Tag Archive: 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? 

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

Quick but exciting!

Remember how I said that I was writing for a gaming blog? Well, I published my first post this morning! If you see the world in blocks and pixels, you’re gonna love it.

You can find it here. Checking it out would be much appreciated <3

 

A new chapter

This is exciting!

I’ve been accepted as a contributing author to an excellent gaming blog, Play On This. I’ll be focusing on opinion/experiential articles, as well as retro PSX and current PC gaming. I’m hoping to submit my first article in a couple of days. I’ll let you guys know so you can check it out. But in the meantime, please do check out the blog, it’s pretty awesome. There’ll be a batch of new writers so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen!

Ta x

lifejournal

Holy crap, you guys – I’ve just had a revelation. One that hit me in the face like a rolled-up newspaper on a dog chewing up Dad’s slippers.

I’ve been trying to get back to some sort of normality within the past six months. Between my job ending, nesting and the wedding, my life has been turned upside down. I no longer write like I used to, in frequency or quality, and that depresses me. As a teenager, I was much much more prolific, as I’ve probably mentioned before. I desperately want to start writing again, to kick-start that process and begin a routine. I’m still toying with the idea of becoming a freelance editor, to move into writing eventually. I’m not confident enough in my professional corporate copy to go straight into writing. I need to find ways to stop watching so many Rooster Teeth videos and start writing again.

I found a lovely blog which was just Freshly Pressed, Studio Mothers: Life & Art. Although I’m not yet a mother (well, I have a four-legged child), their advice and stories were incredibly pertinent to me, and when that part of my life does eventuate, I’d still love to keep my creative practice going. A lot of them mentioned journalling, especially daily, as a great tool to clear out their thoughts to start afresh. I’ve kept paper journals off and on from the age of 8, and digital journals off and on since the age of 15 (they still exist, but I’ll never tell you the usernames :P). Journals seem a great idea in theory, and history has known some excellent diarists, but it never seemed to gel with me. My online journals were more blogs, and were fuelled on discussion and connectivity rather than pure journalling on my part. I think my main problem with keeping a journal was not only keeping it up on a regular basis, but I had this weird hang-up on how it would seem when I re-read it. I tended to journal my negative thoughts and not positive ones – being a depression sufferer unfortunately makes me lean in that direction. I tended to whine and overreact, which would be painfully clear upon reflection. And my life wasn’t that interesting.

But, here’s my revelation: some journals are not meant to be read.

Journals can act as a channel to clear your mind of thoughts, to wipe the slate clean for that day. It’s a way to express your emotions and thoughts creatively, instead of having them just stuck inside and maybe even clouding your mind for that day. I’m starting to get it: I’m starting to think of my creativity and writing as water in a muddly delta. Perhaps regularly journalling could help break down the silt through which it’s currently flowing like a trickle. Maybe I could have my steady stream again. And, let’s face it – writers love writing about themselves. Trufax. I realise that I’m bottling up a lot of my emotions – positive and negative – and regularly expressing them could do me a lot of good.

The idea of keeping a journal that no one will read – even myself – is beautifully liberating. I always found myself self-censoring (still do) so I didn’t appear too boring, too silly, too depressed. I will record any minutiae, any detail, any fleeting idea that flitters through my head. I’ve started a new life, as a new person with a new name and a new family, and somewhere in the back of my head I want to record these moments.

I have a beautiful leather-bound journal with fibrous cotton paper which I received as a birthday present a couple of years ago. It’s proper old-school – bound with thread, ties up with a leather strap. Like a lot of journals, I’ve never used it. I was afraid to. Sometimes I don’t like sullying beautiful books with my silly words. But I feel like I need to do this. For me and my writing. During the past six months my mental stimulation has greatly decreased, my depression increased, my motivation deceased.

I’m ready to get back on my horse. And then write about it in my journal.

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