The Sycamore Prince Returns

Today is a momentous day for me. Today is the first time as a member of the Write Out Loud Poetry Group Stockport, that I feel accomplished. Not through being published, not through any quality of poem produced but… to be able to pull out of my bag a poem previously written and read, re-edited and rejuvenated.  You may think this unremarkable, but allow me to explain. In the last two years of joining the group, I have been running to keep up. Each meeting a theme is set and we have a month to write a poem ready to read at the next meeting. I have always been envious of those poets who can say, “I may have read this before, it’s one a wrote a while back.” This month, with the publication of my new children’s Picture Book “The Fixer Man” (shameless plug – I’m sorry!)  I haven’t had the hours needed to write a poem for the group…but I do have “one I have read before, one I wrote a while back” and there you have it… I have now reached the point where I have my own back catalogue of poems, which I can delve into and pull out when called upon. I feel I’ve earned my stripes, done my time, passed my test, graduated into poetry. Today is a good day.

 

The Sycamore Prince Returns

 

Each year impatient for his return

marking time until the majestic moment arrives.

In a shaft of pure light, when reverent air lies still

on a soft whisper he comes.

 

The Autumnal Prince towers

above ethereal mists caught

between earth and sky.

His slender ebony limbs outstretched beneath

the canopy of his golden crown.

 

A silvery sun showers him in sparks

igniting flaming hues.

Baptised in fire a volcanic blaze erupts

burning with vibrant life,

copper passions and saffron embers smoulder.

 

But one who burns so bright cannot stay,

his reign fleeting.

Cool light fades. Cruel chill winds blow

loosening the desperate grip of his fragile hands.

I mourn each yellow fingered leaf

as it falls and returns to its roots.

His glory too quickly lost.

 

Cast into wintry shadows,

our dreams left to sleep for a season.

sycamore

You can do it

Never give up on what you love – a short story of hope.

When I first made the decision to write, more precisely to write a Children’s Picture Book, I set to it with great passion, words flowed easily, naturally and instinctively. I knew what I wanted to write, I knew my character, I knew his story (I lived with him!). I trusted myself.

Once written, I read it to friends and family who enjoyed it and I trusted them. I was very happy with what I’d produced and so set out to discover how to find a publisher. I did what everyone does when you don’t know something – I Googled.

I read up on the subject, I studied tutorials, I absorbed tips and techniques.  Quite confident that I had a suitable letter and short biography and I’d followed each of the Publisher’s submission guidelines, I sent out 5 manuscripts (my story) to 5 publishers and immediately received 5 rejection letters.

However, I had read Stephen King’s autobiographical piece that said he received hundreds of rejections before having his first book accepted. I had also heard an author tell of how she celebrated each and every rejection as a mark that she’d tried.

With this sage advice in mind, I acknowledged that I needed to hone my craft and learn more about writing and the publishing process. This is where I also learned of writer’s having doubt, insecurities and anxieties either when writing or after submission. I ploughed on.

It wasn’t long after, on a writing workshop, that I wrote a new story and sent it off the next day to a Publisher. This time it was accepted and I had a contract for my first Picture Book. It was a time of elation and celebration.

The following year was a whirlwind as I learned what was involved when launching and supporting the marketing and sales for a new book. I was well travelled, worked hard and at one point exhausted, yet still riding on the thrill of becoming an author.

It’s a year on and I’ve continued my studies and learning from others, I enjoy every minute. An email arrived last week asking me to call at the Publishers for a chat and I am delighted to say they are publishing my second Children’s Picture Book. Only, it isn’t my second book, it’s the story I wrote that day furiously, passionately, instinctively, the day I decided to write.

The story that was initially rejected is now being published. The trust I had in my friends and family who liked it, the trust I had in myself is justified.  Why am I telling you this, because sometimes we rely on experts and other people’s opinions too much. We too easily lose faith in ourselves. We don’t put up much of a fight in the face of disappointment. It’s easy to believe we aren’t good enough. Well don’t. Have faith, have confidence, and have belief. You are good enough, you can do it.

Never give up on what you enjoy and love. It will reward you one day.

The Fickle Hypocrite

It’s Day 30, the final day of Napowrimo, 30 poems in 30 days. I may have let a few slip, I was busy living so I have experiences to write about. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’ve hated the challenge, I’ve found it easy, I’ve found it difficult. The objective of writing every day has been achieved and I feel better for it. My grey matter has been exercised and stretched.

In true hypocritical and fickle style, after two days of ranting and protesting about form, I’ve attempted a Haiku. No doubt the purist academics will point out where I tried and missed, (the last line may be a scandalous 6 syllables?) but that’s never stopped me doing what I want. I’ve also written the same poem in my “unclassical” way. The prompt; “a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion.”  (and yes I told a story because I am a storyteller)

I Dream of Devon (Rickety Haiku)

 

Steam train whistle blows

Sea breeze, tugging kite, baked sand

Rockpool discovery.

 

I Dream of Devon (My Way)

 

Steam train whistle

Sea breeze

Tugging kite

Baked sand

Cool drink

Rockpool discovery

Melting Ice cream

Carefree laughter

Salty kisses

Devon

 

Poetry Unleashed

Day 28 of NApowrimo – 28 poems written and the end is nigh…today’s prompt was to write a poem about poetry “try your hand at a meta-poem of your own”. Here is my rant about archaic rules… I may even publish a second because I’m completely fired up, but for now here is

Poetry Unleashed

Who applied mathematics to literature?

Who dared degrade lines to a vile number count?

Who callously ripped out the soul to insert regularity?

Iambic Pentameter you are a satanic curse infecting creativity.

You leave me cold, my blood stilled.

You bind my hands and feet with rigidity.

Your condescending eye watches over my choice of phrase.

Know that you are not welcome in my world of dreams,

my moments of emotional outpouring.

My self-analysis has no need of your stuffy laws.

When I lower my defences to release pent up anger,

remorse, heartache or hurt, revealing scars

never before uncovered,

when I flood the page with deep sentiment,

boundless praise of nature’s beauty,

when I proclaim my love of the one I adore

or worship my children, professing eternal gratitude

for being so blessed,

do I need your calculated condemnation?

Do I need your bony finger pointing out inconsistent

decrepit

syllable counts or misplaced emphasis?

No! Close the door on your way out!

You are old and decrepit, redundant and impotent.

You shall not haunt my page. Be gone.

Lie down in your cold grave and let the living write poetry.

46

I’m 46 for goodness sake!

Where did those years go?

I was 20 only yesterday

full of vigour and gusto.

I’m closer to the grave

than the cradle which is mad

I haven’t even started yet

wasted youth is pitifully sad.

I should have sailed around the world

raising Hell everyday

been a rock star filling stadiums

instead of shuffling life away.

But had I been that rock chic

I’d never have met my man

or held my babies in my arms

and heard them call me Mam.

But Bloody Hell, I’m not ready!

for wrinkles and support tights

I’ll not go gently into bingo halls

and fade into goodnight.

So crack open the Southern Comfort

add a splash of coke

there’s still life left in this old girl

before I finally croak.

Drink up and let’s be merry

raise a glass or two

to living our lives fully

before we bid adieu.

The Window

The Window

 

I stood on a chair and watched from the window.

Hours went by.

You came home happy and drunk.

I looked out into a sea of parents

wiped my make-up off

and walked home alone.

On the eve of my Wedding

you spent the night at your boyfriend’s.

My bridesmaid helped me into my dress the next day.

When my daughter was born you went shopping

for something suitable to wear for photographs.

I held her close with a full heart.

Now you view my work on gallery walls,

return home and watch from your window.

 

child at window

It’s Napowrimo Day 4 the challenge today was to write a sad poem using simple words. I love this style, plain and direct and leaves the reader to elicit the emotional impact.

 

Modesty and Joy

Simple Joy

 

It was the practical low heeled brown boots

that first caught my eye

my glance cast sideways so not to embarrass

the subject of my attention.

Secretly I studied her slender legs

leading up to the hem of a brown floral dress

and the crocheted cuffs of a sensible beige cardigan.

The modesty of attire surprised me.

Authors on their book launch night

are lavish and elegant

coiffured, polished and primed

but not so this lady.

I liked the understated look,

the quiet confidence of a writer

who had no need of a façade.

Her body of writing shining on its own merit

with no false vanity.

I adored this lady before she spoke a word

Davidson, Rowland, b.1942; Lady Reading a Book by Lamplight

I feel immortal

Yes, I feel immortal… this morning I opened Twitter and there staring back at me was a quotation from an interview I gave a year ago, and underneath was my name Nicola Hulme…  I had to read it twice to make sure it was really me..it also carried the hashtag #wednedsaywisdom

I ask for no more, I am immortal, I have a quote as had Ghandi, Martin Luther King,  Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Gilbert, Oprah Winfrey, CS Lewis, Terry Pratchett…

I feel complete. My job here is done.

How bizarre!

OK so I’m not a superhero, but it just shows that wonderful things do happen and can happen for everyone. It’s something I believe in very strongly.

PS. I my job as writer will never be done, I have opened the gateway, I have let in the light, I will write until I have no more words. It isn’t a job, it’s a passion, perhaps an addiction.

blog 21

No, thank-you

It looks like I am such a fibber

or a “half a job,”

someone who can’t keep commitments,

perhaps someone without stamina..

I am of course referring to my promise to publish terrible poetry every day for the month of April, to complete the Napowrimo challenge.

I didn’t fib. Initially, I wanted to take on the challenge, so at the time of publishing that goal, it was true.

It’s also true that I did not do “half a job” but actually did less. I only published two poems. I didn’t keep the commitment, but this doesn’t represent my stamina or character. After consideration, I changed my mind and made a new decision; a new commitment; one that superseded my first intention.

I decided to take April off.

I decided to politely turn down requests for appearances at events, for contributions to written collections, for attendance at groups, meetings, gatherings etc.

I honoured any promises I had previously made for example running the Stockport Writers Session and attending Write Out Loud Poetry night, but I didn’t agree to take on anything new.

I also stopped booking or actively seeking workshops. I gave myself permission to stop, for a whole month.

I actually picked up a book to read for pleasure, not to study technique or research writing styles, but to read for the pure joy in reading.

I feel balanced again. I feel better. I feel my equilibrium has benefitted. I feel my priorities are restored.

I recommend it.  Take May off! Give yourself the gift of saying “no, thank-you” for 31 days and see how healing it is.

I may publish dodgy poetry in future, but for now, and the remaining 6 days of April I won’t.

NoThankYou_575

 

Why do I believe in Vision Boards?

First let me explain what a vision board is and does;

A vision board is one of the most simple but effective tools to use to help focus on your goals. It can also be used in conjunction with the Law of Attraction which attracts those things that you love into your life.

vision board blog

In practical terms it couldn’t be easier, you gather images, photographs, prints or pictures from magazines which make you smile and make you feel happy. You add them to a noticeboard, creating a collage of happiness. It’s completely unique to you and reflects what brings you joy.

Display your board in a place that you can look at daily, ideally morning and night, and you have an instant mood lifter to start your day and a prompt to be grateful for what makes you happy at the end of the day.

If you add images that reflect or represent your goals, it serves as a daily reminder of what you intend to achieve. The visual format has a high impact and keeps the image at the front of your mind so when opportunities arise; you are already in the right state of mind to take advantage of them.

I started my own vision board about 8 years ago, when I read the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.  The book introduced me to The Law of Attraction and how thoughts attract things into your life. The theory is that your thoughts are sent out on a frequency that attracts similar things into your life. You act like a magnet. What you focus on most appears in your life. Your thoughts become things.

The beauty of a vision board is you don’t have to believe in the Law of Attraction, you can use your board in a practical sense to keep your goals fresh in your mind. To organise your thoughts and be clear on what you want in your life. However, if you choose to practice the techniques of the Law of Attraction, you can optimise your board by attracting things into your life a lot quicker, achieve your goals quicker and spot opportunities and be ready to exploit them.

So why do I believe so fervently? 8 years ago I was in a marriage which had long since ran its course.  I felt I was drifting aimlessly through life and even when I achieved goals at work or lost weight and bought the latest fashions, I wasn’t excited about it as I should be. I’d lost my spark, my joy.

After starting my board I began to remember what made me happy. When I saw an image of something I used to love I’d put it on the board. Over time I had a full board of things that made me smile. A board with a few aims, like read more, get into the fresh air more, join a yoga class etc. The more I represented the life I wanted, the more it contrasted with my actual life.  The contrasts became very strong and obvious. I had to make a change.

joy

 

The board reminded me of my authentic self. It wasn’t long after that I left my marriage. Happily I can look back and say it was the right decision and what followed next was more than I had dreamed of. I moved house, began a new relationship, had my second child and started a brand new life. My new partner was supportive of my dreams and encouraged me to go after them. I started writing, sent off a manuscript to a publisher and am now the author of a Children’s Picture Book. I visit schools and hold assemblies, I’m invited to National Trust Park events, I’ve even taken part in open mic poetry sessions and led workshops on spell making for Harry Potter days. In the process I’ve met some wonderful people and made some amazing friends. I don’t feel carried along by the tide, my confidence has soared and I take full accountability of everything I do, the good choices and the not so good.

I have no doubt at all that the vision board played a huge role in my transformation. I started with small goals, like a picture of a yoga class, children smiling, holiday pictures. I had images on there saying “I’m a writer” “I am officially published” “meet the author” and I’ve met many over the last year. I put images on there of sunny days on the beach, and walks in the countryside, friends laughing, each time they happen. Is it just that I choose to go out and find them, probably, but I don’t sit in my couch waiting as the world passes by. It works, it works for me. When you know something like that, you just can’t keep it to yourself. I want to shout it from the rooftops, I want to give pins and blu tack to everyone and say stick pictures on a board – only they think I’m a crazy lady when I do, so instead, I run workshops to spread the word. If you live in Cheshire and can make it, come along and find out for yourself. Otherwise Google, research, read The Secret, find a workshop in your town. This is an opportunity right now for you… what are you going to do about it?

My next workshop is at The Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery Saturday 24th March 2-4pm Tickets available through the following Eventbrite link

Workshop booking

or message me via my Facebook Page Nicola Hulme Author

Happy visioning!