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Writing Meme #16

This meme is great because I like to be unique and non-conventional – one of my aunts calls me ‘bohemian’. It was great to see that, as a writer, I’m not ‘normal’. I hope you’ll agree with me 🙂

Normal Ship

Initially, I was attracted to this meme because of the image. My Dad was a ‘Yachty’ and we sailed a few times off the East coast of the UK from where Dad moored the yacht – a beautiful place called Walton-on-Naze, which is between Ipswich and Colchester. You can sail there out to Hamford Water which is a nature reserve (we got permission to scatter Dad’s ashes there too and the Harbour Master took us all out on his boat followed by Dad’s Yachty friends saiing his Yacht ‘Seeking’ out while we did it. You can also sail up through between Harwich and the port of Felixstowe and sail up the River Orwell and under the Orwell Bridge but we always moored up or anchored, had a picnic lunch and then sailed back. I have some lovely memories, which also include sailing over to Shotley Point, eating a gorgeous lunch at the restaurant/bar there before sailing back to Walton. There was a lovely restaurant on Titchmarsh Marina where Dad moored the Yacht. It was called ‘Harbour Lights’ and they catered for all tastes and budgets. Great memories. Until next time NN 🙂

 

Writing

Writing Meme #15

Today’s writing meme comes from Joseph Heller and quotes the pain we all know (and love?) Those times when nothing drips from the pools of your mind and you sit wondering when inspiration will strike. My tip ‘keep on writing’ even if it’s gobbledegook, as long as you’re writing anything all of a sudden an idea will come and the engine will fire up again!

trouble

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The Farthest and A Brave & Startling Truth

The other evening I watched a feature length documentary about the Voyager missions to investigate the outer planets of our solar system. ‘The Farthest’  (Emer Reynolds), tells the story of what is described as ‘man’s greatest achievement’.

I discovered so much and really enjoyed hearing about the process of designing, building, launching and then the waiting as the Voyagers made their way through the billions of miles.

the farthest

 

Today, coincidence or not I was reading ‘Brain Pickings’ by Maria Popova (I receive a weekly digest of the pieces she shares) when I came across a piece about ‘A Brave and Startling Truth‘ by Maya Angelou – one of the very many people who were inspired by the results of Carl Sagan’s suggestion that the team turn the cameras towards the Earth, as the Voyager completed its mission and passed Pluto on the way to interstellar space. Initially, unable to spot Earth on the images, they then spotted a tiny spot of blue within one of the scattered light/sun beams.

In 1994, Carl Sagan described the Earth in the image as a ‘pale blue dot’  and this became the name of the photograph and Sagan’s bestselling book. He wrote:

everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives’ on this ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.’

Carl Sagan Copyright © 1994 by Carl Sagan, Copyright © 2006 by Democritus Properties, LLC. All rights reserved including the rights of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

converted PNM file
Pale Blue Dot – image taken by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990

Maya Angelou’s poem was composed for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995. It was directly inspired by Carl Sagan’s naming of the photograph. I was moved when reading it today because of what is going on around the world right now. The ‘brain pickings’ post was a video of Astrphycicist Janna Levin reading the poem as part of the second ‘Universe in Verse‘ series, which is an annual charitable celebration of science through poetry. You can link to and watch the video here. But below is the full poem.

A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

“A Brave and Startling Truth” was included in Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry, which is available on Amazon.

Until next time. NN 🙂

 

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Creative Writing Challenge

despisableTake a word generated from a random word generator and google an image for it. Write a story about/from that image. My word was ‘Despisable’. My image is this ↓although I’m not using the wording.

Your-false-Friendship

“That’s not what I said!” I shouted at her. “You never listen to me!”

“Go fuck yourself!” She choked back at me.

“It’ll still be better than any fuck you’ve ever given me…”

And I let those few words hang in the air as she stopped breathing, her jaw dropped and her eyebrows raised in that bloody cute way they always did.

Oh, I was in for trouble now, if she’d ever pick up her jaw from the floor! We’d had the grand total of six arguments in less than that amount of days, and we’d only been married for two of them.

The silence was as good as visible. Hues of hot Orange mist moving slowly through time; the slo-mo a cross between the upwards smash of powder paint and an artist’s airbrush. I was ok as long as the hue didn’t deepen into Red.

I coudn’t bear it anymore and turned to leave the room before my ear drums burst from the  pressure!

‘Where do you think you’re going?’ she chucked it out with as much venom as she could inflect.

‘Anywhere that’s not here!’ I did a heel spin and left the room, leaving the door open – I wasn’t going to give her more fuel by slamming it, although it took all my energy to resist.

I heard a strange, gutteral sound and turned to see her breaking down. At that moment, despite loving her more than anything I’d ever loved before I kept moving.

‘Disa!’ she screamed at me. ‘Don’t go. Don’t leave!’ As she gulped, I wanted to go back but pride was preventing me from returning to what was now a lousy day for the beginnings of our honeymoon.

The sun was shining and I took in a deep breath of sultry air. Italy was oven-hot but worth it for the joy of seeing the sights; landmarks I’d only ever dreamed of seeing. Sharing those joys with someone special ideally, although it seemed to have gone wrong a touch.

Jeez, what do I do now? I’m not going back to the apartment. Can’t stand arguing. We’d only just got up after a blissful, what I’ll just call a lie-in, to spare anyone’s blushes.  Last night was a long one and at some point had merged with the morning, a fact which we’d both been blissfully unaware. The reminders still tingled on my lips and skin and I could smell her on my hair.

I feel completely lost and I’m not behaving the way I usually would. I’d usually be the one trying to smooth things over, the emotional one, but something had just clicked inside and I felt like I didn’t want to be that person anymore. This bar will do. A beer in the sun will help calm me down.

Have you ever noticed how the biggest arguments start over the tiniest and most insignificant things? Well, this was that. She’d mentioned that I still didn’t do what Chelsea did to satisfy her – I hope you read that with the sarcastic edge I wanted to convey. Silly bitch of an ex! If she wanted Chelsea, she should have married Chelsea! God, I wanted to have Chelsea stood in front of me right now so I could tell her how much I hated her! The woman was despisable! Two days into our marriage and there she was, getting in the way already.

The coffee was too small and didn’t hit the spot, so I ordered another and a double brandy and tipped the coffee into the brandy glass. The coffee cups here are far too small so it had to be that way.  It got me a few strange looks from the other cutomers and one of the cameriere, mind you he’d given us a couple of black looks in the bar last night when we’d sat holding hands and kissing over the table.

How long can you make a drink last? I wanted to neck it but I also wanted to sip at it and let her sit in the apartment thinking about who she wanted to be with.

I realised I’d been gone for nearly two hours, so I headed back. Expecting the door to be deadlocked I was surprised to find I didn’t need to even use the key and as I walked over the threshold saw that my case was packed, but so was hers.

I now felt the emotion rising and a tinge of panic. What the…

 

 

 

 

 

Writing

Writing Meme #13

I love Neil Gaiman’s quotes. I think I may do a ‘Neil Gaiman Quotes Day’ in honour of the great man! Today has been a manic day and I’d been uber-organised and done all the chores, got dinner on the hob this morning so I could sit down and write all afternoon. Of course it didn’t happen, and that’s not great, especially with NanoWriMo being just around the corner. These are my practice runs! That said I did get to the library to collect 3 research books I’d booked for collection and managed to mail four letters and pick up a few groceries while I was out.  Whilst my plan for today went awry it does mean I am free now all weekend to write as much as I like… NN 🙂

Gaiman (3)

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Daily Challenge – What is your favourite Disney Character?

This piece should have been published ages ago but I’ve been looking through so many gorgeous pictures of my favourite characters that I forgot to come and press ‘Publish’!

 

I’ve always loved Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and I also love Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I do love other characters though, however I’m only happy to wear clothing depicting the absolute favourites aready mentioned.

I’m hoping to get back to sharing some creative pieces from tomorrow. Until next time! NN 🙂

Writing

Writing Meme #12

Today’s meme comes from Ernest Hemingway.

I’ve discovered from my own writing how much work is done to improve the piece of writing you wish to share with anyone. I can sit and improve things several times, but then sometimes go back to an earlier version – I really dislike the auto-save facility in Word now as it automatically saves every so often and I’ve lost some earlier versions of a piece which I’d still like access to. I’ve now learnt to switch it off and save several versions. I’m not a technophobe but tracking changes sends me into stress-head-mode! I’ve just purchased Scrivener to try to use but I’ve already messed up one WIP by thinking I’d started a new project to discover it’s tagged on to the previous project as a new chapter. I’m sure it’ll be easy once I get used to it. Anyway, the first draft of anything will never be THE published (or shared) version and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to re-draft and re-edit until a piece shines. NN 🙂

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Daily Challenge – Why Do You Write?

 

I’ve always been a writer. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy creating stories. As a young child pieces of my work were in 3 separate publications. I wish I had copies of them so I could scan and share them but sadly they’re long gone in house moves, etc.

I then moved on to poetry; writing a set of poems based on the seasons. When I found those recently they seemed so naive and just ‘wrong’ on so many levels! The bases are good, though they need major reworks before I’d share them.

pink hair

In my early 20s I wrote chick-lit-style stories and pieces à la E.L. James or which would look right in a Black Lace Novel.

In my 30s it was academic papers, as I studied towards a BA (Hons) in English Language. I attained a 2:1 and was ready for a break from the keyboard for a while once I’d graduated.

I write now because I love putting myself through several hours of stress  creating pieces which people will enjoy. I love playing with words and ultimately my aim is to write something mindblowingly beautiful.

I admire so many writers for their ability to tell a story. There are so many authors out there and trying to ist every great author or story would take me all night, however favourites for their ability to tell a story well, to affect me and use language beautifully are Sebastian Faulks, Diana Galbadon, Gail Honeyman, Margaret Attwood, Stephen King, Jessie Burton, Jojo Moyes as well as well as authors of the classics i.e. Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

My ambition would be to have a book published which would create the fuss Gail Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ has. To evoke joy as well as sadness, to make readers both laugh and cry and to leave them wanting more, both from the story and from me as the author. Until next time! NN 🙂

 

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Writing Meme #11

ideas as going off to sleepHow many nights has this happened to you? It’s happened to me so many times that you’d think I’d learn to keep a notebook by the bed so I can write the ideas down, but no, I keep my TBR stack there instead. Someone fantastic though invented these gadgets known as mobile/cell phones and apps you can write notes in! For the first time ever in my life if I get an idea/s I’m able to write them down before I then settle again to go to sleep. Of course this is ok until you get such a long idea that you eventually give up on sleep at all and make your way to the laptop, kettle, yawning and stretching, to tap it all in to the laptop.

There have been many mornings I’ve gotten up and gone straight back to the laptop to check if I actually tapped out some great ideas the night before. Some have been great and many, many have needed a lot of work!

The lesson is IGNORE SLEEP AND WRITE THOSE IDEAS DOWN as they slip away and never return. NN 🙂

 

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Word of the Day #8

Today’s word is ‘hobbledehoy’. Today’s dictionary is Lexico (powered by Oxford)

hobbledehoy

NOUN

informal, dated

  • ‘It listed the views of various members of Congress: not any old hobbledehoys either, but the party leaders, mostly Republican, whose support would be crucial to the political viability of any Pentagon plan.’
  • ‘The true hobbledehoy is much alone, not being greatly given to social intercourse even with other hobbledehoys.’
  • ‘He looked frankly what he was – a hobbledehoy – though he made great efforts to seem grown up.’

A clumsy or awkward youth.

lout, boor, barbarian, Neanderthal, churl, clown, gawk, hulk, bumpkin, yoke

ADJECTIVE

informal, dated

 

Awkward or clumsy.

‘his hobbledehoy hands’

Mid 16th century of unknown origin.

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Daily Challenge

Today’s challenge again comes from kat-xx on tumblr.

Seven Things That Cross Your Mind A Lot  

  1. Mortality – My family members and my own. I’m 49 and have an elderly Mum and Stepdad, my husband is coming up 58, I have an older sister – 50, and 2 younger sisters – 41 and 45.  Thinking about mortality has become a thing in the last couple of years but even more so this year.

My Mum has had one problem after another in the last few years and we’ve nearly lost her twice. Having been recently diagnosed with heart failure my mind is always wondering how much long she’ll live for, as for her age she’s very fragile. I saw her this morning and she was very tired and kept dropping off to sleep on and off throughout the 90 odd minutes we were there.

mortality
Picture from Time.com

Just over a week before her 50th my sister had a stroke. She’s recovering well and is back at work but you can see differences in her since it happened and as I’m only 13 months younger than her it does make me wonder if there’s something on the horizon for me., although 2019 has been a better health year for me. I made a conscious effort to make changes to my diet and lifestyle and follwed an 800 calorie a day eating plan which reversed my tpe 2 diabetes. A great side effect of the eating plan was that I’ve lost 2 clothes sizes and in total 22 and 1/4 inches from my thighs, hips, tum, chest and spare tyre. It’s the visceral fat I was hoping would reduce and it’s certainly majorly reduced. I feel much better in myself too. Thankfully, my husband has supported me (he always does) and he’s also lost weight and visceral fat.

2. Writing – ..and all that entails. I have days where I get a lot of ideas and days where I get no ideas at all. Like my thoughts on my Writing Meme today Writing Meme #10 I usually do a writing exercise using randomly generated words. The best one I’ve found is Text Fixer as they offer other tools, including a doc. to html facility.

3. Our Son – He’s 24 and lives on the south coast. He’s currently going through some difficult times and with him being so far away (we’re on the East coast) I’m always conscious that if there were an emergency it’d take us 3 1/2 hours non-stop (with no traffic) to reach him. Thankfully, there are no urgent needs right now. I’d love him to live closer though so I could be within a short drive or train ride.

4. The U.K and it’s future – You’d have to have been living on another planet the last 3 years if you didn’t know about the U.K, the referendum on whether we should leave or remain the European Union and the subsequent fallout. Two new Prime Ministers later and we’re no further firward but stuck in the mud with no deal for leaving amicably and ever worsening relations within our own parliament and with Europe and its’ leaders.

uk brexit

5. Pollution/Global Warming – I wrote about my feelings regarding the plastic pollution issue only yesterday within the post I wrote to accept my nomination for The Liebster Award 2019.

I’m frightened every day for the future of my son and his children and grandchildren. There are so many extreme weather occurrences happening, believed to be caused directly by global warming; the continued use of fossil fuels releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide & greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and I have huge concerns regarding the deforestation of large areas to keep up with the increase in demands for palm oil – these farms are wiping out huge areas of oxygen-releasing trees – those trees which act as the lungs of the Earth. They’re also killing Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed to make way for the palm oil farms. With nowhere else to go these animals then enter villages and oil plantations in search of food where they are then capture killed by the farmers who treat them as pests. The area destroyed to make room for palm oil farming now equals the size of New Zealand.Global_warming

The current Amazon forest fires are adding to this concern in a major way, especially this year; The increased rates of fire counts in 2019 led to international concern about the fate of the Amazon rainforest, which is the world’s largest carbon dioxide sink and plays a significant role in global climate change. Added to that continuing plastic production, plastic pollution, most-especially affecting our oceans and marine life to the extent the reefs are dying and many species are dying or failing to thrive. This then impacts the food chain of many countries and there’ll be higher incidences of famine.

There’s a great post from last summer by the Earth Institute, click Climate Change and the picture below illutstrates all of the areas at risk.

Elements at risk from Global Warming
Picture from USA Today

 

6. Inequality for the disabled (including lack of access and facilities). I get so frustrated when I’m out using my wheelchair. There are still so many places which remain inaccessible to the disabled. A wooden ramp costs just pence in the grand scheme of things so businesses with older buildings should be able to provide a ramp if a disabled person wishes to use their shop/cafe/restaurant/pub/office/conference room/etc.

I booked on to a conference and after paying for my ticket thought I better check the accessibility for the buiding. I was horrified to find the conference was taking place in a first floor conference room and there were no options for disabled attendees. In the end they hurriedly arranged a Skype link so I could hear the conference and join in. They apologised because they’d just not considered the needs of anyone disabled who may wish to attend.

wheelchair-and-stairs

I was in town with a friend and we decided to use a restaurant. My friend had to step in and ask if they had a ramp. They managed to bring one from the back of the restaurant and get me inside but due to wanting maximum covers there was just no room for my friend and I to sit comfortably without my being knocked every time the waiter or other patrons walked by.

I don’t want this to sound like it’s all about me as I’m not the only person who is in need of this access and these facilities. Some places are so disabled user friendly these days but I don’t want to always be using modern, clinical buildings. I want a bit of atmosphere and history. I would like inclusivity. It’s not asking for the world but just a bit more of consideration for all.

7. Food – As I already said I changed my way of eating earlier this year. As a type 2 diabetic – now in remission – I am still a carb addict and I have to deal with the addiction every day. I fall off the wagon and eat a bread roll, or the odd (large) box or bucket of popcorn but am trying to get to grips with it and keep things under control.

popcorn

I’m not proud to say  that I’m struggling a little at the moment. I haven’t gone mad (apart from the popcorn) but a little dirty carb (things made from refined flours  i.e bread, crackers, cakes, pastries, and sugars i.e cakes and pastries, sweets/candy, and also those carbohydrate meal accompaniments such as rice, pasta, potatoes, noodles),  are making their way slowly back in to my life.

The maintenance part of my new way of eating (WOE) is to gradually introduce some dirty carbs back into the eating plan, however I am supposed to still be following an 8-12 week plan. Whilst my BMI is only 0.4 points from a weight considered to be ‘normal’ I still have a further 4 inches to lose from my waist in order to be considered at a lower risk of slipping back in to diabetes. With 8 inches gone already the last 4 should be easy but it’s getting harder, especially with the weather turning cooler and the nights drawing in. These are the days of thick soups, stews with dumplings and casseroles, where salad becomes scarce or looks odd on your plate.

Thankfully, I’ve only been eating a form of dirty carb at lunch time (2 slices of milk loaf or 4 crackers). At dinner time my carb substitute is either a salad or cauliflower rice with other steamed veggies. I think I may have to swap out the dirty carbs at lunchtime so I can have a single dumpling or yorkshire pudding with my dinner.

What sort of things cross your mind? Are mine normal? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts. Until next time! NN 🙂

 

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Word of the Day #7

                                                                                                                                                      Today’s dictionary is Dictionary.com

gasconade

Gasconade

Noun – extravagant boasting; boastful talk.
Verb (used without object), gas·con·ad·ed, gas·con·ad·ing. to boast extravagantly; bluster.

RELATED WORDS
blow, exult, exaggerate, crow, flaunt, bully, brag, gloat, fake, flourish,advertise, bluster, aggrandize, con, cock-a-doodle-doo

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Writing Meme #10

you-cant-think-yourself-out_rogers-quote

Actually, thinking about it John Rogers is right. The actual block is with our minds as we don’t know what to write. I tend to get myself out of a block by going to the Oracle (Google) and finding a random word generator ask it to generate 10-12 words. I then write a short piece where I have to use all the generated words. By the time I’m done I’m usually itching to get going on my WIPs.

Does anyone have any other tips or tricks for getting out of the rut?

 

Writing

Daily Challenge

Today’s challenge comes from a picture which has no data on it to remind me of where it came from. I think I may have found it on the oracle (Google, but other search engines are available!

The challenge is simply ‘Old Photograph.’  I wasn’t sure which way I’d use the idea but in the end I decided that rather than post an old pic of myself and explain it I’d use an old picture of my grandparents on their wedding day.

They got married in Winterberg in 1949. My granNan and Grandad Kdad was in the RAF and stationed in Germany, where he met my Nana. The rest, they say, is history. 

They’re both long gone now. Grandad in 1976 and Nana 5 years later. I have so many memories of them, even though my Grandad died when I was only 5. He used to share out Terry’s Neopolitan chocolates and I was the only one of us that liked the coffee flavour – and do to this day.

Nana was a proper matriarch. She loved all 4 of her sons and all of her grandchildren equally. It was all about food and love. I have some wonderful and beautiful memories and I miss them both. Until next time! NN 🙂

 

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The Liebster Award 2019

Today I got a shock when checking through the blogs I’d missed reading from the last couple of days. I’ve been nominated for ‘The Liebster Award 2019’ by a great blogger, whose writing I really enjoy reading. You can check out his blog by clicking on his linked name – Peter Wyn Mosey  Thank you Peter for the nomination. I’m feeling more confident about my writing now and looking forward to sharing more of my writing as time passes.

The Liebster Award is an award where new bloggers are nominated by their fellow bloggers. It helps new bloggers get discovered and also promotes the connections and support amongst the blogging community. More information about the award and the rules can be found over at their website – The Liebster Award

More-Flowers

To accept my nomination I have to answer the 5 questions set by Peter and nominate 5 new blogs for the Liebster Award.

The questions and their answers are below:-

1. If you could have one celebrity, one politician, and one fictional character around for brunch, who would you pick?      

This is a brilliant question and one I’m going to struggle a little with as I’m not up to date hugely with celebrities and gossip. That said I would love to spend some time with Tom Hanks as he’s a great actor, my favourite actor and I really enjoyed his book ‘Uncommon Type’. At the time I wasn’t greatly enamoured by short stories but he was the person who changed my mind and also got me thinking about trying to write short stories myself – my preference has always been for great ideas for novels but as I have so many of those started with between about 100 and 18,000 words but not yet completed I guess most of them could be counted as very odd short stories anyway!

The politician I’d have brunch with is also a challenge as there’s no current politician I could tolerate spending any time with. I’m from the U.K so I’m sure most of you reading can guess why! If not a big clue is a word which starts with the letter B! An ex-politician I could spend time with is from the U.S and it’d be Barrack Obama. As I said I’m in the U.K and many may find my choice strange but I have a great deal of admiration for Mr Obama and his wife for their obvious empathy for and with people not so priveliged as themselves and the causes and people they support.

Finally, the fictional character I’d choose to have brunch with is Forrest Gump. I know it’d be freaky sitting there with Tom Hanks and his double but Forrest has had such an amazing life I’d love to hear so much more!

2. There are no sunsets to science, but in your opinion, what have been the best things that science has brought mankind?                                                                      

There are so many great inventions and developments which have helped mankind, but many of them also come with their problems i.e. six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I think the ability to heal is a great scientific advancement. Obviously, it’s not just the one thing, but many varied developments; antibiotics for infections, therapies to treat and heal cancer, medications to ease pain and suffering, machines which can keep premature babies alive until they can become strong enough to survive alone. I could go on. The flip side of all of these though are the current concern over antibiotics resistance to many of the antibiotics in production today due to overuse and misuse, the aging population – concerns over life becoming unsustainable through the demands humankind is placing on the Earth and it’s finite resources.

The technologies which make us some of the luckiest generations ever to live on Earth, however also come with their negatives. We can fly from one part of the world to another within a day (depending where we live), we can email or talk to friends, family and colleagues from one side of the world and in a second the email or video will reach them. This makes for a world which is smaller than it has ever been – no waiting for weeks to receive a reply to a letter you sent to a friend or family member. Obviously the negatives here are the damage to the planet from the fuel used to power the planes, the loss of many common social activities , as people prefer to stay at home communicating with their mobile/cell phones and the waste products from all the technology used in the present day – mountains of plastic casing, circuit boards, used batteries, etc.

3. The human race is pretty much doomed. In the final seconds of humanity; what will be the last words spoken? and, who will say them?    

President of the Central Global Alliance ‘It is to all those generations who have gone before that we owe these final moments. Without them we wouldn’t be here, and without them things would not have occurred which have led to our demise. Long may the Earth support the other mortal beings struggling to survive here.’

4. Please explain why I should believe your favourite “conspiracy theory”?  

I don’t have have a favourite ‘conspiracy theory’ and I did think of creating one for fun but need to get back to my other writing; although I am interested in the stories surrounding both the World Trade Centre – 9/11 and the death of Princess Diana.

5. You have the option of solving one problem in the world right now, what would it be?  

This is hard because ordinarily I’d have said solving famine would have been my choice but more recently it’d be the banning of plastics. Across the board. No plastics, no polluted oceans, no millions of tonnes of the stuff in landfills, releasing petro-chemicals into the soil as they very slowly decompose. If there was an outright ban then scientists, industry and commerce would have no choice but to revert to non-harmful alternatives. What is wrong with using paper shopping bags, glass jars and bottles which can be easily recyclable?

It’s been great to see there has been a huge amount of progress in combatting the issues since Planet Earth II was televised in December 2017. I was in tears watching and have tried to move to non-plastic alternatives wherever I can, but it’s such a difficult thing to do when there is plastic everywhere. There was a huge public reaction to the episode and you can read about it here and if you didn’t see it you can watch clips of it here and here.

Please let me also choose to end famine. EVERYONE should be able to have enough food to eat in the 21st century, especially when there are people or organisations with multiple billions in the bank. I’m not naming any but they all know who they are.

It’s now my turn to nominate some (5) blogs for the Liebster Award 2019. I’ve gone through all the blogs I currently follow and they all have a huge amount of followers. With the rules stating they need to have less than 200 this makes it difficult for me.

I did find one great blog to follow earlier today though and Harriet’s Gallery fully deserves a nomination. She shares recipes of beautiful-looking food which is allergy friendly i.e. gluten free, dairy free, etc. With just 7 followers it’s time she had a few more and I hope this nomination helps in someway to helping her reach quite a few more people.

My 5 questions to ‘Harriet’s Gallery’ are:

  1. If you could get rid of one vegetable or fruit in the entire world, what would it be and why? (What an unhealthy choice!) 
  2. If you had the ability to turn back time, what time period would you return to? (This question came across various forms among many bloggers)
  3. There are no sunsets to science, but in your opinion, what have been the best things that science has brought mankind?  
  4. If you could bring back to life any public figure/celebrity who would you bring back and why?
  5. You have the option of solving one problem in the world right now, what would it be?

Thank you again Peter for the nomination!

Until next time! NN 🙂

award

 

 

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Writing Meme #9

Today’s meme at first look seems aimed at artists, however the same inspirational message also applies to anyone with a creative streak, including us writers, thus I’m of the opinion that it can be used as a writing meme – which is why I’ve chosen it for today! As well as that the image is beautiful, as is the whole website over at The Pic Sees. I’ve spent so much time there today when I was supposed to be using my time to catch up with my writing after a busy weekend. Off I go to carry on! NN 🙂

inspiration

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Daily Challenge

Today’s challenge comes from Mia Botha at writerswrite.

September 20th is Cracked Screen.

How many times have you dropped your mobile/cell handset only to see the dreaded cracks appear? I got off extremely luckily when 7 weeks in to a new contract I dropped my handset in the street. The top right corner was cracked but thankfully for the remainder of the 2 year contract the handset worked fine, and I just got used to not seeing whatever was in that little piece of screen. It was great when I finally got my new handset though and had a complete screen.

cracked screen.jpg
Aaaaahhhhhh! #Worst Nightmare

So I sat looking at my current screen (laptop) wondering what I could write with those 2 words as my inspiration and decided to write a fractured poem to work with that theme of cracked and smashed. Until next time! NN 🙂

 

Cracked Screen

                                                                                                     Chips! Bloody Chips! Oily fingers!

Realisation as the handset crashes to the                                tarmac

Arse! Words stronger than that (but let’s keep it clean)

Crying as I realise my diary(!) my life (!)                            is in there

Kicking myself for trying to

Eat,

Drink, while walking along a busy street

Six days,                                 no phone,                                  no life

Collected today

Returned whenever the repair’s done, when

Ever

Errr! Or, maybe

                                                                 Never

Writing

Writing Meme #7

We’d all love to be as successful as Stephen King or J.K Rowling. I’d also include Roald Dahl, Marian Keyes, Jojo Moyes, Lee Child, Dan Brown, etc.

Personally, I would love to be a successful author but I know I have a long way to go. I’ve been writing on and off since I was a kid, but despite trying life always got in the way and I let it. This means I’m about twenty years behind where I wanted to be, but everything happens for a reasson so I accept I am where I’m meant to be and what is coming for me i meant for me – whether that be a bestselling book, or something different. I’d love for it to be the bestseller though, wouldn’t you? NN 🙂

stop-comparing-yourself-to-others

Writing

Wordof the Day #5

Today’s word is ‘eudaimonia’ and the definition comes courtesy of Oxford Reference.eudaimonia

eudaimonia2

‘Eudaimonia is usually translated as happiness or well-being, but it has some of the same connotations as ‘success’, since in addition to living well it includes doing well and also includes pleasure.

[…] In Bk. x of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle extols the life of study as the essential realisation of eudaimonia.

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A Very Short Story – ‘Recognition’

As I’ve shared a couple of pieces of my writing now I’m gaining a teeny bit of confidence. This is a piece I wrote for a local Writing Circle competition which had a maximum 500 word limit (This piece totals 493 words according to Word). I wasn’t placed so I know there’s got to be an issue with my writing. I feel that since I studied in advanced education and wrote academic papers my creative writing has suffered. I’m always interested in feedback and if anyone out there in blogland fancies helping me out I’d be hugely grateful – I know it takes time to write comments rather than just moving on or hitting the ‘like’ button so I would appreciate that you’d have given your time too. Many thanks in advance. NN 🙂

past-lives-times.jpg

Recognition

I’d seen those eyes somewhere before. Crystal-sharp, icy blue but with a fervent warmth radiating to melt the frostiness of the intense gaze. Today those eyes were surrounded by thick, greasy-white, pasted make-up and that fake, slightly scary, permanently fixed smile of a clown which thousands of people find disturbing but on this one day seems an acceptable part of the celebrations of Carnevale – Venice Day.

I try to remember where and when it was that I first saw those eyes, and why I recalled them so easily; how it was that despite today’s disguise recognition filled every essence of my soul and the deepest corners of my mind.

I fought to avert my blatant fascination and quickly closed the double doors of the balcony and made my way downstairs and to a café I’d discovered a short walk from the hotel. ‘Florian’s’, the famed bottega da caffè of the day when it opened in 1720 under the galleries of the Procuratie Nuove in Piazza San Marco, Venice had not failed to escape my notice in the previous couple of days as I’d made it my aim to focus on St Mark’s Square itself, quickly realising that sitting within the café walls I was able to observe the Square from a unique angle and fully immerse myself within the culture and customs; this immersion seeming to embrace my senses seamlessly, providing a strong sense of recognition, of déjà vu. Those eyes continued to distract my mind and I struggled to experience the usual peace I felt whilst savouring the best coffee this side of the equator.

Who did those eyes belong to and why did they disturb me so much?

I shake myself back to reality and realise that if I’m to finish my research within the five days I have booked here, I cannot afford to waste the time daydreaming so I call the cameriere and ask for the bill.

‘La vostra fattura è già pagato signorina.’  He tells me.

‘How is my bill already paid? Is there some mistake?’ I ask.

Smiling broadly, he replies ‘No signorina, no mistake. Our amico pagliaccio has already settled it for you’ as he expertly and rhythmically negotiates around the tables back to, I presume the bar barista.

‘Clown friend?’ I wonder. Once again, I can see those eyes which had noticed mine staring across the street from my balcony. Had he followed me here? I feel a little anxious as I leave the café and start to make my way for the second time this week to the Basilica, hoping that I’m not being stalked.

As I start to enter the building groups of people, all wearing masks, hurry past, their voices full of excitement. As they pass and the way forward is once again clear I see once more the spark of those blue eyes and a soft, raspy voice whisper ‘la tua anima conosce il mio’ – ‘your soul knows mine.’

©Nattinatters 2019

 

Writing

Word of the Day #4

Today’s word is ‘drapetomania’ and today’s dictionary is WordSenseEU.

drapetomania

Drapetomania : an overwhelming urge to run away (from home, a bad situation, responsibility, etc.)

The term was first used by Dr Samuel Cartwright in 1851 to describe Negro Slaves who attempted to run from their masters. Thankfully, this is now recognised as pseudoscience and part of the development of deliberate racism.

drapetomania2

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Writing Meme #6

I think as a writer you know if your work is good or bad, and if it’s really bad you’ll just stop writing and never go back to that piece of work. It was a good exercise in writing if nothing else.

I think following gut instinct is so important and I do that more and more the older I get. Take yesterday’s Daily Challenge. I wrote it quickly while the idea which came to me was still fresh, but as a blog post it was getting a little too long and I decided to edit my ideas down and just finish it. Now I’m disappointed that I didn’t follow my gut, do it justice and finish it properly. I have copied it to a word file and will be bulking it out to improve it when I get some time to do so between submissions and competitions. NN 🙂

trust your work

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Daily Challenge

Today my challenge comes from nerdknowslife.com again found via Pinterest.

The page has several writing challenges, all of them giving great ideas for writing creatively, whether that be fiction or non-fiction.

I could have chosen so many from the list but decided on a story based on fact today, as who doesn’t love a bit of research? This is the challenge:-

Look up ‘Superstitions’. Choose one and write a story about it.

I chose ‘Don’t Walk Under A Ladder.’

On a personal note I used to always avoid walking under ladders, but I was going through a period of time where so much bad stuff was happening that I just thought walking under couldn’t make things any worse than they’d been and from that time forward I walk under ladders every time there’s one in the way.

I initially misread the challenge and was all set to write a piece based on research around the subject, however, noticed my mistake quite quickly, but as I’m trying to gain in confidence by writing fiction to share here I thought I’d jump in like I did the other day – when I wrote something creative for this blog for the very first time. You can find that Daily Challenge by clicking it 🙂

Actress Bebe Daniels Under Ladder‘Don’t Walk Under A Ladder.’

The memories were fading fast; once sharp and bright they now resembled tattered, ages-old photographs, edges worn from years of handling; frayed malodorous dustiness and mustiness, formed from a lifetime’s perfumes, houses, and all they contained, proof of another life to which she hadn’t belonged for decades.

She sniffed, fist-wiped her nose and scraped at her eyes with mucus covered fingers, which she proceeded to wipe down the front of her heavy overcoat.

Taking a deep breath, she grabbed at the back of the trolley, knees creaking as she forced her bulk up. Why was life so hard?

Everything had been fine until she was 24. She’d had a great job, a handsome boyfriend, who she’d felt may be considering marriage, and had a contagious optimism.

One lunchtime she’d gone for some air. The 5th floor stockroom was stuffy and made her feel as if she’d taken a bath and dressed herself without being properly dry; her clothes clung gracelessly to her calves, butt and bust and her hair was already damp from the sweat which had no escape from the new beret she’d bought only the week before.

As she continued her walk there was increasing noise from across the road. Everyone turned to look at the fracas and she joined them, glancing backwards and forwards as she tried to prevent herself bumping into anything which may be sat on the pavement.

A throng of people began moving across the road. There was no clear individual voice which would indicate the reason for the disturbance, just a swarm of vague, blurred sounds, but it was enough to cause her to jerk her head up abruptly, and as she did, in her peripheral vision she spotted a ladder leant against the building directly in front of her. She changed position to avoid walking under the ladder but as she did her ankle bent over and she found herself flying headfirst beneath the steps.

From that moment on that her life deteriorated; it felt as though she wasn’t living her own life, but that of another person. Gerry ended their courtship only five days later; she was then released from her stockroom job two weeks afterwards and just seven weeks later her landlord decided her room was no longer available for rent. Her sense of unease increased with each new change. Was this a curse? If it wasn’t she wanted to know what else it could be.

Packing her small case, she glanced around the room. She’d removed the bedspread she’d saved her wages for; the room wasn’t decorated to her taste and she’d wanted to stamp her identity on it to make it feel more like home; something of her own she’d never had before.

Walking along the high street she had no idea where to go. As an orphan there were no parents to return home to. She desperately thought of her fellow orphans and if any of them would welcome her if she arrived on their doorsteps with a suitcase. Thinking it unlikely she kept walking.

The café looked warm and inviting. She walked in and looking about her saw one table empty. She’d barely sat down when the waitress came over and with a whisper, she was told the table was not free. She failed to understand why but accepted it as this obviously was her run of bad luck continuing.

Raising her chin, she looked deeply into the eyes staring back at her.  Her look must have conveyed some sorrow or desperation for the waitress led her to a stool by the counter, poured her a cup of tea from a huge stained, but well-scrubbed teapot. Adding a couple of spoons of sugar to the cup the waitress handed it to her with a wink and turned to slice a thick doorstep of a slice of fruitcake. She reached into her handbag and taking her purse she offered the price of the tea and cake. The waitress waved her hand away, then turned and walked over to two tables which needed clearing.

She sat drinking her tea and eating her cake whilst thinking through her options. She only had the remainder of last weeks wages in her purse, but she had enough in savings to help her through about a month.

Optimistic as ever, she decided to find a room and after a day or so look for work; her extensive stock room experience would hopefully mean she could find a similar position, she just hoped it would be a quick job hunt.

The afternoon light was ebbing as day turned to evening and she left the café, leaving the money for the cuppa and cake on the counter. If nothing else she felt the waitress could take it as a tip.

Aware that she was unlikely to find a room to rent long-term at this hour she made her way to the guest houses, searching in vain for one with a ‘vacancies’ sign. Typically, there weren’t any available. She was truly alone and felt the pain of it in every atom of her being.

She spent three hours walking and finally, after several offers of money for services she realised she had to find somewhere safe to sleep.

That was the beginning of a long life on the streets. Over the weeks and years which followed she became accustomed to how to survive. Her once beautiful bedspread had finally fallen apart in the 1960s having given her nineteen years of faithful friendship, a familiarity and intimacy she rarely felt anywhere else and never with anyone else.

She had walked every day her entire adult life searching for something good; for luck, for love, for happiness, but it was still yet to come.

She remembered the waitress, whose kindness she remembered to this day. The memory of tea and cake in safety a warm glow within a dull existence. It was the café she was heading to when she had fallen. Her trolley was old now, but she couldn’t manage her belongings without it now and it had caught an uneven paving slab and over it had gone, taking her with it.

Her tear and snot-scabbed face was itching and sore but she knew she must continue her journey. She felt that maybe something good would happen if she could just make it back to where this had all started.

She turned the corner. The café was no longer there. In its place was a brightly coloured façade telling her that maybe Greggs was the place for a cup of tea and cake, so she continued until she reached the glass.

People stared at this filthy, elderly woman, with a shopping trolley full of an assortment of coloured plastic bags; many of them turning away, some looking horrified that she may just walk in and ask for some food, or call out for money, but she was happy enough, seemed satisfied enough to just sit and watch as everyone went about with their own lives.

Shelves chock-full with varied refreshments, none could ever be as luscious to her as that doorstep of fruit cake she’d eaten so many years ago, but she wasn’t foolish; knew that life was very different now and fast food had long ago replaced the quality foods made in the café.

After half an hour she struggled to her feet, re-wrapped her scarf around her and continued walking. A few short minutes later she was standing in the exact spot where she’d flown under the ladder. Knowing there was nothing she could do to reverse what happened she simply lowered herself to the ground and sat, sighing as after all these years she’d made it back.

 

 

 

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Writing Meme #5

Do you get excited when you have an idea for a story? Writing those ideas down quickly, and adding to them as the initial flow of words arrives is an exciting time. There’s a thrill in the unknown; where will the story lead?  how will the character/s evolve? how will it all end? I’m not going to mention dry days but we all know how it feels when you stare for hours at a blank page.

It’s good to know famous authors suffer this too as it’s a connection to a community of hundreds of years of age and makes me feel there’s something tangible to influence and inspire me/us. We’re extremely lucky now to have this at our fingertips instantly, and I personally feel this huge asset, this living and breathing encyclopedia assists us all as we struggle to find our way and our story’s way to a happy, satisfied conclusion.

But first, sit down and write those first words. Good luck with the journey! NN 🙂

beatrix potter first words

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Word of the Day #2

Balter

Today’s word of the day is ‘Balter’ which is derived from Middle English balteren and has its origins in the Danish word baltre/boltre  which literally means to romp, roll or tumble.

Today’s Dictionary definition is from Your Dictionary.com

 (intransitive) To tumbledance clumsily. (intransitive, UK dialectal)

To become tangled or matted.                                                       

To tread down in a clumsy manner.(UK dialectal)

To tangleclotmat (as in the hair).

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Writing Meme #4

CommittedI try to take part in #NanoWriMo every year but have a constant struggle as every time I read the WIP I want to improve it; I think of an alternative word, tweak the punctuation or word order, etc. This year I’m planning on not doing this. I can feel my teeth clenching just typing that out! With that in mind today’s meme is a reminder that all good writing starts somewhere. NN 🙂