Write on Wednesday returns….

It was by chance that I logged onto the Write on Wednesday blog this week…and to my surprise and delight there was a prompt, a call to action to write a short story….I could not have been happier!

Stories will now be submitted monthly, and in May, creative ideas must spring forth from this suggestion:

Take the first line of whatever you just read…Magazine article, Blog post, Newspaper, TV guide. Doesn’t matter. Write the first line on a piece of paper. Take that piece of paper outside. Leave your screen behind. Wait until you have been outside for at least 15minutes ( an important part of the exercise) and then use your prompt to begin writing. Choose to write in a 5 minute stream on consciousnesses of take it slow and write a 500 word piece.

Like a naughty school girl I am deviating from this suggestion…but with reason.

Here is my story:

On Sunday evening, unable to sleep I decided to glance back over diary entries on my laptop. In late 2009, early 2010, I turned to writing as a way of making sense of who I was, who I had been and who I was becoming. My world had been tipped upside down, become topsy-turvy for I had began the momentous task of questioning every belief I once regarded as being gospel truth.

Looking back over those entries three year later, and I amazed at how far I have come, and of how far I have to go!! Though painful to read, these entries highlight to me that I have always had a clear understanding of who I was, who I wanted to be…I just did not have awareness….

The difference between then and now is awareness, and it has been said, may times over that awareness is harder than denial…

Whilst I was reading my online diary…I was captivated by a line I wrote ( how self indulgent!)…It jumped out at me, right off the screen…Did I really write that? I read it over and over to myself. Thrown in there amongst teenage memories and repressed feelings…this line gave me a break from the overwhelming sadness contained within  my writing….

It was at work on Wednesday that I logged onto the Write on Wednesday page….a request to get outside amongst nature, and write…leave the computer behind…take a line from whatever / wherever and just write…Liberating stuff!!

Yet for me…my Sunday night diary session had made this difficult…That line, that powerful and captivating sentence, was making this impossible. It was all I could think about, and certain to be part of my story.

But how? How to incorporate the personal into a short story…it was after all something I had read before I had been given the writing prompt…I was not sitting outside with this thought for a mere 15 minutes…it had been on high rotation in my head for 72 hours!!

By Friday, I was beginning to question whether I had actually written the words that were on repeat in my head. It was beginning to sound far fetched…Surely I could not have written that? I was often depressed when I was writing, surely word of  clarity were not capable of spewing forth onto the page?

On Saturday, with the online submission of my story looming, I decided to check in with my online diary, to confirm that what I thought I had written was indeed true…Using editing tools to search for the word ‘ hand’,  I scoured all 30 pages , three times….and the words I believed I had committed to screen did not reveal themselves….I left my house feeling a mixture of disbelief and confusion.

As I drove South for a hair appointment my mind wondered….Did I just imagine such story telling? Rather, had I taken a few mundane words from that period of time and with my new insight, crafted a new version of my story, one that was more fitting to the new me, easier to digest?

I could not believe this to be true….I had entertained myself for a whole week with a sentence I had written and the story it would help shape. Yet in  reality when I revisited  the document , my failure to find these words left me questioning whether I had imagined the whole thing…

All that could be located was the following

My hands look old as I type, I am only 31 but they look very old this morning

What I had imagined I had written, hoped, believed and prayed I had written was the following:

I look at my hand sometimes as I type. Glance at them, and they look old….this stuff should         have been said so long ago. I could be free, it has taken so long to find a voice….

Well, I did find this very sentence…after scouring the 30 page document for a fifth time late on Saturday evening….It was a great find, not only for my writing but for my sanity!

I had no idea that those words would shape a story such as this…I believe they will inspire me to write many more…But this week they required me to write a story about what we believe is true and what is imagined…and that this time around , truth was found in the written word!!

Write on Wednesday: Small Expectations

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Small expectations
As I am thinking about education and learning, kindergarten and university, I have taken this week’s writing exercise from one of my early childhood books. It is an activity I do with small children and one that always inspires so I thought it would be fun to see what the exercise inspires in adults. So, your prompt is: Imagine yourself as tiny as your thumb.Where would you live? What would you do?

I know this might be a difficult exercise but it’s all in the name of exploration. Try and make it work for your own writing needs. Write a children’s story, write a fantasy piece or work it into a fiction or non-fiction piece.Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

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My name is Barbara.

I am 25.

I am a writer.

I was born as tall, some might say as small, as the size of an adult thumb.

Being as tall, or as small as the size of an adult thumb is something I have learnt to live with…It has its ups and down….like any ability or disability…If I cast my attention to my circle of friends, we are all very different…  them is a young man who is as wide as a truck, a young women who is long and lanky, I have to crane my neck to look up in her direction….and she has to get down on her hands and knees to see me….Sometimes her knee joints make a loud ‘ cracking’ sound when she folds herself up on the floor, to enable us to have a conversation face to face…the noise is loud, I cover my ears and laugh….She laughs too.

Then there is Barry, my boyfriend. He is as tall, some might say as small as an adult big foot…Yes, height wise we are an odd match…But Barry is also a budding writer and it was due to his continuous support and encouragement, that I took to writing at a ferocious pace last June.

Barry built me a device that he designed to complement his writing style…He just  modified it for me, for my height and ability….A trampoline type device that I place in front of an average size key board. I then propel myself from key to key, I time each bounce and have perfected the aret of the ‘ double letter hit’…I can type two ‘ E’s in a single bounce. and then thanks to the traction Barry placed under each key…I bounce right back to base camp and plan my next letter assault.

Yes, it takes time to write, quiet a bit…but it is fun…oh so much fun…the local newspaper ran a story on me last month, and I have my own following on facebook and youtube….Bouncing Barbara: The mad typist…google me…it is all true!!

Yes, my height has caused me to make many adjustment in life, but these adjustments only help to enhance a life I have always  loved regardless of my size and stature…Barry, the trampoline key board and my electic mix of friends…happiness in a nut shell….

Write on Wednesday: The Letter

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Dear…

This week’s writing exercise is to write a letter. Write an open letter or write to someone more specific. Write a letter between two fictional characters or write a letter into a fictional piece you are already working on. Think about how differently you write depending upon who you are writing to. Your content in an open letter may differ to content in a private letter. Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

Dear Reader

Thank you for reading…I really mean it. Thank you.

I started this blog back in June 2011…and since my fingers first hit the keyboard I have been addicted to this thing called blogging.

So I guess I wanted to say thanks ( I have already said that three times) for taking time out of your busy days, to log onto the Catch up with a Mate site, and indulging me in reading my daily, more than likely weekly tales of inner city solo living ( with black cat Flora as my trusty side-kick and companion)

Looking back on the last 8 months, I know you, the humble reader have been by my side the whole time….My heart skips a beat when I log into my blog home page and see that someone has not only taken the time to read, but COMMENT on a story. This kind of encouragement is enough to throw my day off course…I feel inspired, knowing that my story has connected with someone out there in the big bad world on some small level…I feel even more compelled to keep at this thing called story telling.

At this point in my roll call of praise to you, the reader, I can hear faint whispers that you have now cottoned on to a way to stop the flow of words…stop commenting…But sometime reading alone is enough to bring a smile to my face. For each time you read, you become part of my statistics count for the day. A friend at work often finds me gazing at my stats page on my blog homepage…This friend tells me I have ‘ Sold out’ that all I care about is’ Stats’…that could not be further from the truth…the truth is simple….I love to write.

So thank you for sharing this journey with me….you make my day when you present yourself to me in either statistic or comment form…I love you all ( this is starting to sound like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscars acceptance speech circa 1998)

For though you inspire me to keep going, an exert from a book I read in a New York papershop in September of last year best describes why I feel compelled to tell my story…..

“When I got older I decided I wanted to be a real writer. I tried to write about real things. I wanted to describe the world, because to live in an undescribed world was too lonely.” Nicole Krauss, The History of Love, 2005

So in order to stop gushing out warm fuzzies like Gwyneth…I will stop here and now…

But before I go….I’ll just say one more thing…Thank you.

Much Love

CUWAM
xxxxxx

Write on Wednesday: Monsters Under your Bed

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  The monsters under your bed
Think back to when you were very young. Try to recall one of your first fears. A shadow on the wall, a ghost in the closet, a person, a scene from a movie or book. Write about that fear. Try to remember the feeling it gave you, what that fear would make you do and how you were comforted. Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

Looking back on my childhood, feelings of being scared and frightened emerge when I think about films I watched as a young girl.

I have a faint memory of sitting in Greater Union Cinema, with my Mum and Dad, I don’t think my brother had been born. I was four years of age and as a family, we were watching the Steven Spielberg classic ‘ ET…it was very dark in cinema, the seats were uncomfortable ( heads up…they still are!!), and I remember being scared by the film. I was unable to sit in my seat, and climbed onto my Dad lap and he put his arms around me.

Moments later, my fear had escalated….My Dad was crying, or sniffling silently…ET wanted to ‘ go home’, but he was stuck in limbo land, earth-bound and his health was deteriorating….I think it was then and there that I started to cry….Not because ET was dying, but because my Dad, who was my hero, was crying….It was all too much for my 4-year-old self…I just wanted ET to go home, and for my family to do the same….

At about the age of 10, I had gotten over my fear of ET and my crying Father, only to scare myself silly with the Australian film ‘ Picnic and Hanging Rock’….I absolutely loved this movie as a young girl, and despite the fact that it sent cold shivers down my spine, and I had to cover my ears to drown out the terror inducing pan flute music….I watched it over and over on repeat.

The ‘true’ story of an all girl boarding school’s day trip to Hanging Rock in country Victoria…a picnic from which 3 girls and one headmistress never return….It is a truly haunting tale…it plays on the fear of the unknown….the mystery surrounding the fateful Valentine day picnic in 1900 are never solved.

The movie captivated my over active imagination….the imagery, the sublime beauty of rural Victoria, the imposing rock and the angelic beauty of the young school girls…the questions raised by the film…What exactly did happen at the rock?…All remained unanswered…the credits roll and all that you are left with is the haunting sound of a single pan flute playing over and over and over…

For indeed it was the music that for me, was ultimately fear inducing….The occasional scream, the silence, a certain look on an actor’s face…yes they induced fear…but that darn pan flute got the better of me every time, for it echoed throughout the film, ripped through the rugged country landscape , reverberated off the rock…and thus adding another layer level of intrigue, to an already baffling tale…..

Check out this clip below…if you dare…..Or cover your ears, and just watch the pictures…which is what I have done from time to time over the years!!

Write on Wednesday: Possessing Beauty

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  Possessing Beauty
Write about a collection. Write about something you or ,someone you know, collects. Think about the “why” behind the collection – why is it important to collect this particular thing? How does it make the person feel to add another piece to their collection? Is the group of objects there to be seen, to be studied or simply kept together? Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you…Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

 

Coral sat in her sunroom and waited. It was Saturday, and any moment now the doorbell would ring, and before she would have to the chance to ask who it was, Joseph, her Grandson would bound through the front door.

Coral loved the weekends, and the opportunity it provided for regular catch ups with her favourite grandson .However, at 83 years of age, if she was honest, she  had learnt to love each and every day, she felt very lucky to still have her mobility, good friends, family and her cat, Ralph.

There was the knock, followed by the sound of the fly screen door opening

‘ I’m here Nan!’

‘ I was just thinking about you’ , she said, as the patter of feet made their way towards her.

With her arms outstretched, Joseph soon found himself wrapped up in the traditional ‘Nan Hug’, the type that threatened to cut off circulation, the type that was hard to escape from…

‘You’ve had a hair cut Joe?’

Corals grip had loosened, and her hands were now examining the length of his blond curly mane.

‘ You’re the first to notice Nan, couple of inches taken off yesterday’

She smiled. It has been 5 years since she lost sight in both eyes, the doctors had a term for her conditions, Macular degeneration, a slow onset condition that had resulted in a complete loss of sight. But the passing of time had enabled her other senses to develop an uncanny ability to do for her what her eyes could no longer.

Joseph had also had to make some adjusts to his Nan’s loss of sight. He had begun to draw her b pictures, colourful pictures of his week, and the activities that took place; the soccer matches, the school excursions, the family holidays to the beach. Each Saturday he brought around one of these drawings and used it as a prompt, a launching pad for a story he would tell.

Coral loved Joe’s picture, they adorned every inch of the sunroom walls. Her own private art collection. The colours came to life in each drawing every time he sat with her, and talked at a million miles an hour about his week.

This week’s picture was  about a visit to a Cathedral in the City….it was awash with colour, reds, blues, greens….

‘Tell me again, Joe…the colours in the stained glass window?’

Coral repositioned herself in the chair… this was a great story this one….Joseph had brought her a rainbow today.

Write on Wednesday: The Nature of Place

Think about a place in nature that feels special to you. Perhaps it is somewhere you visited as a child. Or maybe you share a special outdoor space with your own children. This place, this space will be your prompt for this week’s writing exercise. Write about a particular natural geography, a natural place or space close to your heart. Tell us about the weather, the landform , the creatures who live there, what the place means to you and why. You can write prose fiction, poetry, non-fiction and/or a photographic narrative. You might mix the landscape with a personal story. Wherever the prompt take you…Let us peek into your place.

 

As a young naïve 22 year old, I left home…for 2 years anyway. Packed a backpacked full of mostly useless possession, and armed with a best friend for good measure….I left my small seaside home in Austinmer on the NSW south coast, population of 2000, for the city of London, United Kingdom, population 6 million ( soon to be 6 million and 2).

As the story goes, this young Aussie girl end up living with other young Aussies, in a  house from hell situation…18-20 people, crammed into a 5 bedroom half house on the outskirts of the Zone 3 Tube line…Destination : Willesden Green. My flat was sandwiched between a funeral parlour, police station, doctors surgery, Catholic church  and Caribbean takeaway shop…I guess you could say the place had everything!!.And so began my acclimatisation process began…I drank beer endlessly, ate way too much fried food, registered with a recruitment agency and worked in a range of dead-end jobs…I gained weight, my clothes no longer fit, and I struggled through what felt like an endless winter…

And then, out of the blue, along came summer …and before she quickly vacated I could not fight the urge to leave the confines of the  city and take to the European coast line.

I took my somewhat larger self on a bus trip through Europe…I gave myself 5 week, one weeks holiday for every month I had lived in that cramped, stale share house…I was finally free, fatter…but free…

Paris was lovely, Nice was nice…..But what was my ‘ wow’ moment, was the Monte Carlo coast line, the lure of the Mediterranean Sea…

5 months in a shared room in a challenging part of London was hard on this young naïve Aussie girl…and it wasn’t till I saw the blue sea that I realised how hard it had been.

It was a moment that crystallised for me that seaside living is an integral part of who I was, who I am…I am happiest my the sea…and up till that point in my life I had taken ocean frolics for granted.

But not on this particular day….I remember perfectly the  moment I got of that tour bus and touched down on the pebbled shore, stripping down to my bikini ( which was encasing a bit more skin that it had previously been required too!!) and took to the sea….

The cool water, the salt on my skin, the waves washing over me….it was there and then, that I swore I would never take the sea for granted….Like an long lost friend we were reunited in the summer of 2001 and have been on great terms, fabulous terms, ever since.

CUWAM: Write on Wednesday ‘ My Heart Says….’

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- Wag

Pay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh and enjoy.

I was lucky enough to be privy to a conversation that included the line : ‘ My heart says’…a line I termed a real Romeo and Juliette balcony moment…Here goes…

 

‘My heart says’

Joe sat up on his unmade bed. It was 5.16pm and she would have started her evening shift at the corner store.

He got ready to move, to stand up, place two feet on the ground, walk toward his bedroom door, open it, emerge from his self imposed day of exile and enter the big bad world.

Caitlin had a hold on him. He could think of nothing else…and with the Year 10 formal looming, he wanted her to be his date.

Before his feet made contact with the floor, which was covered in dirty clothes, empty chip packets and a random selection of his comic books, Joe had dived back under the cover….this crush was crippling him.

‘My heart says go down the road and ask her out’ he mouthed into the pillow, whilst hiding beneath bed sheets.

‘But my head says NO, don’t be so silly, she doesn’t even know my name’

Over and over he played out the impending corner store rendezvous ….He felt sick to the stomach, racked with nerves, hot, then cold, everything all at once.

To make matters worse, the early 1990’s Roxette smash hit, ‘Listen to your heart’ was stuck in his head…it had been for days.

Poking his head out from the covers Joes broke into song‘ Listen to your heart, when it’s calling for you. Listen to your heart, there is nothing else you can do’

With a jolt, he threw the bedsheets to one side and stood upright. He rummaged around the floor, found his running shoes, laciing them up in record speed.

Roxette was right, oh so right, there was nothing else he could do, but put his pride on the line and ask the girl out. Joe swung open his bedroom, ran past his parents sitting in the living room, and headed toward the front door.

‘Matters of the heart Mum and Dad, be back soon’

 

 

Write on Wednesday: The Stories a tree could tell

The stories a tree could tell

The Write on Wednesday spark: The stories a tree could tell.
Take a look at the above photo (by Story). Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post. Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links in the list. Enjoy!  

Pip slammed the kitchen door behind her and ran out into the garden. She was sick and tired of being the new girl in town, living in a new house, a new suburb, starting a new school. She was fed up and her Mother disapproving of her attempt to set the dinner table had been the final straw.

Pip stopped running when she arrived at her familiar resting point in the backyard:  The big cedar tree. It was a beauty, with its huge tree trunk, and branches that stretched past her garden, and onto the neighbour’s property.

Sitting at the base of the tree, Pip was unsure whether to laugh or cry, scream blue murder or roll her hands into a fist, and punch the ground beneath her. Being 12 was hard enough …and she felt that her Mother was underestimating how hard the move had been on her. She was trying to come to terms with her new life, but more often than not, she wished that things had not changed at all.

Pip relaxed, allowing the full weight of her body to be supported by the tree trunk. She stretched her legs and tilted her head skyward. The tree must have been at least 100 years old. She felt safe, as if the branches which sheltered her from the afternoon sun, were cocooning her from the world, with a big, leaf filled hug.

‘How many people have sat here just like me? ’she wondered.

It was a comforting thought, and she smiled,  sure that over the years, people just like her had sought solitude beneath its branches.

Pip could hear her Mother calling for her to come back inside. If she was honest, she did not want to move, but she had begun to feel guilty about running off.

‘I’ll be back soon’ Pip whispered as she hugged the tree trunk then turned in the direction of home.

CUWAM: 12 Days of Christmas

 

Bonds 12 Days of Christmas

The weather in Sydney makes it almost impossible to believe that summer is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Since Spring vacated, making way for the arrival of a new season that never quiet arrived….the sun is no where to be seen, and a winter like climate has enveloped the city…rain clouds fill the sky, and puddles form on every road and footpath.

Forced to stay in doors, the weather dampening any hopes of sun baking and swimming in ocean baths, the TV has been on a little more than usual…and when it is, and the Bonds underwear companies ‘ 12 Days of Christmas’ advert comes on, my spirits brighten…Christmas is just around the corner, the sun will soon shine, and everything will eventually fall into place.

This short Write on Wednesday piece is inspired by the Bonds 12 Days of Christmas advert ( which you can click on and view via the link in this post)

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Macey put down the cookbook. She had spent the last hour painfully searching her cupboard for the all import spice that set her annual Christmas pudding apart.

‘Nutmeg’, she thought, ‘Where is that damn nutmeg’

She had got herself into a spot of bother. Her pudding was near completion, ready to be placed into the tin, and boiled for a good two hours, but the finishing touches, a quick sprinkle of nutmeg, was holding up proceedings.

The contents of her pantry was spread from one end of the kitchen bench to the other, and was now spilling out onto the kitchen table….and still not a trace of nutmeg to be found.

The sound of giggling momentarily distracted her….Her three children were watching tv in the adjacent room, and with a wooden spoon in one hand, a packet of raisins in the other, she poked her head into the living room to see what all the commotion was about.

She smiled….the Bonds 12 days of Christmas advert was on television, and her precious cherubs were acting out their own rendition of the commercial. She was being treated to a chicken style dance, arms folded, flapping wildly, knees bent, giggles and smiles.

‘ Look Mum, three French Hens’

‘Yes I can see, whats next?

‘Turtle doves…how can we do that?’ asked her youngest Hugh

‘ You show me?’

And on it went….and when the advert came to an end, Macey clapped and cheered. The children laughed and danced about the living room, eager to perform again for their Mother.

‘ Ok, I will stay for one more show guys, but then I have to get back to the kitchen’

The pudding was going to have to wait, the nutmeg stand-off would continue…. the children were intent on performing the 12 days of Christmas from start to finish…Macey sat down on the sofa and made herself comfortable….

CUWAM- Notre Dame de Paris

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 26  Look at the photo at the top of this post. What does it inspire in you? Set your timer for 5 minutes. With the photo in mind, write the first words that come into your head until the buzzer rings. If you aren’t a visual person, you could try lighting a few candles and writing by candlelight. Different sensory experiences can be useful for inspiring creative writing so please play around to make the prompt suit your writing needs. If you do try writing by candlelight, let us know. I’d love to know how it works for you!

Evelyn did not like it here.

Her mother had promised her that if she was good whilst they did the weekly shop that they could stop by the town Cathedral and say a pray for Grandma.

Evelyn knew that Grandma was sick, but she did not quite understand why they had to go inside the big grey stone building to think about Grandma. Evelyn thought about Grandma all the time, she was so nice to her, always giving her chocolate bars and letting her stay up past her bedtime. She was not happy when she thought of her now in hospital with tubes and machines keeping her alive.

As she stood next to her Mother inside the Cathedral she began to wish she had been on her worst behaviour in the shopping centre….This place was horrible. It was dark, cold, and she did not feel safe, the smells, the damp air….No one was talking, it was quiet.

Evelyn stood statue still and close by her Mother’s side near an alter adorned with candles. Her Mothers eyes were closed, her hands joined in prayer. Tears fell silently.

‘ Mum’ she whimpered‘ Mum, I want to go’

But her Mother chose to ignore her.

‘Mum, I don’t like this place. I want to go home’ she pleaded

People in the Cathedral were now looking in her direction.

‘Evelyn, shhhhh’ whispered her Mother through clenched teeth.

And Evelyn froze. Her Mother could not be swayed, she had a message to give to God and would not be interrupted.

Evelyn closed her eyes, blocking out the darkness, and began to pray .… pray that soon she could leave this place and rejoin the afternoon sunshine.

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