The Last Day

It was the last day of summer.

The last day the frogs leapt in unison. The last day the Rooks flew into town, sailing on the wafts of music which floated up between the long fingers of flutists. The last day peach gowns were worn, gossamer and chiffon wafting gently in the breeze as though underwater.

It was the longest day of the year, the shortest night. Some reckoned the night didn’t come at all, because the sun was peeking blearily over the tip of the horizon, hiding her fiery hair, but not quite low enough so her rays didn’t escape and lighten the blackness of night.

Penny’s parents were preparing for the sunset, the sunset that would never come.They ran around the kitchen like headless chickens, and she smiled to herself.

She watched them from her corner in the kitchen, where the small window fit neatly into the little alcove, and was a porthole to the view of the sharp, steep landscape outside their house. She sat on a small red cushion, worn and faded from years of use, on the small wooden window seat.

When she turned back to the view outside, she saw the Rooks. An entire flock of them. A colossal black cloud, swirling over the mountainous city, like an ominous vortex. Their hoarse cries rising in the sky, a bellow of extortionate proportions. The very utensils shook on their hooks, the mugs rattled and the cupboard doors vibrated with the sound of over a thousand of them, and Penny slammed her hands over her ears.

The music from the city was drowned, and the sun sank lower in the horizon. She watched as they soared around the city once, twice, and a third, final time, before they swooped upward, covering the sky, and bringing darkness onto the world. Pitch blackness draped her window, and Penny found herself looking at the glass and seeing only her dim reflection, and the reflection of the wooden kitchen in it.

She turned to her parents, they had stopped what they were doing, and were standing, frozen, eyes on the window. The house began to hum with the screeching outside. It was beyond anything she could imagine, and even though they heard it every year, the sound was momentous. Time-stopping. Gut-wenching. She felt it in her bones, her heart was beating to the sound of it. Her breathing changed to match the shift in tune. The sound was increasing. Louder and louder, the vibrations more and more intense, until, as the clanging orchestra outside reached its peak, a sudden silence filled the room. The darkness outside surged, replaced by a dim twilight, and Penny stared up at an empty sky.

The Rooks had vanished.

The remaining twilight would hang over the world for a few weeks, before the black tendrils of winter edged their way across the sky, bringing frost and snow.

The last day of summer.

 

 

Advertisements

On Buttercups and Balance

Two years ago the sun was shining and buttercups rippled across the field I could see from my window. I could watch the sun rise, and set, and then rise again, throwing its magnificent morning rays over the world, through a film of atmospheric cloud. There were no buildings to start and stop the process, and watching that orb climb slowly up the horizon was a bliss I could never miss.

Hazy mornings turned into stunning afternoons, every colour highlighted and illuminated by the bright summer sun.

I was not happy then, even though I had everything I’d dreamed of growing up in an Arabian desert. I dreamed of blue skies to replace my dusty brown ones. I dreamed of vivid greens and the smell of freshly cut grass, to replace my fake grass and the dismal beige weeds that decorated the sand sparsely. I was not happy, though.

And I ate my feelings.

I am not happy now, either.

I just can’t seem to find a good balance in life.

Back then I had no car and no job and was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours and and no way of getting away unless I spent a fortune on bus fares, which I couldn’t afford because I had no job.

Now I have a job but I have to travel away from home to go to it and it is causing a raucous in my family life.

I suppose it is in the human nature to always want more and never be satisfied with what they have.

I suppose it is also a matter of finding balance. And being content, and making reasonable decisions.

Also there is an element of faith here. Maybe my faith is weak at the moment. In fact, I know it is. And that is why I feel so lost and discontent.

 

11701208_10207284828778675_2127143065816805248_n.jpg

This was such a beautiful day. I walked for hours and hours with nothing but the silence, the wind, the sunlight, the soft swish of swaying grasses to keep me company. 

Twig

“Twii-iig!”

That was Delilah. She did not always speak in a lilting tone. It only happened when she was either particularly annoyed, or uncommonly sad. Today, on this fine bright sunny May’s day, she was particularly annoyed. The object of her annoyance? Hmm, let us observe him.

He is walking along with quite a swagger, his hands stuffed deep into the blue pockets of his very baggy blue jeans. His white T-shirt hangs loosely over his skinny frame, and a shock of what looks to be very white hair obscures half his face and all of his neck. He is walking along the pavement, away from Delilah.

“TWWII-III-GG!” her shout has broken new grounds. It has yet to exceed the sound barrier, however.

Let us now describe Delilah. She is slight of build. Her hair is very dark, and falls over her face in softly curling waves. The large, baggy hoody she wears hangs over the black jeans beneath. On her feet she has placed a pair of scuffed black trainers. Her face is sharp and clearly defined; her features small and pretty. Her dark eyes are fringed with thick, long lashes. Her translucent skin reveals, beneath those strange, glittery eyes, a network of pale blue veins. The unusual emphasis of these blue veins gives her a slightly unearthly look.

Twig does not turn at the call of Delilah. He ambles along, smiling at the sky and to his front, but he never looks back. You can see that Delilah is now frowning deeply, seeming quite annoyed.  She stares after Twig, her frown deepening somewhat menacingly. She is not holding her breath, but in her mind is planning all the atrocities she will commit against such rudery. Oh, wait! It seems like she has NOT been thinking of atrocities, but was instead debating whether or not to call Twig again! Ah, she has reached her decision. Here we go…

“Twii-ii-IIII-IIIII-GGG!”

Holy mackerel! It has gone and exceeded the sound limit! Delilah Woods is indeed a talented girl.

Twig can be seen to jump in fright, clutch his arms to his chest and whip round. We can now see his face. It is as sharp featured as Delilah’s. But where Delilah was dark, Twig is not. He has a pair of striking eyes, the colour of cornflowers. His eyebrows and eyelashes are as white as his hair. He, in short, looks the very picture of total and complete terror. His eyes alight on Delilah pretty quickly, and his shoulders sag in relief.

“Oh”, he says, scratching his head, his other hand reaching for the safe haven of his pocket, “S’you”

“Yeah,” Delilah marches over to where he is standing, “after I’ve called you like twenty times!”

“Come now, Delilah…”

“No! Shush, Twig, you need to keep your ears pricked a bit more, you know?”

Twig can be seen to roll his eyes. Delilah, if you must know, is a bit of a drama queen. I think it has become quite apparent to you already, actually.

“Alright” Twig says, meekly. He gives a little smile to indicate that all is well back at the ranch.

“What was it you wanted, ay?”

Delilah hands him an envelope that she had pulled out of her brown satchel over the course of her short admonishment. Eyebrows raised, Twig takes it.

“Goodbye now, Twig” says Delilah, and she turns to make her way home.

Twig looks surprised, “Where are you going?” he asks, curious.

“Home” Delilah sings, her satchel swinging by her side.

“Can I walk with you, then?” it is Twig’s turn to call out. Delilah glances back, eyebrows raised.

“I hate to break it to you, Twig, but you live on the opposite side of town”

Twig nods, “Just checking” he says, simply.

“Fair enough” Delilah replies. Twig heaves a sigh of relief, stuffs the envelope into his pocket where it miraculously fits, and turns and carries on. He can feel his mind sink back into the dreamy state it had been in before Delilah had rudely interrupted him. A haze of blue obscures his vision, and a thin yellow path reveals itself to him as the direction he should be walking in, so that he avoids any obstacles. To you, as a mere outsider, his face looks blank. His eyes dart from here to there, unseeing and glassy. Twig, as it were, is walking in a bubble that is his own, sweet, serene world.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly how he likes it.

Love Letters #6

143723fc2000ad33dbe75b636d938d2f.jpg

October was cold. Stating the obvious, of course. Why shouldn’t October be cold? It has every right to, being the pathway to winter and all that. It leads us straight into misty November, it’s when all the leaves wither away in a cascade of vibrant colour.

Yellows and reds and browns were the colours of our days together. I met him on October the first. He was my October boy.

Our boots crunching on the dry leaves scattered around the grass in the park, or squelching on the soggy piles on the shiny wet pavements of the early twilights. Our cold hands intertwined, and we squelched on through the nights. Memories of sweet little conversations over the crunch-squelch-swish through the wet, dripping streets of October.

He would wait everyday outside the university gates, and I would rush out in my tights and red lipstick that I smacked on as I hurried down the stairs after my late lectures. I had to be glamorous for him, even after a long day of work and running my fingers through my hair. His deep brown eyes always lit up when he saw me, and he would hold his elbow out to me so I could slip my hand through, just like a gentleman.

We walked down the avenue of trees, through the park, down another avenue of trees and into the side streets where my flat sat hunched in the furthest corner of a rickety yellow block. There ivy crawling up the side of the outside walls and peeping into my windows.

That October was particularly cold. He brought me a lizard home once. Not alive. Skinned and roasted. In newspaper. Like it was fish and chips. It was tough, like overcooked chicken. But tasty. He brought me a pair of thick, woolly socks which I would wear in bed because our heating conked out. Our noses, protruding from the covers, were icy.

On October the 31st, he vanished.

He wasn’t outside the gates. I thought maybe he was kept in later at work. Sometimes that happened, but he always left me a message beforehand. I went home and made some butternut squash soup, put my socks on and wrote a bit of my dissertation. Lucy dropped by, black lipstick smudged, and begged me to come out.

We had some soup and bread, and she left.

Eleven o’clock. I got into my PJs and brushed my teeth. Turning off the lights, I walked over to the window and peered out between the ivy. Street lamps threw pale glowing circles onto the cobbles outside the block. Black railings opposite me glinted on one side with moonlight. I heard the loud clack of heels on the cobbles, and heard them fade away, a peal of laughter echoing around the silent walls.

I stood there for so long that I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, so I meandered back to bed. I could smell him on my pillow. I buried my head into his scent.

That October was the coldest we’d ever had.

The next day was the first of November, and I woke up to mist clinging, clammy, to my windows. I wore my woolly socks under my boots to university, and walked all funny. Every French accent had my head turning sharply. A shock of black hair on a tall boy, and I stared intently until they turned their head to reveal a face so different from his that a lump rose in my throat.

Maria,

You were the sweetest. Always thinking of you.

Tristan

 

 

Why do you Write?

Hello.

I love to write. I don’t know why. Usually I fall asleep telling myself a story. It has crackling characters, spitting with energy. They get up to an awful lot. It’s a bit like a soap opera that has been going on since I was about eleven.

It’s not really a soap opera, though.

Ugh. Who am I kidding. It is exactly that. How embarrassing to admit it. I despise soap operas.

Not that I judge soap operas or their people.

Who am I KIDDING. I do judge them. Terribly so.

I like to write because I feel like I can explore aspects of my personality through other people that I have created. I could also make them do things I could only dream of doing – although, if I really wanted to do those things I would jolly well get up and do them, but I’m too lazy, that’s what – so I just write about them doing those things instead.

I write because I could make my characters do things I couldn’t morally do, unless I am having an intrusive and unsociable thought.

I write because sometimes I have a lot of feelings and they want to manifest themselves into words. I sit back and survey these words and I think, ‘gosh, Lenora, that is exactly how I was feeling, you got it so right.’

Of course, that is only true for me. For somebody else reading my words, well, it might just be a clutter of irritation, or inconvenient confusion. Take your pick.

Then I generally have a cup of tea because tea and words get along like peanut butter and jam. (Very freaking well is how they get along)

I love words. I love how some people can twist and shape them into intricate chains that inspire fireworks of thought in my brain. Wow. That string was so amazing, how did he do that? Or, my gosh, that phrase was arresting, was she descended from the angels, to speak to my soul so?

Wordsmiths are kindred spirits. I think people who write so well must be earnestly passionate. Not sexually (although, maybe, right?), but their minds must be enigmatic. Electricity. Like a Mr Rochester (oh, I didn’t like him though.). Or.. or… well, a Mr Bhaer! Or a Ned Worthington (from What Katy Did Next). I fell in love with Ned Worthington and I still secretly harbour a literary affection for him. If I were fictional I might be awfully horrid and try to steal him from Katy. If he looked at me I would probably faint. Don’t tell my husband.

 

So, dear reader, why do YOU like to write? I am sure everybody has different reasons. Please feel free to share, I am so curious.

Pud Muddle

I am drowning

under a pile

of

complex literary analysis.

I don’t

understand

anything.

I don’t

CARE

about

Wordsworth’s inner life.

I really am

Trying to rouse interest.

“Oh, look,” says my

Mind.

“Your mother loves Grasmere.”

Struggling to find

something in common

with

this poem.

That she does,

that she does.

Do it for her

at least.

But I don’t want to.

Coffee is not helping

not a smidgen.

Nature is beautiful

I try to tell myself

Of course it is,

Of course

But I don’t care for William’s

depiction

of it.

Perhaps I might,

if I wasn’t forced to analyse it

using intricate terms

that I can’t pronounce.

Like

ANDALIPLOSIS

and

ANTIMETABOLE

and

PLOCE

Which sounds like it should be Plaice

Like the fish.

But it isn’t.

And I haven’t the

faintest

clue

what it could be.

I have this awful deadline

which smells of rotten fish.

Or Plaice.

And

I don’t

Care

I really

Just

Want to sleep

and be cuddled.

This

Is Torture.

 

On Writing

I think that sometimes I think I am a good writer, when in actual fact I must be amateur at best. The false confidence I get from thinking that way means I do not practice my writing, or carry on with any of my writing projects, because I put it in my head that I will eventually publish a book one day.

But, dear readers, the fact of the matter is very clear here: I will never publish anything if I never write anything, and if I never write anything, I won’t be a ‘writer’, I will just be a ‘dreamer’. Just like an artist is no artist if the artist isn’t creating any art.

I love writing. I write to quench the thirst my soul has to explore things one can’t touch. Do you, as a writer, write daily? Do you challenge yourself to write things, even on the days when writing feels like piling broken bricks over each other with nothing to hold them together, and watching helplessly as they topple all over the place?

Here are some of my favourite quotes about writing:

“Start writing, no matter what. The water doesn’t flow until the faucet is turned on” – Louis L’Amour

“Words can be like X-Rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.

“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.” – Phillip Jose Farmer.

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London.

Feel free to share your favourite quotes about writing. Happy writing to you all!

il_430xN.88438053

Welcome, Friday.

I want to draw on what I know today. I woke up like I haven’t woken up in a long time; refreshed and filled with a vibrancy that can only correlate to a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Do you know what uninterrupted sleep feels like, folks? It feels like a mind willing to hear what the world has to say. It feels like birds chiming together, each song separating from the other yet joined in one harmonious melody. It feels like a glass of lemonade after a sweltering hike uphill, or the wonderful view, finally, after a long and tiring struggle, of the earth in it’s multitudes of beauty spread out hundreds of feet below. Sprawling fields, snow caped mountains in the distance, framing glittering pools, a sky in hundreds of shades of blue, forests and deserts, oceans and miles of untouched terrain.

I feel quite awake. My mind is no longer clogged by the clouds of fatigued misery. Welcome, Friday, I hope your time with me is well spent.