I’m sitting in my writing hour.
I face the wall, as recommended by Stephen King (On Writing), but I can see the window. Yesterday, it was light when I woke Mr HB up at seven. It’s dark today at six when I let the cat out. So I think: it’s still dark. It’s Winter.
Then a click clacking starts outside, see-saw cawing, carking and crooking.
It’s the rooks. Flying past the top corner of my window, large black hankies sharp against a grey clouded sky. A group, then another batch, then more. For the first time this year, leaving home for work at daybreak, just like we do. And I know.
It’s getting lighter.
I live somewhere where birds fly past the window all the time.
And then I realise there are fewer of them every year.
What would you give for a world free of war, dependence on fossil fuels, pollution and terrorism? That is the premise for the Alchemy series of books, available on Amazon.
An accidental discovery solving the problem of fossil fuel brings this Utopian vision closer, but at what cost? Could there be unforeseen consequences and how dire would they be? Who could fight demons if all established religion had been abolished?
Put aside demons and add two people more doomed than Romeo and Juliet who are forced to fight alongside each other. Mix in some very energetic Goths and an undercover Christian Granny for an explosive result as each of the stories move at breakneck speed into the near-future blending magical realism with pizza, ritual with slang, deepest hatred with impossible love, shape-shifting with public transport.
Book 1 Alchemy
Book 2 Shaman’s Drum
As it’s February, we knew we’d need the wellies.
‘I haven’t put them in a bag,’ said Mr HB. I grabbed one of several favourite bags from the thousand available, but the wellies didn’t fit into it. My eldest is in the grown up sizes now.
He’s started at 1 again for the last time.
The last time you can fit the wellies into the nice Bookbug bag didn’t seem that poignant. There was, however, an internal downwards feeling. As a parent, I want to enjoy each life stage as it comes. My babies just grow, ever upwards, without a thought about how I might feel about it.
Then I remembered.
The feet within those wellies can walk further and for longer.
More space, more beauty, more air.
We climb to the top of the hills, and right through the forest.
She squeezes into the seat across from me
Two – equally large daughters – manoeuvre across the aisle
They look poor – cheap leisure wear – but good phones
Opens giant size bag of crisps and offers them
daughters decline – they have their own
Headline in my quality paper screams ‘What can we do about our dire diet?’
she reads, glances across, shrugs
With my perfect BMI I snack on a crunchy apple
feel my judgement
But who am I to judge this sad-looking woman?
She may have problems that are my nightmares
I sit there, unwashed hair, sweaty armpits,
clashing pink hat, green scarf, red body warmer
struggling to keep warm
The smart quilted coat was left on the train that divided at Crianlarich
It went to Fort William while I went Oban
What is there to judge?
Today I have been thinking about … parking.
Here in the village, I rarely park, I walk. Roads, built and shaped long before cars, don’t lend themselves to parked cars, and winding country lanes don’t make for safe parking spaces. So we walk, and breathe, picking long grasses to trail in the breeze.
But if I go into Edinburgh, heck! this tinylifer has to know exactly where she is parking. I need a plan. On Chamber Street, maximum four hours, but the museum is right there? Or for free, in Meadow Bank or Ocean Terminal?
The reality is this: if I choose to park at Chamber Street, I can pay.
And if I choose to park further away, I can walk as far as necessary.
If you have to make a choice, at least it means that you have a choice.
My mother told me that she had had a good life. For 50 years, she’d lived in small-town Scotland, the wife of a professional man: she and her immediate family were healthy, comfortable and successful. Those things matter, but I don’t think that’s what she meant, or that her life was necessarily exemplary.
I once asked her why she didn’t work – she’d been a successful secretary before marrying – and she said that she’d chosen not to, so that when my father was on leave, she would be at home, and he would know her friends. With little complaint, she missed ripe avocadoes, company, and her sisters; she raised two children, made friends, volunteered, and read crime fiction. She worked to live with her decisions; that she was able to do so is what I think she meant by a good life.
Today I am thinking about….blogging.
To be honest, as I embarked on this venture, I was mostly terrified.
To put out content at least once a week, trust it to be good enough, commit to crafting something, even this short, every seven days, seems like madness.
But I know that it will be good for me. That my writing should develop, and improve. That I might get valuable feedback to inform future work. That a place online for people to see what I’ve got, what I do, is necessary in these changed days. That I might stop using ‘that’ so much.
I need to trust the online community like I trust my own, to #benice. Soon, my debut novel will be available for anyone to read. It’s time to let my voice sing out a little. Breathe. Join in.
They say you miss what’s right under your nose – they’re right. Despite living two minutes from the coast, I can’t remember the last time I sat and just looked out at ‘my’ patch of blue.
There’s something inspiring about water. This poem was written on a train passing Loch Lomond. I hope it captures the loch for you like it does for me.
Like a millpond
Today, the loch is a millpond;
let it reflect on your troubles,
carry them away as the water flows
luxuriously to the sea.
Today, the loch is a millpond,
still waters running in the depths
of your imagination, capturing
your heart, your mind, your soul.
Tomorrow, the millpond may vanish
into nothing, at the whim of the wind;
choppy as the sea, chopping away
today’s moment of calm.
So, focus on the millpond. Reflect.