Preta

Always thirsty,

Always drinking,

Always hungry,

Never shrinking.

Preta.

In the darkness of the night, the stars tear holes in the black canvas shrouding the earth so they can peep through, decorating the sky with twinkling lights, playing hide and seek with each other and shooting at each other through the silent vacuum of the universe.

A shadow slinks behind the walls of houses. It creeps through the stinking back alleys where rubbish bins line the brick walls neatly, oozing bin juice. It pauses, sniffs, and slinks into an open bin. It guzzles, and slips out again, prowling for more. Its breath rattles in its throat, almost like a death rattle, and as it climbs out of yet another bin, its large, round belly glows in the dim light from the street lamps just outside the alleyway.

Another creature, with the same protruding belly and glowing eyes, slinks around the corner. It stops, eyeing its counterpart on the bin, and a low snarl starts in its throat. Hunger propels its forward, a deep, prolonged ache to fill an unknown void, and it rolls into the dustbin and begins to scavenge for food.

The rattling sound echoes through the alleyway, and a window above is thrown open. Light floods over the cobbles, and a low hiss emanates from the dustbin, as both creatures shy away from the brightness.

The cats are in the bins again, Hank!’

 

I came across this creature here, if you’re interested for background on the creature known as ‘preta’, or ‘hungry ghost’.

 

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Goosey Goosey Gander

I think I have hit a creative slump. I don’t know if its because I am exhausted from working, and travelling to work, and travelling home, and cleaning up, and making tea, and reading books, and trying to be social by calling my friends so they don’t think I have abandoned them..

I don’t know. I don’t know.

Third week at work this week, and I spent the day working on a few editing assignments, reading up on my training program, and when I had completed that, I had nothing to do… So I planned my blog.

I never really had a plan for this blog, you see. I decided to write one day, at the end of 2013, never thinking this would last because none of my other blogs lasted. Last it did, however, and I am proud to say I have been blogging for nigh on four years!

In light of that, I have decided to no longer blog when the whim takes me, but to adhere to a somewhat lose schedule, which will enforce my creative processes and demand some content out of my fingers.

I figure I ought to be resourceful, and all that, and just because I now have a job, doesn’t mean I ought to let my own goals and aspirations fall into the ditches.

Real grimy those ditches are, I’ll tell you that. I had an old gentleman wade out the other day, positively shaken. He’d been accidentally thrown in there by the lady next door, she had no use for him. She claimed he wouldn’t say his prayers, and he told me the most harrowing story of how she grabbed him by the left leg, threw him down the stairs and then rolled him into a ditch! That was no accident, I assure you. The poor old fellow was convinced it was, however, so I gave him a goose to calm his ruffled feathers and sent him on his way.

I digress.

The plan for this blog is to blog the things I usually blog, but with a little more structure and, well, consistency, I suppose. So everyday for a fortnight I will blog (except for weekends, of course, weekends are for family and books and gardening and delicious homemade things made by my younger brother and my younger sister-in-law – last weekend it was apple crumble made by the brother and caramel brownies made by the sister-in-law – yum!), and each blogging day will cover certain themes and topics. For example, Wednesdays are supposed to be ‘flash fiction’ days, but because my creativity is hanging out to dry, I have decided to turn it into a ‘wherever-the-whim-takes-me’ day.

Charles Dickens was said to be paid by the word, but I am not. However, I pay the word with my eyesight, and use it I shall. Did you know my poor eyesight, according to my mother, is because of hours of reading in the dark after she turned off the lights? Streetlamps outside the window are certainly enough light when you need to know if Mr Rochester really is a cockroach or not.

How are you doing this week? Do you have a blogging schedule, or do you blog as and when the whim takes you? Also, why do you blog?

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New Job

I started a new job on Monday the 2nd of October. I am working as an Editorial Assistant for a medical communications company.

It is my first ever job in a corporate role. I sit at a desk, in an office where lots of other people sit at desks, and I am supposed to be in charge of editing medical journals, manuscripts, presentations, posters and other such publications, which can be found online on journal websites, in medical magazines, on leaflets and at medical congress booths!

Because it is only my first week, I have found it insufferably boring.

Well, I lie.

It has been great, except for today.

Monday was an introductory and training day, but Tuesday through to Thursday I was given several pieces of work, one of which included an 80-slide presentation! I spent a good eight hours on that, over the course of two days, and the rest of my time was divided between other pieces of work, training sessions and meetings. So it was pretty full-on, and I was enjoying myself.

But today…

Today I had a very minor task, taking me about two hours in total. It really didn’t help that I came in 45 minutes early. So I finished that, and have now been twiddling my thumbs all day because there is no other work available. All very frustrating I must say. I know it’s because I am new, and haven’t particularly been trained in a great deal of things, so can’t be given any terribly important pieces of work but for goodness’ sake I just want to get on with it! I have been trawling the internet all day, and reading other peoples’ blogs, which is great because I haven’t had the free time to do that in a while.

Work is about 45min drive from my home, but it usually takes me an hour and a half, because the traffic is horrendous. A colleague told me yesterday that during the school holidays the going is great, and now I am lamenting the minimal holidays school children get in the UK. I tried to leave twenty minutes earlier than usual today, in the hopes that I would arrive early enough that I could leave half an hour early. It took me exactly 45 minutes to get here, with absolutely no traffic on the roads! That made me very annoyed, I have to say.

It means I either have to get in very early, or exactly on time with a risk of being late!

Anyway.

That was just an update on my first proper job in my chosen career path. I am an editorial assistant! Maybe one day in the future I can be an editor of a book publishing house! Maybe! Baby steps, amiright?

To be honest I was shocked they’d hired me, considering I have had no experience in this field, except for very minimal freelance work. Shocked and pleased, emphasis on the ‘pleased’.

 

 

A Small Thought

I don’t have a favourite colour. I never have had one. I just tell people its blue, but when I picture blue in my mind it doesn’t please my guts.

Lately I have been saying it is metallic pink. Everything I own now is metallic pink. Even the shoes I am wearing. Deichmann, 19 quid.

I don’t particularly like metallic pink but it pleases my gut, so there must be some sort of spark there.

I think some children are embarrassed to talk about marriage and children. It’s a strange phenomenon. An eight year old boy I was teaching was trying to explain storytelling through the generations, and he said, ‘When I’m, well, when I have a child of some sort. Well, a small cousin of some sort, I will probably have a lot of stories to tell too.’

I chuckled at that. I was like that. I told my mum flat out that I would never get married. Ever. That it was a ridiculous notion and intolerable to me, at age eleven. Secretly I was crushing hard on my now-husband. He was fourteen and quite dashing. Did I tell anybody? Of course not. And I was quite cruel to him too. He must never be allowed to find out. I even prayed that when I was older, he would want to marry me. I actually got on my knees and prayed.

I said, ‘Oh dear God, please let me marry him when I am older.’ Every day for two months. I didn’t even say, ‘please let him be my boyfriend.’ I wanted something more solid than that, I suppose. Something in writing. 

Then I forgot, of course. Or it didn’t matter to me so much. My attentions were drawn elsewhere. Life. Exams. Stories to write and read. Exciting social events. Friends. Everything took over.

I even deviated a little and lead myself astray by mixing with some Bad Folk. Let us not tread those waters.

But at eleven, I prayed for him. So weird.

Seven years later, though, I married him. I guess prayers are answered. I married him after only four or five dates. That is weird. But I so wanted to. And I still want to. And I would do it all over again and get really excited to.

I have also never told anybody this. I fear I will appear a fool.

If I ever get to be old, I want to be old with my husband. I want to sit on a bench and stare as the world rumbles by. I believe it will be rumbling by then, not screeching as it is now. My hearing shan’t be as clear as it is now so that might contribute to the rumble.

Who knows.

All I know is that we are here on earth, and earth is fleeting. The people we meet and live with and accompany will leave us, will die, will be separated from us.  All I know is that we are still whole, with or without our loved ones, and that one can love wholly and completely without giving a piece of oneself away.

And that is what I am trying to do.

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Taking pictures of food.

Someone once said to me, when we were eating burgers in a restaurant, watching people at another table stand in every position imaginable to take photos of their own burgers, that over half of millennials don’t get to eat hot food, because by the time they’re done taking photos of their food, it’s cold!

Wow. That was a whopper of a sentence.

Anyway. By the time I munched this chocolate cake, it was still warm, thankfully. Although my arm has cramped from trying to take a good photo of a mediocre cake!

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This cake is deceiving. It looks tasty but it actually has a strong olive oil taste to it. I think I added too much. Next time I will use less!

Why do we do it, though? Why do we take photos of our food? Why do we share it on social media? What is the psychology behind it? What do we hope to gain from it?

I admit, I do take photos of my food from time to time. When it looks good, when I am especially proud of it, or when I just am enamoured by the deliciousness of it all. I don’t always share it on social media, and when I do, I insert it into a blog. It is not informative at all. I have not shared the recipe (I will leave a link to it, however!), I am not posting to talk about its contents or reveal the decadent history of cake.

I am just posting to say, ‘Hey! I made cake! Check it out!

Is that so bad?

Is it so deplorable that an entire generation of people just want to share what their food looks like, to other people who will double tap that photo and nod to themselves, thinking, ‘I want me some of that burger. I wonder where they got it from.’

But whoops, they won’t need to ask, because the location is geotagged! Some great advertising right there! I will admit, all the restaurants I have been to in the past six months (well, three, to be exact) have been because one or other of my friends had posted a photo of what the food looked like there, along with a comment on the taste.

And because I am a glutton, I thought, ‘hey, I want me some of that burger.’

 

Living in Crewe

Hello bloggers.

I have taken a short break from blogging. No, I haven’t. I just have not blogged for a while. I haven’t been busy, as such. Well, I suppose I have, in the grand scheme of things!

I have edited (finally) my husband’s 24,000 word dissertation. I even did some research on the history of cars, from the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci to the Model T created by Henry Ford. As a non car-enthusiast, I can honestly say I found it all immensely fascinating. What really stood out starkly for me was the revolution in all economic systems that was created by cars. Traffic control systems had to be created from scratch through trial and error, 60% of the deaths caused by careless driving and speeding, at a time when speeding was a concept nobody had ever heard of let alone contemplate, were children. The growth of the car industry was a tragic and nostalgic business. However it sure has saved us a LOT of time and hundreds of feet worth of horse manure! (I speak very literally here when I say hundreds of feet – in the year 1900 the horse population outnumbered the human population in New York city!).

I have also been working on my own dissertation, which is far less fascinating and a whole lot of nonsense, really. I am taking a creative analysis course, where I have to analyse creativity in language. All the theories are entirely subjective, so it’s a little tedious to hear somebody’s opinion on something and quote it as fact. In all honesty, I don’t think much of it at all. But shhh, don’t let my lecturers hear you say that! It would be a travesty and might potentially affect my final grade! The grade which determines the outcome of my degree! Huzzah! It could NOT come sooner, I tell you.

Britain is sunny, the dogs are barking cheerfully and sometimes suspiciously, and the small town I now live in is a piece of literal crap. *insert taped laughter*.

It’s called Crewe, in England, about an hour South-East of Manchester and two hours East of Liverpool and three and a half hours North-West of London. I could cycle the entire town in about fifty minutes, and walk it in around two hours. The people are remarkably racist and treat me as a second class citizen because of my olive complexion and my dark black hair. I know this because they give me English looks of disapproval (I do it myself so I KNOW) and they also make comments about ‘immigrants’ and ‘they shouldn’t let them in’. I am not an immigrant. My maternal grandmother was. So was my paternal grandmother. I am just a very diluted English person. Even if I was an immigrant, one oughtn’t to treat immigrants like that. It’s rude and unwarranted and plainly ignorant. Also inhumane. When I open my mouth they are often taken aback by the British accent. They are uneducated, pro-Brexit and against Islam, brown people, and immigration. They are also remarkably poor, and very uncivilised, often leaving their homes at 3am in their pyjamas (oftentimes without) shouting at each other and toppling bins over.

It isn’t all negative, though. The shop ladies are lovely, and my neighbours are a sweet Polish couple with a bubbly little blonde daughter. Once I was cycling on the road and my long cardigan got stuck in my chain (fashion over logic, in this case, ha ha!), so I had to stop and yank it out on the road. While I was thus occupied, a woman darted out of her house and asked if I was okay and did I need any help? I was mighty touched, thanking her for her kindness. Another time I got my chain caught (on nothing, this time), a couple of really shifty looking young men came up to me when I was trying to fix it. I panicked because they did look menacing, but one of them said, as they drew close, ‘You alright, love!? Need any help?’

I was pleasantly surprised by their helpful kindness. I suppose it isn’t all black and white, and there is some ying in this yang. Or was it yang in this ying?

 

Destiny.

Hello, world.

I just want to put this quietly out there. This video is one that resonates with me on an extremely personal level. Almost word for word.

I know a lot of people have gone through this sort of experience. But it is good to share the feelings.

A few years ago, Something Big happened to me. It changed who I am fundamentally, and left me a lot more vulnerable and scarred. Ultimately I did learn a tremendous deal from that experience, but it has changed me on such a deep emotional level that I am noticing the change every day in my life, every single day. Everyday I am reminded that I am stunted because of what happened, bile and nausea have become a part of my existence.

I have moved on. I am happier, of course. But I know, deep down, that I will never have the joyful abandon I had before The Thing.

I was a different person before it. And I am sad because I don’t like who I’ve become because of it, because I know that the child I was then would not have grown into the adult I am now. And that, to me, is pretty hard to think about.

This video is very short. But it is very well articulated. And if you have ever experienced something like this, well, know that you aren’t alone.

Are we a society of narcissists?

Lately I have been very disillusioned with society. Not just because Donald Trump won. I know his winning has caused global stress. Not just because of Brexit, or that 25% of voters in France are far right voters.

All I see are selfies every where.

‘Love your body’

‘Lose weight’

‘body image’

‘thinspiration’

‘looks amazing’

‘Wow you look so good’

‘Wow look at you stunner’

And the likes and comments pour in and in and in until they are drowning in comments about their looks.

‘You ugly’

It’s all about appearance. Don’t get me wrong, a selfie here and there is fine. But a constant stream of selfies makes one seem, at the very least, self absorbed.

And then people become so depressed because everybody seems to have such a good life but they don’t. And their compare and compare and all the heads are looking up at those who have more instead of those who have less.

‘Oh her house is nicer than mine’

‘Oh his looks are better than mine’

‘Oh how come he can afford such a nice car wth’

‘She’s ugly’ -she is actually stunning-

And the SELFIES. Instagram is the WORST. All my friends, constantly uploading exact replicas of their face at a particular angle with different coloured lipstick on.

‘Ugh look at my eyebags’

‘Feeling pretty today’

I just feel like society is all a ruse. Nothing is real. People are just projecting themselves out there, hungry for attention. If you look at those who don’t have as much as you do, you become thankful for what you do have. And you become more content, and less ravenous for those likes, for people to appreciate you, for more and higher and better and bigger.

The other day I was on the train and there was a man sitting a few rows ahead of me, blaring music out from his phone. Three people stood up and walked away from him, but he was oblivious. One man tutted loudly and glared at him as he walked past, and the offender waggled his eyebrows at him, and did a little shoulder shake. It made me laugh. I admit, I was a little annoyed with the music, I was tired and his music didn’t sit well in my ears. but I didn’t say anything. So, this guy was happy at 6am in the morning. Why kill a guy’s buzz? Let him be.

I don’t know why that situation depressed me so much.

The screen over the carriage door said, ‘This train is for Stanstead Airport, via Leicester.’

And I thought to myself, what if I didn’t get off at Leicester. What if I just skipped work altogether and went off to Stanstead Airport. Bought a ticket to Somewhere with whatever I had in my account, and escaped it all. But then I realised that wherever I go there will be humans, and humans just don’t make me happy.

They are just so self involved. I am so self involved. A lot of people are. Not all of them, of course. But so many people are.

I want to escape but I don’t know where I want to go.

Maybe I have SAD, now? It probably is that. Lack of vitamin D causes depression, apparently.

Maybe I need to be nicer to other people. Cynicism is not healthy.

So, what do you think? Are we all becoming narcissists? Is this ease of access making it simpler for narcissists to bud and grow, when before such ideas would be smacked right out of their silly little heads?

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Narcissus

Two Cold Uncles Knitting to the Beat

Hello everybody!

I was sitting in the library today, trying so hard to conjure up an idea for a short story. I have a hand in on the 17th of March; I have nothing to write about!

Anyway so something inspired me to get on to google and type in ‘story idea’. A website called ‘Plot Generator‘ came up and I thought, holy moly, have I just stumbled upon a goldmine?!

Turns out I did. A hilarious gold mine. I filled in some boxes with keywords and names, and it generated a little story for me. It had me laughing so much I had to get up and take a breather.

Have a look, if you’re interested!

 

Two Cold Uncles Knitting to the Beat

Twig Blackadder was thinking about Emilia Blake again. Emilia was a kind angel with handsome hair and slim lips.

Twig  walked over to the window and reflected on his pretty surroundings. He had always hated peaceful Lancing with its slobbering, strong seaside. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel sad.

Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the a kind figure of Emilia Blake.

Twig gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. He was a stubborn, wilful, coffee drinker with built hair and brunette lips. His friends saw him as a modern, magnificent monster. Once, he had even made a cup of tea for a villainous grandma.

But not even a stubborn person who had once made a cup of tea for a villainous grandma, was prepared for what Emilia had in store today.

The rain hammered like thinking parrot, making Twig bittersweet. Twig  grabbed an ethereal key that had been strewn nearby; he massaged it with his fingers.

As Twig stepped outside and Emilia came closer, he could see the slobbering glint in her eye.

Emilia gazed with the affection of 4480 selfish amused ant. She said, in hushed tones, “I love you and I want closure.”

Twig  looked back, even more bittersweet and still fingering the ethereal key. “Emilia, I’ve always loved you,” he replied.

They looked at each other with nostalgic feelings, like two glorious, giant goldfish sobbing at a very considerate holiday, which had piano music playing in the background and two cold uncles knitting to the beat.

Twig  studied Emilia’s handsome hair and slim lips. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Twig in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t love you Emilia.”

Emilia looked happy, her emotions raw like an old, open old shoes.

Twig could actually hear Emilia’s emotions shatter into 8876 pieces. Then the kind angel hurried away into the distance.

Not even a cup of coffee would calm Twig’s nerves tonight.

THE END

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They even generated a cover for me!

In the Night Sky

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My husband shushed me when I tried to talk to him today. He was watching some Youtube video or other. Naturally I threw a hissy fit and told him cruelly that if I died tomorrow he would regret paying his precious internet more time than he did me.

That hurt him. He said, “Ouch.” and made that sad face he makes to ensure my heart melts and I can’t stay mad at him, so I felt really bad. But no! I’m hurt too! I stand by what I said. It’s true!

Some might say “well he doesn’t have to spend every moment at your beck and call” and that is true but y’all don’t know Damian. When he has screen time it’s really hard to ‘rouse’ him. I can call his name ten times and he won’t ‘hear’ me, he is so focused.

So what will it take for me to get my husband’s attention? Throwing a hissy fit certainly won’t work all the time. Maybe I should just turn into a computer?

Well, this is what I want to say: Love wholeheartedly. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt. Spread your love through the night sky, let it mingle with the stars and scatter over this torn earth; throw it out on the breeze, let it float with the clouds. Sprinkle it onto the heads of children and in warm cups of coffee hot chocolate laced with mint. Lather it in special soap that you keep for your best friend because you know she loves lavender, hide it in a small gift for your brother, or in that book your sister has been wanting for a long time. Let it drift over to the harassed looking lady on the high street with a big, wide smile that, and allow it to be the warmth of a hug to make someone feel better.

Nestle it in the blanket you gently pull over your mother who has fallen asleep on the sofa, and whisper it in the ear of your spouse as he is glued to a computer screen reading about the latest mac rumours, wrap your arms tightly around him and swivel his chair around so he can see the love you have for him for himself.