Tag Archives: life

I want…

mumturnedmom

 
This week’s prompt over at Mum turned Mom is “I read the news today”. My first thought when I saw it last Sunday – two days after ‘Black Friday’ and the day before ‘Cyber Monday’ – was of all the stories I’d read about frenzied shoppers, and of violence and mayhem breaking out as people desperately fought each other for bargains that they possibly didn’t even really want and certainly didn’t need.

I’m all for grabbing a bargain and I want to buy nice gifts for friends and family this christmas as much as the next person, but it was clear that last weekend consumerism had got out of control.

So I wrote a poem about it. Not a sensible, highly political poem you understand, but a poem nonetheless.

 

I Want

 

I want…

Can I have…

Could you quickly get me please

One of those

Two of that,

And then three or four of these?

 

I want…

All these lovely things

That no one else has got

And of those

That my friends have? –

I’m going to get a lot.

 

I want…

One in green. No,

In red, no blue, No PINK!

Or perhaps one of each

Would be better

Don’t you think?

 

I want…

That huge, tall one

And this that’s oh, so small

And a round one,

A flat one,

In fact, I WANT THEM ALL.

 

And when

I’ve got everything

What shall I do? What then?

It’s simple

I’ll go back out

And buy it all again!

 

sickness

An Ode to Sick

sick
I’m very tired this morning due to being up most of the night with the youngest. There was much washing involved. Bleurgh.

I wrote the above in my head while sitting in the dark by the cot trying to get him to go back to sleep. Apologies for the bad photo. Too tired to try and take a better one.

Linking up with Friday Fiction… even though it’s a poem (not a story) and it’s more fact than fiction!

Nikki Young Writes

connectivity and creativity

image (36)I’m addicted to my smart phone. I use it all the time to check Twitter, Facebook, emails and texts, to comment on blogs, surf the net and take masses of photos. I even occasionally use it to make a phone call…

But two weeks ago – SHOCK, HORROR – it broke. Just completely, catastrophically died. No hope of resuscitation (or not by me, anyway).

I’ll take it into the phone shop in town, I thought that first day. But I didn’t get round to it – there was too much else going on. It was a bit frustrating but fine. It was only a problem when I was out of the house anyway as I have a laptop at home. It wasn’t like I was cut-off from technology, I just didn’t have it at my fingertips every second of the day.

On the second phone free day I thought, Hmm, shall I make that trip into town? Nah. I couldn’t quite be bothered.

On the third day I realised that the reason I hadn’t been to the phone shop yet was that, actually, I was rather liking not having my phone with me. I felt free. And I also realised (in the way you notice how often you check your watch on the day you forget to put it on and find yourself constantly confronted by a jarringly empty patch of skin) that I check the blasted thing far too often. At the school gate, in the queue at the local shop… even in the car waiting at the traffic lights. So I decided I’d just leave it for a while and see how I got on without it.

What I’ve found is that (surprise, surprise) without my phone I’ve had time to notice other things. As I sat waiting for friends to join us at the park (oh, ok, it was the local ice cream parlour if you must know) instead of continually glancing at a little screen in my hand I just sat and watched what was going on. I watched my sons playing rather than just looking up to check they were ok. I watched other kids rushing around. I watched the sky and the wind in the trees and I noticed the landscape. It felt peaceful.

And I felt like I’d somehow found a bit of creative inspiration I’d previously been lacking. Because actually, all those little periods of time we spend in queues or traffic jams or waiting for kids or friends, are the times when – if we look closely – life is happening. Not the huge, great, exciting, dramatic things, but the tiny, every day pieces of normality. And as a writer those moments are so important: they can spark ideas, help us flesh out characters in stories we’re writing or just suggest little details to add to our work. They are the seemingly insignificant moments that, if captured, give our books a ring of truth.

Anyway, it turns out my phone is beyond all hope so, am I forsaking the concept of a smart phone forever? Skipping into the wild blue yonder with only hope and a messenger pigeon?

Oh, of course not! BUT once I get my shiny, new little technological friend I’m going to be keeping it firmly in my bag when I’m out of the house, only to be used if I really need it. Promise.

How about you? Do you like to be connected to social media constantly? Are you contactable at all times? Could you (do you?) live without a smart phone?
My Button

legoland limerick

view of mini land from the Sky Rider

View of Miniland from the Sky Rider

Yes, we went to LEGOLAND! This isn’t remotely a sponsored post (ha, I wish!) I just wanted to write about it because we really did have a great time.

We went for two days (over my son’s fifth birthday) and stayed overnight in the Legoland hotel which was amazing. Expensive but worth it. We had a pirate-themed room which was plush enough to keep us parents happy, and fun enough to totally capture the boys’ imagination. There was Lego art on the walls, a pirate bunk bed, a treasure trail across the carpet which led to a safe that the boys had to unlock (to reveal lego gifts inside), and a big box of lego to play with. The kids even had their own section of the room with a TV tuned to the lego channel! Awesome.

The park was great too. We had a Q-Bot which meant we could jump the queues (you still have to wait after you’ve chosen your ride but just not in the queue which makes a massive difference especially when you have an eighteen- month-old in tow!) and we managed to go on twenty-one rides! The boys LOVED it and although the park was crowded and we were knackered with walking and sleep deprivation (thanks to the baby) we kind of fed off their excitement and had a great time too.

My five-year-old said it was ‘the best birthday ever!’ so obviously I had to write a limerick about it:

For our five-year-old’s birthday we planned
A trip to the great Legoland
We all had such fun
(Three kids, Dad and Mum)
That our real, brick-free life seems quite bland!

*** EXCITING NEWS ***

If you’re visiting via #Prose4T then you might be interested in my new writing linky which starts next Tuesday 9th September. It’s called “What I’m Writing” and it’s for writers, poets, bloggers etc. to share posts about your creative process: aspirations, successes, doubts, rejections (we’ve all had them), trials and triumphs. I’ll be running it with Chrissie from Muddled Manuscript. More info is here. We’d love to see you there!

Prose for Thought

what makes you happy?

happy badge

I’ve been tagged by Chrissie in this lovely meme about happiness. Right now I’m sitting on the sofa drinking a beer as the sun sets so it seems a good time to answer the questions:

Who makes you happy?

  • My husband. We’ve been together for twenty years come this December. Twenty years! We were teenage sweethearts. We met at school and have been together ever since. I wouldn’t call our relationship a fairy-tale but it’s fair to say I’d be lost without him. He’s my rock and he really makes me laugh. Plus of course he’s the father of:
  • My children. My three boys. There’s no one I love more. They’re a brilliant mixture of personalities – my seven-year-old is so sensitive and empathic, my five-year-old is hilarious, and the baby (he’s 18 months old but will always be a baby to me) is so laid-back and cute. Plus he can sing which is cool. Yes, they drive me mad, but the madness:happiness ratio is definitely in the right direction.
  • My family – parents, brothers, grandparents, wider family. They’re a lovely bunch and I’m sure the childhood they provided me with is the bedrock of the happiness I have now.
  • My friends. I’m definitely a ‘quality not quantity’ person but am lucky enough to have made some wonderful friends over the years, ones I truly love. My two oldest friends I’ve known since birth/toddlerhood and are more like sisters to me. Since having my first son I’ve made some lifelong friends and I shudder to think how I would have coped through the early years of motherhood without them!

What makes you happy?

  • Writing. It’s my escape, my ‘me time’, my opportunity to imagine and explore whole other lives and worlds. I love it.
  • Reading. It’s a combination of escapism and connection.
  • Good TV. I’ve got a bit of a thing for ‘Nordic Noir’ (especially The Bridge), my husband and I are currently working our way through box sets of Breaking Bad and I love sci fi. I have a special place in my heart for Star Trek TNG which I grew up with. Come to think of it, bad telly also makes me happy – bad films too: ‘Sharknado’ anyone?
  • Listening to Nat King Cole. The man had a voice like Christmas. Just hearing the opening bars of ‘Unforgettable’ makes me feel I’m sitting in an armchair before a roaring log fire, drinking mulled wine while snow falls softly outside. Which are, incidentally, also things that make me happy.
  • Sleep. I’m a parent. ’nuff said.

Where makes you happy?

  • A little village in the Swiss Alps called Wengen. The mountain range that surrounds it is stunningly beautiful. I first went there aged eight and have been back there six or seven times since. I haven’t been for six years and am desperate to go again! My Grandfather is Swiss so I always feel the mountains are calling to me (if that doesn’t sound too hopelessly romantic… which it does.)
  • Wide, open spaces. As in, the natural world. I live on the side of a hill in Northumberland. It’s not exactly the centre of civilisation and it’s not for everyone but it works for me. When I get stressed I only have to look out of the window at the fields and the trees (and the sheep) to feel things getting back into perspective.
  • My home. I’m a total homebody. It’s where my husband and kids are and my books and my computer, my music, telly and stash of sweets. Home is where my heart and my happiness lie.

I’m tagging fellow-writer Morgan at Shaking away the Cobwebs. Looking forward to reading your post Morgan!

puddles

We’ve had a lot of sunshine recently. It’s been wonderful – I’ve been making the most of it and sitting in the garden as much as I can. Sometimes, when I have documents to read on my laptop, it’s not really ideal but I’d rather squint at a screen with the sun on my back and grass between my toes than stay indoors. I love writing outside too – I feel surrounded by inspiration, like it could drift in on the breeze, burrow its way out of the ground or clamber in over a nearby fence to surprise me.rain

But then a few days ago we had a sudden torrential downpour. Dark clouds raced across the sky trampling out all the blue and, in moments, down came the rain. Huge hammering pellets, blistering their way across pavements and hurling themselves into thirsty soil. It reminded me how much I love it: Proper rain. Not that kind of endless drizzle that seems to settle itself here in autumn for weeks on end, but the real stuff. The type that comes along and forcefully washes the air clean before going on its way leaving only that gorgeous fresh, earthy sort of smell behind.

As well, of course, as puddles. And who doesn’t like jumping in them?!

All of which is is a roundabout way of saying: “I wrote a haiku about puddle-jumping”.

 

Pools of fallen sky

collect in holes and hollows

for our joyful feet


Prose for Thought

change

balls

I didn’t write my usual ‘so how’s my writing week gone?’ post last Friday. Instead of being at home attempting to fit writing and blogging in around the school run, housework and child-wrangling I was a hundred miles from home in a succession of meetings. With the baby in tow too, as I’d failed to find alternative childcare for him.

It was an interesting day! Actually the baby did pretty well, all things considered. I did have to watch one presentation from outside the room, peering in through the window (like some sort of weird stalker) while bouncing him in my arms, and simultaneously attempting to stop him from chewing the fronds of a nearby pot plant. But I guess that’s motherhood for you: you’ve got to expect to find yourself in ridiculous situations.

As you may have guessed from this, my lovely year of maternity leave has come to an end. I’m now trying to pick up the pieces of my previous existence and work out how to juggle the extra ‘balls’ of a baby (who’s still not sleeping properly), an unwell husband, a blog and a creative writing-itch I can no longer ignore.

It’ll be fine: I’m reducing my previous twice-monthly travel to a lot more Skyping and conference calls, and I’m mostly going to be working from home. My big boys are very happy at school and the baby is due to start at (their old) nursery any day so child-care is nearly sorted. And it’s only part-time anyway so totally manageable.

But I’d be lying if I said it all wasn’t playing on my mind at the moment. I’m forever adding things to my ‘to do’ list and am constantly feeling like I’m not getting enough done.

This has had a big impact on my writing this week: I am feeling totally uninspired. Which is not helped by the fact that every time I sit down to write, I remember something else that needs doing and either leap up to do it or just put it on the list and then faff around on Facebook to distract myself. I’m completely unfocussed.

I did have a brilliant idea for a short story last week (brilliant, that is, in the way that ideas can be before you start trying to actually write them) but I haven’t managed to write a single word of it yet.

I’ll get there. But until then, I really must do the hoovering… and the washing so we don’t have another morning when I’m scraping baked beans off yesterday’s school jumper…

lunchtime limericks

Animals for me to write limericks about!

Jungle animals for me to write limericks about!

Last week I decided that this blog has been a bit serious of late and that some silliness was in order. I thought back to before Christmas when I had fun writing limericks with (and for) my sons and decided that this week I would write some more.

Last Friday I set myself the challenge of writing prose (blogging not included) for two hours a day so I knew it was going to be hard to find any time to write anything else. Then I realised the answer was staring me in the face; if I wanted silliness, who better to turn two than my kids?! I could combine parenting with poetry and still leave time for my other writing after they were in bed!

So Sunday lunchtime saw us all sitting round the kitchen table writing limericks together. Now I’ve written that down, it sounds rather idyllic doesn’t it? A family of five, leaning back in our chairs full of beef and roast potatoes (us not the chairs) and throwing around lines to create a poetic masterpiece together… hmmm. Well if you replace ‘sunday roast’ with ‘cheese on toast’ and bear in mind that all the four-year-old’s suggestions involved bums and poos, that the baby kept up a merry assault on our eardrums at all times and that somehow everything my husband writes has an air of tragedy to it, then you’d have a much more accurate picture.

Anyway the six-year-old was keen that I write about animals. He was quite clear about which animals he wanted, which was quite a challenge, but in the end we managed to come up with the following:

 

A pair of athletic young peacocks

had started to learn how to kick-box

but their legs, like a chicken

got shivery while kickin’

so they had to wear pink, stripy knee socks

 

I know ‘their legs like a chicken’ doesn’t make grammatical sense, but then peacocks kickboxing doesn’t make logical sense, so maybe there is some sense in the combination. You with me? No?

Ok, next one:

There once was a fussy young leopard

who wouldn’t eat food that was tepid

after catching his prey

he’d roast it all day

and serve it up chilli-d and peppered.

 

Frankly I think the leopard and tepid rhyme is inspired. IT IS! Stop arguing.

And finally my favourite. The first two lines were my husband’s (remember how I said he writes sad stuff?) and I added the last three off the top of my head before he had the chance to make it even more tragic. We chuckled to ourselves. The boys looked bemused.

 

There once was a dying giraffe

who wanted to have the last laugh

so he learned how to sing

and the jaw-dropping thing

was that he sounded like Edith Piaf

 

All together now: “Non je ne regrette rien… ”

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

Prose for Thought

 

 

if only I had the time…

I’ve just written this not-entirely-serious poem which is borne of the frustration I feel over not having enough time! It’s really not a finished piece but frankly, if I try and perfect it then I won’t have time for the other things I want to do today!

Time

I fantasise about a way

that I could alter time

to slow hours down or speed them up

and hurry through when times were tough

to dawdle on a summers day

make sure there’s always time to play

convert a blink of sleep to minutes

give creativity no limits

make arguments brief and cuddles long

move swiftly when I get things wrong

and never need to wait again

or have to linger when in pain

and always have the time to do

everything that I want to

Yes, the whole world could be mine

if I had power over time.

 

If anyone out there has any tips on how to juggle kids and work and family life and everything else then feel free to share!

And a particular question to anyone who writes and blogs – how do you have time for both? I’m sort of, kind of trying to write a book but, well, I never seem to be able to find the time!

I’m linking this up with the very fabulous Prose for Thought over at Verily Victoria Vocalises.

Prose for Thought

a new dawn

I’m not a big fan of this time of year, I must confess. It’s always a bit too cold and dark, and I find the contrast with the festive season a bit of shock. This year I really feel like I’m stuck on ‘go slow’. Where is the motivation that powered me through December?

But it’s not all bad: the cold has been an excellent excuse to curl up in front of the fire, I’ve spent some christmas money on some great new cushions for the sofa (hardly ‘headline news’ but I’m into my creature comforts so this makes me very happy!) and best of all have been the sunrises.

Not being a ‘morning person’ I never see sunrise in summer: the comfort of my bed in the early hours always wins hands-down over the beauty of anything that goes on outside the window. But with winter sunrises not occurring until breakfast time, it’s a different matter. Our kitchen has two big windows so we open the blinds and watch each new day arriving as we scoff our cornflakes. Dawn on a Northumbrian hillside can be truly stunning, and makes up for the damp day that we usually have to throw ourselves out into an hour later.

I wrote this poem this morning as we watched the world awaken. It was a damp, mulchy sort of morning, so the sunrise wasn’t as showy as some we’ve had recently, but it had its own particular charm.

 

Sunrise

 

Dawn uncurls her fingers

tickling the sky until

misty darkness flares pink

 

Light twists through trees

creeps up over hills and

tumbles down into valleys.

 

A sodden day breaks.

 

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

Prose for Thought