Saturday, 29 December 2012

Marks out of Ten

Well I think it’s time to look back over 2012 and assess how well I did in keeping my new year’s resolutions…

1.            Open a Twitter account – for networking and getting my writing noticed.

My Twitter account has been up and running for almost a year. I have tweeted over 1700 times, I am following over 200 people have 184 followers. Not huge numbers but I am picky and won’t follow indiscriminately.

“Networking” sounds so impersonal and calculating but for me Twitter has been the catalyst for making many new friends, lots of them WRITE and they have been a huge encouragement to me. 

2.            Write more – work on turning my first blog into a book, apply for writing award and approach agents.

I have certainly written more words this year I have written 177 blog posts this year, at least 40 flash fiction stories and 27,000 words of my NaNoWriMo novel. 

As for turning unravelling-edges into a book – that kind of stalled when I received a rejection letter from the Northern Writers Awards. Maybe one day I will tackle the subject of grief and write my memoirs but for now I have decided to turn my attention to fiction.

I did have some success having a short story published in the Once Upon aTime anthology.
My writing is improving, well at least I think it is, my typing is definitely getting quicker too!

3.            Remember more birthdays with cards and presents – I used to be good at this and need to relearn the skill as a way of keeping in touch and reminding people how special they are.  And even give gifts and cards for no reason!

Not sure if I have succeeded at this one or not – I’m sure there were a few birthdays I still forgot!

But I did make some wonderful Christmas presents - I melted some of Andrew's record collection and make bowls which I filled with chocolates!
4.            Sort out my paperwork and filing – hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Epic FAIL! Only a few more hours to resolve this one – unlikely to happen with a New Year’s party to plan!

5.            Register for on-line dating – hmmmmmm

Oh excuse me while I burst into spontaneous hilarious laughter! 

I did do it, never met anyone on-line either near enough or interesting enough to actually meet in person.

Feel a little sad and an overwhelming urge to try this again but I must remember how much I really hated the whole concept of judging people on a short piece of text and dodgy photo - hmmmmmmmm

6.            Get more exercise

Another one that didn’t totally go to plan – let’s add this to the 2013 list!

7.            Read my Bible and pray more

Hit and miss – another constant up still struggle where there is always room for improvement – read the book of Esther several times as research for my novel – can I count that?

8.            Fondly remember the good times

I did, there were a few dips in the year but I have mostly counted my blessings.

9.            Make time for friends and family

A big tick here I think, any excuse to put the kettle on and make a cuppa.

10.        Laugh – LOTS!

And cried lots but I think the giggles far outweighed the tears.

So that makes let’s say eight-ish out of ten!

Not bad for an end of year report, now what shall I plan for 2013???

Friday, 28 December 2012


It's been a wet Christmas rather than an icy one this year but there is a bit of icy sparkle around if you know where to look...

My lovely friend Lisa (thelastkrystallos) was promoting a competition before Christmas organised by her talented daughter BekahCat.

The Contest:
I wanted something that all of you could take part in so I decided we would have an arts competition with three categories so there will be a winner from each category.

1: T-shirt design
2: A Piece of Art (This can be anything from photography, makeup to traditional art)
3: A piece of creative writing (50 words)

The theme of the contest is 'Ice' so your piece must tie in with that theme in some way.

I was reminded about this competition the other day on Facebook and as I haven't yet missed the deadline it would be sooooo rude NOT to enter.

The only icy photo I could find to enter is this one, taken 28th November 2010, two weeks and a day after Andrew died - but that's a whole other story and a whole other blog!
(click here if you would like to read more)

And here is my ice themed creative writing entry...

Essie first remembered skating aged four with Papa, his steady arms guiding and protecting.

At Twenty-four she skated with her fiancé gliding effortlessly, creating perfect circles.

She died alone aged eighty four, slipping on the way to the bird table with crumbs in hand and happy memories in her heart.

Thanks to Bekah for hosting this competition.

Please pop over to her blog to look at and read the other entrants. Remember you have until the end of the year to enter!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

My Mary Moment

Some blog posts take time to write and this is one that seems to have been stuck as a word document forever…

…I could make my excuses but let’s just say I’ve been pondering and I am in great company!

When I wrote about this year’s nativity at church there was something I omitted to say. I had a starting role as one of the Strictly XFactor judges, playing the part of Nicole Scherzinger.

This was not the original plan but the girl who was playing Nicole had lost her voice that Sunday morning so I jumped in to save the play – complete with fake American accent, which once I started I realised I couldn’t abandon half way through the performance.

It did mean I could pull everything else together from on stage, calling in the characters as they were meant to appear and passing around the shared microphone.

I love being in the limelight, I am a complete show off and enjoy acting for an audience. 

It is just one of the reasons I joined a team at church this year called “Open the Book”. We go into the local primary school each week and tell Bible stories. Actually we don’t just TELL stories we ACT them out and we have gathered a good group of us prepared to dress up and be a bit silly for Jesus.

Open the Book is a nationwide initiative specially designed to fit in with the National Curriculum. You can find out more about their work by clicking on this link

So far we have told stories from the beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Joseph. But for the last assembly before Christmas we Opened the Book at the beginning of the New Testament and I got to play the Virgin Mary.

Now I have never been Mary before. It is the role most often given to the pretty girls in school nativity productions. In church I am trying to work my way through the girls, trying to give each a turn at being the most favoured lady. It is easier when there are not so many to choose from.

When I was young at school I was usually cast as one of the narrators – a part most often given to the best readers because they hold the story together.

What I discovered this week being Mary was that Jesus’s mother was a quiet thoughtful sort of person. Usually she doesn’t say much.

It’s difficult for me to play a part where I don’t have much to say but to say nothing at all – well everyone else on the team thought that was hilarious as I always have too much to say.

But the beauty of being Mary this time was that she got to sit and hold the baby, sit and ponder all the wonderful things that God had done; admiring the miracle of His new born son wrapped up in the manger.

As I sat and stroked the face of the baby doll with a serene expression on my face, I pondered too. 

There was time in my silence to stop and consider.

These times are rare, so often I am rushing around multi-tasking, particularly at Christmas when the list of jobs grows exponentially.

I said at the beginning of this post that this has taken me a while to write.

At this precise moment as I type I am in between visitors, Christmas is over, my parents have already arrived back home safely after spending a lovely time here with us.

I await the next car load to descend!

There is space here and now to type, to write and to ponder with a smile on my face just like Mary.

Content and happy with the world.

I pray that you have had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the continuing festivities with friends and family.

But most of all I pray you get some space to STOP and think, to ponder and consider, to be thankful.

Put the busyness on hold for a while.

Finally I wish you every blessing for 2013!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Visual Dare - Spare Head

Maybe it's because I haven't written much this week, too busy with birthdays and Christmas, but I have well and truely gone over the 100 word limit for this week's Visual Dare

Mine is 450 words if you include the title - oopps! Thanks Angela for such an inspiring photo!

Spare Head

Grandpa was so excited when I shared the news with him,

“A new job eh? I remember my first day at work…”

Then he regaled me with the tale about being sent to buy a tin of “elbow grease”.  I’d heard it before but it was a classic, like an old movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon that I could never tire of.

When Monday morning came along my stomach was churning I could barely my toast. 

“Grandpa been filling your head with nonsense again?”

Mum tutted and assured me these sorts of pranks rarely happened these days.

“Grandpa lives in his imagination take no notice.”

I took no notice of my mother and resolved to be on my guard all day.

When Christine, my new boss, asked me to fetch a spare head from the store cupboard I was understandably suspicious. I let out one of those laughs, spluttery and embarrassed.

“In the basement, behind women’s wear.” She clarified with an expression far too serious to be joking. 

I wondered if she had ever heard of “elbow grease”?

Hastily I made my way downstairs using the staff lift. The lift door snapped shut behind me as I entered a magical new world. 

Past gents’ suits, smartly pressed, then ladies dresses light and floaty as I walked by. I turned the handle on the cupboard door and felt for a light switch on the wall. My arm caught on a swinging coat hanger, it had been helpfully attached to a cord, I gently tugged and a bare bulb above my head cast a dim light.

Naked mannequins startled me, some headless, others with fingers splayed in unnatural looking positions, porcelain skin cold to the touch.

My heart started to beat almost audibly and I looked round to check there wasn’t a real human there laughing at my expense, videoing the experience to post on YouTube.

The basement was eerily silent but I wasn’t convinced I was alone, too many shadows down here and lots of places to hide.

Taking a deep breath I took a proper look round, there on a shelf along the back wall was a row of heads, lined up like boiled eggs. Eyes glazed over, locked in their own static world.

The head on the far right was leaning slightly towards its companion. Whispering a secret? Possibly stealing a kiss?

I grabbed a head from the other end of the shelf and got out quick. They weren’t real but I felt I had disturbed something private.

It was only when I had safely reached the lift that I laughed out loud. I had a great “first day at work” story to tell Grandpa tonight.

 Do click HERE and read some of the other stories too.