Writing Purples

I am supposed to be writing for myself this month but there are six days (about) left and I only have ten thousand words of the fifty thousand minimum limit. I shall give up without much of a fuss this month And hope for the best in the next month I set aside for some writing.

With cheer I say, I do believe I have once again stumbled upon the Writing Blues! Everything seems to come to a juddering halt before the brick wall of discouragement. None of my characters will adhere to my commands. They have wilful souls of their own, and oddly, all seem to be biased towards the defiant, sullen demeanor. This will not do at all, because they can’t all monopolise the brooding inclination. They can’t all have the same damn personality!

These aren’t blues, though, so much as purples. This is not the muffled thump of me falling into a pit of writing misery. This is the tremulous hanging in the airless space between inspiration and avolition. Between red and blue. In purple.

Were Their Faces Dirty?

I really like to look at old buildings as I sit in the modern day life of hustle and bustle and minds sucked into a cloud of technological machinery grating against each other.

The clock tower, with its ancient clock, still ticking away one hundred and fifty years after some hands carefully welded it all together. Single pane windows underneath a plaque set in bricks which reads ‘AD 1859’ and I think, who peered out of those windows in 1860? Who walked the streets I now walk? I think of how they were dressed and what they could possibly have thought about, and whether they wore hats and then pssshh, of course they wore hats.

They all dressed well back in those days, or at least we like to think they did. Were their faces dirty, though?

The clocktower I was looking at today, as I sat having a chocolate chip shortbread biscuit in Chatwins, the bakery opposite this Market Hall in Sandbach, Cheshire. It did not look like this today, as this photo was taken in the summer 🙂

Perspective

What annoys you?
That is what she asked.
But there was no frown on the other’s face, so I assumed it was a general question.
I did not hear what the other said.
The rain fell on my nose.
Sometimes that would annoy me, and sometimes it would please me.
Do the things that annoy you annoy you all the time?
Or is their annoyingness contingent on the situation in which you currently find yourself when you’re annoyed by them?

This is a Monet. Specifically: The Thames at Westminster, by Claude Monet.

Hug

“Do you want a hug?” I asked my sister.

We don’t do affection. At all. Ever.

“She doesn’t,” my mum said, when my sister didn’t answer me.

I was at the door, leaving home to go back to my home after the christmas-new year break.

“Ahh, I think she does,’ and I went to hug her.

“I’m just awkward,” she murmured into my shoulder, so I gave her an extra squeeze for good measure.

My family do not show affection. It’s clumsy, awkward, strange.

Once my sister was in a state of Terrible Hurt. She was crying alone in her bedroom, in her bed, under a pile of clothes and blankets. Normally we are catty with each other, but that one time I went into her dorm room, climbed into bed with her and held her while she cried.

‘Go away” she said in the end, sniffling.

I didn’t go away, and she didn’t ask me to again.

I don’t know why it’s strange and weird and awkward to give my family affection, when I do it so freely with my children and husband. With my cousins and aunts. With my friends.

Why is it so hard?

I love them all so fiercely.

So why is it so hard?

Liver Pâté

Are you a parent?

If you are, I think you can attest that one of the toughest, most worrying things as a parent is seeing your child ill.

My son has been so ill recently. He has caught one thing after another from nursery, and has developed huge dark circles under his eyes, and lost some weight. I can feel his little tiny bones through his skin, and he has lost that round chubbiness of toddlerhood.

It’s the most troubling thing and frankly I am just burdened by it.

Now of course we are having him checked up by doctors and whatnot, but I also sat down to research some ways to add nutrients into the body after bouts of illness and weightloss.

One of the biggest causes for dark circles around eyes is vitamin A deficiency. I have no proof (yet) that my son is deficient in vitamin A but it can’t harm to get some down him, can it?

Liver is apparently one of the biggest sources of vitamin A, so I sourced some liver from the local butcher.

I hated liver growing up. My father loves it, and the Moroccan way to cook it is to cut it into small pieces, fry it up with onions, garlic, coriander and a bit of cumin. Lots of seasoning, and the resulting liver in gravy concoction is eaten with some crusty bread. Freshly baked french loaf is the tastiest option, according to my family. I could never eat this food. The smell of liver alone put me off, and therefore eating it was simply impossible.

I am an adult now. And I know that liver is an excellent source of nutrients for my unwell child, so I looked up ways to cook it where it would not taste so… LIVERY.

One great way is making liver pâté! It’s liver cooked up with onions and garlic, some dijon mustard, balsmic vinegar, herbs and seasonings…. and a LOT of butter. You can spread it on toast or crackers and it’s just a really tasty savoury spread. So I made some tonight while my kids were in bed.

Let us see how well it goes down tomorrow, ey.

Image credit

The End!

Well, we have officially reached the end of November, and the end of Nano Poblano and of course, Nanowrimo.

When I pasted my entire month’s worth of blogs into a Word document, the total word count came up to 12,567 words. Which to be honest is more than I have written in a month in MANY years. So I am Very Pleased.

It was TOUGH.

It was hard to prioritise time to write a post each day.

I would just sit down, put the number in the title, and then just write. So whatever came out of my fingertips was published immediately with no editing and no re-reading.

My plan is to read over what I have done, do a tonne of editing and planning, and then make it into the Thing it has been in my head for over seventeen years.

Might take me a few more years lol.

Might be next November when I challenge myself again.

But it will happen.

This challenge has taught me one thing: I do have time to write about 500 words a day. They don’t have to be perfect or edited, they just have to be there on paper. It’s better than nothing!

If you did nanowrimo or nano poblano or any other writing challenge this month, how did you fare?

This Land [30]

The long, harsh winter was finally over.

She realised it one crisp day in May, when she felt the warm sun on her bare arms. Her first roses were blooming. Bright, peachy yellow ones. And their sweet lemony scent danced on the breeze and filled her with such joy. Enough to go running barefoot in the gardens, flinging her hair free, the joy of the glorious sun coursing through every vein in her body.

She knew what she would do now.

She knew with all the conviction in the world.

She would go to the train station, and wait on the platform for his train to draw in. She would step forward, and immediately tell him yes.

No, she would hand him a letter.

No, no. That would be silly. She already wrote him a letter. She would just wait for him. And he would know. Why should he not know? He would know!

She raced back indoors, drawing her shawl over her shoulders in the sudden chill that hung around the back door.

‘Letter for you Laura,’ Phyllis called from the drawing room. Phyllis was visiting for the week. She debated whether to go in and get it or not.

‘Who is it from?’ she stood in the doorway, her left foot tapping impatiently on the floor.

‘Well,’ Phyllis peered at the handwriting, ‘it looks like Mary’s handwriting actually. It came through this morning. Ethel collected the letters from the post office.’

‘Oh. Mary!’ Laura darted across the room and snatched the letter from her younger sister’s hand. She ripped it open and hurried out of the drawing room, with Phyllis looking after her as though she had sprouted another head.

‘Why the rush!?’ Phyllis called anxiously, getting out of her chair.

‘I am meeting .. I am going to the train station,’ Laura threw over her shoulder, before taking the stairs two steps at a time. She dropped the envelope on the floor and shook the letter out, reading as she hurried into her room and shut the door behind her.

Dearest Laura,

Your letter was beautiful. I do miss you so. We have settled in nicely by the sea. John’s practice is marvellous. And I am doing so well with so much fresh air to cleanse my lungs. They have accepted my application at the College and I have my first class on the first week of June. It’s only a small class; I shall be teaching the summer students before they move me onto something more permanent. They say it’s a probationary period. I am not at all nervous, I tell you. We are both looking forward to your visit in August. I have the most wonderful room here for you. It looks right over the sea and the window is as tall as I am! Every night when the days are clear I watch the sunset and I think how you would adore this darling little room. You would feel right at home here. And come September, when our number shall increase by one… I feel giddy thinking about it!

Now for the real reason I write to you so hurriedly, Laura. Tom refuses to tell you, so I must do it myself and warn you before he arrives, lest you have the shock of your life. He is engaged to be married, my love. To Rosaline. Remember Rosaline? You got on really well with her at the Winter dance when you came to visit us at Leighton. He is bringing her and her mother back with him for the summer. Says he wants to give them the tour of the town. I expect he wants to show them the old haunts. Rosaline tells me he tells her about your roses and she is keen to see them. I write only to let you know, so you don’t keel over or anything silly like that.

With all my ferocious love,

Mary

She finished reading the letter and her legs were frozen in place. A soft knock on the bedroom door, and when she didn’t respond, Phyllis pushed it open and peered around.

Laura’s face was pale.

‘So you know,’ Phyllis’s voice was gentle as she came into the room and took her sister into her arms.

Laura shook herself free, tossing her head.

‘Know what?’ she snapped, folding the letter and putting it away into her drawer.

‘About Tom?’

‘Oh! Yes, of course I know. Why are you being so motherly all of a sudden?’ she said curtly, pulling on her coat.

‘Laura, come now, don’t…’

‘I’m going for a walk, Phyllis. Please. Allow me to get dressed in peace.’

She pushed past her sister, seizing her shawl and wrapping it around her neck. She picked her hat up and stalked out.

Hill [28]

Is this how the story ends?

Will the edges be tied together like a piece of cheesecloth containing three warm scones? Put gently into a woven basket and carried over the edge of the hill?

They never told her there was a cliff on the other side.

You don’t hurtle to your death, though. No. This isn’t that kind of story. Death and decay and spattered brains on relentless rocks do not soothe a soul.

When you walk over the edge of the hill, you don’t exist anymore in the world as we know it.

It was the calmest tempest. It swooped around her, lifting her hair, caressing her hem, plucking at her sleeves with a gentle roar. Its breath was warm, while the sleet fell around her. That is how she could tell the different between a storm and the Beast. It huddled over her, protected her from harsh elements. It whispered in her ear, and she knew which way to turn in a blizzard. Should she stray too far from the Lake, she would lose it. And that is what she was most afraid of.

‘You know,’ Tom said to Laura, one such day, when the tempest blew warmly around them as they stood on the edge of the Lake, ‘I always think that the Beast has you in its grip, and doesn’t want to let go.’

Laura smiled, but she didn’t look at him. It was as though… no. It couldn’t be.

‘You understand what it says,’ she told him instead, ‘you know the language it speaks.’

‘I do, and sometimes,’ he lowered his voice, ‘sometimes Laura I worry about the things it says.’

‘Tosh!’ she threw at him, tossing her head, and walking back up the path.

He stood at the edge of the lake as she vanished into the darkening woods behind him, and watched the sun set serenely over the waters.

There was no wind, save for the whirlwind that caressed his hair and blew kisses on his cheeks. He stood for the longest while, beyond the sunset. He stood until the stars glittered one by one into existence, revealing themselves in their shining glory when daylight removed its mask and became night. He stared up at them, and even as he did, a decision was forming itself in his mind.

If she goes, he said to the tempest, I will go with her.

[25]

Note: I write these daily Novembers to the background noise of my kids screaming. These days like to run around chasing each other and scream. It’s some kind of game. Their cries pierce right through my ears. They interrupt my thoughts and halt my words and make my brain feel like mush . I stop them sometimes, and other times I let them do it, because it seems like they enjoy it and they need to get it out of their system.

I am actually behind.

I am behind and I could panic about it but I won’t.

I won’t let the overwhelm overwhelm me.

Let this be my 25th post.

It has no substance.

My brain is mush.

But brains are mush. And it is within that mush that ideas grow.

Bloggiversary

I am writing an extra blog post today because it is my Bloggiversary. Nine years ago today I sat down, and decided I did not want my old blog on Blogspot, and wanted to write out the things that rattled around in my brain like dainty fairies wearing saucepans in a new, cleaner space.

So I opened up a new blog. And I called it ‘Ocean Bream’.

Not after the fish. But after a lovely, whimsical book I read called The Spellbook of Listen Taylor where a woman really, just really wanted to be asked how her ocean bream was, my love?

At the time I wasn’t married, but I was a few months into ‘seeing’ my husband, who I had known my entire life. We ‘courted’ for a while and then decided to get married in January 2014. So my bloggiversary is very close to my anniversary, and for me, somehow, that feels a little special.

Image Credit: Shawna Erback