Doll

Writing 101 day 4 – Using a picture for inspirationphoto-1430747562296-5556d17a15a5 (2)

We used to rock and roll
Her dyed black, tied back hair swinging
as we jived through young life
Swerving around corners
eating up the straights
on silver machines
that throbbed and roared
as we sat carelessly astride

Together we played at grown-ups
We nestled and snuggled
our restless souls settled
our bikes rusted in the backyard
where herbs and flowers grew
encouraged by her tender hands

Then her belly swelled
I watched her move to the
dance of motherhood
her face, lit by a thousand smiles
glowed in soft focus
while babies suckled
then grew strong beside her

Bereft she cried in my arms
as we watched them go
Reflections of our younger selves
Caught in the moment
I saw her face, it’s soft valleys
and newly formed crevasses
denoting worry and wisdom

Those last few months when
floury fingers baked biscuits
and dusted memories on the mantel
When her tied back hair was grey
and her frowns replaced the smiles
adventures curtailed
she waited

And the call came

As I sit in this echoey place
Where the candles flicker
And memories are shadows
Where I carried her like a doll
Boxed
With her silver hair loose and free
I remember
We used to rock and roll

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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?

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

It’s Magic

In response to the writing 101 challenge to write a longform piece about ‘your most treasured possession’.

I used to think that the first thing I would rescue, if there was a fire in the house, would be photographs.  They are irreplaceable reminders of the good times.  Weddings, births, holidays, Christmas’s, days out.  The past is all there, carefully arranged in photo albums, or stored higgledy piggledy in dusty shoeboxes.  Now, however, I’ve scanned the best of the older ones, and all the more recent ones are digital anyway, so they are all safely waiting on the cloud ready for me to look at whenever, and wherever I please.

So I had to think hard about what my most treasured possession is now.  At one time it might have been some jewellery that had belonged to my nan.  I wore the necklace on my wedding day.  It was just costume jewellery, not even gold, but it was a row of mother of pearl circles that she wore often, and when I looked at it I was reminded of cuddles and lavender smells.  That’s gone now though. Stolen the first time we were burgled, along with every other piece of jewellery I possessed at the time.

Not only did they take my stuff, but they ransacked the kids rooms and took all the plastic, and even homemade, bits and pieces that they had collected, every bit of electrical equipment (even the phone – no mobiles at the time so I couldn’t ring the police even). I was devastated, and the sense of injustice remains.  I’ve also been left with a feeling of insecurity in my own home which will never go away, or even recede, despite all the double locks and alarms in the world.  Thanks for that burglers.

However, I do have something to thank the miserable toadys for. I no longer invest such emotional attachment to things. I have realised that life goes on even if you’re favourite trinket goes missing. Despite my insecurities, my fear these days is not of losing goods and chattels, but of the house being trashed, or being bopped over the head, or the dog’s (and the fishes – please don’t wee in the pond) wellbeing.  Whilst I don’t want them to pinch my stuff, after all, we’ve worked hard for that and those lowlifes don’t deserve it, it really is all about my family’s personal safety these days.

My love of technology is well documented.  I am gadget woman.  Many years ago now, my husband bought me an ipod for Christmas.  I cried with excitement and joy.  Likewise, when my company presented me with my first iphone, I got embarrassingly over-excited and yes, a bit blubbery. I am one of those saddos that likes shiny new toys.  I know, it’s undignified, what can I say?

I was the first amongst my friends and family to own a tablet (Ipad of course! p.s. Dear Apple, do I get a free upgrade for the advertising??).  Again, it was my husband who forked out for it as a Christmas present.  I had to order it myself though because he is a technophobe.  Hates it all.  Mind you, he’s a bit better now and I think secretly enjoys using his ipad (course I eventually bought him one – gave me something new to play with).  When I ordered mine the Apple store was offering free engraving so I chose for him to write something gooey and lovey dovey on the back as well as ‘Christmas 2011’.

You’d think from all this I would be about to say ‘my most treasured possession is my ipad’.  Well, those that know me might very well think that is the case. My ipad and my phone go everywhere with me.  I’ve often tried to explain to unbelievers why I love it so much

‘What do you use it for’ they ask

And I set off on a list as long as your arm; l listen to music; I keep up to date with the news; I look at the weather forecast; I play games; I use online banking; I keep in touch with my friends and family; I read books and blogs;  I shop; It’s a dictionary and theasaurus; a compass; it tells me about the traffic when I’m travelling; I can visit other places using google earth; there’s a map of the stars; a calculator; my address book; my calendar; a camera; my photos…. Well that’s for starters, you get the picture, and I always forget something or other anyway.

‘it would drive me mad, all that stuff’ they say

‘Ah, but that’s the beauty of it, you can use it how you want to. You can download the apps that you want.  You don’t need all that stuff.’ Let’s face it, nobody needs Candy Crush Saga or Bejewelled Blitz.  And though it pains me to say it, I suppose nobody really actually needs Facebook.

So you see, my ipad is a treasured possession. But when I think about it, it’s not my most treasured possession.

Now, you might be thinking it’s my family.  But then you can’t call them possessions.

‘I have daughters’ doesn’t mean they belong to me. They are their own people. Even as children we shouldn’t view them as belongings, though undoubtedly some people do.  For instance, I had a colleague who told me that if she wanted anything in the evenings, a glass of wine, a sandwich etc, she always made her son get it for her rather than hauling herself from the sofa to go to the kitchen. She argued that she provided for him so the least he could do was to wait on her hand and foot, slavelike. It was not a happy relationship though, and quite rightly in my opinion, he rebelled.

Without a doubt, my children are the most treasured people in my life.  I am tempted to write something gooey about the happiness they bring me. How I would be nothing without them in my life, but I’ll spare you, and them.  Suffice it to say, even though they now live great distances from me they continue to make me smile every single time I think of them (unless I’m going through a worrying about them patch, in which case I get wrinkles in my forehead) and that is practically all the time.

I should of course mention my husband.  Can’t leave him out.  He is there, walking beside me, encouraging me, making me snort with laughter, making me cross occasionally, making me delicious food, making my world better.  Where would I be without him?

It is he who has encouraged me to write.  Pushes me in fact. Tells me when it’s good and when it’s a bit pants.  Tells me when it gets just a bit too ‘dark’ as it, bafflingly, so often does.  Tells me how proud he is that I’m putting it ‘out there’.

And now we come to the crux:  Out there.  The Internet. The World Wide Web.  The Cloud.

This is what I couldn’t do without. Having that connection is something I truly treasure.

You see, the internet was born quite late in my life, so I do remember the world without it. I remember life before Windows. I remember my first ever email. The beep beep beep of the dial up connection and frustration when you couldn’t get through. I can remember life before Google and Amazon, and Ebay, and Paypal.  Makes me feel old. (note to self…you are!)

What I mean is, I really appreciate it. The connectivity of it. I can manage without my ipad, or iphone, or laptop. There are always others. Upgrades even. New ones to buy or borrow. They would be nothing without the connectivity though. I know how I feel when we have a power cut (all too often) and there’s no wifi for a couple of hours.  It’s like my arm has been cut off.

Twenty one years ago we moved North, away from my family, and since my daughters left home, my husband and I are alone, apart from friends, in this neck of the woods.  The internet provides a means of keeping in touch that no postal or telephone system could.  Communication is instantaneous.  Now, I am even able to facetime with my mother, who at 92 is using her ipad to email and text, play soduku and word games, and play solitaire.  She lives alone and it has been a revelation to her. Given her a new lease of life (apart from when it goes pear shaped sometimes which knocks another couple of days off her I think!).  Facetimes with her are hilarious too. She keeps forgetting to hold the ipad up, so most of the time I can only see the top of her head, but it gives us both something to chuckle over.

Without the Internet I would never have been brave enough to try and publish anything. Now though, thanks to WordPress and PoetrySoup, my writing is reaching far corners of the world. Something I could never have envisaged when I started writing stories years ago.

I’m more intelligent too…well, appear more intelligent.  I see news as it happens. I feel well informed about current events, and can read opinions from all sides thanks to the likes of Twitter.  I read more because books are cheaper, free even, and appear on my devices instantly (yes, of course I’ve got a kindle). It’s modern day magic.

Yes, sad but true, this is the thing I’d be lost without. The ability to reach my family, friends and the rest of the big wide world from the sofa, and to see and share my documents, photos and projects wherever I might be.

So thank you all you clever people out there who know how it works.  I don’t need to know.  I am just a grateful user.

Freewriting Hell

Today’s writing 101 challenge was to do a ‘freewrite’ of 400 words.  That is to say, put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard in my case) and just write (type!). Let the words flow, don’t stop, don’t punctuate.  You can see I’ve failed in both of those. I did stop, abruptly, at 400 words though, which probably seems weird for the average reader!  I’m posting this because I don’t want to wuss out of the challenge, but it grieves me.  It’s not what I want on my blog. It’s just rambling.Not for public consumption. It’s coming down as soon as this event finishes.  I really wouldn’t bother to read it if I were you!

‘Where is my brain today?  I am trying to freewrite and yet I keep encountering obstacles.  I think it’s the full stops. My brain comes to a full stop. Nothing is in it, just a vacant echoey space.  Usually it’s full of words like ‘what shall I get for tea’; I’m really tired; I should really do some housework..you know, that sort of thing. But today nothing is tumbling out.  I am of course, tired.  Always tired.  Must be my age.  Got a bit of a headache too.  Oh goodness, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I just wrote 232 more words and deleted them because I didn’t like where it was taking me.  I know I’m not supposed to do that. Heck, I’m not supposed to punctuate either. What a rebel! Actually, it’s probably the nearest I’ve ever come to being a rebel.  I’ve always conformed, happy to stick by the rules.  Boring really I guess. I do like a frisson of excitement sometimes though. Like rollercoasters.  Like zip wiring. Like paragliding.  Only did that once, but it was brilliant.  Flying high above the sea, being pulled along by the little speedboat below.  I could just see my husband, his face squinting up at me, looking terrified.  He doesn’t like heights and wouldn’t dream of doing it.  He didn’t like the zipwiring much either, but to his credit, he did do it with me. Actually, a couple of times.  The best time though was in Costa Rica zipping above the forest. Wheeee…. I screeched….aaargghhh…he screamed.  Costa Rica was a brilliant place altogether. Several different ecosystems. Three different types of forest. Lets see if I can remember… Rain Forest, Cloud Forest and, and…. Errmmm… Dry forest.  I loved the cloud forest best I think.  We stayed in a beautiful lodge and it was really cloudy. Bit chilly too.  It made the surrounding forest seem eerie and quiet. Well apart from the noises. (well, that sounds stupid on paper!!) Animal noises I mean.  There were so many birds.  All sorts, and the lodge was dotted with feeders where I could have spent all day watching the humming birds visiting.  Yep, Costa Rica was great, but that was a few years ago now. We like to travel and recently visited Southern India. Kerala to be precise.  It’s a very beautiful part of the country. Less manic than some of the Northern cities that we visited……’

Neighbourhood Watch

Today’s writing 101 challenge –  complete the following story from the perspective of a 12 year old boy watching from across the street:

‘The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.’

Ha! Some excitement ‘round this boring hole at last.  Looks like they’ve come for the old bag.  The cops.

Course, dunno if it’s cops.  Might be. Some bloke anyways. Hope it is a cop, perhaps he’ll shoot her. BANG.  Ha! Old bag.  That’ll teach her.

Wish mum hadn’t locked me wheels up.  Can’t go ‘round park without me wheels. Mum’s an ol’ bag too. I should tell the cops ‘bout her.  Taking my stuff away.  So what if I knocked that kid over? He bloody deserved it.  Little git.

Looks like there’s a bit of a bust up o’er there at old Pauley’s.  She’s got ‘er broom out.  Wonder if she’s threatening to clout that bloke with it like she did when me and Jack Sproggett rode us wheels o’er her manky old bit of grass?

It was that ‘orrible year 11 kid, Tommy Murch’s, fault. He bet us we wouldn’t.

‘go on.  Bet yer daren’t….. twinnies’ the git had said, all sarcastic like.  I hated it when anyone called us ‘twinnies’.  We’re not even bloody brothers. Ok, we look a bit alike, Jack being a ging like me.  But I’m bigger. We ‘ad a armwrestle t’other day and I beat ‘im dead good. Weedy little git.

An’ he’s got spots.  A biggun right on ‘is chin.  Watched him squeeze it ‘til it popped and white goo came out all over is ‘ands. I dared ‘im to lick it off, but he wouldn’t. Wuss.

That broom ain’t helping. That bloke’s not moving anywhere.

Oooh… the cops have come, they’ve even got their lights flashing and their woowoos going. Jack’ll be sick he missed this.

Oh boring. The cops are trying to calm the old bag down. No guns or anythin’. Looks like they’re trying to sweet talk her. Perhaps it’s that good cop/bad cop thing. Perhaps one of ’em’ll bash ‘er in a minute.  She could do with a bashing. She’s been a bit weird since the man died.  That was dead good that was.  I saw the coffin and everythin’.  Mum said he’d been ‘laid out’ in the front room.  Me and Jack went over to see if we could see ‘im through the front room window when nobody was about.  Couldn’t see anything through the ruddy net curtains though. Bit of a swizz.

Crikey, a van’s turned up.  Like bleedin’ Picadilly Circus down our road s’afternoon.  Bloody hell…they’re only putting her disgusting ol’ furniture in it. Looks as old as she is. She’s crying like a baby.  Bloody baby. Stupid old bag.

Wonder what’s for tea.

eeeekkk…

It’s easy to write about my greatest fear.  Everyone knows what it is. I’ve written about it in great detail on my blog before.  It’s much harder though to write in a different style as per the writing 101 challenge suggests today. I’ll give it a go.

Spiders, their creepy crawliness, and legginess, and scuttering. Their black, still, gaze as they spread their legs, clinging, against the laws of physics, to the ceiling.  I can’t deal with them like a normal person does, I go too clammy and heartbeaty. I couldn’t squish one. Apart from being too frozen with fear, I can’t squish anything.  I don’t like killing things, even things I don’t like.  Occasionally, if it’s the right sort and not too big, I can save one, using a spider catcher at arms length.  I tip them out at the end of the garden so that they can’t run straight back in.  Sometimes, I’ve been known to spin them round in the contraption so they lose their bearings, just to make sure they don’t head back to make their home in my home again.

I hear that those ruddy great ones that catch your eye as they run across the living room floor in the evenings are always males looking for a partner. It doesn’t make me love them more.

Writing this is freaking me out.  I keep looking around, quite sure I’m being observed by a many eyed monster hiding in a corner, waiting to jump out at me when I’m least expecting it.  So I’m going to stop.  You’ve got the gist. I don’t like ‘em.  Big or small. Long legged or fat bodied.

I’m Kaye and I fear spiders.