Writing/Creativity

Great Eighty Challenge – Writing Challenge

By on February 9, 2018

A colleague put me on to this amazing website, Third Word Press, where you are challenged to write something but only up to 80 words long.  You can win prizes if you win the challenge your work is included in an anthology which is distributed to the homeless who can sell them to raise funds.  Here is my submission for today:

 

Loss

Later, in the quiet of my room, I will cry my own tears. Later. Not Now. Now I have to deal with the faces; strange, disembodied and tear stained. They claw at my soul, expecting comfort; demanding it! My resources are spent. I am numb, pain-free, floating in space and time. No emotion. If I answer their needs they will diminish and later, in the quiet of my room, I will cry my own tears. Later. Not now.

 

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Life | Writing/Creativity

Creativity – It Makes Me Happy!

By on November 10, 2017
creativity, image of train tracks

Creativity has always been a bit elusive and yet I had a bit of a proud moment a few days ago – I made my first sale on Red Bubble – the first time anyone has actually purchased an item of my photography or in fact, rated anything artistic I have ever done let alone like it enough to shell out some cold hard cash.

This was not something that made me lots of money which is fine because that is not the thing that is most important to me at this stage.  As someone who has become convinced that they are the most uncreative individual ever it has been a real boost to my confidence and given me the courage to continue to explore and develop different aspects of my own creativity.

Most of my birth family were creative in some way:  My father could make shoes, including difficult orthopaedic splints etc., my mother could knit amazing things, my brother was a consummate artist, author, musician,  linguist and all-around renaissance man.  My children are all creative, but I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the creativity gene has passed me by.

Essentially this belief was encouraged and increased by people who, for some reason, had a vested interest in suppressing aspects of my nature they found challenging to their own ego:  They were the creative one, I was not.  This has stayed with me throughout my adult life even when my husband constantly nagged encouraged me to give it a go. I was resistant.

My husband would repeatedly point out that I designed websites for a while.  Again, I did not consider that creative.  Now I am not sure why.  I edited other peoples written work, I even published it, but until about 12 months ago had never considered writing and publishing my own. For some reason when I did finally publish something I didn’t really consider it to be an act of creativity. Why? Because how could it be? I’m not creative, remember?

Up until about 6 months ago, I would never even have considered sharing my efforts any wider than the usual posts to friends on social media.  It was only when I stopped comparing myself to other people (invariably coming off worse) that I thought, ‘oh sod it!  Let’s see what happens’.  So, encouraged by my husband and a couple of friends,  I started this blog and a short while later I started to publish some of my images.  People have seemed to enjoy both and it has made me happier than I have been for a while.

My husband is ridiculously pleased that I seem to have developed a passion for both writing and photography, and remarks about how happy I look whenever I am let loose with a camera or write a blog.  I have to say that my camera has been probably one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Now I know I am nowhere near the best photographer there is, I have a long way to go.   I’d like to get to the point where I get more than 10 decent pics and maybe 1 good one out of a 100+ image click-fest.

The support I have had from people thus far has encouraged me to keep writing and also keep clicking away.  I am now at the point where I might venture forth and take some formal photography courses in the new year.  This is a big deal for me, I don’t have a history of great experiences with teachers of anything remotely involving creativity.  However, I do need to learn certain skills and I need to learn it from a firm foundation and build from there. I’d love to work on and improve the areas I am really interested in – the nature, urban and landscape photography, and also be able to present a decent portrait shot.  If I am going to do this I need to bite the bullet and get out there.

 

 

 

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Life | Memoir | Writing/Creativity

Apron – Memoir Prompt #1

By on September 17, 2017

A recent book (The Butterfly Hours) gave a list of memoir prompts to assist in the writing of a memoir.

Apron

Wearing aprons for housework is no longer in vogue however back in the 1960s and ’70s when I was growing up most of my friends mums, and my own, wore some sort of apron or housecoat style covering when doing the housework.

My own mother had 2 distinct styles of apron which were used for very different purposes:

credit: doyouremember.co.uk

The ‘overalls’ were the ones she wore in my Dad’s shop and basically covered everything.  In fact it was some sort of coat affair made out of nylon which was pretty much ubiquitous at that time or so it seemed.  This sort of overall was routinely seen on women working in factories, cleaning or in fact doing any kind of labour that might cause clothing damage or mishaps.  Most of the women in the grocers and the butchers shops, for example, wore these outfits.

The ‘indoors’ apron was a completely different style:  this one tended to be

Credit: Etsy Shop: Back to the Yesteryear

either a half moon design which stopped at the waist or one that had some sort of strange bib arrangement similar to dungarees.  I never actually saw her wear these, I can always remember watching her folding the top down and wondering why she just didn’t buy the one without the bib.  This apron was multi purpose:  It stopped you messing up your clothes but I also saw it used in lieu of oven gloves on multiple occasions.  These ones were always much more fancy – floral with plenty of frilly bits.  Often the pockets were sewn on at jaunty angles or were shaped to accentuate the theme of the apron ie, a flower or a heart.  This was high fashion cleaning wear!

The thing that these aprons all had in common was the pockets – or  more specifically, the contents thereof.  In every single pocket in every single apron or overall you were guaranteed to find some tissue – kitchen roll to be exact – and a packet of mints (Trebor in the 1960s and 1970s, replaced in the 1980s by Tic Tacs mainly I believe, because she loved the adverts).

 

I can kind of see why …

 

 

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Poetry | Writing/Creativity

The Uninvited Guest – A Poem by someone who doesn’t write poems.

By on September 11, 2017

You come creeping  on slow, silent feet.

You enter my life unbidden and unwelcome spreading shadows in your wake.

Your tiny whispers poison me; sucking the life from my soul.

You come as a friend, a mother, a lover,

A confidante with gestures of concern to disguise your malevolence.

Your tiny voice slips in under the radar, quiet at first until it booms

in my brain.

Your demands to be heard will not be denied.

Slowly your critique undermines, gently, sweetly at first.

A question here, a comment there.

Time  passes and you grow strong.

My Will, My Self is eroded away.

I  diminish as you grow, fading softly and imperceptibly into the void.

Now there is no ‘me’, there is only you, my uninvited guest.

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Writing/Creativity

Midlife and Creative Desires – AKA, how I got to do this blog

By on September 2, 2017

This blog is the culmination of a few things but in the most part a nagging supportive husband and people constantly telling me, ‘you really should write’. Apparently I’m quite good at it and as midlife is allegedly a time where one can release ones creative impulses here goes nothing!

After months – or rather years – of nagging encouragement by said husband I finally started to get my act together in the form of buying a couple of books about the writing process. The first was entitled Writing Down the Bones, an astoundingly good read by Natalie Goldberg and the second The Butterfly Hours by a woman called Patty Dannm (links here if you’re interested). Essentially the main message is that if you want to write you have to write, about anything and everything. I gave it a go and this is where my pen took me.

I always used to write as a child, in fact, creative writing was one of my favourite subjects when I was at school and although I was not always that original back then I enjoyed it and had the confidence to do it. I even used to illustrate some of them with either images of the main protagonists (usually horses back then, like many a small girl I had a thing for horses!) but also with maps which were bizarrely Tolkien-esque considering I had never heard of him at that stage. I would spend hours on these maps penciling in details like forests and mountains before colouring them in. This artistic creativity also stopped at some point and although I used to be sure of when and why that happened, on reflection I am not so sure.

I can remember vividly being ridiculed for my artwork in primary school (because as we know every 5 year old is secretly Rembrandt and is just not trying hard enough!) and I had always put my lack of confidence in any form of creative work down to that, but thinking back on it I was still drawing and writing throughout my school years, and indeed after I left school. It wasn’t as if I expected anyone to read or look at my writing or art, I did it out of enjoyment for myself and then suddenly I stopped. Maybe I did get to thinking, ‘I hope no one every reads this, or views my artwork’, but actually was it that terrible? So terrible that it should prevent me from ever picking up a pen or opening a sketchbook? In fact I see plenty of creative people producing stuff I don’t particularly like, it’s all subjective at the end of the day. The only thing they actually have that I lack is the confidence and the willingness to actually do it!

So ultimately I guess it is that old feeling that what I want to do is actually not important enough to set time aside for – after all I am not producing masterpieces, a magnum opus, earning my first million or being available to meet the needs of other people. Why is it that my wanting to spend my time on doing what I want to do is considered less important or valid (by me) than doing something else? Ultimately I guess what is important is what I am going to do about it. I’ve been lucky in that I have been surrounded by a lot of brave, talented and creative women where I live, constantly a source of inspiration and also a hugely nagging supportive husband who has really made it his mission to release the creative inner me. So I guess this is the first step. Be gentle with me!

 

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