Category Archives: Poetry

my week in rhyme – #WhatImWriting

storysphere-2

A Story sphere I drew to represent all the different thoughts bouncing around in my head!

It’s Monday night – the time has flown, my weekly post is due,
I’ve not got much to write about…

No, wait, that’s not quite true.

I’ll tell you how I’m feeling now the new school term has started
– in truth I’ve been a mixture of elated and downhearted,
as my eldest son has taken to his new school like a pro
though my middle son has told me that he misses his big bro,
while my youngest took his first four days completely in his stride
but on the fifth day, he said “What? again?!” and clutched my leg and cried.*

What else?

Oh yes, my writing… well, last weekend was a blast,
so awesomely inspiring – my ‘to do list’ now is vast!
I’m determined to take action and submit, submit, submit
I know I’ll get rejections, but the key is not to quit.

Apart from that…

My art – I’ve nearly finished my assignment!
two pieces are completed while the third just needs refinement
(that’s really not exciting as I’m rather far behind
though thankfully my understanding tutor doesn’t mind.)

So onwards!

With my mega-plan (I’ve made an epic list)
to knuckle down and focus now on all the things I’ve missed
And that means lots of time for friends and chats and cups of tea
for drawing and for writing, because f**king FINALLY
after nine whole years of parenthood I have some time for me!

Writing Bubble
Prose for Thought

*I sat with him and built some blocks. He recovered (probably faster than I did).

the uplifting power of words – #ShoreToShore

grassI’ve been feeling fraught lately. Too much emotion, too much worry, too much sadness about the state of our country and our future.

But last night something wonderful happened – I went to Carol Ann Duffy’s Shore to Shore poetry tour. It was held in my local church, a lovely location at the best of times (I say that despite my atheist tendencies) but on this particular occasion it had a bar serving cask ales in it (it did – honest!) and was filled poetry and music.

Poets Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay and Gillian Allnutt all performed along side the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and with musical interludes by John Sampson. I loved it all. I’m not saying I loved each and every poem equally or that each poet affected me the same way. I think poetry is a personal thing and you can find your own meanings within the words. I let some of last night just wash over me, while other parts made me smile or laugh, and still others brought tears to my eyes. Some poems really hit home. Politics did enter the building (at a time like this how could it not?) but I had a strong sense of being surrounded by like-minded people. And we sat side by side and were immersed in thought and intelligence and warmth. It was an evening of out-and-out soul enrichment.

When I got home I wrote a poem about it. I didn’t really think about it I just walked into the room, exchanged pleasantries with my husband (‘How were the kids at bedtime? Perfectly behaved? What, did the stars align this evening or something?’), grabbed a pen and paper and the words appeared on the page. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a poem like that. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a poem.

Of course I’m terrified to share it here – because it’s a first draft and it’s raw and you might think it’s rubbish. But I want to put it somewhere because, I don’t know, there’s been so much sadness recently and the poem is about how I felt last night, remembering what’s good in life. It was transmitted so clearly through those wonderful poems from those wonderful writers and, though I can’t hope to live up to their words, they’ve given me the strength to throw a few of my own out into the world.

Poetry

They fell like raindrops
drenching parched soil –
words of beauty
of truth
of kindness,
of art and wisdom and thought.

They fell like blossom
coating tired streets –
words of culture
of insight
of education,
of rawness and emotion and love.

They fell like sunbeams
through the treetops,
a soft wind through the grasses,
warmth beside me,
gentle hands in my hair.

Prose for Thought
Writing Bubble

how I illustrated my poem

I’ve got an illustrated limerick to share with you today which I created for yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge and today’s Prose for Thought. Instead of just pasting it in right now though, I thought I’d take you – visually as well as descriptively – through my creative process first. I find it helpful seeing how other people got from A to B when writing or drawing something so hopefully it will be interesting to at least some of you!

Ok, so I started with this:
mugshape This was yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge on Twitter and the idea is, you use the shape as inspiration for an illustration of some kind. Well, this just shouted ‘mug’ at me and I decided to go with that.

Then I remembered it was Prose for Thought today and that it would be nice to have a piece of poetry to share for that. I’ll write a limerick! I thought (no surprise there for regular readers!).

Hmmm… mug… mug of tea… right, what rhymes with tea? Bee, knee, see… three! Ooh, I’ve got three kids… right mother of three, cup of tea, ok I can work with that.

rough copy
This is the sheet of paper I figured out my design on. I wrote the limerick in my head and you can see it scribbled down the bottom. I then tried to work out how I wanted to illustrate it. As you can see, I thought about having the cup of tea centre stage (the red spot in the shape would become a cherry on the bun in that instance), with my face behind or next to it. I also toyed with the idea of just having a hand reaching for the tea with a speech bubble. Then I had a go at a little scene where I could be seen relaxing with my tea with my three boys (creating mayhem) around me.

Ultimately, I decided to go for the last idea (though I decided against having a son swinging from the light fitting! In fact, looking at the sketch now, I appear to have five sons…).

mug of teaThis is what I posted on Twitter for #ShapeChallenge yesterday (the idea is you share what you draw).

This morning I went back and tweaked it a bit – my youngest son (playing with trains) was too big, there was something badly wrong with this arms in the picture and he kind of looked like he was rolling off the coffee table.  I also tried to make my eldest son (doing the handstand) look like he had a slightly less broken neck, and I faffed around with my middle son’s face and arms. That lead to:

mug of tea2small
At this point I thought, I wonder what it would look like in colour? And got out my pencil crayons:

mug of tea colour Oh, um, that looks a bit rubbish. Definitely better in pencil…

But how about if I tried felt tips? (I’ve recently bought some posh Faber-Castell ones which I love using.)

So I grabbed them, outlined the whole picture with fine black marker and then coloured  it in. I also used white pen for a few highlights. Here’s the final picture:

 

mug of tea colour pens I think I might prefer the pencil version actually, but it was fun to try adding colour and thankfully, because I scanned it in first, I still have the earlier version even though the ‘hard copy’ now has ink on it.

There you have it. I’d love to know your thoughts!

Prose for Thought

for the love of shoes

I’ve tried to hit 2016 at a run, creatively speaking, by throwing myself into things and looking for inspiration all over the place. Social media has been immensely useful, particularly Twitter (there are so many creative challenges there! Who’da thunk it? Honestly, not me) and as always, the blogging community has provided me with both ideas and an outlet.

Yesterday I had a look at The Prompt (one of my favourite linkys) and discovered it was the word ‘confusion’. So I figured I’d write a limerick based on that word. I also had a look at my favourite Twitter muse – #ShapeChallenge – to see if could use that as a visual prompt for both the limerick and an illustration for it. It was a double-pronged inspirational approach! I ended up writing and drawing this:

princess shoes limerickThe reason it’s about shoes (although, do I need a reason?) is because the shape (next to my twitter handle in the picture) reminded me of a shoe, and ‘shoes’ kind of rhymes with confused, so I went from there.

Which shoes would you choose? I’m going for the ones that look like ladybirds!

mumturnedmom
Prose for Thought

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Victoria Welton

furious bird

I’m doing an illustration course at the moment and as part of that I’ve been drawing every day. This has usually taken the form of a #ShapeChallenge where I’ve used a specific shape posted on Twitter to inspire a drawing.

furious bird

Furious Bird. You can see (my badly executed version of ) the shape that inspired it, at the bottom of the picture.

Sometimes I’ve found that inspiration takes me a step further and the drawing then prompts me to write something. In the case of ‘furious bird’ it was a limerick:

There once was a furious bird
Whose anger was easily stirred
From morning ’till night
He would squark, shout and fight
‘Till he dropped dead of stress (so I heard).

I’m normally one for happy endings but frankly, furious bird kinda had it coming. I didn’t like him very much. I get the feeling he was berating people for not being just like him. (Hmm, it’s possible furious bird has a story beyond the scope of this limerick!)

Feel free to supply an alternative ending if you think furious bird deserves rehabilitation. Perhaps he’s just misunderstood? #savefuriousbird ;)

Prose for Thought

poetry and prose request (and opportunity!)

Some of you may know I’m co-editor of the Poetry and Prose round-up for BritMums. This means that every other month I read as much poetry and prose written by my lovely fellow bloggers as I can, and put it together in a post on the BritMums site. You can find my last post (published early this month) here – it’s well worth a read as I was snowed-under with fabulous work to share!

My co-editor Victoria, was due to do the next roundup (which will be published in early March) but we’ve agreed that I’ll do it instead, as she’s got lots on this month, so I find myself with an extra roundup post to write. Since it’s unexpected, I thought I’d try something a bit different this time, and I was hoping for your help!

heartsAs it was Valentine’s Day last weekend I’ve already noticed a fair few creative pieces on the subject of love… and I thought, why not make my next roundup a ‘bumper, love edition’? And I’d LOVE it if you could point me in the direction of anything you’ve written on the subject. But NOT just romantic love, oh no, no, no – all sorts of love! I want the post to be a celebration of everything and everyone we care about – children, partners, parents, siblings, friends, family, cats, dogs, hobbies, gin, pizza, small pebbles… whatever – the world is your oyster! (In fact, there are extra bonus points for anyone who writes a love poem about oysters ;))

So, lovely people, if you’ve written (or posted) a poetry or prose piece on this theme during the month of February then please share it with me by Friday 26th February. Just tweet me @writingbubble or give me a nudge on my FB page. I will include as many pieces as I can in the roundup (hopefully all, space allowing). Of course, I will also be on the look out for posts too.

Please share this post with anyone you think might be interested. I’m looking forward to reading and sharing your work!

Post Comment Love

halloween limerick

I’ve always enjoyed pumpkin carving – I used to do it as a child and loved that moment when the candles were lit, the lights went out and your artwork came to life!

My sons now love making them too. The first year we tried them we cut the classic grinning faces but then a couple of years ago I bought a pumpkin carving kit from the supermarket (it came with special little tools and a booklet of designs) and we’ve never looked back.

halloween pumpkins

I have to admit I love these ones and they look much more complicated than they actually were to make- the kits are so easy to use! My 8-year-old carved the witch one mostly by himself with only a little help, my 6-year-old made the grinning bat one (although he mostly did some rather over-zealous scraping out of innards rather than the actual cut out) and my toddler carved the spider himself. I didn’t help at all *ahem*. We had great fun doing it and we even made a rather tasty pumpkin soup afterwards, so I felt super-halloween-smug.

Limerick addict that I am, I then felt compelled to write a little something:

Pumpkins look great on a ledge
But ensure they’re away from the edge
Lest a nudge from a breeze
A cough or a sneeze
Turns your art into – SPLAT – roasted veg.

Happy Halloween!

Prose for Thought

Share this:

#NationalPoetryDay

It’s #NationalPoetryDay! As a lover of poetry and a huge fan of limericks I didn’t feel I could let this day pass without posting something.
live like a poet

I think limericks are an often-overlooked form of poetry and I’m currently working on a collection of my own which I plan to self-publish sometime next year. It’s going to be for kids so right now I’m researching illustrators – very exciting!

Anyway, I’m keeping lots of my limericks to myself at the moment (rather than posting them on the blog) but I thought I’d share a couple that are completely unrelated to the theme of the collection (and indeed each other). The first is one I wrote for the Limerick Nation anthology published by Iron Press last year. Four of my limericks were included in the anthology – this wasn’t one of them but I’ve always rather liked it nonetheless.

A pianist from Northumberland
Refused to perform in a cummerbund;
He said he felt funny
With a sash round his tummy
And looks-wise the thing made his bum rotund.

I also recently wrote this limerick for my Harry Potter obsessed son (for the uninitiated, the ‘Hogwarts Express’ is the train that runs from platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry):

One day on the Hogwarts Express
Harry said to his friends, “I confess
These trousers are itchy
They scratch and restrict me
From now on… I’m wearing a dress!”

Good for Harry, I say.

And now I’m off to live like a poet… which involves picking kids up and making tea.

Prose for Thought

the truth about writing for kids

Over the last year the vast majority of what I’ve written has been for children. I’ve been working on three picture book manuscripts which I recently had appraised and have now re-written and tweaked to be ready to submit to agents/publishers this autumn. I’ve also been writing limericks for an illustrated poetry book for kids that I’m in the process of compiling.

B is for books

B is for… Books

And it’s been fun – I love writing for kids. But it does have its downsides. Quite apart from the fact that picture books and poems require endless hours of re-working, there’s a lot I write that I just can’t use because, well, it’s simply not appropriate. Maybe it’s just me with my wicked brain but sometimes the words take me down an entirely unsuitable path.

A case in point – one of my picture books is about a magic biscuit baker. I was writing a scene where the main character watches her fellow villagers going to his bakery and the affect it has on them:

 

But as the weeks went past she saw the others popping in

they went in with a frown but always came out with a grin

and everybody said how yummy all his biscuits tasted

‘Is he baking them with weed?’ She thought, ‘they really all look wasted!’

 

Needless to say, this didn’t make the cut!

Sometimes it’s not that the subject matter is risqué, it’s just not very child friendly:

 

There once was a fun-loving antelope

Who went to a dance on a party-boat

But while bustin’ some moves

She slipped on her hooves

Right into the path of a motorboat

 

Poor old antelope eh?  Such a grim ending doesn’t feel very kid-friendly (and to be honest the rhymes were awful anyway). Still, grizzly endings are probably better than inappropriate imagery:

 

There once was a lazy giraffe

Who’d spend hour upon hour in the bath

Till her skin would all shrivel

Top bottom and middle

“I look like a scrotum!” She’d laugh.

 

(no offence meant to scrotums of the world, I was just looking for a more interesting alternative to ‘raisin’)

So you see, in writing for kids I do lose an awful lot in editing. Maybe my next limericks (and picture books?!) will have to be for grownups?

And then the fun began...

Prose for Thought

Share this:

the remorseless horse – limerick challenge #28

I’m in the process – the S-L-O-W process – of putting together a book of limericks for kids. This means I pretty much always have silly rhymes churning around in my head and am constantly on the look out for inspiration. Usually it comes from my sons who like to throw animals at me (not literally) to write about. This week I combined their request for a horse limerick with The Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom which was ‘lazy’.

I’m keeping all my best limericks for my book, especially the ones I think kids will like, so this isn’t one of my, or my sons, favourite ones. I think it has too much of an adult theme. Still, they both illustrated it for me as you can see below and their pictures are much happier than my words I think!

A lazy, unpleasant old horse
To his wife showed no thought or remorse
When he yelled “Make my tea!
I’m watching T.V!”
Don’t worry – she left him (of course).

 

horse watching tv 2

By my 5yo – horses watching (car) racing on T.V. I think.

 

horse watching TV

By my 8yo – a horse watching special ‘horse news’ – a much happier scene than my limerick suggests! :) (and can you spot his Harry Potter obsession sneaking into the picture?)

mumturnedmom