Monday, 29 April 2013

The Storyteller and the Princess

I went away at the weekend - I went on my third visit to Scargill House.

(You can read about my first and second visits by clicking on these links - Holy Mess and Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey)

This particular visit was for a special writing weekend organised in conjunction with the Association of Christian Writers.

While away I wrote absolutely NOTHING, but that's a whole other story.

However we were asked to bring a short piece of writing about us and as fairytales seem to be my favourite genre at the moment I wrote this story.

The Storyteller and The Princess

Once upon a time there was a Storyteller who crafted a marionette with blue grey eyes and golden hair. She liked to believe she was a princess – well she was given the name Sarah so that’s pretty much the same thing! 

The Storyteller travelled the land performing tales for those who would listen. The Princess loved all his stories but preferred the fairy tales best of all and wherever they went she was always searching for her very own happy ever after. 

One day they rode to the north east of the Kingdom. It was a strange land with fire breathing dragons that lit up the night sky and wild raging seas that stole their breath away. The Storyteller and his favourite creation were welcomed and the decision was made to stay.

The princess was particularly overjoyed at this because she had met a clockwork engine driver who had set her heart a flutter.

One day engine driver sent her a note

Would you like to go out to dinner - no strings

“Papa, please can I go?” She begged the Storyteller.

He nodded, He had engineered their meeting and this was part of his plan.

“With no strings?” she pleaded.

Her father looked at her, all grown up now but not really worldly wise, he worried she’d get hurt but the time had come to let her go. He knew the clockwork man to be hardworking, good and honest so he gave them his blessing.

In return after they married the Storyteller was invited to live with them in their new home and together they created two perfect little clockwork princes’, blonde haired, blue eyed and absolutely adorable (most of the time).

Despite the ups and downs of everyday ordinary non fairytale life the Princess often believed she had at last found the happy ending she’d searched so long and hard for.

However one day she returned home to find that her clockwork husband had wound down, no matter how much she turned the key to wind him up again she couldn’t get his heart to tick. 

She looked to the Storyteller but he sadly shook his head, the main spring had snapped making the clockwork mechanism irreparable.

“It’s not fair,” she shouted stamping her feet before slumping to the floor in an unravelling puddle.

Moved to tears the storyteller tenderly lifted her up and surveyed her torn and tattered heart. It would take a lot of careful mending to repair it fully, for now he decided to patch it up with scraps of rainbows each piece a promise that he would write her a new happy ending … one day!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Angles

 I read the tweet quickly and thought it said this week's word for Lillie's Five Sentence Fiction was Angels. 

When I clicked on the link I was surprised to see a picture of some sharply pointed roof tops.

#BlondeMomentOfTheDay - Angles NOT Angels!

I wondered if just for a bit of fun I could write a story using both ideas and it was Sophie Moss who came up with the idea for this...

The Angel in the Corner
Sapphira sat at her desk and stretched out her wings ever so slightly from boredom. 

As she did so sunlight caught the tips sending rainbow sparkles onto the wall just above the teacher’s head. 

Practicing her new found skill she pondered why angels needed to study geometry anyway?

Perhaps her thoughts were heard because at that exact moment Gabriel turned round to address his dreamy pupil.

“Sapphira we could calculate the angles between the sun, your wings and the wall if you wish, but the maths is a lot harder than the question you should be working on."

Friday, 19 April 2013

Counting my blessings one song at a time

After a couple of disturbed nights I woke up this morning having had a full night’s sleep. It has put a spring in my step – actually I have felt like skipping today.

I have spent the day window shopping, looking for tiles, light fittings and paint colours for my new kitchen. Sitting in the car with the radio on these are the songs that have put a big smile on my face.

It started when I heard "Blockbuster" by Sweet when I dropped the boys off at school. This was the first single I ever bought, it was out in 1973 and I was only five years old but this song brings back memories of dancing round the kitchen with my dad on a Sunday evening when we would listen to the top 40.

I don’t know what the song is about but there’s a line “you’d better watch out if you’ve got long black hair.” Well I have always had long hair and my dad’s hair was dark so at such a young age I had a crazy notion he was singing all about us.

The very next song on the radio was Jenn Bostic “Not Yet”, well I wrote all about that one yesterday (you can read it here), the radio was turned up even louder as joined in!

I stopped at the lighting showroom to be bedazzled by sparkling ideas with exorbitant price tags!

Back in the car and the DJ played “Mr Blue Sky” by E.L.O. Now in some ways this song could make me a little sad as it was played at Andrew’s funeral.

When we had the private family cremation before the church service I chose two songs, one to be played when we entered with the coffin and one to play as we left.

The undertaker advised me to pick something more cheerful to leave by and “Mr Blue Sky” was the first happy tune to pop into my head.

It’s a song that never fails to makes me smile and gives me confidence to carry on. It certainly worked at the funeral because it transformed my mood and I was able to stand up and give the eulogy Andrew deserved to a packed congregation without a tear. 

Another stop to shop, I found some cheaper lights and discovered to my delight that HMV was still open! 

I picked up a copy of Jenn Bostic’s CD and popped it on in the car – bit of a mistake, the first two songs were new to me but the third was “Jealous of the Angels” - go and look it up on Google if you don’t know it, I was in tears well before the chorus as she sung about the pain of losing a loved one.

Still I have become quite adept at driving while crying over the past couple of years and the next track was the now familiar and positive “Not Yet”!

As the day progressed my kitchen plans moved forward. I think I’ve definitely chosen a paint colour for the walls – it’s called Rice Cake – even if the lights fittings and tiles are still under consideration.

It’s been a good day all in all, made even better by the sun shining and seeing my story appear on the Nation Flash Fiction Day Flash Flood!

It’s not always easy counting your blessings but a happy song or two along the way certainly makes all the difference!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Time to stop spinning because I'm getting Dizzy...

The fiction is put aside once again and I am writing another real and honest post for you today.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone out there cares about my thoughts written here in this public extension of my private diary. But then that is and always has been my greatest weaknesses – a lack of self-confidence.

Just over a year ago I was putting together an application for a writing award, with an idea of turning my first blog Unravelling-Edges into a book, chronicling the thoughts and feelings I experienced during my first year of being a widow. 

I wasn’t successful with the application so that made a grand total of two rejections in two years.

This year the deadline for applications came and went and I never even considered putting my name forward.

I’d almost moved on too far from those early days of grief that were so raw and debilitating and I was eagerly searching for something new.

And so I started my NaNoWriMo project, turning the book of Esther in a young adult novel.

I’m full of grand ideas and daydreams but something always seems to stop me mid flow. It’s as if I lift up my head and look around I realise how scary this all is. 

How can I possibly write a novel or a whole book about grief? Surely there are better writers out there far more capable?

Then there’s the biggest stumbling block of all – I don’t actually know the right people, I don’t have the right contacts for this to succeed!

And that’s when I cry because that is Andrew talking in my head,  the Andrew who perhaps believed in my abilities but gently crushed my dreams with reality so I wouldn’t get hurt later on.

The other day I re-posted this from last year Dreams – Old andNew. I added it to my Facebook page and got this comment back from my bridesmaid who I first met when we did a voluntary year together.

Don't give up on your dreams.
Found my frontline t-shirt in loft yesterday, you wrote,
“hope we're still friends when I am a famous novelist
and you are just a housewife with four kids!”

The “just” in the last sentence was tongue in cheek, at least I really hope that’s how I meant it but the truth is my friend is a mother of four, it was always her ambition, although now she is pursuing other dreams too.

But what I had genuinely forgotten was that even back then I had a desire to write. That was completely overshadowed when I got married and had the boys. Family life took up all of my time and energy,

It’s taken me a long time and a tragedy to really start believing in my talents again and put fingers to keyboard.

How did I forget my dreams? They got pushed so far away they were almost out of reach.

I found this video yesterday of Jenn Bostic’s new song “Not Yet”

I especially love the young dancer in the video, she reminds me of a much younger version of me. Once I had dreams to dance too and there is something about the flick of her hair as she twirls and that yearning expression. 

The video shows “ordinary” people pursuing their passions and this along with the comment from my bridesmaid gave me the shove I needed to do something…

Last night I found and tweaked three flash fiction pieces to send into the Nation Flash Fiction Day website, this morning I found an email saying they have accepted one story and it will appear in tomorrow’s Flash Flood of stories throughout the day.

And next weekend I am going to show my writing to a proper published author – see I actually do know the right people after all – I am going to get an opinion from someone who knows stuff!

It's time to knock on a few doors again in between the writing, re-writing and editing because I really need to believe in myself enough to get a project finished for once!

Stop pretending I don’t care
Comparisons won’t get me
They won’t get me anywhere.
We’re all diamonds in the rough
It doesn’t matter what you think
I’m good enough

No matter what it takes
I’m going to make it
Yes I’m going to find a way

Think I’ll give up and forget
Not me
Not yet!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Going around in circles...

Why does my life sometimes seem to go round and round in circles and I never get anywhere?

Even at the grand old age of 45 I still wonder what I will do when I am a proper grown up.

No longer a wife, always a mother but there’s got to be a little bit more.

I’ve been reading old blog posts, just pick one, any one written in April 2012 on re-ravelling or even go further back to April 2011 on unravelling-edges when things were still on the edge of falling apart, there’s a lot about dreams and ambitions, the things I’ve hoped, wished and often even prayed for.

Not sure why April particularly is the month for reassessing your life, maybe it’s all to do with the coming of spring? 

I am still sat here waiting just when I thought it was all about to be made clear.

God then decided to intervene in that oh so subtle way, a blink and you’ll have missed it sort of thing and this is kind of how the conversation went in my head.  

(I want to share because I think it’s important to recognise how God speaks, although I will spare you some of the finer personal details…)

“Oh what’s that? “

“A rainbow.”

“For me?”

“Yes, just for you!”

“But it’s not a whole rainbow, just a fragment and I’ve never seen one quite like that before.”

There in the sky was the sun, mostly obscured by cloud, a cloud that appeared as a weeping veil of tears covering the sun in a rainbow shimmery haze.

“Why do I often see rainbows when I’m driving, I can’t enjoy it for long. I want to stop and take in this beautiful phenomenon, I’ve never seen a rainbow dancing across the sun before and when I turn the corner it will be gone.”

“It’s just a glimpse of the good stuff that’s round the corner, better than you can even imagine.”

“But my imagination is pretty good; I can conjure up some incredible stories in my head.”

God laughs knowingly at that one! “Ah but not as perfect as I can, just you wait and see.”

I’m so tired of waiting but I’ve been sitting around far too long and I know I need to get on with stuff, whether it is writing, or sorting out a cupboard or two. Perhaps I should sort out the mess in the dining room, the unopened bills I still keep ignoring – it’s OK they are on Direct Debit and being paid but that isn’t really the point. I have phone calls to make, kitchen accessories and colours to choose and half-finished craft projects litter the house.

The rainbow nudges me to remember that God will honour his promises yet he still teases me that what he has in store is more marvellous than anything I can dream up. 

Recently I’ve been fooled again into chasing something that’s less than perfect and now I am reminded that I am worth so much more.

All my dreams, my ambitions - why can’t they come true? Nothing is really stopping them except me – I’ve stopped believing and more importantly if I'm honest I've stopping trying.

I’ve got a God up there who will gladly give me a rainbow when I need it most so I just need to trust him with the bigger stuff too.