Monday, 12 May 2014

The first thing on the radio when I switched on were The Archers, it took me back to another life with some amazing colourful people, this is an exercise right? Names have been changed.

Arianne lived next door to us in the converted dairy; a magnificant building that she had filled with antiques, huge family paintings and dark furniture.
‘Hello, hello, hello… oh hello!’ Her voice carried across the valley announcing to all the arrival of visitors. It didn’t matter if you were expected, unexpected or just been invited around for coffee, the silver spoon greeting was always the same. You always felt important when you met Arianne.
‘Come in, come in, come in! I’ll put the kettle on and we can share some time.’ It was ten minutes later when the kettle had finally been located and cups retrieved from piles of unwashed dishes and rinsed under the tap that tea was finally ready. She looked round the kitchen. ‘You don’t take sugar do you? I’ve just finished the latest chapter of my book, you wouldn’t mind reading it would you. I’d really value your opinion.’

I nodded and followed her into the vast hall of her dining room and watched as she swept piles of papers from the battered sofa onto the already cluttered floor.
‘I know it’s here somewhere.’
‘Isn’t that it in your hand?’ I offered as I perched precariously among the debris.
‘Oh yes, the manuscript but there is something I want you to see first, now where did I put it?’
She made no apology for the mess. Her favourite quote was ‘There are far too many things to do, things that I REALLY want to do, that I REALLY enjoy doing. Besides I have at least two days before my party.’
The back of her hair was as matted and messy as the room. I could pick her out in a crowd by the back of her head; well I’d probably hear her amazingly commanding voice with its rich plum tones that embraced everyone she met first, that and her dress code. On an ordinary day her dull baggy jumper clung taut to her ‘magnificent bosoms’ and mid-calf length black skirt. The remains of several meals adorned her front like badges of honour that she wore with pride. How I loved her complete escape from the real world.
‘Oh shit! Shit, shit, shit…’ I offered to help her look for whatever she couldn’t find.
‘No, I really wanted you to see this article before you read my chapter.’ She paused for a second. ‘Oh did I tell you what happened in the garden, do come, come , I’ll show you. I was devastated, devastated I tell you; I felt like the world was coming to an end! I was so really upset I thought I might die.’
Maybe I’d get to read her manuscript another time.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Just when I was getting it all together!

You know those days where if one thing goes wrong, it all does? Well today was almost the best one yet. First of all I was supposed to meet up with an old friend tomorrow and call before hand to make final arrangements and guess what, I didn't write her number down so I could call her. I do hope she still has mine and calls me. Its a 20 mile trip so not as if I can just pop round easily, there's very few buses where she lives.
Number two, I was trying to download some pictures from my camera onto my computer to use as a post on my other blog and the mousepad on my laptop decided not to work. As I can't plug in both the adaptor for the disk and the external mouse I had to get out my old computer to get the pictures, email them to myself and then save them from there... only when I turned that on my virus protection and run out so I spent ages loading a new one on. That was the third thing and I was getting a bit harrassed so stopped for lunch.
I was working on my Wordpress blog for a challenge set by another member - An A to Z of whatever country you are from.. brilliant, I thought I would go from an historical angle because the UK has some wonderful towns and cities and some amazing history. A subject which is dear to my heart, well social history is anyway. I wrote a nice piece starting with a brief bit about stone age Britain, along with the previously mentioned photos, and then pressed something and lost the lot... I think next time I will type it in Word and paste it on my blog, lesson learned!
So no post, for today has been definitely one of those days. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Tiptoeing back!

How long has it been? And you dare to show your face again? I asked myself again and again, do I, don't I? Then I said to myself, what do I have to lose? So I am sneaking in quietly, tipoeing one tiny step at a time, peeping round to make sure no one is going to jump on me and confront me with the childhood remonstration

'And just where do you think you have been? you do realise what time it is, don't you?'

Er, actually yes I do and I was hoping I wouldn't disturb you.

'Well, you have and I will tell you, it is 10.08am and the date is the 12th of January 2012.'

That's my youngest son's birthday, today, he is twenty nine today.

'That's an excuse?'

No, I was just saying...

'Well, you are three years late, three years since you bothered to walk through my door! Was it just to tell me it was the boy's birthday.'

No and he's not a boy, he's a man... I was just sneaking back in because ... er... I don't know, I was reading something on another blog and decided to pop by and revisit an old friend, that's ok, isn't it?


I can see you are upset and I know I have neglected you but I will try harder - honest.

'........ '

Hello... so you aren't talking to me now...?

OK I'm sorry, there, I've said it! forgive me ... pleeeaasse?

'Well alright, but I don't expect to be left here sitting around, twiddling my thumbs while you go off galivanting with other blogs, right?'

Yes ok, I promise, I'll stick around but...

'But what?'

What if I can't think of anything to write about, I mean my life is pretty boring these days, a bit of gardening, a bit of painting, playing with the grandkids, housework, you know the sort of stuff, who wants to read that?

'Er, hello... and who am I then, a figment of your imagination? I want to at least get the chance to then I can be the judge of whether your drivel is worth reading or not.'

Point taken, so it's ok to come back and start writing again? you really don't mind?

' Come here you silly idiot, of course I don't mind. Give us a hug and don't leave it so long next time, just a word or two will do, maybe a story now and again? Welcome back!'

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Little Boxes

I am a bit of a squirrel and after reading Millie Johnson’s book ‘A Spring Affair’ I decided to have a bit of a clear out myself. I am the one who says to my daughter, ‘tidy house, tidy mind.’ You can imagine the response and her bedroom still looked like a major explosion had happened in it. Until, that is, a friend was coming over for a girly day in. For two days before she attacked things that I wouldn’t go near without checking my vaccinations were up to date, but they say penicillin grows on mould so maybe I was being a little melodramatic. According to Tabby I was anyway. Well, she emptied all her drawers and her cupboards into a huge heap on the middle of the floor. ‘I don’t know what I started,’ wails she. I went to look, it looked no different to me but she assured be it was such a mess! Over the course of the entire two days she medothically hung clothes up, sorted the washing, gathered her make up together into a little basket, bagged up rubbish for recycling, throwing away and the charity shop and sorted her CDs and DVDs. At the end of it all there were three bags of rubbish besides the recycling and I mean black sacks, not bad for one room. She polished, vacuumed and washed walls, changed the bedding and cushion covers and really worked hard on it. At the end of it all she came downstairs. ‘I hate to say this,’ she says, ‘but you were right.’ ‘Oh?’ said I innocently, ‘what do you mean love?’ ‘I feel really sort of clear in my mind, it looks really good and I feel so much better.’ I resisted the impulse to say I told you so instead congratulating her on what she had acheived.
All this made me think about my own tidiness. I love everything to be neat and then I can relax and write or do whatever without that nagging guilt taunting me. I also like things to be neatly put away so … I collect boxes. I have always been a collector, as a child it was those little wooden matchboxes , scrap books, little charms from jamboree bags, ‘diamonds’, -well coloured glass beads - and I had a place for everything. Today I still collect, glass bottles, books, bits of paper with interesting writing on, all my papers from University, pens, pencils- forever searching for that perfect pen or pencil, little things that I won’t throw away in case it is useful, paints, art paper, brushes, wool, sewing things, oh, and of course boxes. I used to have a beautiful collection of tins, old tins that I kept buttons in, pressed flowers, ribbons, needles and pins, all the sort of things I use from time to time. Useful things yes! Then I moved house two or three times and each time I had to thin my stuff down until now it is , and I even say so myself, a manageable amount for the way my life has changed. So, why is it I am still drawn to keeping little boxes, tins, containers that could hold….. I find it so hard to throw these things away and I do use them from time to time. I am good at justifying. Harry recently said to me, ‘Do you really need all these jars in the shed.’ ‘They’re for when I make jam or pickles and things.’ Says I. I went to look, I was never going to fill four boxes of jam jars, sauce bottles, pickles jars etc. How easy it would have been to say ok I’ll keep one box but the memories of when I wanted to make pickled onions and jelly after someone had given me a lot of fruit to use up and I couldn’t find a jar anywhere… this was after I had thrown everything away on one of my moves… sprung into my head. Instead, I had to go through every one and keeping those that looked pretty, had a nice shape, was just perfect for sauces and on and on. Why can’t I just throw things away?
I got to thinking about my life while I was having a clear out today and it has been so complicated, sad, bad, unhappy, ecstatically happy, so many things I didn’t want to remember, so many things I did and it suddenly dawned on me. I even store little boxes in my head. Many things from my childhood I didn’t want to remember so I started to build a cupboard with lots of little boxes in it, a bit like my grandfathers shed. I filled each little box with those I didn’t need to look at often and labelled them ‘ for when I know the answers’ Then, to counteract the bad ones, I filled the box next to it with ‘happy memories’ then ‘my Grandparents’ or ’sunny days in the garden’, ‘ sad times’, ‘painful times, ‘joyful…’ and so on and so on until my mind was an organised room of memory boxes. Once that was done I was content, the past was no longer an issue, I learned to forgive, and I could look forward to the rest of my life wthout the jumble of thoughts and feelings tripping me up or popping up just when I didn’t need them to. In this case it was tidy mind, tidy life… Well it has hardly been that but little boxes are important to me. I know where everything is when I need to look at it or use it, There is always room for more, They don’t get in the way when I don’t want them to… it keeps me happy anyway. Today I looked at a small cardboard box that I had been saving ‘just in case’ and decided it hadn’t been used for nearly four weeks so I threw it away, I was proud of myself for that but I did notice in the store the other day a nice little set of basket work drawers that would look so nice beside my settee…….

Monday, 29 June 2009

Thinking time

Today I am still reeling from the book I wrote about yesterday. So many thoughts have been triggered, images and sounds whirl round and round in my head and I ask myself, is it just because we are bound, as mortal beings, by beginnings and ends, definitions, colours, sounds, images? What if there were no boundaries? what if sound became colour, liquid became sound, solid became a feeling, words became a completeness that encapsulated all those experiences as a single communication and spoke far more in a universal language than we, at this moment in our present mortal situation , can never begin to understand? Then I think back to an experience I had a few years ago whilst walking in my garden and admiring the beauty and colours of the spring flowers and plants. I stood in front of a forsythia bush laden with yellow flowers and just looked. I noticed their shape, their colour, the brightness of the yellow, I saw the buds of the leaves waiting in the background until the flowers had reached the peak of their beauty and could no longer give any more to this world before they too, then burst open to share their colour. I was half meditating and half just being thankful that I could experience such amazing beauty when something changed. The colours of each individual flower merged with the next and the yellow spread and glowed. It stood out from the bush and vibrated as a golden aura. At first I thought I must be about to faint and shook my head but I didn’t feel dizzy so I watched. As I watched, the aura surrounded me, touched me, warmed me, and I became a part of it and it of me. The colour was no longer solid but a liquid, no longer liquid but a sound, no longer a sound but a fairy tale, a story, a lifetime and I was a part of it all. There was no beginning, no end, nothing solid yet everything real, no sound yet the most beautiful of music, no colour yet irridescent colour so vivid it became its whole. It was many things that, separately, in our world we all know but here in this precious moment, I experienced the total amalgamation of every sense we are aware of. I heard the colour, saw the sound, felt the words… the words…. It is a little like the quote from ‘Landing on Clouds’ that I wrote about yesterday… totally undescribable, but in those moments I learned that there is a place, a time, a knowledge, an understanding of things that are not bound by our limitations. I learned that there is, somewhere in another place and time, no need for language, for image, solid matter, liquid, sound, music, colour or many more ‘things’ that I am unable to describe with our limited language, because they are all one and the same total experience and completely understandable and fulfilling to the spirit. Maybe it is the language of angels that I was honoured to have shared for those moments, but I now know of its existance. I have written about it and shared my experience but contained in our physically limited world I can only use words to describe it, those words are so completely inadequate to share what is undescribable. Then even though I know, I cannot ‘tell’ anyone about it because it is so unbelievable in our physical world. I know it existed. Something in me connected to another world, another time, another place but, I cannot prove it. I therefore shall treasure that feeling, that experience, and I feel happy that, even with the limitations of language, I have shared this experience and hope that somewhere out there in this world of ours there is someone else who knows, really knows, what I have always known, that we do walk with angels. It’s just that we have to be in right the place in our lives, the right time and the right emotional state before they can slip in beside us and touch us.
I shall continue to read the works of other writers because I know that every time we write, we leave a little of ourselves on the paper, in the words, in the story. I also believe that as we do, it is as it should be. We inspire, comfort, touch others who are at the same place as we are and we give confirmation, encouragement and an understanding of who each of us is. We connect minds. Writing is more than a hobby or an art, it is a means of silent communication, communion, a reaching out and a giving to others who, at any given moment in time, are at the same place we are and need to hear what we are trying to communicate in order to move another step forward in their lives. Yes, writing is more than just words, it is a timeless act of communication and love between the writer and the reader, and as such a communication between souls and a life beyond who we all are in this world.
So, I hear you say, she’s lost it! but what if? and who are we to question such things? Maybe others feel the same or have had similar experiences, then this is what being a writer is all about. Add the imagination, relate to what others understand but most of all believe what you write about and let the forces beyond our comprehension do the rest.
PS. Any publishers in the real world out there, we need your help too . M X

Friday, 26 June 2009

I have been rather lazy today, so what's new? I was waiting for the gas man to call and service the boiler, and yeay, he fixed the leak, apparently a ‘union???’ had come unscrewed so no it shouldn’t leak water onto my towels and need topping up every so often, anyway I have been reading a book while I waited for him to call, actually the first book of four, by a friend of mine. She is an amazing philosopher and deep thinker which her book reflects entirely and I am loving it. It makes me a little sad though because although I have a great degree of intelligence it was never developed because of the circumstances I was born into and it makes me feel so frustrated. On reading her I feel so hopelessly inarticulate and she is able to write the things I know and have in my head but cannot verbalise, still I am delving into her wonderful mind and finding a lot of comfort and excitement there and I wish I had not been born into poverty and had the education that might have made me such a different person, maybe even the person I dream I want to be… Ah well.
Anyway, the book I have just finished is ‘Landing on Clouds’ by Olivia Fane. Apart from making me feel so inadequate as a writer, which is my problem, nobody elses by the way, this book has given me so much inspiration and I decided that even if I was an intellect I could never measure up to Olivia … she would deny this profusely and accept and acknowledge me as a person and everything I know as something so wonderful… by the time you leave her she has made you feel good about yourself and it makes you question what the hell is in your mind to be so negative….oh forgive me, do, for using her christian name, but I know so much about her, and so little, that I feel as I read her books I delve more and more into the person I know. Olivia is an amazing woman apart from her writing. strip the world away from Olivia and you would still have a person who is interesting, articulate and interested, a person with an incredible understanding of people and the world around her, a philosopher, a mother, a writer and a person with so many exciting stories and a zest for life that I can only weakly aspire to. I have written many a poem from experiences I have had with her and the children. My own children love her and look forward to being with her but ok I am going on… It is just a book but I have been criticised for using a similar style of writing and have then struggled to replace it with something other readers were happy with. I needn’t have bothered and now I have decided to write the way I want to. So if it doesn’t make publication, we all dream of that don’t we? it has made me happy to write it. Olivia’s books are so very much ‘Olivia’, in each one I see her character, a piece of her personality , so why should I write my books to please other people. I have to include a quote…. a fair explanation of Olivia from ‘Landing on Clouds’…
QUOTE’…what does a ghost feel who stretches out his ethereal fingers and arrives at something solid? Isn’t it infinitely easier for us to imagine a spiritual existance than for a spirit to imagine a corporeal one? I can imagine the spirits debating the existance of physical bodies. ‘mummy’ says one of them, ‘what does “touch”mean?’ ‘It’s a myth my dear,’ says the mother spirit, ’some say there are tiny particles in space, some say they’ve had a personal experience with them.. But they can’t prove it, and they can’t begin to descibe it. Take my advice darling, the modern way of looking at it is simply to suggest that the inexplicable doesn’t exist.’ Well, the son spirit grows up and lo and behold, as he’s floating over a sunny part of the ethers, he suddenly experiences the warmth of the sun, but he can’t talk about it to his friends - they consider such words as ‘warmth’ to be a mere metaphor. The son spirit says ‘No, no, I promise you, this happened to me.’ but the experience is so other-worldly as to be unimaginableand they say to him, ‘Are you sure you felt something more than an ordinary feeling of love or wonder or goodness?’ ‘It was better than any of those,’ says the son spirit, ‘but I shall never convice you. You will only know the truth of what I’m telling you when you feel the warmth for yourselves.’ QUOTE
And that is the exact way I feel. I want to write what I feel, not to explain it to others, not to make others believe what I see, feel or experience but because it is what has made me , well, me! So I thank my gas man for giving me the waiting and reading time, for dear Olivia for writing the book but mostly I thank my life experiences and the people I have met along the way, both positive or negative, who have contributed to my understanding of the world around me… and who have inspired me to continue writing, as Olivia has, about what I know, about a part of me… If someone else reads it I am thankful that, for just a short while, I shared a little part of me with someone else…. [quote from 'Landing on Clouds' by OLIVIA FANE]

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sticky, airless days

Phew! Today has been hot, hot enough to dig out the electric fans from the back of the cupboard under the stairs, hot enough to look at the housework and say ‘ Yeah, when it comes cooler.’ and open a good book while curled up on the sofa in front of aforementioned fan with a cup of Earl Grey. Well that was the theory and was a good one until I remembered that the blood donor team were at the local hall and that I really ought to go. Luckily a friend offered me a lift because he was going there anyway, hooray for air conditioned cars! The hall was warm despite ceiling fans whirring away. I hadn’t been for a few years because I had been trying different pain relief for arthritis but I made a decision some time ago that I was quite mad for taking a drug that needed to have the side effects counteracted with another and well you can see where the story was leading. I decided to try natural methods of pain control, so healing, a Tens machine, hypnotherapy as much natural food as I get away with, young people just hate the stuff don’t they? and a handful of vitamin and mineral supplements. It keeps it under bearable control without the drugs, so hence the reason to go back to giving blood. I asked a lot of questions and put my concerns about the arthritis but they were happy and off I went. The fun started when I had to get up onto the couch. Now anyone that knows me knows I am not a small woman and getting onto the couch very gingerly and watching the metal hooks that held the bit you lay on very carefully in case I suddenly disappeared into a messy heap through the middle, I did the deed. The real fun happened when I tried to get off, The dip in the couch and the higher outer frame left me with my legs dangling in the air totally unable to shift far enough onto the edge without leverage to get off the thing. Damn I tried, in the end I had to swallow my pride and ask for help. The burly mail nurse came along and made as if I was an elephant to lift me. No! says I, I can do it but I need to just have a hand to slide onto the edge. He was quite surprised that I just needed a hand not a hand, arm shoulder and full body weight… Oh, the indignity of it all. Believe me the worst part of giving blood is getting off the trolley.
I get back home armed with the instruction to take it easy and no heavy work…. that does include housework doesn’t it? If my decision re the heat before wasn’t a strong enough reason then I had one now. Normally I would just get on with my day but nearly halfway through a good book was my second excuse. The day got hotter and hotter and having had my fill of reading and a break for lunch I decided to get to work on the last of my novel in preparation for the new one that I had been doing the research for on holiday and was bubbling about in my head waiting to burst out. A small desk fan as my companion and inspired by the book I had just been reading the words just popped out of the keyboard. Now at least I could say the day had been productive. A quick tidy round and a meal cooked before the family arrived home for dinner, sorted! A dear friend had called during the day and offered me some black currants so after dinner we drove out to see them. The car windows and sun roof wide open allowed the cool breeze to play with my hair and soothe the heat of the day from my brow. When we stepped out of the car the other end of the journey, the air was cooler and fresh. I was whisked back to the memory of the cool air that blew across Cornwall and mentioned it to my friend. ‘Ah,’ says she, ‘ that’s urban air.’ Well I had never heard of that but on reflection she was right. All the heat of the day was trapped in pockets of space between houses and buildings and any breeze skimmed over the top barely touching where we need it. Open doors and windows had little effect when there was no breeze to stir the air round a bit. Once again I yearned to live back in the country. Still never mind, once the gas man has called tomorrow to give the boiler its service and I have done the Friday clean before the weekend I can escape once more with book and fan or maybe dive into my own novel and escape the sticky heat of ‘urban air’ until I can find another excuse to visit the countryside again and breathe some real stuff.