Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Fragment, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration, Writing Journal, Writing Notebook, Writing Stuff

Gloomy Looking Things WRITING EXERCISE

Free stock photo of flowers, marguerites, destroyed, deadSo the other day I started to go through my old files to find some prompts and ideas for writing exercises.

I found one I copied from a book I had years ago that was full of creative writing ideas and prompts.

  1. Bracken in winter
  2. A bus or train station after midnight
  3. A deserted factory
  4. A British Rail sandwich
  5. Dead flowers left at the roadside after an accident

Write your own list of gloomy-looking things

Write an explanation for each one

Use at least one as the starting point for the short piece of prose or a poem

  1. The waste ground where my flat used to be
  2. Dead grass
  3. Flowers left to rot
  4. The hill near my house on a dark morning
  5. The park across from my house early in the morning

The flat where I lived six years ago was pulled down, supposedly to build housing for athletes during the Commonwealth Games. This never happened and nothing has been done with the piece of ground where the flats once stood. The space sticks out like a sore thumb and clashes with the flats around it because it’s obvious something is missing.

I hate the look of dead grass, or specifically, I hate to see bare patches of grass in someone’s front garden that’s clearly been neglected. It just looks so forlorn. If the house is in a state as well it looks awful but it’s somehow worse if the house looks in good condition and they’ve let their grass become a state. There’s a house a few streets from where my parents live and the grass is dry, dead and yellow. The house is a state as well, a broken window is tape together, there’s never a light on and the house has no curtains. I shudder every time I see it.

Flowers are beautiful and I hate to see them left to rot and decay, especially when this is somewhere anyone can see them. Flowers don’t last very long and as soon as they start to wilt I throw them out. There’s nothing worse than seeing flowers that been left in a vase, dead and brown with dead petals scattered around.

I live at the top of a high hill that can take a lot of effort and wheezing to get up. When it is dark, especially when I’m going to work in the morning or coming home on the late shift, it looks like a mountain I’ll never get to the top of. There’s a lot of traffic going up and down the hill but no street lighting.

There’s a park directly opposite my house. When I first moved in I thought it would be great, a good place to go for a walk. It never quite worked out like that. The park isn’t open at my end of the street and I’d need to walk quite a distance to the front gate. There are gates at my side of the street but they always chained and padlocked. There’s hardly ever a soul in the park so it can be a bit creepy.

I chose ‘flowers left to rot’ as the kick-off point for a story called A Good Neighbour about someone who makes a gruesome discovery when he becomes concerned about the dead flowers rotting on the porch of an elderly neighbour. 

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

What I’m Most Looking Forward To

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2017 is going to my year.

On the 20th February I will be launching my first three titles as an independent author; a poetry collection, a story collection and a collection of poems and stores. They will be available in eBook and paperback.

One title will follow every month for the foreseeable future. The titles will be poems or short stories that I’ve spent over a year putting together. I will also publish the fruits of my month-long writing challenges.

At some point in the future, if I am unable to secure a traditional publishing deal for my novel I will publish this as well before the end of the year.

My titles will be available to pre-order before the end of January / first week in February. The cover artwork is ready and I’m doing my final proof-reading.

What I’m looking forward to the most is uploading my books and the cover-art to my distributors and making them available for pre-order. This could be an easy process or complete hell. I am also looking forward to adding the word author to my social media profiles.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

You’ll Never Guess What My Middle Name Is

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It’s Margaret. That’s correct – M A R G A R E T.

As in are you there God, it’s me…. and … Thatcher.

There is a story behind my middle name. It’s not just some random name my parents plucked out of thin air.

I’m named after my mother’s older sister, her only sister (she has two brothers, one who died recently) who died before I was born. Her sister had cancer, a particularly nasty strain and she lingered in pain for some time before she passed.

Aunt Margaret was the cursed child, scorned forever, the black sheep who betrayed her family and was never forgiven for it – even on her death bed.

Intrigued?

Aunt Margaret’s crime – she married a Catholic. I kid you not. She married a Catholic man and her father, a holier than thou Christian who hated Catholic’s and all they stood for told her she was dead to him and threw her out of the house. He refused to go to the wedding and locked his wife in the house so she couldn’t see her only daughter walk down the aisle. He refused to connect with his grand-children though his wife stood against him and spent time with them.

The man she married was a useless, womanising drunk. The marriage fell apart after a few years and her father refused to let her back in the house. She had to raise her four kids alone and only saw her mother every few months. Her father said this was good enough for a Catholic-loving s***.

The worst thing about the whole mess?

When she became ill with cancer her father found no sympathy in his heart. He told her it was God’s punishment for shacking up with a Catholic and allowing herself to become diseased with his filthy seed.

Her youngest child, a girl was only 2 when she died. She has no memory of her mother. Imagine something so awful?

My mother named me after her because she wanted to keep some part of her alive. Even now, almost forty years later my mother still cries about her.

I only found this out years after my grandpa was dead. It changed the way I remembered him. He’d been a frail old man when I knew him. I thought him gentle, kind and sweet. I’d do idea he was so racist.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

A New Skill I’d Like To Learn

Free stock photo of desk, pens, school, designThis one is a no-brainer for me: I want to learn to speak and write Scottish Gaelic.

My reasons are two-fold:

  1. Scottish Gaelic is my national language but I’ve never been taught it. Very few kids in Scottish schools are taught this language. I feel there is something very wrong about this and a massive part of Scottish culture has been lost. If I had kids I’d send them to a Gaelic-speaking school
  2. I’ve never really studied any languages. I’ve always wanted to but something held me back. People who speak multiple languages impress and terrify me, they seem incredibly smart and intelligent in a way I’m not. One of my ex’s spoke three languages and this was the most attractive thing about her. Yes, she was horrible person but was a horrible person in three languages which seemed much more attractive. Learning another language is a gap in my skills I want to rectify

In December I signed up a free Scottish Gaelic Course via my local library with Transparent Online, https://library.transparent.com.

I haven’t officially started the course yet as I need to get a headset so I can record myself speaking for some the activities on the course.

I’m really looking forward to getting properly started.

I’ve had a look at the first few activates. It looks like a complicated language to learn but will be well worth it.

If things work out I might study some more courses via the Library.

 

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

My Relationship With Food

Free stock photo of food, sugar, blur, colorful

Like any overweight, former bully victim I have a complicated relationship with food.

Most of my life I’ve seen food as an enemy that needs to be conquered.

When I was a child I started to comfort eat because I was being bullied. Sweets and crisps and chocolate made me feel better and the cruel taunts of my peers faded.

I’ve never got of the habit of comfort eating when I’m having a bad day.

Failed a job interview? A family size Dairy Milk will perk you right up. Angry customer shouting down the phone? Help yourself to a layer of luxury chocolate caramels. Weary at the end of a long week? A large pizza from Dominoes is exactly what you need.

A few years ago I became addicted to packs of freshly-baked cookies they sell in my local Tesco.

Any time I had spare pound I’d pop in and buy a bag on my way to work. Oatmeal and raison were my favourite, sweet, soft and warm.

I started to take £5 out of my bank once a week to spend on cookies. I bought 5 bags, a variety and would hide them in my bag under my desk and discreetly eat them during the day. Each bag had 5 cookies in it. I took months for me to realise I was eating 25 cookies one day a week and I stopped. I’d probably still be buying and eating them if I hadn’t been forced to explain to my partner where the money had gone.

If my work has days when people bring in snacks and sweets I always eat more than anyone else.

If I have any spare money, my first instinct is to buy sweets or chocolate.

I don’t over-eat during proper meal-times, though the portions were quite large and my partner, after putting on some weight, has cut them back.

If I want to celebrate good news I will order a take-away from Just Eat or pop round to the corner shop and buys crisps, chocolate and sweets.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

The Last Time I Cried & Why

Free stock photo of portrait, emotion, child, babyI am an emotional person and I cry a lot. I am not ashamed of this.

The last time I really cried was a few days ago when I was reading A Mother’s Reckoning, the memoir by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters.

Early on she describes other mother’s wishing their children were safe and how she wished her child would die before he hurt anyone else.

Something about these words sucker-punched my heart.

I couldn’t stop crying and had to put the book down.

I cried a lot reading the book.

Those words exposed the woman’s pain in all it’s raw, heart-breaking glory and were uncomfortable to read.

I kept thinking: Imagine a mother thinking such a thing of her child? Imagine how awful the child’s actions must have been to cause that kind of pain.

You can read my review here.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

My First Love

Love Pendant NecklaceHer name was –

She was the first person who really saw me.

My love verged on obsession & our relationship was unhealthy.

She didn’t respect me. She cheated on me with men and women. We only had sex when she was so drunk she could barely stand. She wouldn’t touch me when she was sober. Our sex life was intense. She liked me to pretend I was a man. We fucked in toilets and public places.

The more she treated me like nothing, the more I wanted her.

She moved several hundred miles away but we were still together.

I went down to visit her one weekend and we fell apart. She’d been cheating on my since she moved away. She didn’t love me as much as I loved her. I suffocated her. She still had feelings for her ex and had followed her when she moved. Her feelings for me scared her because they meant she might really be gay.

We blew apart and never saw or spoke to each other again.

I obsessed over her for years. I wrote thousands of poems trying to make sense of her and us.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

What I Think About Cheating

Brown Heart Pendant on Grey SurfaceI’d never forgive my partner if she cheated on me.

I am a tolerant person but cheating is a deal breaker for me.

If my partner cheated on me I’d leave her. No exceptions. Cheating is the worst betrayal.

Quite simply – of you want to fuck or kiss or be with someone else have the decency to end your relationship first.

If you’re even thinking about someone else the relationship is over.

Cheating means you are taking the piss out of your partner and its disrespectful.

I’d never be able to trust a cheating partner again. I’d be suspicious of everything they said or did.

My partner slept with someone very early on in our relationship. The only reason I stayed with her is because we weren’t a proper couple and hadn’t even gone on a real date. I knew she was special and we had a future together and I didn’t want to throw it away because of foolish pride.

If we had been a proper couple we wouldn’t still be together and I’d have terminated the relationship.

If she cheated now I would leave.

I can put up with anything: my partner’s mental health issues, her paranoia, the fact we’re so different – but I cannot and will not tolerate cheating.

Posted in Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

One Wish For Myself

Yellow Plush ToyI want to be able to write full time.

In an ideal world I want to be famous, make millions and win lots of awards.

What writer doesn’t?

I should get my head out of the clouds because very few writers fall into this category.

I want to be happy and spend my time doing the thing I love which is writing.

I write because it’s what I love and what I’m meant to do with my life.

Money and fame is not my motivation.

I hope I never lose my integrity.

I hope my writing never becomes motivated by material things.

I hope my head is always full of ideas.

Posted in 2017 Writing Challenges, Blog, Creative Journal, Freewrite, Ideas Book, Inspiration

My Favourite Memory

Free stock photo of black-and-white, city, bird, peopleWe arrive in Paris early in the afternoon. Our first holiday in many years.

The crowds at the airport are huge; loud, disorientating and confusing.

We stand frozen on the spot while people swarm around us.

Somehow we manage to find our way outside. We look around for the Metro sign but nothing stands out. We want to ask someone but I speak basic French and you don’t speak any so we’re afraid of looking foolish.

Then we see it, the distinctive large M across the street.

We dodge traffic and people as we hurry across.

The signs inside are in many languages including English. We work out where we need to go, how many tickets to buy, when to get on and off the Metro.

The Metro is a confusing, loud mess. Everyone speaks French. Every seat is full and we squeeze into the last two tucked into a corner, balancing our suitcases on the floor. People begging walk up and down the carriages.

You reach f0r my hand and we grin at each other in the middle of the babel.