It’s the last day of April and I hope the new month will bring some positive steps towards our future. Baby steps are fine, just something to give the UK people the will to shake off the gloom of April and anticipate better things. The restriction of our lockdown is not as severe as some countries, although more so than others, but the reality of separation from loved ones, an evaporating economic security and fear of the unknown challenge even the ‘glass half full’ personality at times.
Nature has eased the trauma for the British people with glorious weather and the daily allowed exercise enabled us to soak up sunlight and to breathe the fresh unpolluted air.
Then April showers arrived on the 28th. However, the daily exercise is a treat one cannot ignore and so, out came the mackintosh and the wellington boots, and we braved the elements. I sang Happy Birthday to my husband in the pouring rain and presented him with a soggy cake. Our family party took place on zoom and I was surprised how intimate it felt.
I can’t pretend to like this new normality but as a ‘glass half full’ person, I will do my best to treasure the special moments.
The amazing Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com organises photo prompts and links for the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on each other’s work. If you are a writer of short fiction, join our group and let your imagination feed us with your stories.
Hi fellow writers. I’m back! After weeks of chaos, I finally have time to return to my writing. Sorry if this is too sad for you but this story would not stay silent in my head. Hopefully, my sense of humour will return with the next one.
Photo Prompt © Danny Boweman
Even his hand had shrunk, wasted over the months.
Once upon a time, his fingers wrapped around mine, protecting me so that I thought no one could hurt me. What did I know? Poison was taking him from me; rogue cells which searched until they found harbour in his organs.
Fight poison with poison, they told us. We hoped for a while and then, that optimism also wasted away.
The mountain has been too steep and soon, my darling will be a memory and I will be left floundering in a wasteland, tumbling like a weed through the lonely years.
Lindsay with Michelle the founder of the LLL clubs
I was honoured to be invited by Michelle to be the lunchtime speaker at the local branch of the LiveLaughLadies Club. The event was well attended and I gave my audience an insight to life as a writer, the true facts behind my novel Silencio, and what it’s really like to publish a book.
The LLL concept was conceived by Michelle and the following statement from the website gives you an idea of the aims of the clubs.
‘Founded by Michelle Bartlett in 2014 on the south coast, Live Laugh Love Ladies Club is a club with a difference. These clubs are about fun, love and laughter for ladies over 18 to meet, relax and enjoy an inspirational guest speaker, delicious food and great company. It’s not a club for business, it is a social club for all women.’
I do not plan these things. This is the second time I have broken my right ankle, the third time I have injured this foot and the fifth time I have injured this leg. My family want to wrap me in cotton wool and I can’t say that I blame them. My future daughter-in-law once came to visit with instructions to keep an eye on me and warnings that I would almost certainly fall at some time during her stay. Sure enough, on her last day I tumbled and ended up with a broken ankle.
Drains in Spain like to gobble up my leg and that is how I ended up on crutches this time. Do doctors appreciate how hard it is to get around on crutches? Non weight bearing is not easy! Yesterday my crutches wobbled and I nearly came to grief.
I am seriously fed up with my right leg and am thinking that I should trade it in.
Photo Prompt ©Jellico’s Stationhouse
A shout out to the amazing Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the photo prompts and links for the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on each other’s work. If you are a writer of short fiction, join the group and let your imagination feed us with your stories.
‘How will you manage?’ A snowfall of damp tissue fell from Rosie’s fingers, scattering on to the hall carpet. She resisted the urge to reach out her shaking hand and grab his shirt.
His back to her, Geoff ignored her cry, grunting as he lifted the dufflebag strap on to his shoulder.
He had given up answering.
‘Who’ll look after you?’ A sob broke the question. She chewed her lip. Why couldn’t she keep quiet?
Geoff sighed, quickly pulling the door open but as he stepped through, he turned and blew a kiss.
‘I’ll be back next weekend, Mum.’
How did I become hooked on a programme about baking? The Great British Bake Off commanded my attention every week and woe betide anyone who dared to telephone during that special hour. I watched the contestants whip, stir, pound, and stretch their creations with single minded attention. The crazy thing is that the last cake I made was about 20 years ago and the Prince Charming was so heavy that he ended up with his head buried in the blue icing (supposed to be the sea but a rather sick looking cross between a muddy pond and a cloudy sky). Anyway, since then my constant battle with the scales has forbidden indulgences such as chocolate cakes and iced buns.
So I am making a plea; why not get the contestants to tackle some recipes for watchers of weight and the growing population who suffer from diseases such as diabetes, etc? It would give a different meaning to carrot cake and banana breads and orange muffins.
My piece ‘Writing on the Move’ has been published on the Faber Academy website.
This week I have been living in the land of no internet with a fractured communication pathway. This has left me time to focus on writing my novel. I discovered that my isolation has become a blessing in disguise as I have added more quality and bulk to my novel. This also meant that I was unable to respond to many of the lovely comments left in response to my work. Normally I do like to thank my readers for their feedback as I find it useful in assessing my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. In addition I like to acknowledge the time taken to give me that feedback and so I must apologize that I have been unable to give individual thanks this week.
I do think that it is appropriate to thank you, my readers, in this 100th post of mine.
I also thought that it may be useful to tell you of my writing plans this year. Currently I have a novel in progress. It is an investigative thriller and I hope to have it ready to submit to agents later this year. I like to write short stories and flash fiction to try to strengthen my writing skills, in particular my use of language, description and dialogue. In truth, I also love to tell a complete story in a few words; it suits my rather erratic brain. I will almost certainly continue writing in that form.
I think one of the great pleasures in my life is the ability to communicate with my fellow man, whether it be on paper or through personal interaction. Great stories come from life. My professional life as a nurse and midwife taught me that every one of us has a story to tell and I hope that you continue to enjoy mine.
I was speaking to someone last night who had planned for her night’s entertainment – plucking a duck. The unfortunate creature was one of ‘the girls’ as her little boy named them and had been producing eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner in copious amounts. However for several reasons she was destined for the table. The acceptance of this woman and her son for the fate of one of their farmyard beings was along the lines of ‘this is the natural order of things’.
For me however, it is a different story. I go to whichever local shop is in favour and purchase my food, already killed, plucked, gutted and hung. I was an adult before I realised that cows had to have been pregnant to produce milk (and I was a midwife at that point). My city type of life had not really educated or indeed prepared me for the reality of how our foods arrive in our home. So I became a big softy, cringing at the death of the goldfish and crying for a year when I lost my beloved McCafferty, an grumpy old cat.
That young boy however reacted to my expression of sympathy about his duck with a comment about how good his dinner would be and a lick of his salivating lips.
In a time when there is so much waste because of our shopping practices, I was hit hard by how poorly I had been prepared by my own education to survive. I had never been taught how to grow things or to know what was natural to my own environment. Most of my food arrived wrapped in cling film and polystyrene, contributing to the disturbing fact that man’s pollution is overrunning our world.
This little boy and his mother have reminded me of some of the valuable lessons we need to teach our children. The practice of them and not just the theory. So that our descendants are able to survive, no matter what their income.
I have been truly humbled today by someone’s generosity of spirit. As I grumbled about my difficulties getting a small piece of work right this woman was undergoing radical changes to her life as a result of a health issue. Yet she still found the time and humanity to give me a pat on the back.
Now, doesn’t that put things in perspective. As we sit at our computers typing away and creating our pretend worlds somewhere someone will be facing real life dangers, issues or adventures. While my heroine is struggling with her love issues, a real life heroine will be dealing with real life dangers. We are told as writers that we should write from our own experiences; as we all know we should write about what we know. I am certain that everyone of us knows someone who has used their writing as a therapeutic exercise, whether it has been to express grief, anger or joy.
A few years ago, I sailed across the Atlantic on a smallish yacht in a rally of a number of boats. Every single person on that adventure had their own story to tell at the end of the passage. Some of the stories were of self discovery, some were of unexpected adventures. One man, who suffered from dyslexia, wrote his own book and others wrote diaries. Some people discovered that their relationships grew stronger whereas others jumped ship before their boats were tied up at their journey’s end. One man became critically ill, leaving his wife to sail a large yacht single handed and another man spent over 24 hours in the sea when he was knocked overboard.
My own story was not that dramatic; we left one harbour and sixteen days later arrived at another. Mid ocean we swam behind our becalmed boat and a day or so later lost all of our electric power leaving us with some interesting challenges of navigating by the stars and how to manage food storage, sails, communications and all of the other things which are supported by power.
In writing my novel I am drawing from some of those experiences to develop the character of my heroine. On paper she does not live on the sea or sail a boat however it is observing how someone reacts to adversity or indeed any given situation which is how I am writing about what I know. My life as a nurse, midwife, wife, mother, sailor, daughter, friend, success, failure, and more informs my writing but in particular it is my observations of the wonderful human spirit which inspires me.