Wednesday 30 July 2014

Haiku - Summer

It's my last week of work before I chill out for the rest of the summer and await the birth of our first child. So, this week is a little bit more manic than most as I fit in last classes with my students with a last-minute intensive course I'm giving and the antenatal classes I have booked in. But I couldn't resist joining up with the fine folks at Studio 30+ and their prompt this week which is quite simple: summer. We can do anything we like with it. This came to me last night as I was trying to sleep (unsuccessfully). Other entries can be read by clicking on the icon above. Have a good week! 

The ladybirds climb
Long, green stalks knowing at the
Top summer will end. 

Wednesday 23 July 2014

The virtual bar

I am in my virtual bar, surrounded by writers, photographers and travellers. There are barmen inventing wonderful virtual cocktails and music that simply surfs the background to the chatter. One minute I am chatting to a couple who live and work in Croatia, travelling with their young family. The next I'm sharing a bright green drink with an eco-warrior who writes for various blogs. Then I'm contemplating the use of the hyphen with a mother who has a penchant for steamy online fiction. After that, I'm discussing tapering with a runner from the west coast of the USA. After another couple of drinks I'm surrounded by teachers from around the world and it turns out students from Korea, France, Brazil, Malaysia all have the same problems learning English. Towards the end of the evening, I'm in a corner with a quiet, unassuming man who takes incredible photos - close ups of things which distort them so they look like abstract art. He needs persuading to show me. We end up closing the bar marvelling at his creativity.

I can't remember all these people's names, although they tell me. We share snippets and stories, we compliment and appreciate each other, we laugh nervous laughter because we don't know each other. We are not friends or colleagues. We are far apart and yet, here in this bar we are brought together by that magic something the virtual world provides: a beautiful, invisible thread. Be it poetry, parenthood, food, running; from the general to the very specific, there is something that draws these people to my virtual bar. There is a reason they are on my guest list, a reason they can be one click away, no matter the miles as the crow flies. They interest me, they entertain me, they teach me.

Sometimes, their thought and kindness reaches through the screen and touches me back in my real world. Their words go beyond the shining screen and enter my heart. The beautiful, invisible thread pulls my real, beating heart. That can be a very powerful thing. These people, merely visitors to my virtual bar, become more than a like or comment. By opening themselves up, they prise me open too. They are the people, who were it not for those miles, I would like to stand next to in a real bar and buy a real cocktail and have a real conversation.

But that's not possible. And so I just thank them for being able to pop into my virtual bar when they can and making it a better place. In this blinking online world where so much idiocy and awfulness reign, they are real beacons of light.

  • This post was inspired by Tom MacInnes from Cobbie's World.
  • It also links up with the writer folks over at Studio 30 Plus and their prompt of the week.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Flash fiction - Moving Day

Finally, a day with some time to write. It's been too long, as always. Here's a short story prompted by our writer friends over at Studio 30+. The words we had to use are in bold. Check out others by clicking the icon below. Thoughts and comments always welcome. I'm now off to enjoy the sunny river...

Moving Day

She would like to go backwards because it all began to fall apart just when it had become perfect. Or something close to perfect in her fourteen-year-old mind.

Laying at the edge of the cornfields, bottles of lemonade at their side, satchels flung and just the sounds of crickets, or bees, or some insect she promised to look up later; and them, touching, side by side, breathing the same air and wondering if this was what love could be.

His sweet lips and the stories that sprung from them, even before she tasted them for real and dissolved into him, letting him cover her with newness and give birth to an ache in her whole being she had not been prepared for.

The note in her locker: Meet me after math next to the gym. The goose bumps of expectation, nerves and the warm sensation sliding all over her body at the thought of just seeing him alone.

Taking her hand under the lunch table and squeezing it, albeit briefly, before stroking her fingers one by one. Her eyes down, trying not to cry at the hurtful things which had been said before; her heart grateful for the kindness shown in secret. Don’t listen to them. You’re nothing like your mother. I am here, friend.

The science experiment the day her best friend was at a music exam and the teacher forced her to move to his bench, where his long fingers cradled the test-tubes and his eyes laughed at her behind the goggles. She hated science. He loved it. She would love it.

His first day at school and the red jacket everyone laughed at, except her because it meant no matter where he was she could find him. Across the grass, his blond hair twinkling in the September sunshine, his hands not knowing what to do as he looked beyond the other boys for something more interesting than football stats. He found her, though she pretended he hadn’t. Then.

Now. The moving trucks looming outside, casting a shadow over the house and her whole life. Her mum gone, her dad with a face as sad as the end always is. Her brothers crying, wailing, as their lives are ripped from the roots of the tree swing, the porch, the sandpit, Harvey’s kennel. Her screaming at the injustice of it all, the pain of separation, her future blinded by him not being there.