Writing 101 DAY 19 – Don’t Stop the Rockin’ – A Little Bit of Me

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Writing. A writer. Just testing out the feel of the words. I always wanted to write. No, I actually ‘fancied’ being a writer. When I was much younger I used to write things down. I was always making up poems or songs. Then one day I experienced a much larger bout of criticism from my mother. I stopped writing. One day after much frustration I decided I did want to write down the things that were flying through my head. So I got a piece of chalk and in my old toy cupboard was a small wooden piano. On the back of the piano I unscrewed the three legs and on the area left available to me I wrote in chalk all the words from my head. Now I did have to keep rubbing it out to make room for the next inflow of words. This was safe. I could write all I wanted and she would never know what I had written. Thing was, neither did I. I would love to have had a book of all the things I used to write about.

Later on in life I began following correspondence courses in writing and using it as a way to deal with childhood stuff. But again I came up against criticism. What I wrote wasn’t really marketable. Too off the wall. I fancied being a journalist at one point and began teaching myself shorthand. But when I was told I needed to embellish the story I went right off the idea. I wanted to relate fact not fiction. It seemed wrong to be leading people to believe something was different to how it ‘actually’ was.

Years later I came back to writing verse. I had been ill and was in a recovery group working through the same stuff, childhood. As each person left the group I would have a verse in my head that was poignant for them. So I would write it on a card and give it to them as a leaving gift.

When I have written things about my life, thoughts, etc, I have found it quite liberating. It seems to disengage a part of my mind that needs to be in control. As that gets out of the way, it leaves room for all sorts of philosophical stuff to ooze out. It also can connect me to another realm, a place where everything just is, a state of beingness. So if that’s the case, I ask myself why the hell is it still so difficult to sit down begin. Begin. Anagram of Being. There must be something in this.

Advertisements

Writing 101 DAY 18 – Hone Your Point of View – Charlie’s World

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

I wonder, what am I going to do today? Pete’s gone to watch football with his dad. I hate football. All that running around, and what for, nothing. I don’t mind running around in a field of grass chasing dragonflies, now that’s fun.

“Ouch! Damn scabs!”

I thought they’d have fallen off by now; it’s over a week since I crashed my bike on Back Lane and got half the road stuck in my skin. Mrs Pauley told me not to pick it when she walked past yesterday. Said it would leave holes. Can’t see no holes.

“Ouch!”

She’s nice, Mrs Pauley, lets me cut her grass in the summer for some extra pocket money. Said I did a nice job, as good as old Mr Pauley. Liked him too, was always tinkering in his shed. Mending something or oiling something else. He showed me how to grease me bike chain. Right nice he was. Shame he died. Feels kind of dead around here now and Mrs Pauley looks so sad.

Wonder where all the kids she had are? Mum said she’d got six of them and hasn’t seen them in years.

Suppose I’d better go and do what mum said – ‘go and see if there’s anything she needs help with’.

Ah well, going to have to find some other way of subbing my pocket money. Mum says Mrs Pauley’s had no money since Mr Pauley died. Wonder what she’s been having to eat then?

Charlie wanders across the road, hands thrust deep into the pockets of his long shorts.

The grass is looking a bit longer, than yesterday, must’ve warmed up and made it grow quicker. That’s what Mr Pauley used to say.

As he was waiting for Mrs Pauley to answer the door, a car pulled up and a man got out wearing crumpled brown suit.

Who’s he, doesn’t look very friendly. Aye aye, and now plod. What do they want down here? You never see them down here with their black uniforms. Don’t want to either they look like they’re looking for trouble.

“Now then son, off you go, on your way. You shouldn’t be hanging around other peoples doors.”

At that moment the door opened and Mrs Pauley, seeing Charlie, smiled at the boy and said,

“Hello Charlie, were you coming to see me love?”

Phew thought old plod was going to arrest me then. They make me feel bad even when I haven’t done anything.

“I said on your way son.”

“I’ve got to leave Charlie. Maybe the next person who lives here will need you to cut the grass for them.”

Leaving? To go where? She’s always been here.
And why are they here, where are they taking her?
Are you alright Mrs Pauley, I can go and get me mum if you want me to.

“It’s alright Charlie, I’ll be alright. Always remember love that when one door closes you can be sure that another one always opens.”

Writing 101 DAY 17 – Your Personality on the Page – Fear. Fear! Fear?

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

Fear. Fear. What’s fear?

A part of me hasn’t a clue what you’re prattling on about.

I don’t feel fear. I am. I am being. Just being. There is no place for fear. That is something outside of me. Something I could touch if I chose to stop just being. Why would I want to do that?

They say Fear stand for ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. I’ll vote for that one.

Fear. Fear. Ah Fear. Geee. I cringe just thinking about it. In fact I can feel my self running already. Can you see the dust? Cough, cough, man, I can. Wheeze, really feel the dust! There’s lots of things I fear. But if I sit and contemplate it … and my, does it hurt to contemplate it…

… the beads of sweat are building on my brow, on the skin under my nose, my breath is quickening and there is a tension in my chest and it is beginning to raise my shoulders up, up towards my ears.

Where was I? Ah, contemplate fear… I shudder……. Long pause as I notice my breathing, I am now allowing myself to feel this, it is helping me relax…

More than anything else I fear fear itself.

When I do not think about fear I can cope with most things. But the instant my mind notices that gripping feeling, permeating deep into my emotions, engulfing my whole being, that part of me that instantly wants to know what I am dealing with quickly labels it ‘fear’. Then… It grips me like a vice. Shrinking my being into a state of frozen inertia. The only part of me capable of anything akin to movement is my breath and the blood coursing through my veins.. I don’t notice – I have disappeared into my head. I am too busy solution hunting. Desperate for a way out. The thoughts speed up. Its like I suddenly have to move at warp velocity examining every file and folder every record of every event and its outcome in existence for an instant fix. Pleeaase … just get me out of here!

Out of where?

You’re the one that needs to move. Stop reaching out for a solution.

Its not out there. It never was.

Ahh, now I understand. I have a choice. I really do have a choice.

Aahhh. I can feel the shoulders lowering very gently now, as if they had been pumped up with air and the valve has just begun to leak. My breath is quietening. A sense of peace is engulfing me. I can feel ripples of soft tingling running over me and through me all at the same time.

Yes.      I am.      Being.

What was the question?

Writing 101 DAY 16 – A Character Building Exercise – The Friend I Met I’ve Yet to Meet

The most interesting person I have met in the last year, I haven’t actually met in person. We both joined the same course where the classes were carried out over the telephone. As soon as he made his introduction, I felt a warmth of joy ooze from his character.

As we practiced the work in class, I was able to build on this first impression. I sensed a kinship with him; some part of me felt I already knew him. As I watched, that is, watched with my inner eye (I have always watched with my inner eye), I noticed that around that expression of inner joy that felt its way toward me, there was a mild stiltedness, as if he was needing on some level to accentuate that expression of joy.

With my inner eye I saw him as medium height and build, a jolly, cheerful looking person with light coloured hair. There was a sense of ‘performer’ about him, in a good way. Someone who desired everyone to be happy and was prepared to put in some effort, if at first his presence did not bring this about.

We decided to practice together between classes and my picture of him continued to build. Some days he would appear slimmer and taller, the lightness of the hair was heading toward white, not blonde as I had first envisioned and he even appeared a little older. On occasion he wore large glasses and sat a little awkwardly. His personality oozed compassion and acceptance of almost everyone. He inspired me to reach deeper into myself to appreciate me the way he appreciated me. He didn’t know me, but I knew he knew me. As we talked I could hear in the tone of his voice, the nurturing person within. It flowed so naturally as it permeated my whole being into a state of loving self-acceptance. This wasn’t contrived, this is who he is. There was a deep stillness about him.

As we practiced and our chatting became more open, I came to notice the nuances of his personality traits as they shifted. One minute the voice would lose its soft timbre, replaced with a tone that was slightly flatter, a sound that didn’t travel as far, as if it lacked the endless gentle power it usually had. This I discovered was when he was lost in the mind of thoughtful analysis, it stilted his natural flow.

Right from the beginning, we had been comfortable in each other’s company. And as we came to know each other on a deeper level, we discussed the values of not being able to see each other. We both felt that seeing a person, even via a webcam could detract from really getting to know someone. Bombarding the mind with lots of additional information for us, would have been a distraction from who we really were.

From the information about himself that he has offered me, my vision of him is pretty close to what I have seen with my inner eye and my perception of his personality traits I am told, are very accurate. Likewise his perception of me is also pretty close to who I am.

It will be interesting to quite literally see what will happen and how things will change when we decide to bring in the visual dimension. Some part of both of us is reluctant to do that just now. We both know, that despite our deep connection, it will change how we experience each other. But in the interests of our own personal growth and expansion we also know, that one day we will choose to take the plunge.

One day we will meet. Hopefully, if our friendship is to continue, we will just be adding to the increasing beauty and joy of what we currently experience.

Writing 101 DAY 15 – Your Voice Will Find You – The Community that Once Was

I live in a quiet rural area. A place that used to have a wonderful sense of community about it.

That is, before they closed the local post office. A place where local folk met most days for a chat. It doubled as a store, stocking only the basic provisions but it was a valuable asset to our community. Especially as it was over 5 miles to the nearest similar store. If you didn’t have access to a car, if weren’t fit enough to cycle the hilly roads to the next village, your best hope was to catch the school bus, wait for half the day, to catch one of only two buses back home again.

As if the loss of the store was not enough to break the spirits of the local folk, who now had to catch a bus and ride for an hour into the main village for their groceries. They provided a minibus once a week for the elderly folk but it hasn’t replaced the camaraderie so prevalent the local store provided. There is no longer any sharing of old tales or the imparting of valuable ancient knowledge to the younger generation. No one goes out any more. No point. They sit inside glued to their television sets or computers.

Rarely is anyone seen walking along the roads. There is no longer anywhere to walk ‘to’. Yes, you could go for just a walk but it has always been much more of an incentive to walk ‘to’ something, and then back again. That’s why people like to go out for a paper, or a pint of milk. It is a reason to go out, a focus, a purpose, a reason to be.

And now, the final nail in the coffin. The only event in the year that united everyone in the whole area and from miles around. Our Annual Agricultural Show. So dedicated were the folk who diligently planned it. Arduously toiled for hours to set it up and clear away afterwards. Now even that has gone. Gone forever? Probably. These things are very difficult to resurrect. It was the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak over 10 years ago that put paid to that. The new stringent rules meant that small communities could no longer afford the costs incurred in running such events.

I am not a sceptic. If I were the implications would be mind boggling. I believe in change but I am struggling to see a positive outcome on the horizon.

Writing 101 DAY 14 – To Whom It May Concern – Heaven

Dearest Heaven

I opened one of my books today, and there you stood, with only 2 other words on the page,  ‘Heaven’.

The moment I read your name I felt your presence. Such joy. I thank you for the reminder – that you are always there, as much within me as outside of me, all ways and at all times. You are so much more than a place to aspire to, at an unknown time my mind calls ‘future’. How easy it is for me to still forget this. You are so accepting, so unconditionally loving despite the absentmindedness I had slipped into.

So now, I shall experience your presence, remembering again you are a part of me and together we shall fully indulge in the joy of just being.

With so much love and appreciation.

Angelica

PS the other 2 words that followed you were ‘Rushing In’ and you certainly did!

Writing 101 DAY 13 – Serially Found – My Dad is Back

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

There were moments over the next 20 years when I glimpsed the dad I adored as a young child. Moments when shared interests collided with a time created opportunity.

He was always helping someone else. But on occasion I would tag along. I got involved in building a shed for a friend of his, a greenhouse for an uncle, church hall renovations and the one I loved most – helping out, with my dad, on the veg stall at the Annual Christmas Fair. I can smell the old wooden hall now, just thinking about it. A smell of old dry, warm wood, mingled with a hint of musty old fabric.

Funny how those old wooden buildings had such a nurturing atmosphere. The original wooden building has now been replaced with a brick one and fewer people use it. Where I live now, we still have an ancient wooden village hall; they call it a community hall here. It smells very similar to the ones of childhood. Everyone appreciates it and its unique aromas create an ambiance that seems to attract a list of regular events going on there.

Other times I would help with watering the plants. This meant filling up a large bucket and a metal watering can with water from the kitchen sink tap and staggering down the garden one in each hand, trying not to spill any. He used to do this twice a day in the summer months.

If there was a drought we would save all the washing up water and whenever anyone had a bath, we had to scoop out as much water as possible to water to fill the buckets and stagger gingerly down the stairs, through the house and down the garden path to water the thirsty plants.

I learned how to take cuttings, dibble out young seedlings and look after the growing crops. These moments of joy, cherished memories, I have come to appreciate more as I have shared them with my own son.

But it took over 20 years before I felt the unconditional love of my dad again.

It took the death of my mother.

I never got on with her, she was a narcissist through and through. It wasn’t long after she died that my dad seemed more open – as if a barrier had been removed, or a veil been lifted.

I could see him, really see him again. I could feel love pour from him. Even his eyes were more alive. He was much more fun and loved to play with my young son. His sense of humour was priceless.

Up until then I had not realised just how much my mother’s presence had supressed my dad. She was so devious and manipulating he must have been under an immense pressure most of the time. No wonder he spent his spare time down the garden, out of sight, involved in an important project or helping out other folk. He missed her of course. Who wouldn’t, they had been together over 30 years.

But the change in my dad was remarkable. We spent more time together, he shared memories of his past, little snippets of his life I wasn’t aware existed before. He actively encouraged family get-togethers, times when we all reminisced indulgently.

As I watched his loving actions and sense of fun during the times spent with my son, it triggered the odd happy memory of early childhood. This was the dad that had been missing all these years and I indulged in the joy of having my dad back again, for now, and being able to share him with my son.