Dear Nature

Writing 101, day 8 – write a letter

I thought I’d drop a line to see how you are.  To be honest, I’ve been a bit worried about you lately. You seem to have been, well, let’s say, a bit of a drama queen lately.  What with all the whipping up the wind, and lashing down with the rain, and frankly, no-one likes the fog and the drizzle. Also you seem to have lost your blue paintbrush, preferring to use that nasty gun-metal grey to wash the sky.  Of course, that means there’s not a lot of green either.  Ok, the red and golds are quite nice, but really, they do look better under a sunny sky.

And while we’re on the subject… those leaves.  Look, I know there’s this arrangement with the trees, that you give their branches a rest from time to time, but please could you organise it so that you don’t get into a huff just as the leaves have fallen.  It gets so darn messy. Leaves bloomin’ everywhere.  Couldn’t you just blow them into a neat pile, instead of trying to see how much of a blanket you can cover my garden with?

Oh, and the acorns.  Look, I know trees have to procreate, but do they actually need to produce a gazillion acorns? Surely half a dozen would be enough. Let’s face it, there’s not much to be done with umpteen bins worth of acorns. Even the squirrels are quite overwhelmed.

Now, you know how much I love the animals in my garden don’t you? It’s lovely to see the birds feeding, find hedgehogs wandering about, see the squirrels running along the fence, or find tiny mouse holes here and there.  But there are just a few teeny tiny adjustments that I’d be really grateful if you could make.

Firstly, the birds.

Please ask them not to poop on my patio table. It’s really not nice.  They’ve got their own bird table to poop on if they must.

The Hedgehogs

When will they learn to keep out of the way of my dog? They wander about in the middle of the garden at night, and the dog makes a beeline for them and won’t leave them alone.  I have to go out there with a flashlight, in my jimmyjams and slippers, and physically drag her away.  Could they stay in the far corners please?  There is after all, plenty of piles of leaves for them to hide under.

The Squirrels

Oh they’re so cute.  They gallop along the top of the fence, their fluffy tails bobbing and swooshing.  They tussle entertainingly with the birds as they hurtle along branches.  They’re great.  But…. Would you see to it that they stop burying acorns in the middle of the lawn please?  I’m going to have an oak forest there this time next year I think.

The Mice

I love the mice. Their cute little hands. They’re so teeny tiny. Who’d a thunk that they could do so much damage? They’ve chewed the garden cushions that live in the shed y’know? And they find their way into my house sometimes.  If they’d just stay where they are supposed to be and eat what they’re supposed to eat we’d get along just fine.  Errmm… that goes for the spiders too.

I should elaborate.  You know I have this thing about spiders.  A phobia.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t not like them, they just give me the heebie jeebies. They can’t help being spiders and I know they don’t really mean to scare the living daylights out of me. Why oh why oh why do they have to come into my house though? I’ve got nothing for them to eat.  Those mega granddaddy spiders who run across my carpet when I’m sitting minding my own business, they are asking for trouble (not from me, I just scream, but my husband insists on squishing the poor things).  They can live a long and quiet life if they just spin a pretty web, away from where I’m likely to walk into it (ewww…) maybe decorate the trees with their lace, and we can cohabit without incident for either of us.

Oh sorry, I seem to have gone on a bit and it’s all about my problems, but as usual, you are causing havoc across the globe one way or another – droughts here, floods there, hurricanes, earthquakes.  What the hell is that all about? It would be nice if you could take a few breaths and just calm yourself.  It would be so much easier if everywhere was temperate.  No one place too hot or too cold.  No one without water, and no-one with ruined properties.

It’s got to rain now and again, so let’s have a proper downpour that leaves proper puddles, not this general weepy dampness.  If we’ve got to have clouds, let’s have a few breaks in them so we can look up and say ‘I can see blue’ now and again. I’m sure you’d feel better for it too.

Anyhoo, I’m sorry to nag, but as I said, I’ve been a bit worried about you. However, I have to say that red sky this morning was mesmerising.  Good job!

Best wishes

K

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Dear writing 101 pixies

Today you asked me to pick up a book, turn to page 29, see what word jumps out at me, and write a letter using the word as inspiration.  Now, I’ve got lots of books, I could’ve chosen any… history, plays, novels, poetry, even creative writing tomes, but today the writing gods led my hand to Marina Lewycka’s ‘We are all made of glue’ (one of my favs… if you haven’t read it, do!).

I’ve had a rough count of the words, and there’s around about 350 on that page, and do you know which one took my eye first?  Well, do you?

‘Hard’

‘Now that’s fates hand working if ever I saw it’, I thought.

To be honest, it made me chuckle.  Of all those words that could have leapt from the page ‘hard’ seemed the most apt for a writing 101 challenge.  Not that, generally, I’ve found the pieces hard to write.  On the contrary, as each day and challenge passes, generally I find the ideas are forming quicker and the words are spilling from my keyboard in a smoother stream.

But it is hard sometimes to find the time.  Even me, in my retired state finds it hard to fit writing in every day.  Something has to give. So the housework doesn’t get done, or we get in to an unmade bed at night, or we have a quick, thrown-together-with-left-overs dinner in the evening.

Sometimes, I look at the challenge that arrives in my inbox first thing in the morning, and sigh heavily.

‘Phew, I could do with giving it a rest today’ but nonetheless, I see all the others in the commons writing brilliant stuff, and know I need to keep up.

The other thing, that I am truly finding hard, is the change that’s taking place on my blog. Up until recently, all I had posted was ramblings and rants based around my chaotic life.  Not so long ago, I took the plunge and diversified into adding some photos and poetry (that was very hard.  I had to suck my teeth and take the plunge – glad I did though, nothing but nice comments about it so far, and met some brilliant new followers).  And now, since taking up your challenge, I have been writing fiction and sticking it up on the blog.

I’ve always written short stories.  I like writing them, and think they’re generally ok.  But they weren’t really for public consumption.  Now though, everyone is getting to see the warped contours of my imagination.  Again, nothing but complimentary comments, but at least one person was worried that one of them was non-fiction. For the record…no, I haven’t murdered anyone!

The hardest thing is seeing how my precious blog is changing. Morphing into something it wasn’t supposed to be.  I’m publishing things on there that I wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing before starting this course.  I look at the home page and hope that people are not just reading the first post, but having a look around to see who I really am.

Ok, hopefully you’ve got the gist. I’m finding writing 101 hard in all sorts of ways. Nonetheless I’m loving it.  Yes, it’s hard to go straight to my computer and start tapping away first thing, but my head is now brimming with ideas and I can’t wait to get them down on the page.  Yes, it’s hard to see my blog growing up. But it is becoming varied, and with any luck, more interesting. I’ve certainly gained lots more followers since starting, and have had some lovely comments.

So thank you pixies. You’ve made me realise that my writing really does benefit  from daily practice, and that with a simple prompt my mind can fly. That if I’m brave enough to share all of it, I’ve got friends out there who will comment and give some constructive criticism where necessary.  It’s been an enormous boost to my confidence, and motivation.

Now I feel empowered. If I keep at it I feel sure my blog will grow and blossom, and it’s all thanks to you.

Best wishes

Kaye