Category: writing


Nouvelle

So, as I’ve declared on other social media, I’m writing a book. Writing A Book. Writing THE book, to be precise.

The idea’s been swirling around in my head since I was a teenager in various forms, and I think I’m at the stage where I can do it justice. It won’t be too unrealistic, cliched, derivative.

This is also a test for me. How can I call myself a writer if I don’t fucking write? Can I actually sit down and write a novel? The only novel-length work I’ve written was when I was 16-17, it took me over a year, and it was complete balls from beginning to end.

This feels like the final test for me. I’ve shared before the struggles in my identity as a writer, and balancing that with a full-time job and mental illness. If I can’t or won’t write this book, what then? I am determined to try. I realised that for all these years I just don’t want to take the risk, that I’m not confident enough in my writing to attempt a proper, full-length, grown-up Book.

Sometimes I’m unhappy with my work. Everyone is. But sometimes I look at an old short story and I realise, hey, that was pretty funny. I can do this. Writing and language has been a part of me for so long, is so core to my being, that I don’t know how to cope without it, like that movie cop who won’t retire.

Who knows, I might publish it myself. People – gasp – may even BUY it. I used to be an indie online bookseller – I know a trick or two. And reading author blogs/books has been incredibly inspiring. I just have to go for it. To try. To get on the wire without a net. Hell, if a man can walk on a wire between the World Trade Center and have a bit of a lie down halfway across, then I can write a measly zombie book.

I’m going to need love, and your encouragement. Are ya with me? You’re not sick of zombies yet? Do you want to stop me whining? You are going to be as integral to the process as an editor, a graphic designer, a beta reader. I won’t be able to do it without you.

Now. It’s time for me to put the smartphone down, close my Benedict Cumberbatch tumblrs, and get my arse in a chair.

Wish me luck.

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Short story: Running

My parents tell me that I’ve been running ever since I was born. Not running from anyone or anything – just running for the sake of it. I went straight from crawling to toddling around on my little legs as fast as they could carry me, and never ever stopped.

But every so often, even I needed to stop to catch my breath. Today was one of those times.

This house in the forested mountains was the closest thing we had to a base. A home. We always came here when we needed a break, help, or even just company. They were loving, fearless, open and generous, and I couldn’t do without them. Their home was a sanctuary of love and nature, and electricity for our laptops.

I sat cross-legged on the mattress in the back of the van, feeling the sun’s rays warming me through the open windows. It was rare that I was alone these days, so I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and just listened. The morning birds were awake and starting their daily routine of endless calls, extraordinary in their diversity. I could hear a gentle breeze flowing through the thick bushland, rustling the leaves ever so gently. There were distant sounds of cars and activity in the house in the valley below. I could hear water quietly gurgling away in the fountain in the front garden. These quiet moments were all I needed to recharge. I was ready to run again.

I opened my eyes. Frankie was sitting next to me on the mattress, his deep green eyes regarding me with slightly blank affection. I smiled.

‘What’s up, Frankie? Did you sleep well?’

He said nothing, as per usual. Instead he blinked at me and curled up beside me. I gave the black fuzz on his head a little scratch. He made a peep of contentment and settled in.

I returned to the task at hand. I grabbed my flat brush and stirred the brightly coloured goo in the bowl, careful not to stick my face too close to it. I took the brush and started painting it on my head, working from my part down, staring into the mirror, intent on my task. Distantly, I could hear a voice calling my name. Haley. Haley Dee.

I looked up in the mirror to see Thom striding towards me with a cup in his hands.

‘Blue again?’

‘Why not?’ Blue had always been my favourite colour. It made me feel happy, calm, and alive. It kept my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.

Thom put the cup down on the little shelf next to the mirror. It was tea. Hot and sweet.

The smell of the dye was pretty noticeable. Thom wrinkled his nose and looked down at Frankie.

‘How can you stand it, bud?’

Frankie didn’t stir. He usually didn’t until someone mentioned food.

I took a sip of my tea and instantly felt human again. I sat in the van and stretched my neck and fingers. My fingers were starting to itch. I was already feeling it. Thom watched me through the mirror.

‘Are you ready to go?’

I smiled. ’Yes.’

The Galaxy Stories 3: Despair

I’m haunted by the death of a man I’ve never met.

He was a bright, young, talented man with the world at his feet. Suddenly he decided that the world was not for him.

What really saddens and frightens me about his story is how easily my own could have ended the same way.  I see those left behind grieving, and know it could have been my own family and friends.

Most mornings I would wake up, disappointed that I had. Everything was meaningless,  hopeless,  and empty. I came close, once. In London. I imagined myself, respledent with shopping bags and my long red coat, flying through the air, tumbling towards my eternal peace. I thought of my love, thousands of miles away. I couldn’t leave him. I scared myself out of it, but the thoughts and desire didn’t go away.

People see suicide as a selfish act. But to a suicidal person, taking your own life is the most selfless thing you can do. You relieve your friends and family of the endless heavy burden that is knowing and carrying you. And it’s the only way to stop the crushing pain of just simply existing.  Breathing in and out is a chore. Sleep is only a temporary escape.

It’s better now. I realised that I needed medical attention and have sought it.  But it can never be eliminated, only controlled.  And some days I can’t control it. But at least I can see the light.

I wish that young man could have, too.

The Galaxy Stories 2: Apology

I’m sorry, Uncle Danny.

I met you as a naive, frightened and lonely 11 year old. I lied to you about my name, my nationality, and made up a very wild and unlikely story about my background.  I lied about everything then.  It was the only way I could attempt to fit in, to get people to like me.

You befriended me, and accepted me, even though you must have known that I was full of shit. You introduced me to your wonderful nephew, and friends. We talked for hours, you dispensing wisdom that I was too young to understand or appreciate. You took me under your wing and were immensely kind, and for that I feel both grateful, and guilty. I don’t lie any more.

Although I’m grown now, with my own family, I still think of you sometimes. You told me you were sick. I hope you’re still around to help kids like me, who needed a friend.

Thanks, Uncle Danny. And I’m sorry.

The Galaxy Stories 1: Walking

I present to you my new series of unconnected short stories – The Galaxy Stories. Although it sounds kinda sci-fi, they are called such because they’ve been written with the aid of my new best friend, my Galaxy smartphone. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

I started walking away from the city. Walking, walking, walking. I never stopped, never looked back. I couldn’t stop.

ZwolleAll I had were the clothes on my back and my boyfriend’s shoes. Mine were bloodstained and ripped. They squelched. His were five sizes bigger than mine, but they were all I had left. Of him. Of me.

The blisters were terrible, but at least they reminded me that I could still feel. That I survived. Still alive, whatever that came to mean.

I kept walking. It was all I could do. I walked the flesh off my bones and the skin off my feet. I walked until my nose bled and the shoes became rags. I walked to eat. I walked to drink. I walked to forget.

I was going anywhere. Going nowhere. No past, no future, no present. Just me and the silence.

I still walked. Someone had to.

For all my fellow writers

At what point do you not get to call yourself a writer anymore?

You know the story: maintaining a household, full time job plus commute, family stuff (I’m going to be an auntie!), plus health issues. I don’t have children, at least two legged ones. it’s not as if I don’t have time, or opportunity. I have both, and I know that I’m privileged to have them.

I haven’t written anything major for months, as you no doubt have noticed. I have tons of excuses. I read writing blogs and feel bad. I read fellow writers and feel bad. I’m in awe of how words just flow from them, even though I know a hell of a lot of work and practice has gone into that. I have a box full of business cards in my study that all say ‘freelance editor and writer’. And I’m not sure I can call myself a writer anymore.

I still love words. Always have, always will. I want to write, more than anything. I still have stories in my head sporadically, but not as often as I used to in my teenage glory days. The daily trudgery has overtaken me, and I spend most of my time playing games on my phone whilst commuting. There’s just no fire in me anymore when it comes to writing; just the despair of a blank page and blinking cursor. I can’t go into the world of my mind as easily or as often as I used to. My imagination and drive just isn’t there.

I still want to be an editor, and love looking at others’ manuscripts. I will volunteer again come NaNoWriMo. But at the same time, I feel a little heartbroken, because that should be me.

There’s no easy way out. The only solution is glue my arse to a chair and slowly, painfully, crank something out. But I have other stuff. Life stuff.

Chris is still working, still creating. He’s struggled, as I have, but he’s got the talent, the drive, the creativity. He’s never stopped. He’s never given up. I really admire the way he can tell a story through simple pencil strokes, the subtlety of light and shade, just little things. Even though we use vastly different techniques of story telling, it’s hard not to compare. He’s so ambitious and determined, both things that I’m not.

Can I still call myself a writer? Is there any way I can get back on the horse? Or should I just accept that this part of me is forever gone? 

New and old

In new news, I now have my very first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S3 4G, which is super lovely.  Hopedully I will be blogging more on the run. I’m sorry for my neglect. Oh, and I also have pink and blue bangs. They’re awesome.  The DIY queen strikes again.

On the old side, this blog is now two years old. Time flies when you’re not writing anything. I haven’t forgotten you, I promise. I’ll speak to you soon.

2013 – The Year of Living

Some of you may remember my post at the beginning of last year detailing my hopes and dreams for 2012. And you may have observed that throughout the year, none of them came to pass.

So, in 2013, I’m going  a bit simpler. 2013 will be my year of living. Not living more responsibly, not living stronger, not living harder. Just living.

2012 was filled with challenges and disappointments. One of the most significant moments of my life, my marriage, was surrounded by the rest of my life falling down around my ears. I lost my job and found myself mostly alone in my house. My health dropped dramatically, I had to drain my savings account and max out my credit card trying to keep us afloat. We only worked sporadically, and there was the stress of the wedding itself. It has been a very trying and lonely time and I am immensely grateful for all you guys, who have helped me through. I must admit, I related a hell of a lot to this comic during the past few months.

So, in 2013, I am determined to live properly. I am currently temping and the job market is improving. I have streamlined my daily life. I have emptied my wardrobe of things I no longer wear. I realised how many clothes I truly have – it’s outstanding. I guess now that I found a shop with clothes that fit me correctly, I went a little bonkers. I’ve also put a ban on myself buying Lush products – I have far too many half-full containers. I also have too much nail polish.

I’ve started to wear make-up – it makes me feel better at work (fluorescent lights can be harsh!) and I like experimenting with it. I’m learning slowly to cook and meal plan. I’m learning the value of stackable storage containers. I’m trying to interact with my internet buddies much more than usual, instead of staying silent. I’m learning to pluck up the courage to talk to strangers at parties. I’m saving for my honeymoon.

The goal is to stop worrying, stop consuming mindlessly and to stop being quite so slothful. I want to enjoy life, not be shy or ashamed of myself, and stop living in shambolic, student-y chaos. And, my ultimate goal this year is very easy: I’m going to write a book. I say that every year, but this time I mean it. I’m going to do it.

But, I can’t do all these things by myself. All your love, support and friendship means the world to me, even though I may be poor at expressing it. I can do this. We can do this. It’ll be awesome.

<3

Name change

Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know this blog has changed from writemepictures to rhombusflair. It’ll still be the same worthless content, just in a quirky new package.

Ta <3

This week, unfortunately I and my family had to put our dog Max to sleep. We’ve had him for over twelve years and he was a huge part of our family. We’re big animal people, and Max was our first dog in a long line of cats.

We picked him out at the pound, a pretty adult cattle dog who was quiet and looked at my mum with big brown eyes and a tilted head. I babysat him in the car while my parents went to buy him supplies, and he looked at me, shuffled over, and lay his head in my lap. It was only when we got him home and got him to a vet that we discovered that he was actually a three month old puppy, and half Labrador, who would grow to twice his original size – a small pony, I always called him. As he settled in, he fancied himself a guard dog, and would loudly and sharply bark at anything to darken our door, even just a plastic bag, and continued to do so for the next twelve years.

He was a pain in some ways. When he was young he would steal and chew things up. He, like all Labradors, would climb over you for even a sniff of food. We had to install a baby gate between the lounge and kitchen because he would eat the cats’ food. He would bark loudly at anything and everything. He only obeyed commands when he wanted to. He would sneak up onto the couch after we’d all gone to bed.

But, for all his faults, Max was a beautiful dog and wonderful companion. When he was a year old, my parents bought me a kitten. Smuff was so small that I could hold him in one hand, and I had no idea how this behemoth would take to him. Max became his second mother – he carried him, washed him, supervised him, playfought with him, and taught him how to hunt. Max would do this again for another kitten six years down the line. He was incredibly intelligent, and knew when any of us were sad or hurting. He would protect us from anything, sounded the alarm when our car was stolen, and was a gentle giant. He was liberal with his kisses and loved a good tummy rub, even up to the very end. He and I shared a bond, and he got older and mellowed, and would happily walk by my heel, play fetch in the park, and did everything I asked him to. Even recently, I was lying on the floor in my mother’s lounge room trying in frustration to hook her new PVR up. It wouldn’t work and I was getting upset. Max leaned over and gently licked my head. And then it started working.

Recently he started to slow down. He had arthritis in his legs, front and back, and we thought this was normal. He loved walks – his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak. He couldn’t make it five minutes down the road without having to stop, panting heavily. We didn’t realise this was the first sign of a bigger problem.

A couple of weeks ago, he went outside in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and didn’t come back in for three hours. My mother found him lying in the backyard, his back legs paralysed. The vet said that he’d most likely suffered disc damage in his back and it could heal with time and care. He went on a crash diet and required pretty much 24-hour care – we had to support him with a towel sling under his back legs. I stayed and helped for a few days, and then headed home.

My mother called a few days later and asked if I could come in again. It was worse this time – he had lost his front legs. I thought they were weak from the pressure that was placed on them when he moved but it was more than that. It was obvious he was in terrible pain despite medication and he wasn’t getting better. We spoke to the vet, and they agreed that another disc had been damaged in his back, and this was not going to heal. After a short discussion, we all agreed that it was time.

Mum and I were with him. I knelt on the floor, patting him, holding his head, talking to him. The vet gave us some treats, and being that he hadn’t had proper food for over a week, he wolfed them down. Max was so eager he accidentally nipped my fingers when I didn’t let go fast enough. It was calm, peaceful, and he went to sleep with me holding him and a tummy full of treats. The vet staff were saddened too – while he was there they noticed how friendly and laidback he was, there were kisses ahoy, and lots of requests for tummy rubs. We chose to have him cremated, and his ashes are in a pet garden at the crematorium.

Even though we’d accepted the fact that he was getting older, and that this day would come, none of us expected it to come so soon. This is the first time that I’ve really lost someone close to me, dog or not, and I’ve been blindsided. I’m not sleeping properly, I’m not eating properly. I had to start university preparation work this week and I thought it would distract me, but I can’t concentrate. Even last night I had to stay up till 3am playing Minecraft because it was the only thing that could calm me. A digital equivalent of a zen garden.

I have a broken heart and I don’t know how to put it back together. So I’m calling on you, my friends, and especially fellow animal lovers, for advice. It may sound silly, all this wailing over a dog, but he was my dog. More than a dog. A friend, a buddy. And I’ll miss him terribly, always.

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