training over fitness, I now  look forward to several miles of sweaty, gruelling escapism in the hope that it will enable me live longer than my father, particularly given that he passed away at age sixty-three, to the hell we all know as cancer. In fact, when I calculate that sixty-three is merely fifteen years from today, a wave of nervous gratitude engulfs me, somehow sharpening my focus and forcing me to shed the doubts and fears so often occupying my mind.

While the view in front of the rowing machine is one left wanting, my personal approach is one of closed eyes and total detachment, accompanied only by the uplifting sound of numerous ‘Anjunabeats’ trance albums pouring from my cherished blue Bose SoundSport wireless headphones (far and away the best wireless headphones I’ve had to date). It’s become a sanctuary of sorts, a place where I can listen to my innermost thoughts, while soothing myself with reassuring calm and earnest praise.

As a compliment to my physical health management, I maintain a non-meat lifestyle supported by a genuine passion for cooking world cuisine. By non-meat, I admit that I do still have a fondness for fish, and so while I appreciate the contradiction, I could easily remain solely vegetable reliant, but with a wife and two children to consider, it’s just not practical (at least not right now).

When cooking, I consciously try to experiment with at least several new dishes a month, and although some inevitably prove disappointing, I feel the benefits of trying new recipes far outweigh the occasional flop, while those considered ‘keepers’ by us as a family, will often find themselves on my social media feeds (for whatever small pleasure they might bring viewers).

Upon reflection, I suppose live a rather uncomplicated life, either spending time with my family, or sitting at my desk, again facing yet another wall, but gratefully one adorned with the creative musings of my five year-old daughter Cassidy, who loves to bring her new creations for me to proudly display.

My greatest wish is that one day we will all be able to live in a home affording me a work space with a view as inspired as it is nourishing, because nobody should strive to earn a living in the corner of a bedroom (at least not for long), and yet that vision can, at times, still feel more like a fantasy and less of a destination.

For the record, I try to work every day for around 5-6 hours at a time, fuelled by fruit smoothies, taking occasional breaks for green tea and chance conversations with my wife Natasha, who herself owns and operates an online high-end vintage clothing store (www.barefoot-vintage.co.uk), and so when we’re not sat at the diner table discussing our thoughts and emotions, or brainstorming our commercial objectives, she can likewise be found either studying for her psychology degree, or working at her own desk in yet another corner of this, our home for the last seven years.

I do however take time off for our family holidays (largely because Natasha arranges them for reasons of sanity), but generally speaking you can pretty much guarantee my whereabouts, until I am instead found happily preparing the day’s dinner in the kitchen, accompanied again by music from one of my many playlists.

In the last few years, I have become acutely aware that all work and no play is not the best recipe for a ‘fun’ life, and so I do consciously try to achieve some semblance of work-life balance; however without my writing and hopefully selling a reasonable number of books, our dream home will not simply build itself, nor will my current view change for one now long-imagined and eagerly anticipated.

I would like to stress my immense gratitude for having found a vocation that gives me tremendous satisfaction, and although my first book has not yet found itself in the hands of as many people as I’d initially hoped, my goals remain staunchly resolute, which means that right now, it’s business as usual, despite all of my worries about dying undiscovered and penniless.

Crossroads

Personal Blog

Crossroads by Cliff Knecht
Image: ‘Crossroads’ by Cliff Knecht

Today is my first blog entry and having reflected upon my efforts so far, it feels as if all my work will never be seen, purchased or benefitted from by law students either now and in the future. I’m sorry if that sounds all doom and gloom but there it is.

The truth is, marketing your book to an international audience is virtually impossible when you have literally no money, despite my dropping the retail price, and trying to promote it across numerous social media platforms. At forty-eight I am no spring chicken, and so would be the first to confess that I have no real idea how to exploit this side of things when trying to reach young students looking for genuine help in the field of law.

I can write all day, everyday, primarily because I love what I do, and because I passionately want to share my gift with as many people as possible, however as I am sure plenty of you know, marketing and promotion of any medium is not free, and it’s not as if I can give away samples, as every copy costs me money, which again, I simply do not have.

– A typical case of chicken and egg.

Worse still, the one and only review left on Amazon.co.uk (which appeared on my birthday of all days) was difficult for me to read and understand, particularly given how hard I had worked on this debut publication, and how my family had barely seen much more than the back of my head for months on end, as I sat in the corner of our bedroom facing the wall, studying and writing like a man possessed.

I never once imagined that the first piece of feedback would be so damning, and in all honesty I have not sold another copy on Amazon.co.uk since. It is obvious that the reviewer could not have cared less for how that has left me, or how it has most likely deterred others from buying a copy for themselves, but there is nothing I can do except hope that somebody else buys my book, loves it, and feels compelled to offer their version of events.

So as I sit here this evening, having enjoyed Christmas more now than ever before, I am torn between continued hope for a future filled with writing, and a creeping sense that I have deluded myself into thinking people care about case law even half as much as I do.

Deep down, I want to believe that there is an audience for my work, but to date I have had no lasting sign that I am making any difference, and that’s incredibly hard for anybody to take, no matter how much faith you have in yourself and your craft.

I’m not trying to come off as depressing here, I’m simply reaching out through this section of my site as a genuinely passionate human being, who having spent my life blindly (and painfully) searching for the answer to the question as to why I am here, fell in love with law the moment I set foot on university soil.

Its also important for me to stress that this love has not waned in the slightest, and I plan to continue simplifying case law in as many jurisdictions as possible, if only in the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, chooses to pursue the subject because they felt they could at last understand why it exists and how it functions.

It’s equally strange for me to be pulled by a vision, which at this very moment feels frayed at the edges, yet there is a voice reassuring me that it’s just a matter of time, and that far from giving up, I just need to let go and keep moving forward.

As I type these words, I just hope that voice is right, I really do.