Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced its ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2019’ and ‘Climate Emergency.’ It was also no surprise to see the short list for the entire year was full of references to ‘Climate‘.
‘Climate Emergency’ saw an increase of 10,796% year on year increase in 2019. Others from the short list with high year on year increases include “Climate Action” with 266%, “Climate Crisis” with 2,510% “Global Heating” with 18,358% “Eco-Anxiety” with 4,291% and “Ecocide” having an increase of 681%. There are other words too ‘Climate Denial’, ‘Eco-anxiety’, ‘Flight Shame’ and even ‘Extinction’.
2019 has seen a huge increase in awareness of climate change and the issues we, as the human race, and also wildlife are facing. As well as the most highly visible, older action groups such as Greenpeace, Ceres and the WWF 2019 has seen the rise of the new kids on the block – Extinction Rebellion (Belated Happy 1st Birthday wishes), and activists such as @Greta Thunberg raising the awareness of the views of the youngest of the generations.
The Climate Emergency is swiftly moving at a pace where we will not, as a race, be able to reverse the damage which has been done in the decades preceding the current one. The next decade will see climate and ecological disruption at catastrophic levels and this will be as a result of ongoing Biodiversity Loss, Extreme Weather Events, Desertification, Crop Failure, Water Shortages, Rising Sea Levels and Wildfires.
These will in turn lead to disease, the displacement of millions of people, the increased risk of conflicts and wars and thus, have a major impact on the human rights of everyone affected by these negative events.
For a look at the full article on the Word of the Year and the shortlist check out the OUP website here.
For full up to date information on the Climate Emergency check out the Extinction Rebellion website here.
I arrived back to Nattinatters HQ today to find my blog has been nominated for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ by a writer whose writing and blog I greatly admire. PeterWynMosey’s short stories and daily writing challenges set by other bloggers and writers are of a very high standard which makes me wonder why he follows me and has nominated me for the award as I feel I still have a long way to go before my writing reaches his standard. Thank you Peter for nominating me regardless 🙂
To accept the nomination I have to
Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
Answer the 11 questions
Nominate 11 new blogs.
Ask nominees 11 new questions
List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
Answer the 11 questions
Nominate 11 new blogs.
Ask nominees 11 new questions
MY ANSWERS TO PETER’S QUESTIONS
What is your favourite song, and when did you first hear it?
I have 2 and I wrote a blog post about favourite songs/lyrics not too long ago. Here’s a link to that post.
If you became the leader of the country that you live, what would be the first thing that you would change?
There’s so much going on with this country right now (the United Kingdom). I’ve lost all faith in the politicians who are supposed to be running this country and are making a total hash of it. I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d love to change so things work in a more organised way and in a way the country can afford, but for me right at this minute whilst it should be to get Brexit done I would rather go to sleep at night knowing there are no UK residents without food, clothing or a safe and warm home. ( I personally voted to remain in the EU as I have a strong sense of ‘one world, one family)’. Whilst some may consider this a naive attitude, it’s really the only way humans will continue to thrive on this Earth. There cannot be any self-centredness. We are a race which is consuming at an alarming rate which is just not sustainable.
There is an uneven distribution of wealth and resources. I agree that those who are millionaires, billionaires, etc., may have worked hard to achieve their status and position, however, when exactly will they spend their millions and billions? Whilst there are people in abject poverty, and I include the disabled, children and families in the UK within this, there should be a corporate consortium or community alliance (or both) which will replace school breakfast clubs, food banks and other charities currently helping homeless, hungry or deprived children and families, and the disabled who are unable to work, with adequate housing, clothing and foods so no one should have to go without their very basic needs catered for. This is the 21st Century not the Victorian era of Oliver Twist’s “Please Sir, I want some more?” No thank you UK, get it sorted.
‘What is one item of clothing that you own that you would not want to part with?
I have a women’s Grey, round neck Waistcoat which I bought hurriedly when I saw it in a sale at Dotty P’s (Dorothy Perkins) several years ago. There are so many pictures of me throughout the years wearing it and I have no plans to throw it away yet. The thing which is great about it is that even if I am wearing a t-shirt under it I still look smart, plus it means I can wear one of my many vintage or funky brooches – right now it has a very large hand-knitted poppy because here in the UK it is Armistice Day.
How many countries have you ever visited?
I think seven. I went to France, Belgium and Holland on a school trip, Spain (Balearic Islands) in my very early twenties, the U.S.A (Philadelphia and New York; Upstate and NY,NY), Canada (Niagara Falls is best seen from the Canadian side), then Spain (Mallorca twice), Spain (Tenerife) and this Summer Spain, Italy and France as we did a cruise around the Mediterranean.
Books or e-readers?
Both. There is nothing which could replace the smell of new ink on new paper. Walking in to a book store instantly relaxes me as I feel at home, however I do love my Kindle. I have so many classics on there as well as contemporary and literary fiction and if I am going on a long journey I will take it with me as it’s not as thick or heavy as 2 thick paperbacks in the suitcase or hand luggage.
What is your favourite movie? Why?
I’m struggling to come up with just one favourite movie. If I had to strictly pick one it’d be Forrest Gump. It’s a clever premise, a man with lower than average intelligence who re-tells his life experiences during some of the most important events in the late twentieth century history of the United States of America. I find the story moving and funny but also feel it shows the best side of human nature. The clever editing-in of Forrest into these events is amusing too. Tom Hanks is my favourite actor so that’s a huge bonus for me too as I’ll watch pretty much anything with him in.
When and where do you do most of your writing?
I used to sit in the living room, either on the sofa with my laptop, in front of the telly, or at the dinner table, but hubby built me a writing and sewing studio so I’m over there most of the time now.
What has been a job that you have had that you have liked the least?
I worked in administration for a Government department. My original line manager was a bully, plus I found the work very boring and repetitive; it was like a conveyor belt; one finished, on to the next one, same processes, done, onto the next one…yawn. I just couldn’t handle it so I took a career break and finally (at 34) had the opportunity to go to University to study English Language (Linguistics). In order to start the degree I had to resign my position. It was such a hard decision (not!)
What does your morning ritual look like?
I wake up, hubby does coffee and breakfast for the cat then for both of us; I have a glass of almond milk and a small pot of nuts; with the change in the weather I think I’m going to start having the milk warmed. I then shower, dress, and depending on if I have any appointments will either do my hair or not or put on make-up or not; usually when I’m in my studio all day writing I don’t bother with either; my hair goes back in a band so it’s out of my face and I stick my glasses on.
Do you often remember your dreams when you wake up?
Yes, quite often as most of them are on the weird side.
What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a blog?
Try to read every day and write every day. I’ve not been doing this too long and it’s so easy for life to get in the way. Read other blogs, like, comment and network to build your following as well as other bloggers as they’ll be grateful for every single one.
Hey! I went again didn’t I? I had a slight blip and fell in to a little bit of a dark hole. I then realised my plans to be fully prepped for the start of Nanowrimo 2019 on 1st November were slipping but I managed to semi sort my head out and wrote well at the start, however my son and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days and all research and writing went out of the window. As we’d not seen them for 8-9 months I wanted to be fully present.
I’d organised a surprise bonfire and sparklers for the 6th and cooked baked tatties, bangers and beans. On 7th we went to a photography studio for a 1 hour session of a mix of casual and smart shots. As we’d had no portrait sittings since late Summer 2005 it was great to know we’d have a new collection. The reason behind my wish for new pictures is because since my older sister had a major stroke a week before her 50th birthday this May, and with my 50th next Summer, I’ve become more aware of my own mortality and I’d want there to be recent pictures of us all together. I lost my Dad in 2005 and the only picture I could find of him with me was on my wedding day 12 1/2 years earlier. I’d asked for shots of Hubby and I, Hubby and I with our son, both individually and with both of us, and then some shots with his girlfriend included. They then had a few of them on their own. I am so excited and cannot wait to see the results when the photographer sends me a sneak preview and then posts me the disc with the rest on. Janine was fantastic with all of us. We were all feeling more than a bit awkward but she’s very bright and cheerful and got us all laughing and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Here’s a link to her Fleet Photographics Facebook Page. While we were back in Cambridgeshire we visited an old friend (she’s not old, I’ve just known her since she was 4!). We didn’t get back to Norfolk until late.
On Friday we all had a chilled day. I spent the time reading the pile of research books I have to help my Nano project along; I’m striving for authenticity and I’m hoping having researched my subject that it’ll show.
On Saturday it was hubby’s birthday and we celebrated with a trip to the cinema to see ‘Joker’ and then went to an American-style diner ‘Fatso’s’. I wasn’t sure about ‘Joker’. I’ve never seen ‘The Dark Knight’ where Heath Ledger portrays, what so many people insist is the best Joker characterisation ever and wondered if I should wait until after watching The Dark Knight before seeing ‘Joker’. As hubby wanted to see it while it was still in the cinemas we all went to see that. I have to say Joaquin Phoenix’ is fantastic as Joker and blew me away! If he doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination there is something very wrong with those nominating.
So my sunshine left Norfolk 5 hours ago and after a grocery shop I’m here to let you all know I am HERE! I am BACK and I’m going to be hitting Nano full throttle. As I set myself the challenge of writing 60K words in place of the usual 50K (yes I am as mad as that seems) my daily word count should be around 2,300 – 3,000 words per day…Until next time! NN 🙂
I found this and it’s hugely inspirational, especially as tomorrow is the beginning of #NaNoWriMo. For us fiction writers, I’d guess the majority know that #NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, but I discovered the other day there are a few people who do not know. The briefest explanation is it is a commitment/challenge for writers to complete a 50,000 word novel draft. There are non-fiction writers who do use the site now to give them a target to work towards.
The hardest thing when I write is to go without editing as I go. It’s something I’ve always done – which is why I’ve probably never had a book published as it’s just never good enough and I think if left alone I’d continue editing until I edit the story out of the story!
Anyway, for all you writers out there; Pantsers,Planners or Plantsers, who are committing to the 30 days of writing Good Luck! See you on the other side! Until next time! NN 🙂
Happy Halloween! And Samhain greetings to those who follow the nature religions.
It’s that time of the year where we all share our love of spooks, dressing up and sweets/candy. My husband and I have done fancy dress parties several times but we’ve moved away from our friend networks so this year is a lot quieter.
As a coincidence my #NaNoWriMo project this year is based around witchcraft so I’ve been discovering a few things I didn’t know, despite thoroughly checking out different traditions, etc., for previous parties. Hopefully, if you buy the book this project is to become you’ll be able to learn some of these new things throughout the pages.
I may be disappearing quite a bit as I am determined that this will be THE year I actually earn the NANOWINNER t-shirt I’ve bought in 2 prior years, but never actually deserved. My third is on order, however and I am going to wear it on 1st December and photograph myself in it to share with all of you!
I’m determined to try and write short posts and continue Word of the Day, Writing Memes, Reading Memes and Inspirational posts as I do enjoy hunting out things to share.
If you’re heading out to celebrate either of the festivals tonight, stay safe and enjoy yourself! Until next time! NN 🙂
An impression of light that occurs without light entering the eye and is usually caused by stimulation of the retina (as by pressure on the eyeball when the lid is closed) or by excitation of neurons in the visual system (as by transcranial magnetic stimulation). Early studies have demonstrated that direct electrical stimulation to neurons of the visual system will cause a subject to perceive points of light (phosphenes).— George Scarlatis
Phosphenes is the word you’re looking for to describe the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head.
History and Etymology for phosphene
The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phōs (light) and phainein (to show). Phaineinis also a contributing element in such words as diaphanous, emphasis, epiphany and phenomenon among others.
Today’s Word is ‘Irrational’ and today’s dictionary is Lexico.com
Not logical or reasonable.
‘irrational feelings of hostility’
1.Not endowed with the power of reason.
‘Whenever you encounter a system that seems so irrational, you should ponder what’s going on beneath the surface.’
‘Man is an irrational being, morals are irrational, and have no metaphysical foundation which make them “real” or worth paying any attention to.’
2.Mathematics (of a number, quantity, or expression) not expressible as a ratio of two integers, and having an infinite and non-recurring expansion when expressed as a decimal. Examples of irrational numbers are the number π and the square root of 2.
An irrational number or quantity; a surd.
Late Middle English from Latin irrationalis, from in- ‘not’ + rationalis (see rational).
I LOVE this meme! I taught my son the alphabet when he was 18 months old and read to him every night. I truly believe the earlier you start reading to them and introducing them to letters and numbers the easier they will find it to learn. Besides that, it’s introducing them to all the different worlds which exist inside and outside of our minds and our world. My son is now a writer – I’m waiting for him to set up his own blog as his stuff is amazing. I’ll be sharing as soon as he does it.
Today’s word is ‘Kalopsia’ and today’s dictionary is Your Dictionary
The delusion of things being more beautiful than they are.
‘China can bring on serious bouts of kalopsia in otherwise intelligent observers’ – The Times, April 24 2006
English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA license
-noun. a condition, state or delusion in which things appear more beautiful than they really are. As a combination of the Greek roots kallos, meaning beauty, and opsis, meaning sight (or opos, meaning eyes), in English kalopsia can also mean beautiful sight or with beautiful eyes
Today was the day I’d been dreading for over a month. Grandfather had died five weeks ago and after the funeral was finally over just three short days ago it was time for us all to meet at the solicitor’s office for the reading of his will.
I didn’t much want to go, for it was unlikely he’d be bestowing much on me, as I’d disappeared for several years, which I won’t go into now, but I had my reasons. That does sound melodramatic and even stereotypical but that is what it is or was.
The smell which greeted us all as we made our way in through the hallway and up the grumbling staircase was one of age; that incredibly musty, trapped-in-history smell, of papers and folders ceiling-high in what you’d hope; if for the secretaries even if for no one else, was an organised state of disorganisation.
My brother was huffing impatiently, checking his watch about every ten seconds to see if time had moved on far enough for him to get back to work. His hands anxiously scraping through his hair when he saw only a matter of seconds had passed.
Dad had passed away eleven years ago and so everything he would have inherited was likely to be shared between us three siblings. As I said I’m not sure I’ll be included now as I feel it’ll be a case of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ and if I had been left anything Ian and Charlie were sure to contest it for years.
Mr Benjamin stood in the doorway of his office and called the five of us in. Mum made it her duty to get there first, so she was right under his nose. She was expecting a percentage of something from Dad’s inheritance too, claiming that as his ex-wife he should or would have made provision for her in her old age too. Why is what I want to know. She did the dirty on him and flew off into the world with the alleged love of her life, although he was not but strangely, she didn’t realise that had been Dad until he died. Families are strange things.
I sat at the back and let Uncle Matthew sit at the front with Mum and Ian. I wanted to be invisible, or ethereal, ghost-like. I felt that I should have stayed at home and just hear from Mr Benjamin when this was over. Charlie was not here, and Mr Benjamin mirrored Ian’s earlier actions, obviously anxious to start. He shuffled his papers, read a few lines then glanced back up, checked his watch, doublechecking with the ancient wall clock the time was correct. Giving a rasping sigh he looked up at the clock one final time before clearing his throat and beginning.
Half an hour later we all left the office confused and there was a hum of discussion which had been lacking prior to the appointment, although Charlie was hissing at Mum as she had scolded him for arriving late. There was precious little in the estate. Apparently, Grandfather had sold or mortgaged everything years ago and there were several legal commitments concerning those which would leave a big, fat zero.
For me, there was no disappointment as I had expected nothing. The one thing which had been bequeathed to me left me more confused than everyone else as it was something palpable, real. A photograph album. It was in the back-sitting room at the house and I was to collect it before tomorrow evening.
We all travelled to a swish restaurant for a meal which had already been paid by Grandfather. Mum was mouthing off at why Grandfather had left nothing and her entitlement to at least some of the non-existent estate. I had the feeling she had been relying on it for her own retirement. She’d just have to find some other man to jet off into the sunset with.
These family meals were a joke. There was no sense of family; no concern for the other parties despite the blood connection, no interest in each other’s lives, relationships or circumstances. Sad for others, but I have no remorse; left all the sentimental slush back far beyond the customary glimpse from the rear-view mirror. I was glad when everyone skipped dessert for coffees and even happier when the evening was over.
I jumped in a taxi with the briefest of goodbyes to everyone. There was nothing left to say; had been precious little over an uncomfortable dinner saturated with stilted, insincere conversation. Not wanting to return to my hotel room straight away I asked the driver to drop me outside some houses in a street I knew. Turning as if entering one of them I watched as the taxi pulled away and as soon as he was out of sight I turned and headed through the alley to the side of the terraces which led to the river.
Sitting on a bench in the darkness seems a crazy thing to do but I knew this town and the immediate vicinity very well. On the other side of the river was the land which led directly up to the mansion I would visit for the last time tomorrow.
My thoughts returned to my Grandfather, a man who had been kind, loving and even fun until the day everything changed for the entire family; the day Grandfather was at the centre of a voyeurism accusation and, despite his denials over a lengthy period of time, was discredited and with a full case of evidence found in the cellar, found guilty and sent to prison for fifteen months.
The scandal led to familial disgrace and many of us were assaulted, humiliated and suffered allegations and degradation to the basest of levels. I lost my friends, my boyfriend, had my hair pulled out in clumps at school and found excrement every night at the bottom of my bed until I’d been caught smearing it into the pillows of the three girls I knew had been responsible and had been suspended and sent home, which was the place I least wanted to be.
I must have fallen asleep as I was suddenly wide awake as could hear loud singing coming in my direction. Partygoers; lucky them. I stood and walked back through the alley to the terraces. My hotel was a short walk on the same side of the road, and I made my way quickly toward it, sighing with relief when I entered the warm, bright reception area.
Why do tomorrows approach so fast? It was already the morning and the alarm on my mobile phone was singing to me. I covered my head with the pillow but eventually admitted defeat and leant over to switch off the screeching 1990s track which I used to force me out of sleep. I wasn’t looking forward to today, apart from the taxi ride which would take me back out of here in the middle of the day, and sooner if I could do it. Collecting a photograph album from the mansion wasn’t going to take me long and I had no plans for a sickly-sweet plan to reminisce.
Arriving at the mansion I was met by Walter, who had been Grandfather’s assistant forever. We had all known the relationship between them was closer than implied; but in a time where acceptance wasn’t the watch word, they’d preferred to spurn recognition.
I hugged Walter briefly and he followed me to the rear sitting room. There was a tray with two large mugs of tea and an open tin of Family Circle biscuits on the coffee table. I smiled for the first time in quite a while. Walter used to save the smiley face, jam and cream-filled biscuits in a separate tub just for me and if I’d not visited for a while there’d usually be a whole tub of smiles waiting for me. The joy I felt at someone doing something so simple but perfect for me was cute and I felt understood like nobody ever had before.
We sat for half an hour. Walter was interested in me, my life and I opened up a little, shared some of what had been going on in New York. He then reached over to the side table, picked up the photograph album and passed it to me. Turning over the cover I saw my Grandfather and I in a number of natural, non-posed pictures. I was smiling or giggling in every one of them. As I turned the pages I saw more of the same and the silly tears formed and escaped my eyes leaving a long trail of salt down my cheeks. I desperately wanted to leave but felt obligated to stay for Walter’s sake.
The last page had a document tucked into the space between the sticky clear cover and board base of the page. It was the deeds to the mansion. They were in Walter’s name. I smiled through the tears, glad that the man who had devoted his life to Grandfather even when life had gone bad was being acknowledged now.
There was another document with the deeds. A sealed envelope addressed to my New York apartment. Walter took the document, telling me I was not to read the document until after my return and that Grandfather had left strict instructions the document was to be posted once I’d received the photo album.
Thanking Walter for his care I made plans to leave. He offered to drive me into town to save me calling for a taxi. After all he had to go to the Post Office to send the envelope to my home.
Today’s word of the day is ‘Extirpate’ and today’s dictionary is the Oxford Concise English Dictionary. For the full definitions from the OED please see below. The alternative words we would use in modern society for extirpate are obliterate, annihilate and expunge.
a. To root out, exterminate, or totally destroy (a class, sect, or nation); to kill off, and render extinct (a species of animals or plants). Const. out of, from.
b. In weaker sense: To do away with, render extinct as such (a specified class of persons); to root out utterly, break up (a gang of thieves). Formerly also, †to drive out, clear away (persons) from a locality, etc.
Etymology: < Latin ex(s)tirpātus, past participle of ex(s)tirpāre : used as past participle of extirpatev.)
As past participle: rooted out, destroyed utterly, rendered extinct.
I thought I saw Elvis Presley in the reading corner of my local library this morning. Of course it wasn’t ‘The King’ as he died in 1977. I was only a kid and I cried – Mum said that I was a fan even as a baby.
Why would Elvis even be in the local library? We’re thousands of miles away from the U.S here, and Memphis, or Graceland. He was wearing Black drainpipe trousers and an open-necked shirt; looking like he did in his heyday, so either he followed a fantastic diet and had a whole range of plastic surgery done or he’s dead as no one should look that great at 84. Although, it is great what surgeons can do these days.
The thing is I also saw Prince. He was wearing a beautiful shiny Purple jacket with a very high collar. I was surprised by how short he was. I mean I knew he was short as heard it on the telly but when I saw him he was even shorter than I’d imagined. I’m sure he was wearing boots with platform heels too – at least 4- or 5- inch heels. The boots were Purple too. He definitely has, or had a Purple fetish – a bit like me with turquoise. I’ll search anywhere for a gorgeous turquoise dress. Anyway, I digress. Prince was entering the library as I left. I wondered what the **** was going on. I wonder whether he was going to meet Elvis for a chinwag or just for some peace and quiet. Maybe he was returning books, although he didn’t have a bag with him. I didn’t spot any book-shaped bulges anywhere either.
I think I must be hallucinating, or maybe I have a brain tumour pressing on my neocortex or thalamus (the parts of my brain which work the imagination). Maybe a little bubble of a tumour took root somewhere and grew and grew until it made me see dead legends. I’m not sure I’ll mind that.
Oh, and I nearly forgot. David Bowie was in the local Co-op. I tried to have a nose at what he had his in basket but he turned away before I could see. Thankfully he wasn’t looking ill anymore, or that old really. I loved him in all his guises but thought he was really hot in the 1980s when he released Blue Jean, China Girl, Let’s Dance, etc I’d have loved to have been able to stand in front of him long enough to see his different coloured eyes. I wonder if the kids he went to school at took the p*** out of him for that. I have dark brown eyes which have been described as pools of melted chocolate. I guess the only way to have taken the p out of them would have been for them to be called piles of dog sh*t instead. I’ll have to ask Emma next time I see her. She was my friend all the way through school and I know she’d tell me if I ask.
Thankfully, I made it home without seeing any other dead legends. As I unlocked the front door and went through it I called out a ‘Hi’ to my hubby.
‘You’ll never guess who I saw in the library!’
Walking along the hallway I could hear him talking to someone and oddly he’d ignored my call. I walked in to the lounge and there he was sat having a cuppa and biscuits with Pete Burns. I’m off to book a brain scan.
And back to it I go, after a ‘few days off’ unpacking boxes into my studio. I like this quote as it tells it like it is. We have to put in the work to be successful at what we do. We need to aim for the stars and be an unstoppable force. Go do it! 🙂
…checking if the 8 minutes had reduced. Nearly lunchtime. Nearly his reading and writing time, well, some of it anyway.
He’d started his blog as a way of tracking his writing, wanting to see if it developed and improved over time. Wanting, hoping for a boost of confidence. It had become addictive now. His life revolved around lunch breaks, the train journey home, chilling time after the dog walk and dinner.
2 minutes! He really wanted to finish Chapter 37 of Olly’s latest book; serialised chapter by chapter before he self-published; hoping some agent or publisher would pick it up.
The phone rang. He really didn’t want to answer, couldn’t deal with a long expenses query from one of the R & D guys. They could call back later.
He stood, pulling his jacket from the back of his chair in the same movement. Sandra raised her eyebrows; haughty bitch. The obvious implication being he should have answered the call.
‘Off for lunch now, see you in thirty!’ Already walking out of the glazed double doors as he sang with joy.
He popped into the Costa, bought a huge coffee and two pastries, scanned the shop for the quietest, comfortable space; avoiding babies, toddlers, knitting and gossiping Nanas and groups of teenagers, then walked quickly to ‘his space’ for one of his daily fixes.
He had a few new likes and one interesting comment. There was no Chapter 37 waiting though. What a shame and concerned he checked Olly’s blog in case there were any posts at all.
‘ERROR:404 Page Not Found’
Checking his phone for connectivity issues whilst chewing his way through the chocolate-filled twist he was disturbed to discover the connection was sound. ‘Olly-O’Cookie’ had failed to exist. The blog was gone.
All challenges for this month’s Daily Creative Writing Challenge are from thinkwritten.com – at least I think they are. I’ve done the horrible thing of saving a list and not copying and pasting the originator’s web address to it. <Hold wrists out for the slap!> However, I do have some 365 days challenges in the exact format by thinkwritten.com so I’m assuming they’re from the same source. Apologies to them, to you if it’s your list and not theirs (please let me know so I can edit with correct details).
A Fairy Tale for the Modern Age
Everything was dull and blue-grey; like an artist had painted a beautiful coloured picture and then given it a thin wash with the water from the rinsing jar. It was wet too, had been raining all night. Her bum was numb and damp, her hands were cold and while she wasn’t shivering, she wasn’t far off it.
Shifting her weight to one side she grabbed the wheelie bin she’d squeezed in next to late last night; the bin hut the only place she’d been able to find which looked half dry. Lifting the lid, she double-checked in the muted daylight for anything she may have missed when searching it in the orange-tinged half-light. No, only the greasy pizza box, slung in angrily when she’d discovered it only held a cold cheese string and two thin-as-you-like pizza crusts with scalloped edging where they’d been scoffed by someone earlier that night. They’d been her sole meal yesterday and her stomach gurgled and groaned as it played its rebuke.
Squatting down between the bin hut and fence she quickly checked no one was around then pulled down her jeans and pants. Oh, the bliss of an empty bladder after a long night. It steamed in the cold as it left her body, cooling as it met the puddle of cold rainwater. She drip-dried, giving her undercarriage a quick wipe and then pulling up her pants and jeans wiped the hand down the back of the leg to dry it.
Unzipping her jacket, she took a swig from the water bottle, then reached down for the grubby rucksack she carried with her. Taking out a very worn toothbrush she brushed her teeth, then taking another sip of water ran it around her mouth and spat it out. Pushing the brush back to one side of the sack she zipped it up, repeating the same action with her jacket after returning the water bottle. No single-use plastics here. That bottle had been used for at least a fortnight now; topped up from the water tap in the public loos just off King Edward Street Bus Station.
Turning she thanked the bin hut quietly for its’ shelter last night then began to walk. The sounds of life had begun while she’d been freshening up; the cacophony of the human life, played out in birdsong, radios, televisions and the busy roads around the suburb. Marigold had no destination, and the start was so far away now she could see no way back.
A garden gate opened, and a man appeared. Busy tucking his shirt into his trousers as he walked to the car, he didn’t see her. She ducked behind the garden wall she’d just passed; didn’t want to be seen. He found his car keys, unlocked the car and called out towards the gate.
‘Shelly! I’m gonna be late!’
‘Alright! I’m coming Bob. Darius, make sure you lock up properly before school!’ She appeared rolling her eyes and forcing what looked like a sandwich bag into the top of her handbag. Leaving the gate, she quickly got into the car and they drove off.
Marigold squatted back down, squinting through the small gap left by the slightly open gate. As she peered through, she could see a young boy, about 10 or 11, rinsing something in the sink. She thought it strange that kitchen windows always seemed to look in onto sinks. Or, maybe it was that standing at the sink you could see the pile of rubbish across the matchbox-sized piece of dust; the only thing which appeared to have grown in this garden.
The door opened and the boy turned to close it. His mobile phone rang, and as he answered it, carried on walking, not noticing the door was closed but the catch had not fully engaged.
She waited for a full ten minutes in case he came back or that someone else would notice the door, but realised it was so nearly closed she was probably the only person who was aware. Straightening up she strode confidently through the gate, attempting to give off an air of belonging and ownership. Closing the gate behind her, she made her way straight to the door. It was open; only because the brushes surrounding it were new and hadn’t relaxed fully; they made a loud swishing sound as she opened the door. She stepped in, closed the door and stood in the silence enjoying the stillness.
Living on the streets was hard, but it was also noisy. Depending where she could find to stay would depend on if she was woken by a very rare glimpse of a milk truck ‘whatever happened to milk floats?’, the dustbin lorry and its’ respective bin men, or just the increasing hustle and bustle as the city awoke and its’ people began their days.
The house smelt strange; a combination of a musky perfume, a mustardy smell and a sugary-sweet odour. She could also smell and see freshly laundered clothes and towels; that smell reminiscent of Mum and the constant piles of laundry she dealt with; her joking she was scaling iron mountain for the afternoon and if she didn’t return to send the mountain rescue.
Marigold looked cautiously up the stairs and took them slowly and quietly in case there was an unknown occupant of the house she didn’t know about. The landing was dark but there were only 4 doors on it; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and, opening the smaller door, the airing cupboard; now empty of the hot water tank it was stuffed full of toys, games, blankets and coats. That meant no one else was here. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, she quickly but carefully opened the other doors to confirm to herself she was alone. All the rooms were empty, although there was a startled, fluffy, black cat in the middle of the very large bed in the parent’s room.
Making her way into the bathroom she stripped in record time, ran the shower and stepped under it. Soaping herself all over and shampooing her hair felt blissful. The soapy water rinsing from her body to the bottom of the bath was grey-brown.
She found clean knickers in the bottom of the rucksack, put them on and . the dirty pair into a plastic bag she had there for that purpose. Slipping on a clean vest top she then pulled her jeans and jacket back on.
The sun was now shining as she made her way back to the kitchen. These people had left their breakfast in all stages of being eaten; like a bomb had gone off and they’d run for shelter; as if time had stood still. There was a plate with half-eaten toast; slathered in butter and marmalade, a bowl full of soggy chocolate shapes and another full of thick brown sludge, which she thought was claggy muesli. The toast rack was full, and the milk jug, butter, marmalade and open boxes of cereal were left where they’d been set down.
She sat down at the edge of one of the chairs, scared of leaving any dirt or grease behind. Helping herself to chocolate cereal she poured in a little milk and realised she didn’t have a spoon. She spat on the cleanest of the 2 spoons, cleaned it off on her vest then ate the cereal at break-neck speed. She buttered all the toast, added marmalade to half of it and bagged it in another sandwich bag.
Still anxious she’d be discovered but wanting to offer thanks for the shower and meal, she tidied the table and found the homes for everything. Running hot water into the sink she then washed everything and left it to drain, finishing by wiping the table.
Going back to the larder unit she added individually wrapped chocolate biscuits, a couple of packets of crisps and after adding them to her rucksack popped in a couple of bananas and apples from the fruit bowl, which looked as though they were more for decoration than for selecting to eat.
Checking around she smiled at the tidy scene in front of her. On a post-it note she wrote in large, clear handwriting.
‘Thank you for breakfast. I’ve cleaned up and will ensure the door is locked as I leave. Goldi x’
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 🙂
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 🙂
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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 🙂
Here’s another meme I found and have added to my collection of inspirational or what I call ‘Call to Action’ or kick in the ass to actually do some writing! I just love this one because of the tongue-in-cheek, underlying implications. Enjoy!