#SixWordSaturday ‘Who misses shady trees in November?’ #StreamOfConsciousnessSaturday

Who Misses Shady Trees in November?

Passers by sit and chat or rest

On those empty benches,

In summer,

Under the shade of sturdy trees.

Not now.

Today they’re walking on puddles

Under a cloudy sky,

In autumn,

Or sitting indoors, by the fire,

Waiting,

For the sun to shine for a while,

as it might tomorrow,

Or later.

No one misses the shady trees,

At all.

I took both photos last week in Cantabria, Spain.

Check out Six Word Saturday here

Check out Stream of Consciousness Saturday here. Today’s prompt is ‘shade’.

#SoCS #Streamofconsciousness #Saturday Christmas Presents #Haiku

I love this flyer, well it’s a brochure really, with the kid’s mother and grandmother, but where are the men in the family???

Christmas Presents

Flyers everywhere,

Come buy our toys on offer!

Children’s paradise.

It’s the time for toys! Parents, and in my case grandparents, spend hours searching for the perfect Christmas present in flyers and shops, asking children to write letters to Santa and promising he’ll bring the selected presents, of course.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about this pretence, although I’ve mostly played along. I’m no Scrooge!

I know from my children and grandchildren that they love the anticipation and surprise, and when they’re very little, I’d say under 5 or 6, they tend to believe in the fairy tale, and that’s sweet, but, there comes a time when they no longer believe in magic, and yet, both parents/grandparents and children keep up the pretence for a few more years, just because….they can….they both agree to play along….

I’m not sure, even today, as I wrap my grandchildren’s presents (yes, I bought them early on special offer! I have four grandchildren!), how I feel about this. I mean the idea that you ask for something, wait for the set date and get it, or not, on Santa’s whim. What about preparation, effort, and hard work rewarded? Where does that come into the equation?

Although most parents/grandparents threaten to tell Santa if the kids are naughty and don’t deserve a present, but do they do so, or even intend to do so?

Christmas presents for adults are a different story, altogether, but more about that in another post.

Stream of Consciousness rant over.

How do you feel about Christmas presents for children?

By the way, this post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly prompt, pop over to her blog and join in or read other entries. The topic for today is flyer/ad

#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘Lips’ #FlashFiction

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Follow the link on the banner for more information

This weeks prompt is“lip” I’m going to write a 100 word flash fiction story, because as soon as I saw the word, an idea flashed into my mind. I’ve been thinking about it and now I’m going to write it. I won’t edit, but I will weed out words to reduce it to 100 max. Sounds like fun, but let’s see how it works out!

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Her Lips

She pursed her lips. Those soft, luscious lips that had caressed every inch of my skin. Only mine.

They sank into a hard, angry line.  Lips that had told me they loved only me.

I willed her lips to move, to show me there was still hope, but they remained rigid, while blood, as red as her lips dripped onto the floor.

I love you, I told her, and at last, those lips that made me lose my mind, twitched slightly, one last time.

She pressed her lips to mine and dug the knife further into the wound. It’s over, she whispered.

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Sorry it was a bit dark, but that’s where her lips took me!

A psychological, tense thriller in 100 words. Does it work?

#SoCS Fabulous Stream of Consciousness #Novels ‘Mrs Dallaway’ & ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Follow the link on the banner for more information!

This weeks prompt is“fab.” Linda Hill says, “Use it as a word or find a word beginning with “fab.” As always, use any way you’d like. Have fun!”

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I’m going to ramble about two fabulous, stream of consciousness novels.

The first novel is Mrs Dallaway, Virginia Woolf’s unforgettable and inspiring masterpiece, which takes place in one single day in the month of June, in the early 1920s, shortly after the end of WWI.

Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf (Wordsworth Classics) (Wordsworth Collection)

Mrs Dallaway (Clarissa) is preparing an important society party while her thoughts come and go in diverse directions and timeframes in erratic flashbacks, as the reader discovers Clarissa’s unhappy marriage, the childhood sweetheart she loved but didn’t marry, her insecurities as a society wife, her bisexual tendency’s, and social issues, such as postwar depression and traumatized war veterans.

It’s a novel without a specific plot, in which nothing ‘important’ happens during the specific day, except the preparation of the party, and yet everything that’s happened in Clarissa’s life passes through her mind in that single day.

The protagonist is struggling unsuccessfully to find meaning in her life.

Resultado de imagen de mrs dalloway quotes

Bearing in mind the carefully plotted, character driven, traditional 19th century novels, such as those written by the Bronte sisters, Mary Shelley, or even George Elliot, Mrs Dallaway, represented a significant turning point.

Photograph of Virginia Woolf in 1902; photograph by George Charles Beresford

Virginia Woolf initiated an innovative approach to the novel in the early 20th century. The novel no longer adhered to a strict timeline and tight plot, instead, the narrator could wander wherever his/her mind went.

Now I’m going to jump forward to the 21st century. It’s 2016 and we have another major and innovative Stream of Consciousness novel by Elizabeth Strout, called, My Name is Lucy Barton, which I discussed amply in my blog yesterday.

Imagen relacionada

This fabulous, stream of consciousness novel, takes Virginia Woolf’s approach even further. On this occasion, there is no plot at all, very little by way of characterisation and a disjointed timeline with erratic flashbacks and forwards, and some unsettling hospital visitors, while Lucy is in a hospital bed, recovering from an unspecfied illness.

Lucy should have read Camus or Sartre, they would have told her that her futile and obsessive search for the meaning of her life, was doomed to bring her distress, because there is none. The only solution for Clarissa and Lucy, and all of us, is to accept the fact that life is absurd, and still find reasons to be happy.

Resultado de imagen de camus quote on life

Life isn’t always fair, random events occur, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and bad people get away with murder. We don’t choose our parents, our country or place of birth, our language or religion, and so many other things which shape our lives, and yet, there are still plenty of things we can choose and change.

I enjoyed reading both novels, but I have no sympathy for either Lucy or Clarissa. I suggest they stop blaming others, i.e. their childhood, parents, nationality, religion, politics, society, etc. for their problems.

It’s up to each one of us to decide what we’re prepared to accept and what we’re prepared to fight to change or rebel against.

Resultado de imagen de camus quotes

So, do you enjoy reading stream of consciousness, almost experimental, literary novels, which explore a character’s psyche intensely, but have little by means of a traditional plot or timeline?

Stream of Consciousness #Saturday #SoCS ‘Mean Mothers’

This post was written in response to Linda G, Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. This week’s prompt is ‘mean‘. Feel free to join in or read other posts.

Nobody expects an adult woman to complain about having a mean mother. It’s considered too childish or an exaggeration, and yet there some, fortunately not many, women who have toxic mothers, also referred to as narcissistic mothers. I’m one of them.

My name is Lucy and I have a toxic mother.

I feel like an addict owning up to an addiction. I’d been thinking about writing a post about this for a long time, and when I realised that today’s prompt word was ‘mean’, I saw it as a sign to own up once and for all. It’s a first step, and it actually feels great to be able to get it off my chest and share it with readers in cyberspace.

I didn’t realise why my relationship with my mother was so distressing until recently, a couple of years ago, when I started hearing about the topic and investigating in psychology blogs, specialised articles and manuals.

As a child I always felt guilty about being the cause of my mother’s anger and disdain. I wasn’t clever enough, pretty enough, or good enough at anything. She never liked my friends and she especially never liked my boyfriends.

She tried to convince me I was bad to the core, from birth, because when I was born I looked at her with ‘evil eyes’ and she knew I would cause her problems.

When she was feeling especially mean, she would tell me she was convinced I had been changed at the hospital and that someone like me couldn’t be her daughter.

I would never be worthy of her love and kindness, so she refused to love me unless, and for a short time, I was completely compliant to all her requirements, be it the clothes I wore, the friends I had, the food I ate, the places I went to etc., well into my adult life.

When other people are present, there are two possible scenarios. In the first, she makes an effort to point out my good points, because she’s responsible for all my achievements, as if I’m a trophy, which is why only those who know her well (and many do, eventually) can see it’s an act. In the second, she humiliates me pointing out my failures and lack of achievements, because I didn’t follow her advice.

She constantly reminds me that if she hadn’t been my mother I’d be a useless wimp, or in the second case, that’s what I am because I don’t pander to her demands.

I left home when I was 17 to work as an au pair in France and then left for College when I was 18. After College I moved to Spain. I’m 59, so I haven’t lived under my mother’s roof for 42 years, but that doesn’t stop her being mean, by phone, when she visits me, or when I visit her.

Her latest (last week, when I visited her) meanness: you’re a wimp, you’re too fat, your hair’s a mess, you’re useless, I always have to clean up after you, your work isn’t important, you didn’t bring up your children well enough, your husband is worthless, and of course, she hates my novels: ‘How can you write those awful things’, she says. My character also has terrible flaws, I’m ungrateful, selfish, argumentative and insolent, because I don’t let her rule my life.  

Toxic / narcissistic mothers have two types of husbands, the enabling type, who simply pander to their narcissistic needs by supporting them at all costs, in spite of their cruelty to their children, or the missing husband, the one who leaves and never looks back. My father was the latter.

I’ve never known how I should react to this continuous, mental abuse, because as I said, I wasn’t aware, although I did suspect something wasn’t right, my mother had a psychological condition. When I was a child, I would argue as infrequently as possible, to keep the peace, and I continued doing so for most of my adult life. Most interactions with her leave me feeling emotionally drained, worthless and guilty.

Now I know much more about this personality disorder, I am aware, because the experts seem to agree on this, that it’s incurable. There’s no magic pill or therapy to change a toxic mother’s attitude towards her daughter (and although I haven’t gone into this aspect, in my mother’s and many cases, the rest of the world).

There’s only one solution for the daughter: to keep contact to a minimum and refuse to be drawn into any type of argument, which will only feed the toxic mother’s ego and give her an excuse to lash out abusively, thereby still maintaining the power to upset, humiliate, and make her daughter feel guilty.

I really miss not having had an affectionate and understanding mother, someone I could talk to, ask for advice, or simply chat with, without feeling upset and humiliated.

I’m a teacher and I’m very grateful to my own teachers for the encouragement I received, especially as a child and a teenager. I believe in the power of education to improve our lives by giving us access to knowledge and opportunities.

As a teacher and a mother I’ve always believed in the benefits of positive thinking, and I make an effort to increase my students’, children and grandchildren’s self-esteem and confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Ironically, I have my mother, partly, to thank for this, because I have always been determined not to be like her in any way, so without realising it, she made me the better person.

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This Stream of Consciousness post was easy to write, because it’s been on my mind for a long time, but it was hard to make the decision of sharing such a personal experience publicly. I’ve decided to post it to purge myself and also in the hope that it may help other daughters, of any age, who are coping with difficult relationships with their mothers.

I’m not an expert and this is a vast topic. I’ve simply shared a small fraction of my personal experience. There’s plenty of information on the web if you search for the terms toxic or narcissistic mother, father or parents. It can also affect sons and other close relatives.

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Feel free to share suggestions, advice, opinions, knowledge, or personal experience in the comments.

#SOCS ‘Spellbound by Paddington Bear’ #WorldBookDay

This post was written in response to Linda G, Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

This week’s Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “spell.” Use the word “spell” any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use it in the first sentence. Enjoy! Link back to Linda’s prompt post here. Anyone can join in!

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Spellbound by Paddington Bear

Spellbound, that’s me.

It happened over fifty years ago.

I think it was Paddington Bear who did it to me in the first place.

It’s the first book title I can vividly remember reading at school.

The second culprit was the public library.

I read plenty of children’s books at school and at the public library, an unforgettable place.

Then at secondary school, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were the first grown up books I can remember reading.

Sister Catherine read us the Moonstone and told us all about the mischievous Victorians.

David Copperfield and Oliver Twist enchanted me next, and Dickens is still my second favourite writer.

I hadn’t met my favourite writer yet, that happened when I was 13 and I went on a school trip to see Twelfth Night, that was when I met my favourite writer of them all, and yet in spite of being in awe of Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Richard III, Twelfth Night is still my favourite of Shakespeare’s works.

My first romantic novel was Rebecca. I was about 14 by then.

After that momentous event, I remember devouring Daphne du Maurier’s novels. That reminds me that The King’s General, was a favourite I haven’t reread in a long time.

Shortly after I read Jane Eyre, and I’ve been rereading it ever since, as you all know.

I can’t remember exactly when I read Persuasion, but it was about the same time.

Thomas Hardy, followed closely after Wilkie Collins and Dickens, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, unforgettable.

Then as a result of the television series I adored, I read the novels of The Forsythe Saga, Poldark, and the Clayhangers devouring all the novels in the sagas.

So, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I love writing Victorian Fiction, but it might surprise you to know that I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and due to a petition from my best friend, Anna M. I’m writing a contemporary thriller at the moment.

Someone said, ‘Eppur si muove’, so I suppose that’s what I’m doing.

Reading definitely cast a spell on me at an early age, and I’m so glad I’m still spellbound, because I’m never alone and always inspired.

I feel as if I’m conversing with people all over the world synchronically, that is with those who are alive at the moment, and diachronically, with those who are no longer breathing, but they’re still well and truly living.

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Does reading have you spellbound?

Which writers have you spellbound?

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Happy World Book Day for tomorrow!

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#AtoZChallenge ‘G’ #NationalPoetryMonth ‘The Gift’ #NPM17 #SOCS #amwriting #poem

This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.

Today, I’m adding a third challenge, The first part of today’s post is stream of consciousness, following Linda G. Hill’s weekly prompt, using the word “give/given/giving.”  Following part is a beautiful poem about giving gifts, called A Blade of Grass, by Brian Patten, and the final part is a poem I wrote recently but I’ve tweaked for this post, called The Gift.

Giving a gift is a privilege. It means you have someone you love to give the present to and a special occasion to celebrate. I love giving and receiving gifts. The whole process of giving is special, choosing, buying or preparing, and finding the perfect moment to give the special present we have bought.

Every time I think of gifts, I think of the beautiful poem by Brian Patten about how difficult it can become to give and receive simple, inexpensive gifts.

A Blade of Grass

You ask for a poem.

I offer you a blade of grass.

You say it is not good enough.

You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.

It has dressed itself in frost,

It is more immediate

Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,

It is a blade of grass and grass

Is not quite good enough.

I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.

You say it is too easy to offer grass.

It is absurd.

Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.

And so I write you a tragedy about

How a blade of grass

Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older

A blade of grass

Becomes more difficult to accept.

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As I often do, I’ve credited and reworked an original work of art, to express what I’m feeling at this moment.

The Gift

You ask for a star

I offer you a flower.

You say it’s not enough.

I say this flower will do.

It’s unique, perfect for you.

You say it is too easy

To offer a flower.

So I write you a poem

About how a flower

Is so easy to give

And so hard to accept.

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