Notebook

Mid Week Flash Challenge Week 2 – Blue Sky

Blue Sky

I’m coming in to this party fashionably late , since it’s week 2, but this is my piece for Miranda Kate’s  Mid-Week Flash Challenge.

The picture is the prompt, and is by Kasia Derwinska, a polish art photographer.

It’s the picture that keeps me going.

Because fuck, it’s dark here. There’s no end to the desolate, barren emptiness. It stretches on and on forever, but at the same time it’s closing in so tight that if I stop and think about it for a second, falter even a moment, I won’t be able to breathe.

I focus on the picture.

It gets me through the screaming silence, keeps me going through the blackness, when all is dust. It is my talisman against the aching fatigue of battling on. It reminds me that smiling is possible, here where I have forgotten how.

I focus on the picture in my mind.  Nothing fancy – I don’t want much. Just one foot in front of the other, just like now. Only the sky is blue, and the air is sweet and I can breathe again. Smile again. See the world in colour again.

I focus on that picture – blue skies to temper my storms, a life lived in colour, with feeling – I hang it in the foreground of my mind, and I keep on walking.

I focus on the picture, and I refuse to give up, and curl up, and disappear.

One day I will have my blue sky.

Broken Hearts

It’s Valentine’s day, so everywhere I look there are hearts. Heart frames for photos on Facebook,  hearts in hashtags on twitter, heart stickers coming up as options on prisma,  hearts all over the high street.
Hearts don’t automatically make me think of love though. For any parent who has experienced what I have, hearts have a very different association- CHD.
Today marks the end of CHD awareness week. 10 years ago I couldn’t have told you what CHD stood for, such was my lack of awareness. Now I could bore you about Congenital Heart Disease for hours. I won’t here though, honest.

Continue reading “Broken Hearts”

2016: A Patch in Time

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that it has long been my dream to write an episode of Doctor Who. Well in 2016, with the help of multitalented political and philosophical poet and musician Steve McAuliffe, that dream (kind of!) became a reality when I wrote and performed in an unofficial mini-episode of Doctor Who for the Ungagged podcast. Grab yourself a cuppa and a blanket and curl up for a 12 minute adventure that should (hopefully!) leave you laughing.

2016: A Patch In Time

Images by Debra Torrance. With a cameo from Red Raiph.


The Clock Strikes Christmas – An Alternative Christmas Tale

“You have to understand, we didn’t want this” said Berry nervously. “Every elf in the workshop chose this job because we are passionate about bring hope, joy and laughter to people all around the world-“
“Yet here you are, threatening to strike days before Christmas” said Santa, stroking his beard. Something about the movement made Berry nervous, reminding him of a Bond villain stroking a cat. “Happy to disappoint every child in the world, and for what? To make some kind of political point?”
Berry tried to swallow his nerves. He wished more than anything that it hadn’t been him that drew the short candy cane.
“With respect sir, it isn’t about the politics. Whether we agree with the expansion or not, things just aren’t workable as they are.” He scrambled around for the words to explain, words that would make him understand. Santa rarely visited the shop floor, preferring instead to sit in the grotto with his sexy secretary Mrs Claus and some of the perkier elves, counting out cookies and mince pies and basking in the adoration of the masses. He rarely saw the worker elves sobbing with exhaustion as they tried to work out how to craft the latest piece of gadgetry.

Continue reading “The Clock Strikes Christmas – An Alternative Christmas Tale”

Don’t Bring Me Flowers

Don’t bring me flowers
That fill my life with sweet perfume,
And cheer my heart with colour,
And bring a smile to my lips,
But wither and wilt
And die away in days
Reminding me that all things pass,
Even the most perfect rose
Will one day fade.
No don’t bring me flowers my love,
Bring me seeds,
Bring me bulbs.
Give me future flowers,
That keep returning every year,
Bringing my memories with them.
Don’t bring me flowers.
Bring me seeds my love,
And stay with me,
To watch them grow.

We’ve Never Had It So Good.

Shit, my head is banging. I didn’t think I was that drunk last night, but it feels like someone came in the night and replaced my tongue with a sock full of sand. I can’t even remember the election result, let alone getting home and going to bed. Maybe I fell asleep before it was announced. That would be embarrassing at work thank God I’m on annual leave.
I never really should have agreed to go to the work’s election party night. I don’t know what Tim, our manager, was thinking when he organised it. He’d seen the divide in the coffee room whenever the conversation came around to the hot political topic of the day. Nick and I had almost come to blows on more than one occasion. The whole team in a confined space with alcohol and the live election results? Great idea. I tried to make an excuse about previous plans, but Tim pulled me aside when our break was over and strongly suggested I reconsider.

Continue reading “We’ve Never Had It So Good.”

Craving You

First published in my old notebook April 20, 2014

Craving you

I have been craving you for weeks. I know we are bad for each other, that’s why I have been so strict with myself, refused to see you. I have been so good, but I don’t know how much longer I can deny myself.

It has been building like a thunderstorm, the need for you, for so long now.  Your scent, your taste on my tongue, the two of us melting into each other, becoming one. You are all I think of at my desk at work, pounding the treadmill at the gym, sitting in traffic. I need you, I want you so much, every cell in my body is calling to you.

I see you with that girl on the bus and something inside me snaps. I can’t deny myself, deprive myself of you any longer. I need you. I want you. I’ll have you tonight. Oh, I can’t wait until tonight! I’ve got to have you now.

My heart is racing as I reach for you, my fingertips trembling as they caress your familiar contours. I pull you close to me, take a deep breath and inhale your delicious scent. My mouth waters in anticipation and I hold back just a moment more, knowing I am committed now. I will have you and I will hate myself for it tomorrow. It is too late to stop it. I don’t even care. I just want to devour you.

I rip off your wrapping and shovel you in. Sod the diet. You, Chocolate, are well worth it.

Sixteen sixteen word love stories

I’m playing around a lot with micro fiction at the moment (a much longer piece is on its way) so I thought I would share some with you. I love the challenge of trying to write very short stories. Some of them are ripe for expansion; Protection has already been made into a much longer story for Strange Times.

Continue reading “Sixteen sixteen word love stories”

The Greatest Gift

I keep moving against the cold, never stopping my steady, ponderous progression. My body is warm – almost too warm actually, bundled as I am in heavy furs – but winter’s chill still bites at my nose, and my feet are tingly and numb.

It is rapidly becoming dark, and the snow is glittering with the reflected colours of Christmas lights that are just starting to come on. It might cheer the soul, if you were strolling along hand in hand with your lover, or heading home to your children. To me this day is always the saddest of the season.

They start to hang the lights earlier nowadays, though they have largely forgotten the reason. Some people have them up for the entire month of December, small points of cheer and defiance against the darkness. But today is December 27th, and soon they will all be gone. All the build up, all the belief, all the energy that built to wake me is slowly ebbing away. I feel myself weakening already. It is becoming harder and harder to maintain my stride, my breath wheezing now in asthmatic gasps. Continue reading “The Greatest Gift”

Remembrance

It is a small act
Just once a year
A pause
Slight hush
In the hubbub of life.
One hundred and twenty seconds
Of silent reflection
Such a small thing
In exchange
For such a sacrifice
Just silence
For the lives lost
And the loves lost
And the limbs lost
It seems a nothing
To simply do nothing
But in our busy world
And busy lives
One hundred and twenty seconds
Of respect
And remembrance
Seems a lot
So we pat ourselves on the back
For our two minute silence
And we look on
While men who still
Give orders to
Send other people’s sons
To pointless wars
Nod piously
And mouth the now meaningless
Never again
With seemingly straight faces.
And we swear solemnly
We shall we remember them.
Then we return to our busyness
There’s Christmas coming, after all.
Our paper flowers crumple
And fade
And blow away,
Forgotten,
Until next year.

The Door

I have a jar full of story prompts and sometimes I pick one out at random to write a story about. This is one of those stories. The prompt that came out of the jar was – a new door appears in  your home. This is what I came up with…

The Door

It was a sleepy Sunday morning when I first noticed the new door. It could have appeared on the Saturday night – I had been out drinking with my boyfriend Robert that night and was pretty distracted at bedtime, I might not have noticed it. It definitely wasn’t there Saturday morning.

My house isn’t the biggest – just a living room with a small kitchen attached downstairs, a bedroom and small bathroom upstairs. It’s not like I have a huge old rambling house where a door might be overlooked. Continue reading “The Door”

Character Flaw

I did exist. I was real, you can’t deny it. Though no one but you ever knew my name, I had people that loved me, cared for me, respected me. I had needs and hopes and desires. I had dreams. You never thought about that did you?  When you abandoned me for better things, you thought I would just fade away. Of course I didn’t,  I am a person. People don’t just disappear.

Oh I know it’s easier with him. You don’t have to think so much with him, he is simple, relatable, he makes it all so easy. You just “get” him, don’t you?  No need to work at uncovering his layers, work out his motivations, what makes him tick. He is an open book to you, not like I was. He doesn’t confuse you or deceive you or challenge the way you see the world or your place in it. I understand all that. He was the easier option. I was making things too complicated, with him it just flows. Continue reading “Character Flaw”

More Fond Of Rain

You said you would be my sunshine
But I have always been more fond of rain.

Summer’s light is too harsh
Too bright
It exposes you.

I much prefer
The soft grey dawn light
Of overcast skies
Refreshing, life giving water
Raining from above
Like blessings.

The sun can only warm
Until it burns
Leaving red pain
An unpleasant reminder
That will not fade
Long after the warmth has gone.

Rain can be a refreshing mist
On a fevered brow
Cooling and calming
like a mother’s hand

Or it can be fierce
Lashing down on skin
Small sharp pains
Like a lover’s words
In a heated argument.

Rain cleanses the world
Makes everything new
Awakens soft scents of nature
That summertime has crushed

Rain revives, gives new life
Washing cares away.

Rain rages,
It hammers, It roars,
Then calms, And quiets
Like a beast.

While thunder thuds it’s beat
And lightning takes centre stage
It is rain that gives melody to the storm.

The sun is easy to love
And everyone adores her
It’s much more of a task
To see the beauty
In the many shades of rain
To love all her quirks
The good, the bad,
The darkness she brings.

You keep your sticky summer sun
It’s few moments of scorching beauty
I have always been more fond of rain,
Of dancing in the storm,
Walking bare headed in the downpour.

You huddle under your umbrella,
I will raise my face to the skies
And be blessed with rainbows.

Bittersweet Memory

First published in my old notebook February 8, 2014

Bittersweet Memory

My daughter exists only here now, trapped in this yellowing photo, her features scarred with fold marks caused by her long imprisonment in my wallet.

The memory of her face hovers at the back of my mind; a vibrant sweetness that I can’t ever touch again. This likeness is but a pale reflection of all she was. I hate it for not capturing her essence, but it’s all I have now. I cling to it like a lover that I’ve lost interest in, but daren’t give up.

Will I still carry this imitation in my pocket and my heart when it stops conjuring her in my mind? Will I ever forget the perfection of her smile? Will the trust in her eyes fade to a shadow of a dream?

I can’t imagine ever casting it aside, even though it just taunts me with my ultimate failure. It will be my personal millstone forever.

I fold the photo back into its tiny, safe square again, hold it to my lips. My fingers grip it tight, pinching like I’m trying to stem blood from a wound. I wish I’d held on to her small hand this tight in that crowd all those years ago.

I wrote this story for the monthly writing competition in the Amazon Kindle Owners group on Goodreads. The theme was “old photos” and the word count limit was 200 words.  I was  surprised and delighted when it won.