A Short Life Short Story

Hi guys – no wedding stuff to talk about lately, so I will share with you a short story I have just started working on. See what you think:

Narrow streets, lined with grey and brown cobbles, swept around the white, smart-looking wooden buildings. Flashes of colour blurred past as people tended to their business. Purples going into the grocers. Orange going towards the lake. Greens walking hand in hand talking. Blue walking into the local news agents. That’s all they were to her. A blurry, rainbow getting in the way of her view. The dull cobbles and the greying sky were a much better view. Still. Honest. Constant. The cobbles never moved, abandoned you or let you down. The sky was always there no matter what had happened. The flashes of colour were fickle. Just as your eyes began to feast on them, they were gone. Just like her self-respect.

Yes, living in a grey world matched her mood. She had become a spectator of life lately. Watching it happen through her window. They say eyes are windows to the soul, yet hers were firmly shut. Her soul was a prisoner of her body; her body a hostage of her mind. Trapped wasn’t the word. She had everything at her exposure: money in the bank; physical beauty (whatever that was worth); freedom to do what she wanted; a sociable personality – so she was told, when she actually went out into the colourful world. But it was all tainted like a summer’s day with a looming, dark storm cloud over it.

She used to be happy. At times, optimistic and jubilant too.  But that was all before. Because one thing she didn’t have: her health. Well, she had a limited amount of poor health left. It reminded her of when you play a computer game and your life bar is slowly, slowly going down. She needed some sort of ‘life’ or bonus points to help it go back up again. But this was the real world – and hers was drained of colour and hope.

                                                    *****

When people realise they have a limited amount of time left on earth, they do one of two things: give up or live life to the fullest that it can be. I chose a magical, third option. Knowing I only have 12 months to live has given me a purpose. It has given me a voice. It has given me reason to do things I should have done a long time ago. No, not go to friggin Disneyland or to finally try sky-diving. Or to visit all those beautiful, exotic, faraway pieces of heaven. No. I was even willing to give up my place in the actual heaven, if it so exists. I was going to use my time left on this planet to make things right. I was going to make a list of everyone who had wronged me and make things even. We all like a balanced world, don’t we?

It is only a first-draft of the first part, but I’m enjoying toying with this idea of revenge and a limited time left. And also writing as a villain is interesting and a little different for me! Any comments are welcome. Thanks.

xsxs

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The Writing’s on the Wall

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I have been writing in other ways lately. In my head mainly – thinking that I need to get in down on the page; paper or computer! Decorating has been taking up some of my time and ever since I was little, I have loved writing messages on the wall. Onto the bare, un-papered wall may I add! (Not to the newly decorated blank canvas!)

I guess the modern version of this is the quote transfers you can get to add as a personal touch. I love this idea, as any excuse to add more words to my life!! But, no I am talking about the hidden messages, that lie under the wall paper, leaving messages for the beyond. I  dream of people discovering my messages years later and trying to guess what certain kind of person I am/was (and my crazy family of course!) I think the other main reason, that I love to write messages on the wall, is that I get an urge when I see a completely blank surface and have to put something on it!

I would like to say that it all started with a rebellious childhood, where I naughtily crayoned onto my parents’ pristine walls. But no, I stuck to paper – and usually stuck inside the lines too (the good girl I was)….. and when decorating happened, I was encouraged to write my little thoughts and pictures on the wall. So, maybe it is a case of, if you are allowed to do something anyway, you don’t rebel against it. Another example being, I was allowed a sip of alcohol whenever I would like one as I was growing up – meaning I didn’t rebel and go out and get drunk on the streets as soon as the teen years hit! (mmm…. no, we did it properly and went to bars and pubs underage !)

So yes, my old bedroom is littered with messages from the ages. And since we decorated quite a few times whilst I was growing up, I got to see my old messages. A bit like my younger self writing to my older self. (reminds me of my old post:https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/to-my-14-year-old-self/).

As we decorated our living room recently, I wanted to continue this childhood tradition. Honestly, me and my sis would draw whole muriels and write numerous things on it – so that every inch was covered!  I don’t think we will decorate our living room again – as we hope to move on eventually. But I hope whoever discovers these messages, has a laugh reading them – just as we did writing them!

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The teenage boy’s quote. One word sums up life: bacon!wall pic2

 
Adding to the confusion of future decorating!

Take a look at some of these messages…. you never know, you may discover these exact ones some day! I don’t think there is anything better to leave behind than words!

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A cousin’s announcement of family love to the world!

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A begrudgingly written note! haha

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Boo to big boobs: crossword lovers!

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Mmmmm…..

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hehe

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I dare you….

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Doctor Who fan sharing with the future generations!

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The only thing my Dad ever wants to write about!

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Finally: A motto for life!

Happy 1st Birthday!

Following on from Reunions to remember, I felt my blog deserved its very own post to wish it a Happy Birthday! 1 year old today and going strong! 🙂

My regular yearning to write is also a year old and still keeps going too, which is a triumph to me! To repeat from the previous post, thanks to all that have read, commented, followed, glanced or glimpsed at a post! Please take a moment to wish the blog a happy birthday 😉

Maybe the blog will share its birthday with the new royal baby 🙂 And, My good friend Rachael has a birthday today, plus a colleague and a school mate have also had babies. Always excuses to celebrate remember 😉

Keep on writing people! 🙂

Ironic Writing Block

Regular readers among you will realise that I haven’t been posting as much recently. I could claim that it’s lack of time; I should say it’s because I’m busy writing a great novel; I would say both of these. But it’s not true – and I like to be honest in my blog if nothing else. I’ve had writer’s block and a lack of inspiration.

My GBF text me today and said he had listened to a debate on Radio 4 about writer’s block. I am not sure what what was said in detail – but it would be great to hear your theories and what you do when you have it? Like an illness in the writing world really! Stopping us doing what we need to do…

So, this inspired me to write a block and naturally, I picked up on the fact that a subject of writer’s block had helped to cure mine. This also led me onto the other topic of this post: Irony. I love irony, and I think it is a great tool that helps us laugh at the world and life when things go wrong.

When kids at school ask me what irony is, I rarely try to explain it without referring to Alanis Morrisette’s titled song Ironic I think it sums it up perfectly… one of my favourite lines being;
‘10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife…’

Love it! And with other lines like ‘It’s like rain on your wedding day…’ (but I don’t think this can be classed as ironic in the UK – since it rains most blooming days!) …. ‘It’s like meeting the man of your dreams then meeting his beautiful wife!’ Fantasic lyrics and so true that the one thing you don’t want to happen, or don’t need or you don’t think will happen – does.

The actual dictionary definition of something being ‘ironic’ is as follows:
‘Happening in the opposite way to what is expected, thus typically causing wry amusement.

So go on and spot the irony in your life. It helps to make the hard times a little more bearable, if not slightly funny. And yes, I love how the first thought of writer’s block (thanks to my GBF) gave me an idea for this today….. love the irony!

P.S if you do have writer’s block, just tell people. I have had a million ideas thrown at me now (thanks to another good friend!) so my writing mind has become unblocked 😀

Spot the irony in the apple!

Spot the irony in the apple!

Graduating through life

On Thursday, I attended my sister’s graduation ceremony. It was a lovely day and a proud time for my sister,  her boyfriend and our family to see her efforts being paid off. It also brought back some wonderful memories of my graduation – which I depressingly realised is nearly 5 and a half years ago!

My sister did a social work degree and is lucky to have a job already within the field that she wants to progress in. But what happens to a lot of graduates? They end up working in a supermarket or have a degree that is then irrelevant to what they want to do. This is by no means a cristicism because I worked in numorous factories and shops before I realised which field I wanted to work in. But is there a pressure on young people to go and get a degree? It isn’t for everyone and there are many examples out there of huge success without the padding of a university background – and of course without the twenty odd grand debt! Young people need to take the route best for them at the time.

I am a person who likes to study. As you know, I like writing and reading. But I also like to reserach and learn new things. I couldn’t have not done a degree, I don’t think. I loved the subject of English too much  and I knew I wanted a degree in it. Some may think this is wrong because I had no idea what career or job I wanted – I just knew I wanted to study for a few years longer and hoped the rest would work itself out. Luckily it did. I don’t think I would take the risk now, though, with student fees going up so much! It is a bit of an expensive gamble to do a degree that you aren’t sure you need. Saying that though, the graduation ceremony the other day also made me feel inspired and excited by further education again. I would love to do my Masters. I always did. But that was a step too far. A step to even more expensive studying that I wasn’t sure I needed in order to get a job. Sad really, when the need for money to survive has to take over our love of studying and bettering ourselves – which is something post school kids have to contemplate. But what I also want to say is, that if people don’t particularly like studying then they shouldn’t do a degree – unless they really need that particular qualification to do a dream career. There are so many other ways into jobs.

Some people choose the ‘universiy of life’ over academic studying. I think there is a lot to be said for that too. Meeting people, travelling, doing various jobs all help to make you the person you are – along with any pieces of paper boasting your various qualifications. Again, like anything, it is down to the individual and what makes them happy and how they choose to learn and gain a happy and successful life by their terms. As you may guess, I am very proud of my degree, as I am my A levels and GCSEs and other courses I have done. But, working in shops and factories has given me as much, if not more, life experience. Uni life was great yeh and I had to learn to stand on my own two, dancing all night, tipsy feet 😉 I had to cook, sort bills out along with cementing new friendships and oh yes doing the work for my degree. But it was a nice and easy life for 3 years really – 5 and a half years into the world of work I can say that 😉 Yes, I met lots of different people from all over the country (and other countries). People from different backgrounds and who had different interests – but we all had similar goals, i.e. to finish our essay before going out to get drunk 😉

Working in shops and factories has given me a different kind of life experience though. I had to work with people of different ages, cultures and personalities. No, smoothing things over with a shot or two. Or burying myself in my room with my essays when someone annoyed me. No. I had to learn to work under and with people I didn’t like. Be a boss to people I found intimidating. Be polite and friendly to customers who were rude. Choose to join in or not with bitchy comments in the factory environment, in fear of being a ‘bitch’ myself or being a ‘goody goody’ if I didn’t. I had to stand up to bosses when they took advantage.Altogether, learning that an degree in English would not make me a better shelf stacker/worker/person than anyone else. These are all the things that truly helped me to become who I am. And I am glad I experienced it all.

Back to the graduation ceremony – it does make me laugh, that whilst it is an amazing time to celebrate your academic goals being completed, your individuality, your class of degree, your subject – you still have to wear exactly the same outfit as everyone else in the room! Me and my parents had quite a laugh looking at the sea of red and light blue cape wearers in the search for my sister:

A bit of a 'Where's Wally' situation!

A bit of a ‘Where’s Wally?’ situation!

The lecturers wore individual outfits though. They normally wear their own colours from when they graduated, which I think is always a nice touch. The immature side of me resurfaced again, though, when they entered as it just made me think of Harry Potter and the witches and wizards in their colourful outfits! But I believe humour can be brought into most situations 😉

So, congratulations to my sister and all those who have graduated recently. But we need to remember, that we are all graduating through life all the time. Going to the next stage, the next phase, gradually improving ourselves or in some cases redeeming ourselves 😉 Graduating from university is highly important and something that you will remember forever but what comes next is just as important………. 😉

XSXS

A Book Lover’s Post

I think it is safe to say that everyone who writes, loves to read. Yet,  I am not sure if this is the same vice versa. My collection of books keeps growing and growing and I have just noticed that my new Xmas reads will not fit on the book shelves. My boyfriend has tried to aid this problem by buying me a Nook this year. I love it and it is a modern gadget that can make searching for books and reading them exciting. It is also just plain easier at times as you can hold it with one hand… it holds hundreds of books so you don’t have to carry them. However, I have told him, and I will tell you that I will not stop buying real books by my favourite authors. I love to look at them on the shelf and love the process of selecting one to read. Buying books is also a hobby, as I love to search old book shops and charity shops for books I have not heard of or ones I have not read by favourite authors. I love the smells of old books (and new books), the different covers (I have 4 different versions of Pride and Prejudice) and I just feel my house is not a home without a multitude of bookshelves… even though, I am not sure my boyfriend agrees with this!

I have a book diary. As I mentioned yesterday (https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/scared-of-a-word), I love notebooks and writing thoughts in them. Well, I also like diaries. As a teenager, I used to write in a diary on a daily basis with all my thoughts and observations of the day. (See my post: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/to-my-14-year-old-self/). As, you have gathered, I also love books. So to have a diary to record my thoughts about books is just genius. My friend bought it for me a couple of years ago and I love it! I record various lists of books I have read in my life so far, that year, need to read, want to read and books I should read before I die. Only a true book lover will understand the use of the verb should. How can you call yourself a book lover if you haven’t read the works of Austen, Shakespeare or Dickens? Some may disagree and think that reading should be about what you want to read. I agree in a way and I do, mostly. But there are these works of fiction that I just feel I need to have an opinion on  – can’t believe I’m about to mention this in the same paragraph as Dickens and co, but that is why I read 50 Shades. I wanted to know what all the hype was. So, some of these famous (or infamous) books may be on my ‘to read list’ for many years to come (for example War and Peace –  I mean, it’s just so long isn’t it?!) But hopefully I will get there one day.

This is the copy I own… a beautiful way to record your passion for reading….

I definitely recommend a book diary. You can also record notes about the books you have read, who recommended it to you and who you then recommended it to. You can note down good book sites, shops and reading groups. In mine there is an A-Z of books you have read so you can add to it from year to year. It is also full of quotes about reading and books and I read them again and again whenever I come to use it.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from The Book Lover’s Diary:

‘There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep on growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have much more money in the bank today; but I would not be richer.’

(Pete Hamill, D’artagnan on Ninth Street: A Brooklyn boy at the library.)

This is me… or it will be one day! Long live books in all forms! Happy reading… and recording!

XSXS

Scared of a word?

I was looking though some old writing today. I love the thought of having special notebooks that collect my thoughts and are tightly packed away between crisp pages and a decorative cover (not that we should judge by said cover). In modern society, it doesn’t always work like that though. Sometimes, I will be mid Ebay bid or mid Facebook update when I am on the laptop and I get a thought or an idea. I could scramble around for my special notebook and then a pen (that works) in order to put these thoughts into visible words…… or I could just click and open a Microsoft Word document. I know, I know, this saddens me more than anything. But the things is, all my blogs are straight from a plastic keyboard too. I wish that I had the time and patience to write my blogs by hand in a lovely notebook beforehand so that they would survive generation after generation (if people actually wanted to read it by then!) but it just isn’t always feasible.

So yes, even though I do have pretty notebooks – and I do use them for poetry mainly – it was my Word documents that I was looking through today and I had much fun creating new files of ‘stories’, ‘articles’, ‘blog posts’ (yes I don’t completely trust one site to keep all my work so I do copy and paste sometimes – if there is an easier way, let me know!) and ‘random rambling and extracts’. It is from the latter file that I want to share with you today. Sometimes I just think of a topic, or a theme from a book, or a feeling. It doesn’t become a poem or a story – it doesn’t always need to  – it is an undeveloped, baby of the writing world if you will. A rambling. An extract. This particular one was about a word… or a genre depending how you look at it. See what you think:

Horror

‘Horror. Oh the horror. Even the word sounds like the meaning in a kind of onomatopoeic way. The sound of a breathy voice, releasing fear from its lips. Hanging in the air like a shivery mist. A bit like horrible and terror combined. And the ‘o’s in the word are like open, wide mouths screaming for their life. Also, as the ‘r’s face to the right; they look as if they want to run away.  To escape. From something. From the horror.’

Yes, it’s short and I’d like to develop it more really. You could describe a whole series of words. With things like this, too, I am going to add them to my pretty notebooks – call it a New Year’s Resolution 😉 you’ll be hearing more off me about resolutions, too, as I love the whole turn of a new year and the self reflection  we can do and improvements we can make within our self.

But for now, we need to not be scared of the written word and not just type. But write. In flowing ink. Let it run away with you… just like the horror 😉

XSXS