So having finally completed my English degree I now have the fun job of trawling through all of my files to find my fantastic piece’s of writing to put onto here. The job his hard and tedious, I have far too many draft 1’s, 2’s 99999’s! As well as a creative tendency when it came to naming the files, ‘I can fucking do this.’ appears to be a favourite of mine. So, enjoy!
The heat penetrates through my masquerade
Awakening the twisted memories of my soul
As I dream of the sheets where we once laid
I am no longer that breakable porcelain doll.
A little excerpt from a project I am working on. This was originally started as an exercise on A363 Advanced creative writing. (Open University).
The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows. A body lies across the doorstep of the church, a line of crumb-carrying ants marches across the fedora covering its face. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease. A figure glides past the church wall, before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.
The army of ants are sent scattering as the body suddenly moves. The young woman bats the fedora away from her face, startled by its presence. The baby’s cry grows louder, piercing through the early morning sunrise that creeps slowly through the quiet village streets. Scrambling to her feet, she leans against the wooden door. She looks around the square, her eyes tired, unfocused she struggles to keep them open. She can hear rushed footsteps heading towards the door. She doesn’t have time to move as the wooden door is swung open and she is roughly pulled in through the small gap.
‘It’s ok Cassie, it’s ok. Jackson advised me of your coming. Please, please there is no need to be scared.’
Cassie pushes herself as far into the cold concrete wall as she can go. Her heart thumping wildly as her eyes try to make sense of the darkness. A single red candle flickers in the far right corner of the church. The babies cry becomes increasingly desperate as it screams for food. The piercing sound penetrating the sacred concrete, echoing around the cold, empty church. Cassie pulls her sleeves over her hands and pressing them hard against her ears.
‘It is not real Cassie, the screams you hear. They are not real.’
She stopped rocking for a moment and opened her eyes to look closely at the father. His eyes looked dark, brown, thought Cassie. From the small amount of candle light Cassie saw the fathers eyes as jaded, surrounded by soft wrinkled skin. There was a softness in his face, a comforting beat to his voice.
‘You hear it though father? I hear it nightly, crying, screaming, sobbing and then silence.’
‘Yes Cassie, I too hear it.’
‘Please father, if I could find the baby, I could love it, feed it, cherish it.’
The father placed his soft warm hands against Cassie’s face and slowly lifted her chin. He looked into her eyes. He noted the dilation her eyes. It was clear by the colour of skin, a mottled white and purple that she had been in contact with the drug for a long time. He gently rubbed his fingers beneath her eyes, wiping away the tears that had fell.
‘There is no baby Cassie. It is a rues used by the others to trick you into leaving your home at night. There is no baby.
Some more life writing from A215.
As far back as I can remember I have always been afraid of thunder storms. I can; if I must, trace it back to the exact day, when the harmless flashes in the sky and soft rumblings went from being an act of god, to being a deadly act of nature, that had the power to bring the strongest woman I know to her knees.
I was barely eight years old. I remember the change in atmosphere inside the old Victorian classroom. A darkness that the teacher tried in vain to hide behind the flourescent lights. A silence that somehow felt warm and soothing as our pencils run across the page. I half hoped that the reddening sky was an indication of snow, I was still young and my mind was only just beginning to become aware of its surroundings. Seasons were something the teacher spoke about, they came and went, it made perfect sense to me that day as I sat in front of my wooden desk, that summer had ended and winter had arrived with its snow filled clouds.
I don’t remember how I got home. Whether I walked alone, or someone met me. I just recall sitting on the couch staring out of the window at the sky. I was so mesmerised by the colours of muted orange combined with a dirty grey. Anticipation bubbled in my stomach, a change was coming.
My Gran was visiting. She sat at the far end of the couch. Her silver white hair pinned back into a perfect bun, her blue house coat taut across her bust. Her skin was perfect, wrinkle free, I still have no idea how old she is, but I feel sure now that she is older than her appearance suggests. She smiled her warm smile at me. Her small lips pulled in tight, her eyes grinning happily at me. A change was coming, a change that would leave a dent in my persona for years to come.
I sat listening to my mother and gran talking. My mum is Scottish but has mastered the English accent to almost perfection. Sitting there listening however she slipped back into her Scottish roots. My gran’s accent was always the hardest to understand. Her strong Scottish accent carried her southern Irish roots heavily. Listening to them talk was beautiful. There accents acted as reassurance that I was amongst family.
A flash filled the room. The air was sucked from my lungs as the peaceful room became a chaotic scene. My grans voice boomed throughout the house the soft warm accent replaced by her Irish roots as a harsh to be feared scream echoed, my mum came running into the room. I had never seen my grans hair down lose before. It was long, so long it fell down her back into a perfect point settling just above her buttocks, the metal Kirby grips were discarded into the kitchen. ‘Stay down’ she shouted at me, she needn’t have shouted I was rooted to the spot. I watched as she scooped my younger sister up into her arms, one tug and the terry nappy fell to the floor, the metal safety pins discarded, also into the kitchen. My mum spun through the living room switching of the plug sockets the tv died, leaving a small white flash in the centre of the screen. ‘Stay down, stay down.’ she demanded as if knowing what was coming next. The bang shook through the house, tears sprung to my eyes. Loud and long. My hands begun to shake. ‘Its okay, its just god.’ she said. For the first time I knew she was lying. She pressed her fingers to her St Christopher and started mumbling, her words were fast and cloaked in accent.
I sat there unsure of why I wasn’t allowed to move, unsure of what would happen if I did. Flashes continued to fill the room as the storm grew closer. ‘Count between the flashes.’ someone said. I felt that the red sky had betrayed me.
Before long I begun twitching in my seat. My own body was betraying me as I tried hard, to not think about the wee that was filling my bladder. Desperation was not far away and I began to panic. ‘Go toilet.’ my mum demanded. I was suddenly aware of how much I missed my dad. I had only been living at my mums house for a couple of months, bought up by my dad I was still finding my feet in this new and confusing home. ‘It wont be for long’ he had said as he kissed me good bye. I longed now for his reassuring words, for his lies that god was banging around up stairs playing with the light switches, I wanted anything but the truth, this truth.
I don’t know if finally someone told me or if perhaps I conjoured my own image but I somehow knew. The lightening was waiting for an unsuspecting person to cross between the windows. It raged through the sky getting angrier and angrier as it missed. I could see the path it would take. Crashing through the back window that over looked the garden before zapping the life out of whoever dared to move. I was eight years old and scared, and in my young and innocent mind I believed that my mum wanted that person to be me, she wanted me to stand up, to sacrifice myself to thunderous god above, and move before the window, she wanted the lightening to take me, she didn’t want me.
There was a storm last night. He slowly rumbled through the skies. It waited till the dead of night, when its flashes would cause the most fright. The sheets of lightening filled the entire sky, once twice three times in a matter of seconds I pulled the cover up over my head, hating that the flashes had the power to penetrate through my eye lids, there is no escape from the angry light that fills the night. The rumbles were low and long, grumbling through the torrential rain. As the storm grew closer I quivered beneath the bed clothes, the windows of my once safe bedroom taunting me with their threat of death. I counted, 1,2,3,4 and jumped as the room shook. I listened to the in-between sounds, the soft snores from the other room, I listened to innocence of her as she slept through the anger. Until gratefully I fell into slumber, grateful that another storm had passed without me passing this terrible fear onto my beautiful daughter, who believes that every once in a while even god needs to go onto the time out chair.
This is some life writing I did last year whilst completing A215 Creative writing with the Open university.
The Bumble Bee.
Is there a mystical force at work just outside my front door? I sometimes wonder. It’s the portal between reality and home and something always has to happen just as we cross its boundary. I’m suspicious when it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s a forgotten item; water bottles, coats and jumpers. Sometimes it’s the wonder of nature, the streaming rain or howling winds. Today it was a Bumble Bee, I didn’t hear the little wings flapping furiously in flight, or see its black and yellow suit of armour, but Emily did. She stood rooted to the spot, just there, at the door entrance, one foot in one foot out. Complete silence fell upon us as she stood un-moving, her arms out stretched, her face frozen into a position of fear.
‘Mum it’s a bee.’ she said, her eye’s glancing toward me.
I took a deep breath and let the front door slam shut, hoping to scare the ferocious flying insect away. I knew better than to question the where abouts of the bee, instead I repeated the same mantra I have repeated since the first day she discovered that they have a stinger attached to them.
‘It’s ok leave the bee alone and it will leave you alone.’ I said, hoping my voice was convincing enough.
We were running late and any delay would mean cancelling our quick stop of at the park. Her fear quickly thawed as the buzz became a distant hum and off we went.
I don’t like bee’s they move to fast and appear out of no where. Avoid them, that’s the advice, but how when they insist on following you? I hide my fear, or at least I try too. Emily-Rose is a naturally anxious child. She doesn’t need the burden of another persons fear on her young shoulders. So I don’t scream or wave my arms around in a frenzied attempt to avoid the bee, I simply take a deep breath and move away, whilst my thumping heart attempts to break through my rib cage.
‘Have you ever been stunged by a bee mum?’ she said.
I dread these questions. I want to tell her the truth. Nothing good ever comes from a lie, but am I just fuelling her fear? The problem with impromptu questions is you never have time to consider the right way to answer it. The swings are calling us with the schools bell echoing fast behind it, the sun is distracting and the morning rush is upon us.
And there you go the answer is out there, I know what the next question will be, am I prepared? Of course not, I’m too busy enjoying the feel of the warm rays of sun that are finally spilling across my skin.
‘Did it hurt?’
‘Yes it did.’ I said.
Her face looks a picture of horror. Her blue eyes open wide, and her jaw dropped open, I have just destroyed her world. I am mum, I am indestructible, nothing hurts me. I can see the words swimming around in her mind, if the bee sting hurt mum then what will it do to her? Its time to slow down the pace and have ourselves a serious conversation.
‘I was the same age as you. Me and my friends were playing on the big log at the far end of the school playing field when I got stung.’
‘You was just little?’
Children have such a hard time imagining their parents were ever small. They see the pictures and have heard the stories, but like ogres monsters and dragons they suspect these are just ugly rumours or amazing fairy tales, what they are not, is true. In Emily’s world, little mum is an entirely different being to who I am now, she is a small child with blue eyes and yellow hair that looks distinctively like Emily’s most recent school photo. Little mum is a world of amazing bedtime stories and soft tears in granddad’s eyes as he recalls the days gone by, little mum is photographic evidence and prove of our connection little mum is not and never will be big mum, not in Emily’s world.
‘Yep, I was just little.’
I breath deep knowing I have redeemed myself. I am once again Superwoman and nothing can hurt me. I hold her hand a little tighter, her soft fingers interlocking with mine. The sun is beating down on our backs, the birds are chirping and there is a cheerful energy all around us.
‘Did you cry mum?’
‘Yes, a little.’
Here I am again lying to her. Parents would make fantastic politicians, we seem to constantly lie, or bend the truth as a politician might say. Yes I did cry, I screamed so loud that my brother heard it from the other side of the playing field. He came charging over demanding to know who was hurting his sister. My brother had the cutest little face back then. The family blue eyes and porcelain white skin all set together with orange hair, that’s right orange. There are so many ways to describe his hair, auburn, strawberry blonde, ginger or orange. Carrot top that’s what they called him once, just once because he also had the temper to match. So standing there by the old long forgotten log at the far end of the play ground beneath the summer blue skies I screamed whilst my brother attempted to defend my honour.
‘Did it hurt a lot?’
Did it hurt a lot? An amazingly simple question that requires such a complex answer. What she is really asking is what happened next? Did an ambulance come rushing onto the school field with its red and blue lights flashing, did I lose a limb, did a war break out around me the little people versus the bees, was a potion required that could only be obtained from the highest peaks of the highest mountains. She wasn’t looking for a simple yes or no, she wanted to know everything.
‘No just a little.’
‘Did you have to go ‘ospital ?’
‘No. No hospital. They stuck an onion on it and made me sit in a classroom.’
‘An ONION, where did it stinged you?’
‘It was on my neck, but it’s all healed now’
Of course this revelation means we have to stop so she can investigate my neck. Her small hands hold back my hair and she leans in closely, other mums, dads and people with kids are having to walk around us as we kneel in the middle of the cold damp alley that leads to the school gates. The sun never reaches this far and the alley is always cold and dreary, no flowers grow here, no bees fly here.
‘Mum, if you get stinged in your belly the sting goes right through and you die.’
And there we go, her fear of the little buzzing black and yellow insect has a root cause.
‘Emily, has daddy been letting you watch futurama again?’ I know the answer is yes before she even has to speak. Mentally I am thinking of the best way to handle the situation, should I string him up first and then torture him? Or perhaps a marathon day of Barbie movies will do the trick?
I have a path, all of my own,
filled with love and hate, where
I can live and call it home.
I’ve walked along a sandy shore,
with sun kissed skin, and
tapped upon a lover’s door.
I’ve watched the waves come crashing in and
with the devils help, I’ve
spent a day, or two in sin.
I’ve cried, effortless, tears of loss
beneath a clear lunar sky,
and felt my heart begin to frost.
I’ve sworn that grey is blue,
blue is grey, upon a lie
and now I know that it is true.
and all because,
I have a path, all of my own,
where I must live, and call it home.
I have a path, all of my own.
Where I can live, and call it home.
I’ve walked along a sandy shore,
and tapped upon a lover’s door.
I’ve watched the waves come crashing in
and spent a day, or two, in sin.
I have a path, that is my own,
where I fight my demons
for my unknown reason’s,
where I can be, and call it home.