Tag Archives: fiction

challenge

I enjoyed joining in with The Prompt for the first time last week so I thought I’d link up again this week. This week the prompt is a single word: “challenging“. It inspired me to write this little story:

***

Mark clung on to the cliff face in terror. His limbs were trembling and his throat so dry he could hardly swallow. He knew he couldn’t stay where he was, he had to keep moving, but panic had wound its fingers round his ankles and rooted him to the spot.

Slowly raising his head upwards – even the thought of looking down made him feel sick – he saw a vertical incline and then, worse, an overhang. It seemed insurmountable, yet he knew it was his only option when what waited below was so much worse.

Locating a hand-hold just above him to his right, he decided he had to go for it. By sheer force of will, he slowly uncurled his fingers from where they clung and stretched out his arm towards it. He had just reached it, his slippery palm making contact, when a roar from below startled him. He lost his grip. At the same time one of his feet slipped from its precarious perch. Frantically scrabbling at the rock-face his fingers couldn’t find any purchase and he fell backwards twisting blindly and grappling at thin air.

The roar below became a jeer as he tumbled the short distance to the floor below. Winded, he opened his eyes to a ring of sneering faces – his classmates – and in the middle of the pack, Jason Green, the hulking tank-of-a-boy who’d made his life hell these last few years. It had been his challenge that had persuaded Mark to the climbing wall that day despite his terror of heights. Jason’s promise to stop his relentless campaign of abuse, if he managed to scale the wall without a harness, had seemed worth the risk. But he had failed (Jason’s precisely-timed roar had seen to that) and in doing so had only given his bully something else to taunt him with.

And yet, Mark realised getting slowly to his feet, Jason had made a mistake. The challenge had forced Mark to face his worst fear and in doing so had given him strength. Because he now knew that fear didn’t have to control him. If he could reach out – even through his terror – for a hand-hold on that wall then he could reach out for a hand-hold in other areas of life too. He made a decision. He would no longer fear the bully’s threatened reprisals if he ever told anyone what was going on. He would report him. And somehow, finally, Jason would get his just desserts.

***

The story took me a bit by surprise – I had intended to write about a child scared on a climbing wall but being encouraged by his Dad, but when I started writing it ended up like this. I tried a few different endings – in one, poor old Mark ended up lying on the floor getting another beating from the nasty Jason but I couldn’t bear to leave him like that!

I’d love to hear what you think. Do your stories take their own turns when you write too? (bet they do – it’s one of the things I love about writing!)

Thanks Sara for the prompt!

mumturnedmom

on the pier

waves dark

I entered the Paper Swans flash fiction competition this month with the following piece. It was written in response to a photo prompt of an elderly man asleep on a deckchair on a pier. I didn’t win but I did enjoy writing the story. I think flash fiction is really useful writing practice especially for someone really wordy like me!

Anyway, here’s my story:

He reclined on the pier, eyes closed, sun warm on his face, drifting in and out of memories. He was a child, muddy and beaming, collecting tadpoles with his brothers, then a teenager playing football on the back streets with friends. Now he was a young man dancing with his beloved Jean, their futures entwining with every step.

As he floated into dreams, images poured in: his friends from the pit, coal-dust faces over frothy beers; the tiny, sleeping form of his newborn son; his daughter, proud at her graduation; his grandchildren’s faces in flickering firelight and finally – wrenchingly – his wife’s casket descending into the earth. A whole lifetime caught in memory’s flickering reel.

A final fog of sleep descended and the images fuzzed and faded. Then out of the haze a figure came twirling towards him. It was Jean, rosy and radiant. Smiling, he took her outstretched hand. His last breath danced with the breeze over the sunlit waves.

 

Prose for Thought

a mother’s love

sleeping baby gold

She stood gazing down at this vision of complete contentment – her baby boy’s peaceful, sleeping form. He looked, to her fond eyes, almost edibly gorgeous with his rosebud mouth, little squidgy nose and blond, downy hair framing the gentle curve of his cheeks. Clutched to his chest was his favourite teddy; his arms – even in sleep – wrapping it in a tight embrace with one plump hand clutching at its fluffy foot. And those fingers! Each one with its dimpled knuckle, soft skin and miniature nail seemed a tiny testament to the human ability for perfection.

She was filled with a rush of love and the sudden wild need to scoop him up in her arms, to bury her face in the soft skin of his neck and breath in his baby scent. Her arms ached at the thought.

Behind her, a door slammed and she was jarred suddenly from her reverie. She heard the sound of shoes being kicked off and a moment later a lanky young man strode into the room.

“Alright Mum?” He said, brushing her arm not-unaffectionately as strode past her to the fridge “Just grabbing some lunch… is there any food?” Then, noticing her attention was still fixed on something in her hands, he came and peered over her shoulder: “What have you got there?”

She sighed lightly, shaking herself back into the present: “Yes of course there’s food, darling, unless you and your brother have eaten it all since I last looked… which actually wouldn’t surprise me…” She said with fond exasperation. Then, returning her attention again to what was in her hands, she responded to his other query: “I was just looking at one of your baby photos – I found it in a drawer when I was clearing some things out. It took me back.”

She looked once more at the tiny face in the picture and then up at the distinctly larger one now next to her. She searched his features. Was there a trace of the baby there still? Perhaps in the curve of his lip? The shape of his brow?

She sighed again. He was already turning to move across the room. He was his own person now; always going somewhere, meeting someone or off doing something-or-other. He was a lovely lad and she was proud of him, but sometimes she longed to be the centre of his universe again. These days she felt like merely an orbiting satellite.

She turned to place the photo on a shelf and was surprised to feel a hand on her shoulder.“You’re getting all sentimental again aren’t you?” he said, “Come on, make me a cup of tea and I’ll let you bore me with tales of how cute I used to be!”

He smiled at her and suddenly she saw before her not just the teenager he now was, but the proud ten-year-old who’d won the award at school, the excited six-year-old who’d just got his new bike, the four-year-old dancing wildly round the kitchen table, the toddler running into her arms and, yes, even the baby sleeping contentedly, arms wrapped tightly round his favourite teddy.

***

A bit of a soppy story from me today! I was looking at my youngest boy this morning (he’s 14 months old now) and thinking how gorgeous he is and how part of me can’t bear the idea of him – or his brothers – getting any older. I just want them to stay my adorable little guys forever! But, of course, they won’t and really I don’t want them to. I love watching them grow up and I hope one day to see them turn into lovely men.

And that’s what inspired me to write this story. I was trying to capture a sense of continuing nature of motherhood and that somehow  – even when they’re huge people with massive feet – they are still and always the tiny life we first created. (I hope – my oldest is only six – but time will tell!)

I wrote it with the baby at my feet (although he is now having a nap) so it’s a bit rushed… oh, and he’s now waking up so I’d better just publish this!

Prose for Thought

 

 

down at the pool

The Setting:

Friday after school at the local swimming baths. Unisex changing rooms with small cubicles, thronging with tetchy children and exhausted parents. Floor awash with puddles and cluttered with buggies. Damp air infused with the smell of chlorine and toilets. Building reverberates with shrieks of children and muffled expletives of parents.

The Team:

The Mum – harassed mum-of-three. Aims to sail seraphically through the weekly swimming experience. Never does.

Son 1 – at 6 years old, takes his responsibilities as oldest brother very seriously. In fact, is by far the most ‘together’ member of the whole team. Mostly seen sighing with exasperation and telling everyone to ‘hurry up!’

Son 2 – 4 years old. Easily distracted from the task in hand. Whatever the task.  Mostly to be seen leaving his swimming bag on the driveway where he stopped on the way to the car to examine a stone.

The baby – usually laid-back, but this weekly excursion pushes him to the limits of his endurance.

Now over to our commentators Bill and Bob as they talk us through the weekly Swimming Run

Bill: “You join us in the car park outside the pool. It’s 4.28 and the boys’ swimming lessons are due to start any minute. We had expected to have seen our team arrive before now but so far, there’s been no sign. What do you suppose has happened to them Bob?”

Bob: “Well, I’m not entirely sure but, between you and me, the Mum’s time keeping is not exactly great… ”

Bill: “And this week is no exception I see… but wait, here they are now! They’ve finally arrived in the car park, Mum has slammed the car to a halt in the nearest space and has leapt out!”

Bob: “An inauspicious start, Bill – she’s already looking rather frazzled!”

Bill: “Yes, although she’s unloading the buggy out of the car at lightning speed… Oooh, ouch that looks painful! Those buggies can be remarkably heavy when you drop them on your foot, Bob!”swimming things

Bob: “They can indeed, although Mum seems to have barely registered the pain, she’s too busy hauling the baby out of the car and into the buggy while also making sure the other two don’t race across the car park!”

Bill: “They do seem keen, don’t they! I can hear Son 1 shouting ‘Come on, Come on! The lesson’s starting!'”

Bob: “And they’re all off across the car park at a run now!”

Bill: “… and in through the doors of the pool…”

Bob: “… and out again to get Son 2 who stopped to swing round a bollard.”

Bill: “Phew! They’ve made it to the changing rooms. If they get changed quickly, there’s a chance they’ll only miss the first five minutes of the lesson!”

Bob: “Hmm, although it’s hard to see how they’ll achieve that in here Bill, the place is heaving! Are there any spare cubicles?”

Bill: “Mum’s searching frantically around for a free one… ”

Bob: “… a hard task when you’re pushing a buggy with a flat tyre through a crowd of flapping arms and slamming lockers!”

Bill: “She nearly got whacked in the face with a hair dryer there, Bob!”

Bob: “Ah! But she’s seen a cubicle, and is fighting her way towards it!”

Bill: “Oh no! Another mum just beat her to it!”

Bob: “But wait, don’t worry, she’s seen another – it’s right down next to the showers but she’s squeezed them all into it.”

Bill: “Well, apart from the baby… the buggy wont fit so she’s just wedged him in the open door.”

Bob: “He’s a fan of water is he, Bill? Because he seems to be getting quite sprayed there!”

Bill: “I don’t think mum’s even noticed… she’s trying to help Son 2 out of his trousers…”

Bob: “… which appear to have pockets stuffed with pebbles which are now scattering over the floor!”

Bill: “Meanwhile Son 1 is standing on one leg in a puddle behind the door ripping his clothes off frantically.”

Bob: “That’s it! Son 1 is ready! The strap on his goggles has come undone but Mum is too busy trying to get Son 2 out of his tangled t-shirt to help him.”

Bill: “I guess he’ll just have to get water in his eyes today Bob.”

Bob: “He’s looking resigned to that… he’s made it across to the pool to his lesson though… and Son 2 isn’t far behind!”

Bill: “Result! They’re both in pool!”

Bob: “Rather late Bill… ”

Bill: “True, but something in Mum’s expression tells me she considers anything before 4.45 to be a small victory.”

 ***

Bob: “Mum’s taking a moment now to sort out the chaos of the cubicle… ”

Bill: “And to wipe the baby down where he’s been sprayed by the shower. And, Oh dear, she’s realised that he’s been chewing Son 2’s goggles this whole time. That’s why he’s been so quiet.”

Bob: “Both boys will have to go goggle-less then; Mum’s shaking her head in exasperation!”goggles

Bill: “But good news! – everything’s away in lockers now so mum can go to the spectator area for a well-earned sit down.”

Bob: “If she can find any free seats… or space for the buggy.”

Bill: “Yes, it’s a bit cramped in there isn’t it? And by the looks of everyone in there, it’s boiling hot too!”

Bob: “But look – Mum has managed force her way into the corner and has even found a tiny bit of windowsill to perch on!”

Bill: “Behind a toddler who appears to be in hysterics over a banana.”

Bob: “Yes, it’s not exactly the best seat in the house from that respect… she’ll need to keep an eye out for chunks of flying fruit.”

Bill: “The baby’s getting restless siting in that cramped spot on her lap too… oh, but it’s ok, Mum’s realised that if she bounces him up and down while waving a toy in front of him, singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and pulling funny faces then he doesn’t cry.”

Bob: “Mum looks like she might though – it’s already five ‘o clock and time to go back to the changing rooms to help get the boys dressed!”

 ***

Bill: “Mum’s fighting her way to the showers through hordes of wet swimmers and shampoo-wielding parents… I can see an advantage to having a buggy now Bob, it’s actually quite a useful tool isn’t it? – kind of like a snowplough!”

Bob: “You could say that! She’s made it to her sons and is now squirting shampoo on them… from a distance, mind, as she doesn’t want to get wet herself. Not the easiest task.”

Bill: “No, I can see that – Son 2 has started screaming; he’s got shampoo in his eyes.”

Bob: “And Son 1 has now finished his shower and is shivering violently while Mum tries to pull his towel out of the swimming bag.”

Bill: “While also trying to wipe Son 2’s eyes with… what’s that she’s holding Bob?”

Bob: “I believe it’s a pair or Mr Man pants… it was the first thing that came to hand when she opened her handbag!”

Bill: “Interesting. Well, it’s done the trick anyway and she’s also managed to pull out both the towels and even found a spare cubicle for them!”

Bob: “No space for the baby again though – he’s propping the door open again.”

Bill: “Except now he’s started crying and Mum is taking him out of the buggy… is that wise, would you say?”

Bob: “I wouldn’t say so, no – she’s now trying to help the other two get out of sticky, wet costumes and into clothes with him balanced on her hip.”

Bill: “Still screaming… “20140313_080157-1

Bob: “She doesn’t look best pleased by Son 1’s announcement that he’s lost one of his socks. I think it got kicked under the bottom of the cubicle at some point… oh there it is, he’s found it! It’s wringing wet so it looks like he’ll be going home sock-less.”

Bill: “Looks like we’re reaching the final stages though – both sons are now putting their shoes on!”

Bob: “And now they’re all managing to squeeze out of the tiny cubicle… ”

Bill: “And Mum’s strapping the baby into the buggy.”

Bob: “Still screaming… ”

Bill: “And now I suppose they’ll be heading for the hair dry… oh, no Mum’s just shaken her head.”

Bob: “No time for hair drying, clearly… she seems very keen to make it back to the car!”

Bill: “They’re outside!”

Bob: “And back inside to get Son 2 who stopped to look at a poster of a horse…”

Bill: “.. and back outside again… Son 1 has taken over pushing the buggy and Mum is carrying… well, everything else. Were they planning a three-week holiday with all those bags, Bob?”

Bob: “Not this time Bill, although I strongly suspect Mum is thinking about a holiday right now! They’ve nearly made it back to the car though!”

Bill: “And they have! She’s loading them all in, both the boys and the baby.”

Bob: “Still screaming… ”

Bill: “What’s that she’s muttering to herself?”

Bob: “It sounded like ‘Never again!'”

Bill: “Doesn’t she say that every week?”

Bob: “Oh yes Bill, she certainly does. Every. Single. Week.”

 

And then the fun began...
Prose for Thought

one day

beach

Kate watched him as he ran along the sun-drenched pier, his little arms waving exuberantly and his blond curls bouncing with every step. Every few metres he would look back over his shoulder and she would catch a glimpse of his dancing eyes and wind-rouged cheeks; his mouth opened wide in an ecstatic laugh.

His voice carried back to her, “Look at me, Mummy, look! Look!” Of course, Kate looked. He was so jubilant, filled with the thrill of this bright, spring morning with its sea air, sunshine and promise of adventure. It made her heart leap to watch him. She imagined the tableau they would make together on this sweep of weathered boards with the glittering ocean as its backdrop. It must be a beautiful one.

Then, as she watched, a young woman ran past her and towards the boy, sweeping him up into her arms and spinning him around. The boy shrieked with laughter and grabbed at her face with his chubby hands. Smiling, the woman kissed him and set him back down. As he ran off laughing, his cries of “Catch me, Mummy!” reached Kate as she watched the two of them racing away from her.

She turned away with a sigh, wiping away the tears that had sprung suddenly to her eyes. Trudging slowly back towards the shore she told herself – just as she had done everyday for the last five, arduous years of monthly disappointments – ‘There is always hope. Maybe, one day…’

 

Linking up my story with #Prose4T over at Verily Victoria Vocalises.

Prose for Thought
Post Comment Love

fit for a king

little king

 

It had been a magnificent banquet: a multitude of textures and tastes had delighted his palate and the drink, as always, had been plentiful. Now, stomach bulging, he sat back and surveyed his kingdom. It was comfortable and familiar and peopled with loyal subjects.

He was fortunate to be surrounded by those who ensured his every need was met and his every whim attended to. For as long as he could remember, his meals had been prepared for him, his clothing washed and his good temper ensured through a range of entertainments. Only that morning he had been delighted by a dazzling performance by the court jesters, which had had everyone laughing uproariously.

Yet, despite the power he seemed to have over them all (sometimes the merest smile would be enough to send them scurrying around him) he knew instinctively that these were not merely his servants. These were people he loved and who loved him back, fiercely and protectively.

A sudden hush descended on the room. He looked at the smiling faces surrounding him, wondering what was about to happen. Then a shimmering object topped by a single flame was placed before him and all around him people began singing.

His mother stepped forward and planted a huge kiss on his forehead. “Happy Birthday, my darling” she said fondly as she blew out the candle on his first birthday cake.

 

My baby turns one this weekend so I thought I’d try writing another short piece of prose to mark the occasion. I attempted a loving poem but it was unbelievably twee! Happy birthday to my gorgeous boy.

 

Prose for Thought

peaceful prose

I’ve been setting myself a few writing challenges recently and linking up with Writing Warriors over at Beautiful Misbehaviour to blog about them. This week, one challenge was to write a short piece of prose. It’s not something I normally do; creative writing for me usually means short stories of at least 1500 words. Flash fiction is outside my comfort zone but I figured, why not try something new?

This is what I came up with (and it’s under 200 words!):

 

She lay submerged, floating peacefully just below the surface. Now and then, fragments of the world beyond drifted down to her; sounds she was dimly aware of but could not respond to. It was so calm down here. She felt suspended in time, her mind free to roam and tumble between realms.

A thought, barely formed, drifted across her consciousness. Was there something she needed to do? She loitered, not wanting to leave this tranquil space. But a sound had begun insistently burrowing its way in to her brain, nearly rousing her to action, but not quite… not quite. Reality could not reach her yet, even as she felt it stretch out its fingers. Let me stay a while longer, she pleaded silently, let me stay.

Attempting oblivion, she dived deep. But it was not enough; a piercing cry twisted and gouged its way through her skull. She was dragged violently upwards and found herself exploding through the surface.

She was fully awake. The baby was screaming. Sighing, she heaved herself from her warm bed and dragged leaden limbs through the darkness, leaving sleep’s soft sunbeams scattering in her wake.

 

As you may have guessed, this is a scenario I am familiar with. I love my sleep and being dragged from it is not something I relish!

I’m linking up with Prose for Thought over at Verily Victoria Vocalises.

 

Prose for Thought

the morning marathon AKA getting the kids to school

The Runners:

Mum: tired mum-of-three. Does her best to be eternally patient, calm and level-headed but mostly isn’t. At all.

6yo: oldest son. Mostly very sensible and usually is not only head-of-the-pack in the ‘morning marathon’, but also principle motivator of the other runners.

4yo: middle son. Mostly tired in the mornings having just started school a few months ago. Determined and mischievous – both of which can be used for good or ill. And frequently are.

Baby: youngest of the clan. Very laid-back and happy to fit in with the others. Except when it comes to sleeping. Which he doesn’t.

Dad: only a bit player in the ‘morning marathon’ – in the shower in its early stages, reappears to kiss everyone goodbye, then takes a different route.

And now over to Bill and Bob, our commentators for this morning:

At The Starting Blocks

Bill: “… and for those of you just joining us, it looks like it’s going to be a slow start to the race this morning…”

Bob: “Yes, it’s 7am and Baby and Mum are snoozing in bed together… from what I can gather it’s been a long night so we shouldn’t expect things to get going quickly.”seahorse

Bill: “But wait, here’s the 6yo, he’s just come in saying “Wake up everyone!” and appears to be placing some kind of cuddly seahorse next to Mum’s head… and the seahorse has lit up and is belting out… what’s that tune Bob?”

Bob: “I believe it’s Frere Jaques, Bill. She won’t like that; bit strident for this time in the morning, I’d say.”

Bill: “Yes, she’s putting her head under the pillow. The baby seems happy to see his brother though! He’s waving his arms and squealing with glee!”

Bob: “And accidentally punching Mum in the chin as he does so. Oh dear, still, it’s woken her up fully now!”

Bill: “And the commotion has woken the 4yo too. He’s just walked into the bedroom… maybe things will get going properly now?”

Bob: “Or not… since he seems to be climbing into the bed with Mum and Baby and going back to sleep.”

Bill: “But the 6yo is not letting any of them get away with this sort of behaviour. He’s pulling the covers off and telling them they have to get up or they’ll be late for school! Are we sure he’s not Mum in disguise Bob?”

Bob: “You’ve got a point there Bill… he’s quite effective. He’s somehow managing coax them all out of bed.”

Bill: “And downstairs!”

And We’re Off!

Bob: “They’ve all made it down to the kitchen somehow and Mum seems to be trying to make breakfast for them all… it’s taking her a while though.”

Bill: “Yes, she does seem to be a bit sluggish, she’s boiled that kettle three times and still hasn’t made a cup of tea! Still she’s managed to pour cereal for the others, and is feeding the baby.”breakfast table

Bob: “Yes… the baby doesn’t mind having porridge in his ear, I take it?”

Bill: “Oh anything goes with him, he’s a third-born; lucky really, as not much of that food seems to be going in his mouth.”

Bob: “It doesn’t help that his brothers are singing and dancing next to him trying to make him laugh.”

Bill: “Energy levels seem to be up now though don’t they, so maybe this race will start speeding up soon?”

Bob: “Possibly Bill, although I think it would help matters if Mum could actually eat her breakfast rather than having to clear up that bowl of cereal that’s just been tipped all over the floor.”

Bill: “True, although she sees to be managing ok… I didn’t actually know it was possible to eat toast while feeding a baby, wiping the floor, peeling a banana and removing a plastic sword from the clutches of a small boy.”

Bob: “While checking Facebook too… I think it’s a skill that mothers learn somewhere along the way. Thankfully, or I doubt any child would ever make it to school in the morning”

Picking up the Pace

Bill: The 6yos taking charge again now. He’s realised it’s eight ‘o clock and they all need to get dressed.”

Bob: “He’s encouraging them all up the stairs. Mum’s still trying to tidy the breakfast table but he’s having none of it! ‘Come on, Come on!’ he’s shouting”

Bill: “Yes, it looks like the pace is finally picking up!”

Bob: “Yes… except the 4yo is just lying face down on the living room floor. Think he’s trying to go to sleep again. He’s not going anywhere fast!”

Bill: “No, but the rest of them are doing O.K; Mum has got herself and the baby dressed. She avoided getting hit by the stream of urine from him as she changed his nappy this morning, so that’s good.”

Bob: “And the 6yo is dressed too… his hair looks like he’s been dragged through a hedge backwards but ‘shabby chic’ is the look these days isn’t it?”

Bill: “I believe that term is used for furniture Bob… I think the phrase you’re looking for is ‘urchin cool.'”

Bob: “Right, well Mum is dragging a comb through it anyway. While simultaneously brushing her teeth and trying to get the baby’s socks on him.”

Bill: “Yes! And… oh dear! Just when things were going so well! The baby’s nappy has leaked. She’s going to have to change his outfit Bob.”

Bob:” Yes and her top too, by the looks of it. This is turning out to be quite the race this morning!”

Bill: “Does anyone know where the 4yo is? Mum’s just asked the 6yo to see if he’s getting ready.”

Bob: “And is he?”

Bill: “Well, there’s been some progress… he’s changed out of his pyjamas.”batman cape

Bob: “Ah yes, but I can see he’s not exactly dressed for school yet is he? A Batman cape and nothing else is not the required dress code as far as I’m aware?”

Bill: “No, but thankfully the 6yo is saving the day again. He’s got his brother’s uniform and is helping him put it on. He’s even helping him brush his teeth. Not sure he’s remembered to brush his own but Mum will take care of that, eh Bob?”

Bob: “Possibly Bill, possibly.”

Bill: “Oh and now the 6yo is shouting ‘Hurry up!’ over the baby monitor to Mum who’s still in the baby’s room taking care of that earlier ‘nappy incident’.”

Bob: “She’s shouting back telling them to get their shoes and coats on! Looks like she’s finally got herself and the baby ready too!”

The Final Stages

Bill: “I think they’re ready to leave the house! It’s 8.45: They might just make it!”

Bob: “Yes, the house is locked, they’re in the car and Mum’s reversing out of the drive.”

Bill: “No, wait, she’s stopped the car… she’s leaping out looking frantic… heading back to the house.”

Bob: “And she’s picking up the baby! He was just left sitting there in the hall!”

Bill: “That might have held them up a bit. The 6yo is furious! The 4yo thinks it’s hilarious! The baby is laughing as usual.”

Bob: “And Mum’s looking a bit frazzled, but they’ve finally left the drive.”

Bill: “That was quite an ‘interesting’ bit of driving there Bob… I wasn’t sure the car was going to fit through that gap… but looks like they’re going to make it! They’ve pulled up outside the school gates.”

Sprint Finish

Bob: “Mum’s leapt out of the car: where did she get that energy from? Must be the sense of desperation!”

Bill: “Yes, she’s unloaded the 6yo and the 4yo from the car and she’s grabbed the baby… he doesn’t misprint finishnd being held under her arm like a bowling ball I take it? And she’s got the school bags… ”

Bob: “Both of them, that’s good going; two school bags, two school boys; this could be a success story.”

Bill: “And look at them go! They’re racing down the road and through the gates! The school bell is ringing! Will they get there in time?”

Bob: “They’re only meters from the door!”

Bill: “Will the teacher keep it open for them??!”

Bob: “Look at the desperation on Mum’s face! She’s signalling frantically for the teacher to wait!”

Bill: “She will! She’ll have to surely?! She can’t close the door now?!”

Bob and Bill: “YEEEEEEEESSSSS! They made it!”

Bob: “Phew, that was quite a race. I think Mum could do with a sit down now.”

Bill: “And a nice cup of tea.”

Bob: “Or possibly a gin.”

UPDATED 15/04/15 – This weeks Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom is ‘Travel’. Travel isn’t really my thing (I’m a real homebody) but for some reason the prompt made me think of this post – it’s the journey I make every day, after all. 18months on, I have a toddler instead of a baby, the 5yo is less tired and the 7yo is slightly more inclined to draw Harry Potter pictures than encourage us all to school but actually, things haven’t changed that much!

mumturnedmom
Prose for Thought
Post Comment Love

books, glorious books

As a child, I loved reading. I could happily spend hours tucked into a big armchair with a book, the sounds of the house fading into the background as I disappeared into another world. My brothers and I also listened to masses of audio books, and I’m pretty sure that our nightly bed time stories went on for far longer than our poor sore-throated parents wanted them to!

library

As I got older though, I found myself reading less. Or at least, I read what I was required to for school or university and then didn’t feel much like reading anything else. TV and films gradually took the place of my beloved books. From time to time I would feel sad about that, but mostly it was just how it was. I still thought of myself as ‘a book lover’ but I rarely read for pleasure.

By my late twenties my first son had arrived, followed by his brother two years later. I was running my own business and the resulting racing around and tiredness left me struggling to even finish an article in a magazine some days. Deep down I felt I was missing something, but my ‘book worm’ days felt so far behind me it was hard to recapture them.

Then at the beginning of this year something changed. I was just starting maternity leave with baby-number-three, and – with my sons in school and nursery – my mornings were child-free. I was heavily pregnant so moving around was becoming less and less fun. My childhood memories of hiding in an armchair began calling to me. So I got my hands on an e-reader (and by ‘got my hands on’ I mean ‘swiped from my husband and he’s yet to get it back’), read a few book reviews, found something I fancied and off I went. I finished that book and started another, then another.

The months went by, and I read whenever I could. At all the times that I wasn’t writing (or dealing with kids, or housework… ) I’d grab my Kindle and slip quietly into whatever wonderful fictional reality awaited me. I read in labour (remember how I said mine went on for ages? I had to have something to do!) then I read while feeding the baby.

And now it’s early October and I’ve read nearly fifty books this year. That’s nearly…oooh… forty-nine more books than I read last year! And I’ve loved it. I won’t lie, they haven’t all been serious works of fiction. They weren’t all War and Peace. In fact, NONE of them were War and Peace. There have been many times – staggering around bleary-eyed after being up a gazillion times in the night – when I’ve just wanted something light and cheerful to distract me. But I’ve read some really fantastic books; books that have made me laugh and cry and some that have really made me think.

And as a writer, all of them have had value. They’ve helped me realise what I want to achieve, showing me everything from what I would love (in my wildest dreams) to emulate, to what I’d rather avoid. And sometimes what I’m just plain not interested in.

So I’ve decided I’m going to use this blog – over the coming weeks and months – to write about some of the books I’ve read. In part, as a written reminder for myself about what I learned from them, but largely just to talk about some books that I’ve really loved and to share them with anyone else that is interested. I’ve really got some gems to recommend!