Friday, 4 November 2011

A215 TMA 01

This was my first assignment for A215. Comments and criticism would be greatly appreciated. I am going to make some changes of my own over the coming weeks (time permitting :))

Moving On
From her elevated position at the top of the ladder, she’d taken aim…

The deep purple paint that she’d flicked from her paintbrush landed perfectly squarely across his nose in a look that was reminiscent of Adam Ant.  He’d yelped like a wounded puppy and launched himself at the ladder; ran at it as if into a rugby tackle and grappled her legs, he pulled her down over his shoulder as she’d screeched, giggled and beat at his broad back with the half loaded brush. Her red hair tumbled down his back. The paint had spattered all down the back of his T-shirt. Straight across the protective sheet that they’d covered the carpet with, sensibly as it turned out, and landed in abstract patterns over the currently bare walls.
He’d lowered her onto her feet and enclosed her into a hug. She’d let herself be nestled into his arms and looked up at him, still smiling.
‘You look pretty in purple.’
‘You look pretty in anything, and nothing,’ he’d countered, leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose.
They’d painted little love notes to each other on the plaster of the walls, then preserved them behind the beautiful wallpaper she‘d picked for their little girl. It would be a real ‘princess’ bedroom’. The repeating, concentric circles in different shades of purple and pink to match the purple paint that she’d chosen for the woodwork. It was exhausting redecorating the entire house but it had been an exhilarating, fun time for them. The first house they’d owned together. They could decorate it as they’d wanted; not had to scrimp and save on things as they had whilst saving for the deposit for their new home. A beginning.
When she remembered it today it seemed like an age ago. As she shut the door on their first home for the last time she couldn’t help but smile. A bigger house with two more children; their first Princess about to start college; better jobs to pay for it. It was time to say goodbye and head for the future. 

At the top of the ladder, she held the flat, plastic plate of the steamer against the hideous wallpaper. She had really struggled to ignore it when they’d initially looked at the house. It was faded but still looked in good condition and it was “only on one wall,” as Parker had pointed out. Otherwise the house was perfect. Surely she wasn’t going to let this one little detail put her off.  She’d been hormonal the day they’d come to view the house and at that point she thought she actually might let it put her off, thank you very much. When they’d come back to view it again she knew she’d been unreasonable. Not that she‘d admitted it.
This was going to be their little girl’s room. She was due in less than three months; Sara wanted the room finished and perfect. She’d picked the most beautiful wallpaper. It was a candy stripe, pink and purple that felt like suede. They’d had matching bedding made for the cot and a rug commissioned with the same pattern. The wall behind the cot would  be a plain pastel pink and baby’s name was going to be painted in italics directly onto the wall.  It was such an exciting time for them. Their first baby; their first own home. 
As she pulled the first strip of the retro paper off the wall in one long, satisfying strip, Sara noticed the curve and point of a love heart painted onto the plaster. She climbed down the ladder, curiosity making her work from the bottom up on the next piece. She brushed her springy auburn hair away from her eyes and reapplied the steamer plate to the wall.
As she scraped at the bottom of the paper she revealed the rest of the love heart. The initials S and P nestled inside of it along with x’s for kisses and a 14 year old date. The colour of the paint a perfect match for the purple in the wallpaper.
 ‘Parker. Come look!’
Parker strode into the bedroom, his broad frame nearly filling the doorway.
‘What’s up?’
‘Look! It’s a sign. It has to be.’
She showed him the love heart with their own initials in and he laughed.
‘Of course it is Sar.’ He gave her an indulgent smile. Leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose and cocooned her in a hug.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Baby tears, torn heart,
Tight cuddle like a death grip.
'Please, Mammy, don't go!'

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Challenge 8

This was my brief:

Write a conversation between two people who don't know each other:
This conversation must change both their lives forever.
To be completed by Thursday 6th October

I'm not sure if I've made this too simple or not... :S

‘ I sentence you to 25 years without eligibility for parole. Your crime is one of the most heinous that this court has ever heard. The fear that you must have invoked in those  that you were supposed to be caring for gives me reason to believe that you are one of the most cold hearted and evil women I have ever had the misfortune to meet. Society will be better off without you in it. Take her away…’

‘But I didn’t DO anything.' She screamed and then whispered to herself. 

'I didn’t DO it…

Friday, 30 September 2011

Without her...

I have revised the haiku that I posted yesterday. The sentiment and fear are still the same, but this, to me, felt a little more personal and intimate.

No longer her smile
Nor her breath upon my cheek.
How my heart would break.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Without her...

This is technically the second part of the 8th Weekly challenge for  the A215 Facebook group. Comments and criticisms welcomed.

Write a haiku about your greatest fear.

No longer her smile
Nor the whisper of her breath.
How my heart would break.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Right now...

Right now, I could cry...
I'm shaking inside and I can't even...
I just can't...

Monday, 12 September 2011

6 Word Story

Leading on from the last entry.

I once wrote a 6 word story in the style of Hemingway. The story I came up with was ambiguous and had a number of responses from a number of people with different interpretations.My interpretation was based on an incident from my own life. This is how it went.

"She's beautiful babe, now say goodbye."


Challenge 6 is to write a story in 140 characters. I thought of the late, great Ernest Hemingway's six word story which he once deemed his best work... "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." It's beautiful and poignant. I'm far from Hemingway, but here's a shot! :)

Peeking through tightly squeezed eyes. The result was in. Nothing would ever be the same again. Smiling, she picked up her phone. “Postive!”

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Chair

It’s just a chair. Just an old chair on top of a skip. It’s an old fashioned wing back chair in heavy brown and gold brocade. Threadbare where the head of the owner would once have rested. Its wooden legs are faded and scratched, the brass studs holding the material onto the frame dulled and pale. The cushion displaying none of the bounce that it had possessed when it was new. Just an old chair.
It’s just an old chair, but, when it was new, it was a wedding gift. A gift beyond the dreams of Ray and Alice for setting up their new home. It took pride of place near their window where Ray could sit when he came home from work, could watch the world go by on a Sunday morning. Where he could sit and listen to the wireless on an evening and relax. The chair that he was sat in when the second World War was declared.
It was the chair he sat in when he opened his call up papers and where Alice sat at his feet and cried with her head on his knee, stroking her wavy black hair. Reassuring her of his return to be able to see the baby that was due in barely two and a half months. The chair which was the only place Alice could really get comfortable in her last months of pregnancy.
It was the chair that his son had first pulled himself up onto in preparation to take his first faltering steps, and the chair in which his daughter ended up being born on. It was the mainstay of the dens that his children had built and hid in during their childhood. It was the chair in which his daughter, Olive, had gone into labour with his first grandchild.
It was the chair in which Ray had sat and cried when they’d found out Alice was dying. The cancer ravaging her body quicker than the doctors could keep up with. And the chair he sat and cried in again on the day she died cradled in his arms on their 53rd wedding anniversary.
It was the chair in which he had lived, and the chair in which he had cradled every one of his children, and grand children and great grand children. It was a chair that had given him great joy.
It was the chair in which he’d died. On a Sunday morning watching the world go by, he’d closed his eyes and slipped away, ready and smiling.
It is just an old chair on top of a skip.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Now or never...?

He hesitated briefly, raised his hand to the small scar on his face in front of his ear and traced it unconsciously with the tip of his finger. A remnant of an argument with an errant surf board. It was barely noticeable to anyone but him; still it was a reassurance, a habit now.

He took a pace forward, not a pace, maybe more of a step, pace made it sound like it was purposeful. There was nothing purposeful about his actions right now. He was filled with doubt. With euphoria. He was as afraid as he was excited. A walking oxymoron. He’d never been decisive. Always ‘happy to go with the flow’, when actually, he was just worried he’d say or do the wrong thing. Never confident in his opinions or actions but never showing it. At least if he was going along with the crowd, he couldn’t get things wrong. Although he often seemed to manage to anyway, or so he’d been told.

His pale grey shirt collar chafed at his freshly shaved neck. He looked as good as he possibly could, the sharp, dark grey suit made especially for his excessively muscular physique. As his Mum would say, “you really scrub up well sweetheart.” He heard her little sing song voice in his head. The memory made him smile. He knew that the similarities to his Mum were the things that made him like Lauren in the first place. The same as he knew it was her differences to his Mum that made him love her now.

She was the first, maybe only, person that had been able to see past the dumb, surf bum fa├žade that everyone else saw. The only person to be able to see any level of intelligence in his indigo eyes. The first person who’d been able to show him what love was. He was very aware that his thoughts right now, if they’d been voiced to his friends, would be met with a barrage of abuse. He also knew that he wouldn’t care, and would tell them if they’d been here.

He reached out and ran his finger over the 1 carat, brilliant solitaire set in the tiny platinum band. As much a reassurance to him as the scar it traced just a minute before. He looked up, smoothed his hair, picked up the box with the ring in it and snapped it shut in a single move. He’d decided. He was going to ask her…

It was now or never.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Who's in the mirror?

His reflection in the cracked mirror stares back at him,

Crying and hurt, he knows pain. Why can’t they see who he really is?

He has loved and still loves, he laughs. Just not always out loud.

The cracked reflection keeps staring.

Her reflection in the cracked mirror stares back at her,

Crying and hurt, she knows pain. Why can’t he see who she really is?

She has loved, but can love no more, she cries. Just not always out loud.

The bruised reflection keeps staring.

The cracked reflection shows him, what he is, who he is.

The grazed hands show him what he’s done.  He can see so clearly now.

He has loved and knows he’s lost. He can’t laugh now.

The cracked reflection crumbles.

The bruised reflection hides her, what she is, who she is.

Her grazed cheeks show her what he’s done. She can see so clearly now.

She has loved, and now she’s free. She can laugh now.

The bruised reflection won’t hide her forever.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


So, week 4 of the writing challenge. Here it is. It could do with some work and a rewrite or twenty, but I wanted to keep it a bit lighter and more upbeat than I've written for the other challenges. I also wanted to use a different narrative and so I chose first person. I'm not sure that I've succeeded in doing that well but I have tried.  I really wanted to keep writing this so I think I'm going to use it for the basis of something in the future. Who knows :)

It’s cold, it’s murky and I’m on my own. The rain is falling and the sky is grey. I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. 

It’s the kind of rain that soaks you to your skin within seconds. The kind of rain that makes you feel cleansed, even if it does make your mascara run;  and it is running, like two rivulets swirling down each cheek, clogging my vision slightly. I don’t care, I’m still smiling, in fact, I keep breaking into, what can only be described as, girly giggly fits. So very out of character for me, but not anymore. I feel as light as if I’d lost half my body weight. I have a childish urge to jump into the ever expanding puddles around my feet. So I do it. There’s no one there to see me do it, and even if there was, well, so what? It’s not their feet I’m soaking. Not their shoes I’m ruining. That thought sobers me for a second. I’m ruining a rather lovely and rather expensive pair of brown leather boots. Then I splodge again. Let them be ruined. I can buy some more.
Today has become the proverbial ‘first day of the rest of my life’.  I could grab everything with both hands. I could do as I pleased without fear of retribution. I had planned so long for this day. I’d written lists of what I would do. Where I wanted to go. What I wanted to see. There was just too much to fit in, but fit it in I would. No matter how hard it was. In my head I’m already making alterations to the lists. This walk definitely wasn’t in it. I’d imagined that I would be calmer, even morose. I hadn’t expected this desire to scream and shout and run around, or the excitement. I hadn’t imagined the excitement! Out of the corner of my eye I can see the top of a swing. I mentally added a new item to the “to do” list and head for the play area. It’s usual noise replaced by the rushing sound of the rain past my ears and I run towards the empty swings. I jump up onto the seat and launch myself into the sky. Swinging myl egs backwards and forwards as hard as I can manage.
I hang my head as far back as I can and feel my hair brush against the floor as I surge upwards again and again. I know it’s a tangled mess, but, just like the mascara, I don’t care. I am free! With my head hung backwards I can really stare at the sky. The grey clouds merge, so many different shades of the same colour. I’ve never noticed how beautiful grey is before. How subtle tinges of white and black can create such dramatic effects with it. And then I see lightening. I hear thunder. I genuinely believe this day can’t get any better. The brightest, whitest light I can imagine cracks open the clouds that I’m staring at and I am in awe. I feel the depth of the thunder like a lion’s roar and I’m in awe. I slow my swing to a stop to be able to really watch the natural spectacle unfold before my eyes. The world is putting on a show just for me.
Sitting up, I wipe the trails of mascara from my face so that my eyes are clear. Another plan. I want to see a tropical storm. And at that moment I notice I am not alone. I feel a frisson of fear. I am alone in a park. No one within shouting distance. He smiles and the fear dissipates. There’s something in his face that I recognise. It looks very similar to the freedom I can feel on my face. The childish glee conveyed in a simple upturn of his mouth. I tentatively return the upturned mouth. I see a piece of paper in his hand. A carbon copy of mine but with different names. Then I understand. 

Decree Absolute.

The Little Matchgirl

This week's challenge was to rewrite a fairytale with a different look at perspective or genre. I decided to just bring The Little Matchgirl up to date after reading a blog by Tansy the other week. Itreally struck a chord with me. It definitely needs work so I may look at it again over time, but here's my effort :)

She grimaced as she caught her reflection in the shop window. She knew from bitter experience that no one would notice her, and it came as no surprise when she saw herself. The greyness of her clothes melded her into the slush filled background. Her pallid skin lost in the wintry backdrop of the drab city street. Just this morning the whiteness of the snow had turned even this dreary main road into a beautiful winter tableau. The snow still falling; the Christmas decorations glinting through the white, peaceful expanse that lay as soon as it hit the ground. It was New Year’s eve, Christmas gone, but more festivities now planned to put this year to bed.

Houses with their happy families with glowing fires and central heating mocked her with their flickering fairy lights and spray snow designs. Bright tinsel hanging in windows like wide laughing mouths. Laughing at her. She knew they weren’t; that it was just her frame of mind, but sometimes, she just felt as though she should have had a whole different life story. A one that ended up with her being in one of those houses. Instead of trawling the streets, scavenging for food and lucky if she could find shelter. In the harsh winter weather the difficulties faced in this life were intensified tenfold.

As the rest of the city had started to wake up and the houses spewed their inhabitants onto the streets, children’s laughter filtered into her existence. The flashes of their hats and scarves creating a blizzard of primary colours around her. A blur of blues and reds against the backdrop of the white snow highlighting the festive atmosphere, and underlining her own greyness. She found her way to a corner between a back street and the main road. She slid down the wall to sit on the floor almost oblivious to the seeping wetness that spread through her jeans as the slush melted into them. She watched children’s excitement turned into squeals of delight as they threw snowballs at each other and created snow figures. The chatter of the presents they’d been given by Santa becoming a white noise as she thought back to her own childhood.
Her Mother was beautiful. Long red, wavy hair and emerald green eyes set in an alabaster pale face. Her lips as naturally red as her hair. She smiled always and hummed little tunes as she did housework. It had always been just her and her Mammy as long as she could remember. They didn’t have a lot but she’d wanted for nothing. She had love. She had cuddles and she remembered the warmth that had radiated around their home. She could never remember asking about her Father. She’d never missed a male presence in the house whilst she was growing up. And then things changed.
Her Mammy had started to get paler, and weaker. The housework had become neglected and her Mammy started to sleep a lot. Her Mammy’s hair started to lose its beautiful sheen and the smiles became less frequent. She’d still given cuddles, but they seemed to have a much deeper meaning. She was only ten, and they’d never had anyone except each other. It began to dawn on her that her Mammy was poorly. She’d asked questions but she’d been told that everything was fine. That no matter what happened her Mammy would always be with her. One night, when they were sat watching the stars in the sky through her bedroom window, her Mammy had pointed to a star that was falling through the sky with a trail of fire following it: “Look, a shooting star!! Quick, make a wish!!” She’d wished that her Mammy would be well, and that she would smile again.
One morning she woke up and went into her Mammy’s room. She knew something was wrong. Her Mammy was laid on the bed, her eyes closed and when she’d held her Mammy’s hand it was stone cold. She shook her, but couldn’t wake her up. She’d ran to the lady next door as she’d been told to do if ever she thought anything was wrong and soon, her house was full of people. Some of those people took her Mammy away on a bed with wheels and they’d put the cover over her head. Even though she was screaming to them to stop, they just kept on wheeling her away. The kind lady next door kept hold of her. Kept talking to her, but she and the lady were crying and she didn’t know what was going on.
They had no one else. She’d been taken to a big building with lots of children in it. She hadn’t liked it one bit. She’d learnt more in there than she ever thought it was possible to know: and none of it was good. She’d been punched and kicked for things she hadn’t done. She’d been picked on for being a “Goody”, whatever that meant, and all she wanted to do was leave. She was told she’d be there until she was at least sixteen. She wasn’t. She took what she’d learnt from the other kids and ran away at fourteen. She’d been running for a few months now, but it felt like years. She’d slept where she could and eaten when she could, but this wasn’t the kind of world that a fourteen year old girl should live in alone and on the streets. She recalled innocence and knew she’d lost all of it that she’d once had. She’d never resorted to drinking or drugs like some of the runaways she’d met. She knew her Mammy was still watching her somewhere and she’d have been so disappointed.
She could feel the tears sliding down her face and could feel the cold freezing them as the fell. She felt weak, she thought back to when she’d last eaten and couldn’t remember when or what it was. She could feel the emptiness inside her that made her think it was more than a few days. She’d long ago stopped noticing that she only had a sock on one foot and a worn through plimsoll on the other. The cold was just a constant to her. She hadn’t noticed that the darkness had begun to descend. She must have dozed off while she’d been slumped here. She looked around for somewhere to sleep. There were no empty bins in this alley. That was ok. She had matches, if she could just find something that she could burn to create some warmth for through the night she could maybe make it through. She tried to get up, but just couldn’t muster the energy. There were some cardboard boxes piled up at the back of a shop just a few doors down. She knew the top ones would be sodden and wouldn’t burn, but she hoped that the snow hadn’t melted through. She tried to stand again, but it was almost as though her body had given up.
She took the matches from her pocket, she’d stolen them the day before, but she’d hoped that if the shopkeeper had known her circumstances he’d have thought it was ok for her to do that. She lit one and cupped her hand round it. The heat was so comforting. She let it burn down til it nearly burnt her fingers. The feeling of loss when she blew it out was almost painful. She lit another quickly. Repeated the process. It was getting really dark now. She lit another one, resolving that this would be the last. She needed to keep some for later when she might need them again. When that one went out she couldn’t keep her promise to herself. Another was lit. As she looked up to the sky she saw a shooting star. “Quick, make a wish!!” Her Mammy’s voice urged… She made a wish. She wished to be with her Mammy. As she lit another match she could see her Mammy’s face, as it was before everything went bad, smiling. “I want to come with you Mammy!!” And as the last match went out a new warmth went through her as her Mammy gathered her up in her arms and whispered, “I told you, Mammy will always be with you!”
When the morning came around, there she lay, still against the wall. She’d been frozen on the last day of the year and the New Year’s sun rose and shone on her. She still held the box of matches and a handful of burnt ones. “She tried to warm herself,” said the shopkeeper who’d came out of his back door to find her there. No one knew how much more beautiful it was for her to be again, finally, with her Mammy.

Monday, 22 August 2011


I am going to share something with you all right now that is no real news to me... I am emotionally retarded.

I don't want this to prompt feelings of; "awwwwwwwww... Poor you!!" I'm just offloading stuff out loud because I can and it will explain why I haven't updated my blog every day.

I love writing as fiction. I'm cool with writing fiction with a level of reality to it. What I find difficult is writing ALL about me... On the good happy days, it's boring for everyone else SURELY??

On the bad days, and there are some, I just can't bring myself to moan... Millions of people are loads worse off than me... And I always feel like I'm asking for sympathy... I'm not...

So I kinda feel that sharing ME is really difficult... So if I don't write every day, or even most days... That's kinda why!! :D 

Friday, 12 August 2011


I've been having some "work in progress" thoughts since writing my poem for the challenge, I'm spending a lot of time daydreaming about what I want to write, but not getting it down on paper because I'm at work and already busy or it's occupying my brain while I'm driving, and I'm wondering if anyone else has this trouble. What do you do? Do you write it as you go? Do you try and save it and write it when you get home but risk losing the "epiphany" moment? What if you're physically unable to write things down...? I'm worried I could be losing or diluting good ideas and missing out...

Thursday, 11 August 2011


It's been a challenging week. It started off where I was panicking that we hadn't started packing as we're moving in three weeks, to us having lost the house we were supposed to be moving into in three weeks. I know, incredibly careless to lose a WHOLE house, but still, we managed.

So many options have presented themselves in the last nearly 48 hours, from moving in with my in/out-laws, to buying a caravan, but it seems we have a solution. Potentially. We're going to see a new house, a much smaller house, with no garage, that is very small, with only two bedrooms (did I mention how small it is?) and a weeny garden. We may be able to move into that in 6 weeks (our current contract has been extended by a month due to WONDERFUL landlady!!) 

We're only a family of 2 and a half (my lil girl BARELY classes as half in size, but way more than that in gob!! :D) and yet I'm really panicking about space. Right now I have somewhere out of the way to read and write, but in the new (little) place there's nowhere like that. Not even a cupboard I can set up in!! 

So hooray for maybe getting a new house when we were almost homeless and I know I should be very grateful, but I'm REALLY hoping the new (little) place has elastic sides and a weeny bubble that I can hide in! 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


Don't get excited... Two posts in one day... I'm just catching up with what I've missed...

Here are a couple of haikus I've written (I'm never sure if haikus is actually the plural for haiku... Dunno if it look and feels right... Anyhooooo...)

 Yellow, dusty light,

 fading her world behind blinds.

 Aging the silence.


Deemed untouchable,

 impossible jar of dreams.

Diaphanous truth.

Can't cope

I've written this poem to complete a writing challenge set by an Open University group I belong to.

In October I am beginning a creative writing course with The Open University and, to try and get us into the habit of writing every day, a few of us have started blogs and are completing writing challenges set for us. This was written in response to a request for a 40 line (or less) poem on brutality, and I can't think of many things (if anything, but I don't want to demean anyone else's experiences) more brutal than this.

Can't Cope

I wish someone could make it right,

I don’t know what to do,

I cry myself to sleep at night ,

I’ve no-one to turn to.

The pain I feel is always there,

It’s in my heart as well,

I want to scream, “It’s just not fair!”

A living form of hell.

I’m getting weaker by the day,

I’m left locked up, alone,

I think it’s always been this way,

No ounce of love been shown.

I never, ever speak out loud,

At least not anymore,

I use the darkness as my shroud,

Because their word is law.

I only need to murmur once,

To feel the painful smack,

Just one cry and I hear him pounce,

And feel the bones that crack.

I pray someone will find me soon,

I don’t hold out much hope,

It feels like wishing for the moon,

I don’t think I can cope.

I love my Mum and Dad so much,

Although I know they’re bad,

Always longed for a loving touch,

It makes me very sad.

I’m old beyond my years at two,

I’m trying not to mope,

I pray someone will find me soon,

I don’t think I can cope.