All I want is a room somewhere…

Writing 101 day 6 – Where do you write?

Generally I reserve time in the morning to write.  A couple of hours dedicated tapping on my laptop. I could of course, spend all day, but that ends with my having a guilt trip about not getting the housework done or the dinner ready, so I try and limit my absorption.

Of course, some days my mind is a blank.  There is nothing, nothing, to write about. My life is dull, my imagination run dry.  I think it is with these days in mind that I choose to sit on the sofa in our sitting room when I’m writing (yeah we have a study, but who uses one of those for goodness sake! I’d have to climb over the mountains of paper an’ everything).

We are very lucky to have two comfy rooms with sofas.  One, which I tend to call the living room, is where we sit in the evening and watch TV, or loll about and read the newspapers on a Sunday morning.  It has a bay window overhung by our very old oak tree at one end, and French windows looking out across the garden at the other.  I treated myself to a chaise longue when we decorated and that is in front of the French windows.  It’s where I drape myself to catch winter rays or watch the rain in summer, it is most definitely not made for working from. The sofa in here is facing the fireplace not the window.  And there’s the rub.

So… it would appear that I write sitting on the sofa in the sitting room because the sofa faces the large picture window which gives me a view of the garden (this is news to me too… I’ve never really thought about it before!).  We have a pear tree just in front of the window, which is where I hang the bird feeders.  All manner of birds come to get their share of nuts, seeds, insects (yuck, those dried ones…) and fat balls.  In fact, I have my own little viewing gallery right there.  The room is always bright and cheery, and in the finer weather I can open the door onto the patio and hear the birds bickering while warm breezes circulate.

However, lovely and entertaining as the view is, there are I think, other subliminal reasons why I use this room.

In the sitting room I’m surrounded by memories.  I have cushions scattered about that I have made from tee-shirts bought as reminders of holidays but never worn (right now I’m leaning against a huge gold picture of Mickey Mouse bought as a tee-shirt at Disney in Florida nearly 20 years ago) Photo’s and souvenirs from trips to distant places, a selection of LPs from my youth which we can’t play ‘cos we don’t have a turntable, plants that are growing way too big, in fact just about everything ‘wot I like’.

This room is also the room where we play board games at Christmas, huddled around the coffee table, snacks and drinks on the floor, yelling at each other with frustration or glee when we win or lose or get totally outmanoeuvred (to be truthful its usually only me that that happens to). Where we sit quietly in our ‘oingy boingy’ chairs from Ikea and get stuck in a novel, or where we work out whether or not we can afford that next holiday.  It’s a room for parties – push back the chairs and there’s a good space for a boogie, and for yoga practice – its got a perfect wall for practicing handstands against.

I never thought a room could be inspiring, but with my selection of oddments and memories right here with me, and my wild garden only a glance away, I doubt I’ll ever completely run out of things to say!

Just in case I do though….

We’ve been asked by the wordpress fairies to ask our readers for suggestions on what to write.  I don’t know any more than that at the moment, but if you’ve got any ideas just let me know by commenting below, for now… I’ll think about a contact page later 😉

Have a good day!

Why do I write? Well…

Posted in response to the Writing 101 1st day prompt of ‘Why do I write’:

… there is no one reason why I write.  In fact, I really don’t think about the ‘reason’, I just do it.  But now I’m being forced into examining my motives they are clearly quite complex.

For a start, I do like the feel of scrawling pencil on paper, as well as my thoughts tumbling out and becoming formed through my fingers via a keyboard. Also, I like to play with words, constructing sentences and then improving, changing, and finding new ways of expressing them. I spend hours consulting dictionary and thesaurus until I’m satisfied that my words are as fluid and beautiful as I can make them (of course, they are still never quite good enough though!).

I can be the ‘real’ me…. or someone else, depending on my mood.  It certainly gives me the opportunity to express my dark side (in fact, when I took a creative writing course my tutor mentioned that the darkness suited me!) I can write characters that I’d like to know, or individuals who are clearly bonkers.  I can exorcise nightmares by turning them into stories, or write poems based on pretty dreams. Occasionally, I write things based on episodes in my life and never tell anyone that there is truth in there. Or I can vent, and moan, or share silliness, or adventures.  I can gossip or advise, be sensitive or crass. The world, as they say, is my lobster (yep, I know it’s oyster, but I changed it… yeah, I can do that too!)

I guess I benefit in many ways.  Writing is a creative outlet that I can immerse myself in, abandoning all other thoughts and worries. In that sense it ticks the ‘mindfulness’ box that we hear so much about these days, and in its way it is meditative and calming.

My question then, is not why I write, but why wouldn’t I?

What’s it mean? Wednesday

Magniloquentspeaking or expressed in a lofty or grandiose style; pompous; bombastic; boastful.*

What a great yummy word!

Say it out loud – it starts with that hard ‘g’ at the back of your throat, then a roll of the tongue, and ‘oh’ and then softens off at the end with a gentle ‘t’.

Mind you, you’d probably be guilty of that very thing if you threw it into a conversation or bit of writing.  I must say, I hope I’m not magniloquent.  I like to think that anything I write is fairly simple, readable, and concise, and I do tend to use pretty basic language (let’s be honest here, I’m not actually sure I could use anything but simple words even if I wanted to).  Sadly though, even simple words can easily be misenterpreted, or not interpreted at all, and as bloggers, of course, we should be very considerate of that.

I often write verses the meaning of which is perfectly clear to me. Yes, of course I use metaphors and similies and all that stuff, but I always think they’re obvious not just to me, but to any other readers too. Clearly they are not. Well, not to everyone.  Our minds work in different ways.

For instance, I changed the name of a recent poem I posted.  The original name was ‘Suicide Son’ which is kinda what came to mind as I was writing it, but I thought it was a bit of a horrible title, both shocking and unpleasant, so I changed it to ‘Why?’ (you can read it here).  From the comments I’ve had both on the blog and from family and friends, it is obvious that this has several completely different interpretations to the one in my head when I wrote it.

Not that I mind. Perhaps the original title would have made the intention clearer, but I think poetry should be open to interpretation, and it’s just as well that not everyone has a macabre mind like mine. And after all, I can console myself with the fact that I find even the most famous poets work pretty mystifyi ng sometimes.

Anyhow, I guess making things a bit ambiguous isn’t quite the same as being magniloquent, so I’ll just keep on keeping on for now.

Toodle-ooo!  🙂

*definition courtesy of Dictionary.com

It’s a goal!

P1020220

That’s me up there on that parachute, that is!

Oooohhh.,..yay, yay, and triple yay!!  Had to just tell you…Today I’ve exceeded my goal as set out in writing 101 challenge a little while ago (you can read my goals here) and got over 220 followers – and it’s only mid November!

Sorry, I’m sure it’s unseemly to get so excited over what may, to some, seem so few, but it only seems a little while since I was struggling to get into double figures. It has been amazing how taking part in a couple of events has helped transform my blog and the way I feel about it.  Although I’m spending (too many) hours working away at it, it’s no longer a slog and I look forward to producing new posts regularly as well as seeing what everyone else has been up to.

As I feel like a bit of a winner today, in the time honoured tradition of winners everywhere, I’m going to have to say a few thank you’s:

Ah hem!…

Thanks to Writing 101 for:

*Giving me some great, mind jiggling, prompts
*providing the opportunity to share and get feedback from lots of lovely folk
*getting me in the habit of posting every day

Thanks to Blogging 101 for:

* Getting me to set some goals in the first place
* teaching me to tweak my blog to make it look pretty (ahh..)
* For having a great common room where I’ve met lots more lovely folk.

Thanks also to the ongoing Photo 101 for:

* Setting me new (and frankly, quite challenging) challenges every day
* Helping me reach an even wider band of lovely folk
* And for keeping up my enthusiasm for posting daily.

Of course, its mainly thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment, especially if you clicked on the ‘follow’ button – love to you all mwah, mwah

errrmmmmm…..you’d better not leave… 🙂

P.S.  I’m looking for the next 220 now, so tell your friends…!! x

Blogger

I float words on mock paper sails
that drift in the ether’s alphabet sea,
where invisible eyes scan
and foreign tongues fathom
lines caught in the cosmic net

Crisp coloured pixelated pictures
zoom to the screens of alien races,
who snap back with mega bites
and send their scripts
to capture me in their brilliance

No longer solitary and unsure
I roam the universe of creatives,
touching the web with light fingers,
recording the world
in wide eyed wonder

Tick Tock – am I wasting my time?

dandelion

The clocks went back an hour on Sunday morning, and my body clock has not yet adjusted.  So with my brain’s usual contrariness I woke up at what would have been 6:30 a.m. on Saturday but was in fact 5:30 a.m. today.  Normally of course, the alarm alarms me into half wakefulness (enough to reach for the snooze button) and it needs two more attempts to rouse me to the point where I can crawl out of bed.  This morning though, I was wide awake. Waiting.

It occurred to me that I have wasted an awful lot of my time waiting one way or the other.  I suspect at least a couple of years of my life were spent sitting in the car outside of various establishments waiting for the kids to come out of drama/violin/gymnastics/St John’s/choir classes or other kids parties.  And later, as taxi driver extraordinaire, waiting in the car at a distance from whichever pub or club they’d been to.

Then there’s the level crossing further down our road that we had to cross to get to their primary school.  Heaven only knows how many hours I’ve lost sitting waiting for the trains to pass.  The other day me and the dog were there for 20 minutes – that’s five trains worth. Twenty precious minutes of my life, gone, just like that.

And while we’re about it, what about waiting at airports, stations, waiting for buses, waiting at the dentist, the doctors.  My life ticking away while I’m sat reading out of date copies of ‘Practical Caravan’ or ‘Angling Times’ neither of which I have any interest in whatsoever.

A couple of weeks ago we watched a fantasy type film called ‘In Time’ (see the trailer here) where everyone lived until they were 25 after which they had to buy time, otherwise they were ‘terminated’.  Time was currency, and everyone had a clock built in to their arms which they could see running down.  Employment was paid in hours.  The wealthy could live forever.   Poorer people ran everywhere to save their precious minutes.

Of course, it was daft, but I did find it thought provoking (and actually much better than it sounds – worth a watch).  It made me think about the hours I waste, and the difference between wasting time, and, well, living.

Am I wasting time when I play games?  Is playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone any worse than sitting watching pap TV or reading a bit of entertaining chick-lit?  Am I wasting time when I’m writing?  Aaagghhh… now there’s a question.

I certainly spend a lot of time writing, or at least messing about on my blog, tweaking it, reading other blogs etc.  Hours pass by miraculously quickly and I often think ‘I must stop this and do something useful’.  And then go and do a bit of sewing, which if I was making clothes might be termed as useful, but I don’t, I make soppy things out of felt (you can see some here!).

I suppose it brings me back to the question of why we do creative things.  Whether it’s wasting time to just enjoy yourself.  Lose yourself in creating something original, unique, perhaps even entertaining or useful.

I’ve searched the internet for answers, and not really come up with anything definitive.  But I have had a deep think about my motives.  My motives for wanting to write, to want more followers, more readers, this urge to foist my thoughts on the unsuspecting public.  After all, I don’t think they’re particularly enlightening thoughts, probably not original either for that matter. It doesn’t even earn me any money for goodness sake!

But I have come to a conclusion:

The reason I write all this stuff and nonsense, the reason I post it on my blog for all the world to see (if they care to – come on world!), is to leave a mark.  A mark of the real me.  Not the me that is a mum or daughter, or wife even, nor the me that colleagues knew, but the nugget of me, that even I don’t know about until I start putting things on paper, the central joy of the absurd, as well as the deep chasms of darkness, that my inner self seems to dwell in sometimes. It is the yin to my outward yang.

Most of my family have found it hard to understand why my short stories tend to bend towards the dark side.  Only the other day my mother complained that they never have happy endings.  To be honest, I don’t know where they come from either, but that’s just how I write.  Some people start out with a plan, a ‘beginning, middle and end’, but I’m one of those folk whose hands practically take on a life of their own when I’m bashing out a story on a keyboard.  I don’t know what’s going to happen to the protagonist until there it is, on paper, a sticky end again.

And as far as verses go (no, still can’t bring myself to call them poems) well, they just turn up in my head as a rhymey line or two, and I knock them into some sort of shape from there.

So, basically, as well as leaving my mark, for posterity sake (my words will be around a lot longer than me), it reveals the individual in me, not only do my family, friends and followers get to know me better, I get to know myself too.

Therefore I conclude:

Writing is not a waste of my time. Yay!!

A loo with a view

I must’ve been in many, many, rooms over the course of my life, so when I was presented with this challenge, for writing 101, I thought ‘easy peasy’.  Problem is, my mind just went straight back to rooms which held bitter memories; the gaudy hotel room where I argued horribly with my daughter on the last day, blighting forever the memories of an otherwise perfect holiday. My nan’s cosy bedsitting room, the room where she had a devastating stroke which she ultimately died from. The living room where I sat, fingers in ears, to block out the noise from our horrendous neighbours. It gets worse, but I won’t bore you.

So I consciously turned my mind to happier times and places. I could write about our newly decorated sitting room, whose huge French windows look out across our, currently, lush green garden.  This year, the summer has been perfect – lots of sun, and lots of rain, so the flowers are plentiful, the vegetables are abundant, and the grass is green (though to be honest, it’s probably more moss and weeds than actual grass). The birds flit from tree to tree settling on the bird table in between, and I can see the red and blue striped hammock, strung between the apple and the pear tree, rocking gently in the breeze.

That seemed a bit of a cop out though. It’s just what I can see right now. No, to properly meet the demands of the challenge, I need to use the colours of my memory.

Now, I know I keep harping on about toilets.  So I suppose I shouldn’t go there, but yep, that’s where I’m going.

I think you’ll agree that toilets don’t usually have views.  It’s not the first thing you think about when you think about a loo.  They’re often windowless, or if they do have windows, they’re mercifully glazed in opaque glass.

The one I’m thinking of had a window alright.  A huge picture window.  It wasn’t glazed either.  Nope, just open to the elements.

It was in Goa, on a spice plantation.  It was a very hot, humid day in a very jungly plantation.  We’d had the tour, seen lots of things growing on trees, bushes, under trees etc.  We’d seen a man climbing barefoot up a towering palm tree to collect coconuts. And we’d been shown how to eat our yummy lunch, properly, with our fingers out of a banana leaf.  It had been a lovely, and interesting morning, but sooner or later the inevitable happened.  I needed a wee.

I think it’s fair to say that some of the public toilets in India can be a bit dodgy. Very dodgy. I’m pretty blasé about it these days and go if I have to.

‘hmm… you gonna risk it?’ asked my husband as we were pointed in the direction of a small thatched building up a flight of rickety looking steps.

‘you go first mum, see what it’s like’ said my slightly less adventurous daughters.

‘Ok, bursting!’ I said. I was getting a bit knee knockingly desperate.

The little building turned out to house just one toilet, surprisingly a ‘western’ one, which was situated in the middle of the left hand wall as you entered.  On the right hand wall was a hole in the dirt floor besides which there was a pail of water with a coconut shell complete with handle that you could use as a scoop, so that you could flush the loo and wash your hands.

The back wall was non-existent.

This took me by surprise a tad, as, underneath my shorts and tee shirt I was wearing a swimming costume, which I naturally had to strip right off to be able to ‘errmm… do my thing.

Frankly, I could have stayed there all day.  Set on a  high ledge, the loo overlooked a large pond, nearly a lake in fact, covered almost completely in huge white water lillies. The pond was surrounded by different varieties of palms, plants with man-sized leaves,  and hanging pink and purple flowers that I didn’t know the names of.  Birds were swooping about catching insects just above the water. It was quite the most delightful view I think I have ever come across.

Sitting there, on the loo, naked, caressed by a cooling breeze and staring out across that wonderland, which looked as if it had been created by some Disney cartoonist, felt very surreal.  I’m pretty sure no-one could see me, but there was a queue forming outside, so I couldn’t linger for too long.  However, the memory of that place remains with me as the finest, and most surprising loo I’ve visted…….so far!