‘Smoke and Mirrors’ – My Son’s Way Back

A few month’s ago, I read this in UCB*

‘Tenacity is the hallmark of all successful people.  They keep trying, keep learning and keep moving forward.  They win the battle in their minds and then it
overflows into what they do’.

It wasn’t too long ago when I wrote my post ‘Write Your Dream but Don’t Kill the Creativity‘ in which I expressed my thoughts on the writer’s paradox of wanting to keep the dream alive by writing a book for publication (which is my dream) but at the same time not letting our creativity fall by the way-side.

As an another example of this, I wrote about my son’s experience of pursuing his dream of writing, recording and performing his own music but how studying a professional musicianship degree killed his creativity and his dream.

Almost.  For a time.

Over the next few years he continued to ‘dabble’ in his music and recorded a couple of songs but gradually the pursuit of his musical dream came to a resounding halt.

More recently, he was floored by what was, at the time, a devastating break-up with his girlfriend; a storm raged and crashed through his world which, while bringing him down, dear reader, did not completely break him, although it threatened to do so.

This is because my son is not a quitter. 

He is a self-taught musician who was accepted to Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) on audition purely because he would not give up on his dream. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve.

His setbacks over recent years have only strengthened him and now his creativity has returned with a vengence.   His dream, as it turned out, was not dead but merely asleep, awaiting its time to awake, renewed, refreshed and on fire.  He has set his eyes on his future, not held back by his past.

George Bernard Shaw said:

People are always blaming their circumstances.  The people who get ahead are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and
if they can’t find them, they make them’.

My son has inspired me with his tenacity, his strength of character and his integrity.  He has clawed his way back and he has recently recorded his latest song, Smoke & Mirrors, shared here via Soundcloud.  In this way he is telling those who would listen that he is back and he will not be pushed into that dark place again.

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You can also listen to his previous songs, Angel Eyes and Plains of Abaddon on Soundcloud. These songs have all been recorded on his home PC with whatever equipment he has been able to muster and afford over the years.  That, just him, his guitar and a few riffs.  It may not be your kind of music but it’s his kind of music and it’s his creation.  This is my son’s way back.

I hope that by being my metal-guitarist son’s number-one fan his ‘street cred’ isn’t totally destroyed but I can’t make any apologies for being just that… and for being so very proud of him 🙂

*United Christian Broadcasters, The Word for Today, http://www.UCB.co.uk

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Family Life, Mothers & Sons, Music, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ – My Son’s Way Back

  1. Your son is so blessed to have you as his mom 🙂

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  2. I understand this completely. When I was young I wrote poetry constantly, until I took a creative writing class in 8th grade. Once I learned all of the “rules” of writing, it was YEARS until I felt moved to pick up a pen again. I’m glad your son found his creativity again!

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  3. Shaw’s quote is one of my favorites, and your son–and you as well, Sherri–perfect examples of those who aren’t dictated by their circumstances but create the circumstances to match your dreams. Bravo! for your son’s efforts, talents and successes…and for yours, too. You have not given up on your dreams!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Marylin! Yes, I do love that particular Shaw quote. I have always believed that even when circumstances threaten to dictate to us and bring us down we do have the choice to decide not to let that happen. Not easy at the time when we can’t see the way forward, but something that is eventually possible if we go after it 🙂

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  4. Steven says:

    I love the last comment – ha ha, I’m sure his street cred isn’t tarnished at all! If mumsey isn’t number one fan then who is!? Love Smoke and Mirrors and listening to the other two as I type. That’s some serious talent there, I’m glad he didn’t jack it in! Would love to hear some more, powerful stuff! I fancy a good mosh now 😉

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    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Nothing like a good mosh!!

      In the summer, both my boys went to see Iron Maiden at the O2 Arena. We drove them up there and before they went in my hubby took a photo of me standing inbetween them (they are both very tall!) and my son posted on Facebook something like ‘nothing like having a photo with my mum before going into a metal gig’!!! I love it 🙂 Actually, I told them that next time I’m going in…. 😉

      I’ll definitely keep you posted with his music updates. Thanks so much Steven!!

      Like

  5. OH WOW! What an incredibly fabulous talent! I pray for absolute success for him, Sherri! I, too, am listening as I type this. All three are terrific, but am loving Angel Eyes. You’re right to be proud.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Susan, and of course for your prayers too, so glad that you enjoyed listening to his music, I think it’s amazing and yes, so proud!!

      He made me a CD as one of my Christmas presents a couple of years ago, One of the songs on there was his own rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, which is my favourite Christmas carol. I will have to put that on here at Christmas time, it really is incredible.

      Ahh yes, Angel Eyes! We both share a love of Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns and I love that one too. The favourite all time film being The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

      Like

  6. Denise says:

    Wow. He’s good. As someone who tried and failed over and over to teach herself the guitar – I can see that to reach the standard he has must have taken huge dedication. Heavy metal is so difficult and technical – but also demands passion.

    My Lovely Daughter #1 likes heavy metal. And although Lovely Daughter #2 isn’t as much into it, and although the girls would never intentionally do something the other is doing, it’s something she’s often asked me to look for with her. My step son is into it too, so it runs in the family – even though he moved out when they were young children.

    I’ve read that metallers tend to be more intelligent and thoughtful than fans of other music… although my favourite type is dance music 🙂

    Lovely Daughter #2 and I both enjoyed the clips, thanks for sharing!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Denise, glad that you and LD#2 enjoyed listening, and yes, my son is extremely dedicated. He is really pushing through with his music once again and I am so very happy for him and of course so proud of his staying power. He makes his mind up and goes for it.

      Heavy metal definitely runs in our family, their father passing down his love of all things metal to the boys and somewhat to my daughter. There is a fair bit I like too but not the really, really heavy stuff. As I said to Steven above, I would love to go and see Iron Maiden!!! 🙂

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  7. Wow, Sherri! You’ve got a star on your hands. What a talented young man! You have every right to be proud and announce your son’s talent throughout cyberspace. 🙂

    I played Smoke and Mirrors for your friend and mine from Devon and he loved it. We’re off to listen to the other two songs. I hope you’ll post more of his music, Sherri. By the way, love the Shaw quote!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Jill, really glad that you enjoyed listening! Well, I did warn him that I was going to post his song on my blog and I’m so glad that I did! I thought it would be so good to be able to share it here and give others a chance to listen.

      Ha ha! Our friend from Devon likes metal does he??!! You will have to read my comment to Steven above 😉

      I will definitely post more of his music and keep you updated. It’s great to have this opportunity to do so, and yes, I am particularly fond of this Shaw quote. Very timely 🙂

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      • Yes, Derek from Devon does enjoy rock/metal. He said your son’s music reminded him some of the group Rush…not sure if your son is familiar with them. LOL…I read your comment to Steven…too funny!

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        • Sherri says:

          Ahh yes, Rush! I certainly remember them well and I do believe that my son really likes them too, his dad is a huge fan I know that! Interesting that Derek from Devon said that about them!

          Well Jill, now you know where I will be next time Iron Maiden comes to London… 😉

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  8. Great for him. No one will ever deter him from reaching his goals. The music industry, and the film industry are so hard to infiltrate. As a musician, I have first hand knowledge of this area, but if you are determined, you can make a dent, which will be noticed by the powers that be. Your influence has greatly impacted him. Does he plan on publishing his songs? Let me know, and I’ll try to guide him. He deserves it. A very strong young man. Continue to be proud of him. I am!
    Blessings.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Johnny, and you certainly do know all about the music business and wow, such wonderful encouragement from you! I will certainly tell my son what you have said and will definitely keep in touch and let you know. That is amazingly kind of you and your support so very much appreciated.

      He has worked so very hard on his music for many years and it is wonderful for me to see him pursuing his dreams once again. I do believe that this time he will go all the way with them.

      I most certainly am so very proud of him. Blessings right back to you 🙂

      Like

  9. jennypellett says:

    Just listened to Smoke and Mirrors. Thought it was excellent, truly.
    What a talented boy you have – I hope he keeps striving for his dream.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Jenny, glad you liked it! I know I’m his mum but he really is so talented and I really hope that he will now go on with his music in a big way. I will keep you posted 🙂

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  10. Edward Gibbon: “The winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”

    Def Leppard was once a garage band.

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    • Sherri says:

      Wow, great quote Michael, thanks so much for sharing it! My son will greatly appreciate hearing this when I share it with him and, of course, Def Leppard’s beginnings…. 🙂

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      • He does sound as if he hs talent, but perseverance and work ethic will be the larger determinants in the long run.

        More into jazz and classical now, but listened to rock when younger (high school). Caught Van Halen, Iron Maiden (Number of the Beast tour, have the picture disk album), Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, etc

        Also saw the musical Tribute to Queen a few years back while in London Town on business.

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        • Sherri says:

          Yes, I agree, definitely work ethic and perseverance, which my son has in abundance. The level that he plays at now has taken years of very determined playing and learning. That’s what has made me so proud, as well as the way he plays of course 🙂

          You could have some great conversations with my son, especially about Iron Maiden… 🙂

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  11. lilkaraphael says:

    What a wonderful post!
    I can surely relate. I always wanted to “write” but it took a couple of decades worth of life experiences and God’s timing to allow that to happen. God is now restoring the lost years, bringing me to inspirational posts such as this one and allowing me to connect with phenomenal people.

    I think you should strongly consider writing your book! Your blog is such a blessing and I suspect any book you wrote would be one too. The words may come to you faster than you can type (or write) them…especially if they are practically sitting on a hard drive somewhere….

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Lilka, I do thank you so very much for your very kind words and encouragement and reading your ‘story’ is greatly inspirational to me too! I am truly humbled to read what you share here.

      As I have been saying to my son recently, life’s experiences are never wasted, good or bad, so long as we learn from them and live good lives as a result and then carry them over to help, encourage and inspire others.

      As you so rightly say, however, the timing just isn’t right. When it is though, God’s timing, boy, do we know it 🙂 How wonderful that those ‘lost years’ are being returned to you. I feel the same way…

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  12. It is not easy feeding a passion without unplanned twists and turns along the way. Believing in yourself is hard work and I see you are over-the-top proud of your son’s accomplishments. Bravo to a supportive Mom and two thumbs up for a go-getter who wouldn’t give up. 😀

    I don’t know anything about music but it’s easy to tell this took work. Sounds like a band not just one musician with a guitar.

    Like

  13. TBM says:

    A fighter after my own heart. Thanks for sharing his music, My dog was bobbing his head along–I wish I had recorded it. So cute. I didn’t know Miles could do that. I wish him the best of luck and he’s lucky to have such a supportive mum!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha, thanks so much TB!! I love that your dog liked it too, that’s great! Can’t wait to tell my son, he’ll get a great kick out of that story!!! Fancy that, a head-banging dog, super!
      PS I’ll be in touch by email very shortly… 😉

      Like

  14. My husband is awake and I have now listened and boy, your son certainly does have talent. It’s great that he is getting his creative juices flowing again.

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  15. What a wonderful mom, your son is incredibly lucky to have someone so supportive in his life. I think as children it’s so important knowing that we have our parents love and support in all our endeavors. Also, what a wonderful song- he truly is talented. Thank you for sharing Sherri!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Heather for everything you say here, my son is so encouraged by yours and everyone’s wonderful support. So glad that you enjoyed listening to his music 🙂

      Like

  16. How awesome, Sherri! My, we do have a lot in common. My son, too, is a songwriter/musician (based in Minneapolis), working on living out his dream. How wonderful that our children don’t give up!

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  17. simplyilka says:

    Yay! I can smell talent in the smoke … It’s so good to see your son back on track!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Thanks so much Ilka, his music really is smoking, love that, and yes, he is indeed back on track moving forward each and every day one step at a time… 🙂

      Like

  18. Rachel says:

    Wow! He’s really good. I’m impressed. I’m pleased to read that things are back on track too. I must say he turned it all around very quickly. Must be all the support he’s got 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Rachel, I’m so glad you enjoyed listening, thanks very much! He still has bad days and struggles but being able to immerse himself in his music has helped greatly (and a fair bit of TLC I’m sure 😉 )

      He has been blown away by the support here for his music 🙂

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  19. I am absolutely blown away by his talent & I know that the girls and my Steve would be so very, very proud. He would have loved it!!! Your blog is such a highlight of my week. Not only do I learn more about you but about your family! xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, bless you Diane and thank you so much! Yes, I know that dear Steve would have been so proud and the girls too 🙂 Your ongoing support of my blog and for me and my family is never taken for granted my friend xo

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  20. As a former rocker / punk / goth, great music and yes, you’re lucky to have such a talented son, but he’s also lucky to have such a supportive mother! The same thing happened to me with art – I drew all the time until I studied it at school, then it took me more than 20 years to start again, but I think if something’s that much a part of you, it’ll find a way to come out – my art also returned after a devastating time that made me and my creativity stronger.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! You would fit right into our family then Andrea, as a former rocker/punk/goth!!

      Thanks so much not only for your lovely support of my son’s music but also for sharing your personal story here. I do so agree that if something really is a part of you, be it music, art, writing, to name a few, then it most certainly will come back out at some point in life.

      I am so glad that for you your art returned but just so sorry that it took a devastating time to do so…

      Like

  21. Imelda says:

    Wow! I love his composition. Your son is so talented. I wish him a wider audience for his job. My boys, who like metal, love this piece, too. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Imelda, I really appreciate this as will my son! Great to know that your boys enjoyed a few great metal riffs too 🙂

      Yes, it is the wider audience that is needed and hopefully he is well on his way to achieving this now 🙂

      Like

  22. thirdhandart says:

    Listened to all three songs. Your son’s abilities are very evident in the guitar riffs. Don’t think your son needs much luck… except maybe to be heard by the right person.
    Love the George Bernard Shaw quote… will have to take it to heart myself.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Theresa, this means a great deal to both me and my son. It really is about being heard by the right person and getting ‘out there’! His talent needs to be heard wide and far!!

      Yes, I do love that Shaw quote, so very timely and so very true… 🙂

      Like

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  24. Steve Rebus says:

    Wow!!! Sherri, i’ve just listened to ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ and was blown away by your sons talent! What a gifted guitarist, love the riffs and licks, really well mixed!
    I’ve always loved metal music and i’d like to Reblog this post on iChristian, if that’s ok?
    If it helps, i only started writing when my life was smashed to pieces. Creativity seems to flow through the cracks of the heart.
    So blessed to see and hear this post today.
    Sherri, you’re such a loving mum, you’ll probably never realise just how much your support has, and will build love in your son and his siblings! God bless you. 🙂

    Like

  25. Sherri says:

    Oh Steve, I’m so blessed by your wonderful encouragement of my son’s music, he will be so thrilled to read this and yes, of course, it would be an honour to have this reblogged on your site, thanks so much!!

    You put it so beautifully – ‘creativity seems to flow through the cracks of the heart’. Written by you, who has gone through so much, this speaks volumes.

    Thanks so much Steve for your support and encouragement not only of me and my writing but of my son and our family. You are a very great blessing to us all 🙂

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  26. Thanks for sharing this link with me Sherri, I loved listening to Smoke & Mirrors! Your son is so talented! He should never give up! My boyfriend plays the guitar too I’ll get him to listen to this I’m sure he’ll love it too!

    xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Maria for coming over and listening to Nicky’s song, it means a great deal to me and to him! I’m looking forward to hearing what your boyfriend thinks of it too! Have a super weekend 🙂 xx

      Like

  27. Life and Other Turbulence says:

    He’s crazy talented…that’s a dream he needs to make a reality.

    Like

  28. tieshka says:

    Hi Sherri- I have finally found a moment to listen to your son’s song. Quite good- I could see that being played on the radio.. maybe he should be living in America (LA more specific).

    I had wanted to write early on watching your kids experience heart break, but once again I am just finding the time to do so.. it must be horrible…I do not look forward to those days. Have a good weekend.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Good morning Tieshka, I hope you had a good weekend. Many thanks for taking the time to read this post and listen to my son’s music, I (he too!) really appreciate it.

      It is good therapy for him to get back into his music as he is still very early on in his long road towards healing and recovery from his recent break up but he has been so inspired and encouraged by everyone’s support here.

      It is awful seeing your kids go through this kind of thing but then we are mothers for a lifetime and so long as we can offer our continual love and support no matter what then we know we are doing all we can to help them along their journey, every step of the way.

      Like

  29. Steve Rebus says:

    Reblogged this on iChristian and commented:
    Please check out Nick Estrada’s music, an amazing talent!

    Like

  30. So inspirational! I am already thinking of how I will relay this story to my own children…and I love Smoke and Mirrors!!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading, and so glad that you found my son’s story so inspiring and enjoyed listening to his music. Please do visit again 🙂

      Like

  31. I like it, if you want to tell him! Takes me back to the 70s, reminiscent of Queen. Good for him and for you!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Jane and I will most definitely tell him! Well, my son does like music from the 70s and 80s in particular, so you can see where he gets his inspiration from 🙂

      Like

  32. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

    Your son is talented and should seek representation – or does he have that already?

    From one proud mom to another, I feel your love and pride.

    Seriously, does he have an agent/recording deal yet? IF not, get the word out.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Lorraine. He doesn’t as yet, hoping after he moves he will be able to make more contacts and really pursue this.

      Like

      • Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

        He should – tell him to take advantage of all social media, YouTube, etc, to contact as many people as possible in the music industry, etc. I may be able to help somehow, too. More on this later, though. 😉 Via email!

        Like

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  34. Julia Lund says:

    Really enjoyed your son’s music – please let him know that an ‘inappropriate woman’ appreciates his talent, reslilience and tenacity

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Julia! Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that I never replied to your beautiful message, I’m so so sorry. Somehow I missed this one. I’m just coming back here, having linked it to my recent post, and read this. I will be sure to give you my son’s message, only 4 months later, but actually you will be pleased to know that he is doing so much better and really back into his music, looking to form a band, back down in Brighton. Thank you so much for your wonderful message to him…and again, in total mortification, I apologise sincerely for this oversight, for this is what it is. I hope you are well? I will come over to pay you a visit… kindest to you… Sherri.

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  35. Pingback: Bite Size Memoir: Mum’s 10 out of 10 | A View From My Summerhouse

  36. Lisa Reiter says:

    Spooky spooky spooky – And possibly very fortuitous to be led to this post because I asked you for 10 out of 10 on Bite Size Sherri! Big discussions here at the moment as to whether the educational route suits our would-be actor. He never has quite fit the system – he does well enough but his creativity is beyond examination and we’re beginning to worry whether the arduous years of sticking to other’s agendas might put out his fire! Thank you xx

    PS Nice bit of metal guitar !! Downloaded and playing – talented boy 🙂 (having played guitar myself for 8 years I feel able to comment!!)

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh wow, I just got chills reading this Lisa, really am…..oooooh….spooky is right! All I can say is that in my mind, there is nothing worse than losing that fire..my daughter had the same experience with art at art college. Put her right off. Well, I hope this helps even just a tiny bit with your further discussions for your son’s future and I really do wish him every success…and keep that actor’s fire burning bright! Isn’t it wonderful how blogging spreads so much support and encouragement in the most unlikely of places? I had absolutely no idea about your 10 out of 10 but I kept coming back to ‘Nicky’s’ story and so I had to write it…who would have thought? I’m so happy to have this connection 🙂
      I’ll tell Nicky your message, thanks so much Lisa and coming from you, that’s a huge compliment! I think you can tell from this is that he is a huge 80s metal fan 🙂
      Hugs… ❤

      Like

      • Lisa Reiter says:

        I think the best thing about the way blogging spreads this support comes from the fact that the writer is exploring the whys and consequences out loud in a way that merely hearing about an event doesn’t help you with your own thought processes! Love it – it’s enough to just know it’s a possible consequence rather than blindly follow the path everyone else says you should tread! (Well.. I was never going to suggest THAT though, was I?!)

        I hope Nicky has continued to find his own way. We can learn more from his ‘travelling’ tales another time! Interesting too about your daughter and art college! We’re finding this with English – his creative writing is amazing and to quote one teacher he’s a ‘wordsmith’ but unfortunately GCSE is very prescribed and you have to follow rules written by people with less insight (quote another teacher). The grade he gets will probably not reflect his ability with language, literature or poetry especially. Sad isn’t it.

        I too am so happy to have this connection, Sherri! Coffee and cake one day.. 😀

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        I would never think you would suggest blindly following the same path…you being such a great a trailblazer Lisa! That’s what I love about you…you definitely think ‘outside the box’ and I agree that blogging enables us to give much more considered thought to what’s being read and replied to than just plain talking!
        Thanks so much for your concern for Nicky, he is doing great now and much happier thank goodness, finding his way in life. I do hope for your son that he finds his path musically and academically and won’t be hindered by the constraints of our educational system trying to force him into a box because his true abilities aren’t realised. I’m sure with a great mum like you he will be guided upon the right path and truly excel…I for one look forward to hearing much more about his success…
        Great chatting Lisa…here’s to that cake and coffee one day, look forward to it.. 😀 ❤ xx

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