#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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

#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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#SOCS ‘Manu and Me’

This post was written in response to Linda G. Hill’s weekly Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week it’s “man.” Use it as a word by itself or find a word with “man” in it. Have fun!

Manu and Me

My husband is called Manuel, but I call him Manu. We met in 1978.

Over the last 39 years we’ve done many things, including working hard, having three children, buying a house and making a comfortable home for us and our children.

We’ve had good times and a few rainy days.

I’ve mostly forgotten the bad times. Perhaps they weren’t that bad anyway.

We’ve made lots of journeys together: Florence, Algarve, Vienna, Berlin, Bremen, Bratislava, Budapest, and all over Spain and the UK, our favourite places!

Manu loves driving while I take pictures or write.

We love taking selfies. We’ve taken hundreds since the first picture in a photo booth!

I’m glad Manuel and I stuck together, in spite of almost splitting up, more than once.

Here’s our latest photo taken this morning at the beach in Almeria.

Manu and I are still standing, still smiling, still travelling, and still healthy and optimistic enough to look at the camera and smile, and that’s a lot to wish for and enough to have.

My Manu and me.

#SOCS How do I Love my dreams?

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

This week’s  prompt “how.” Start your post with the word “How.” Bonus points if you end with it too. Join in here! Enjoy!

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Victorian authors are my literary masters and mentors. Their stories and poems are part of my imagination.

When I read today’s prompt: How, the first sentence that came to my mind was the famous sonnet by Elizabeth Barret Browning.

The author is telling us about an all consuming passion which will lead her to a state of ideal grace.

At the end of the sonnet, she concludes:

I shall but love thee better afer death.

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                  Elizabeth Barret Browning

         

Nothing will separate her from her lover. because their love will grow after death, when they both presumably enter the realms of eternity, making their love everlasting.

The sonnet is one of the most romantic and passionate in English literature, which is why it’s one of the most famous sonnets, which is still quoted almost 200 years after it was written.

Those of you who read my blog also know how much I like to paraphrase, rewrite or rework Victorian stories into my own writing, so that’s what I’m doing today, with this sonnet.

Instead of directing the words to a lover, it’s about a dream I have.

How do I love thee? 

Let me tell you how.

To the depth and breadth and height of my soul.

Even out of sight,

You´re always on my mind.

To the end of my days.

Reaching you, my dream,

Is my ideal grace.

The aim of an all-consuming passion is to achieve a state of ‘ideal grace’.

‘Ideal Grace’ is a divine term which refers to being in a perfect mental state, which is at peace with yourself, your world and your God, Universe, or the superior being or force you may believe in.

For Elizabeth Barrett Browning, this can only be achieved through the culmination of romantic love.

I suggest there are other ways to reach this perfect state, for example by striving for and fulfilling your dreams.

How do you try to reach your ideal grace, tell me how? 

 

 

 

Cash and Serendipity #SoCS #FlashFiction

This post is written in response to Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) prompt

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “cash.” Use it in your post as a noun or a verb… or a name! Enjoy! Join in, here’s our new badge!

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Cash is fast becoming a thing of the past. I mean, who has cash nowadays?

Most people I know never use it and never have it.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have any money. it means they use credit cards instead of cash.

Today at lunch, a friend, who has recently come back from London, told me a true story about how he met someone who became very special to him, while he was on his way to work.

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Cash and Serendipity

 

The waitress who prepared my daily café latte said, ‘1.80,’ as always.

I handed her my card, as usual.

‘It’s not working. Can you pay by cash?’

‘I don’t have any cash. Can I pay you tomorrow?’

The waitress shook her head. ‘There’s a cash machine just outside.’

‘No time, I’m afraid. I’m late to work.’

‘Sorry,’ she said as she took back my coffee and turned to the next customer.

‘I’ll pay for both, mine and hers,’ he said nodding at me.

On our way out, I said, ‘I’ve been coming here every day for months. I can’t believe she wouldn’t let me pay tomorrow. Do you come here often?’

‘Every day, Monday to Saturday, ten past eight sharp, just like you,’ he said.

‘Great. I’ll see you tomorrow then. It’ll be my treat.’

‘Tomorrow’s Sunday, but we can have coffee and take a walk instead of going to work.’

I smiled. ‘Lovely.’

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Have you ever had any similar experiences when you were short of cash?

 

Time-Travelling #Angels #SoCS

This post is written in response to Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) prompt

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “an-”  Use it as a word or find a word that starts with the letters “an” and make it your post’s theme. Have fun! Everyone’s welcome. Join in if you like! Just let your mind go there…

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Angels

When I was a child, I went to St Joseph’s Primary School, a convent school where I was taught among other things to believe in angels; invisible spirits sent by God on a mission to accompany me and help me make difficult decisions, especially regarding good and evil. 

As a child, evil was never anywhere near my mind, and I never actually felt I needed an angel for that purpose, although I would have appreciated someone to talk to, like an older sister, or a sympathetic adult, but that didn’t happen, so I’m repairing that situation now, with my time-travelling angel. 

I’ve become my own angel. I’m the sympathetic adult who listens to the confused child and tells her what a wonderful life is waiting for her. I’m helping the little girl I was, become the self-confident and happy adult I am.

How do I heal the insecure, shy, and scared child I once was? How can you do it?

Easy. Here’s my method.

It all started with an old school picture, which I placed in a frame on my landing some years ago. I’m about seven or eight years old. Every time I saw myself, I smiled and said, sometimes out loud and sometimes in my mind, something positive. ‘You look great!’, ‘Lovely smile!’, ‘Clever girl’, etc… and I realised it made me feel good.

Lucy at 7

It grew from there. 

Later, with or without the picture prompt, I remember events, which happened, sometimes just a normal, boring, or sad day, and I mentally chat to the little girl, reminding her that she’s preparing herself for the future, and that wonderful experiences and events await her. 

I tell her about something that has happened or is happening years later, like: ‘You’ll publish your novel in the end,’ or ‘you’ll travel to such a place or meet such a person…’ 

I also advise her about how she should behave, like, ‘read as much as you can,’ or ‘don’t waste time with people you don’t like,’ or ‘look after yourself’ etc. 

I also listen to how she feels. I have a sort of interior dialogue and I help her think things through. I feel much better after our ‘conversations’.

I’m sure it works, because I feel happier in my skin the older I get.

Who’s your angel?

#SoCS Oct 10/17 Still Standing

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

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Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “still.”  Use any definition of the word in your post. Have fun! Here’s mine.

I’m ‘Still’ Standing

As soon as I saw today’s prompt Elton John’s song came to my mind. It’s one of my favourites and of course, ‘still’ is the most important word in the chorus and the most important concept in the song. I’ve been humming it all day, while I was with my daughter and grandchildren, trying to remember the lyrics, but I’m afraid I only got as far as some of the lines of the chorus.

The first line I remember is ‘I’m still standing better than I ever did’. And that’s how I feel. It’s not easy to ‘stand’ after so many years of coping with life’s ups and downs. I have three grandchildren, which implies I’ve had my own children, brought them up, kept up a full-time job in a demanding profession, and I’m now watching them do the same.

It is ‘better’ now because I’m back to square one, almost on my own again, and able to look after myself and cater for my own needs, most of the time. Which is nice because I do actually feel ‘better than I ever did’. I’m not competing with life or with anyone any more. This is who I am and this is what you get. Like it or leave it. And believe me, that takes a load off my mind!

The next line says something about, ‘Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid’, and that’s true too. I’m well into my fifth decade, with no major physical or emotional scars, and I still feel young enough to have a go at plenty of new and exciting projects.

I am indeed still standing after all this time’, and proud of it.

The next line says, ‘Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind’, which I interpret as leaving behind hang ups and people who no longer have a place in my life. I’ve done that too, although it’s an ongoing process. I have no time for negative people who rock my boat, pull me down, or behave like emotional vampires. I recognise them a mile off. I make sure I keep well away. On the other hand, wonderful people keep popping into my life, literally every day. I feel very fortunate in my ‘physical world’ friends as well as my ‘virtual’ friends.

In short, I’m glad I’ve come this far and still have projects and positive expectations for the future. I’d say that’s an achievement!

I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah

Thanks for reminding me Elton John!

Would you like to watch him singing?

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