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.

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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.

Bumfuzzled

I awoke bumfuzzled from a terrible dream.

My bed clothes cattywampus through

my incessant tossing and turning.

Of course re-telling it now, the dream would seem

pure taradiddle, but I tell it to steady my nerves:

A young man hollered gardyloo from a window above

before throwing a bucket of slops into the street.

A lady oblivious to the warning was drenched as a result.

In a state of ill-willie she yelled billingsgate at the man.

They faced off and from there it escalated to the point

that a snickersnee threatened.

I tried to flee from the scene, running widdershins.

I had severe collywobbles from sheer terror.

Luckily, the pair disappeared (as they tend to do in dreams)

but now I came upon a  smashed clock tower

with its gubbins hanging out!

A friendly clockmaker fixed it and we were conjubilant

to hear it chime on the hour with precision.

This coincided with my alarm clock ringing, rousing me from slumber.

Needless to say, I was not well-rested.

clock gubbins

Day 24 and the Napowrimo prompt asks: Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem.

Without dictionary or encyclopedia to hand I googled “word of the day” and fell upon Merrium-Webster’s funny-sounding words. I quite enjoyed this.

 

 

The Silent Protest; Procrastination

The Silent Protest; Procrastination

 

Apparently low self-esteem is the cause

that darn inner chimp’s at it again.

I don’t feel worthy or up to the task

when it’s overwhelming, too much of an ask

so I distract my feeble brain.

 

tidy

I choose to re-arrange, to sort, to file,

to categorise, to wash, dry and fold

to put off the job I’m loathe to do

(you may even find me cleaning the loo!)

whilst the larger task stays on hold

 

I beat myself up, notice I’m hiding away

from a deadline that’s looming larger each day

my brain is prioritising short term wins

an alphabetised spice rack and emptied bins

as I wash the pots and put away.

 

The answer: to forgive myself, releasing pent up emotion

the specialists say the result will be

facing the future optimistically

being the best I can possibly be

propulsion into forward motion

 

Another tactic is a sideways manoeuvre

sneaking up when my cranium’s not looking:

To ponder and pontificate on the what would be

Ask myself quite casually

“What would my next move actually be

if I were to start this project, of course hypothetically

because I’m not actually going to do it, silly”

 

Psychologists at a University in Ohio

formed a Procrastination Research Group

They delved and discovered this theory, this truth

Of taking oneself out of the no-go loop

Of getting on and doing what is needed to do.

 

Did they quickly arrive at this conclusion?

or did it take them a while?

I wonder how tidy their shelves are,

if their papers are chronologically filed?

(I’d like to see if their rest room gleams)

I ask with a sceptical wry smile.

 

Day 17 of Napowrimo- I completely missed out Day 16 (I love my kids more than poetry. Sorry! ) and now I have gone off piste with this one…. but it’s apt. Procrastination, my favourite past time.

Razored Nail

 

Razored Nail

 

You will not see her approach,

hear footsteps fall or gravel crunch.

The moonlight shadow makes no sound

as she picks you out for lunch.

 

But you may smell the foul stench,

feel slimy spittle against your skin.

Pungent odour fills your nose

your stomach writhes and knots within.

 

You will not see a blade glint

but feel the gouge of razored nail

as she disembowels your organs

and drags out your entrails.

witch

 

Pray she passes you by, my dear

pull the covers over head.

Lock your windows, bolt the door,

hope she isn’t in your bed.

The Tale

The Tale

 

Trust was betrayed by my

curious fumbling fingers

Disappointment flashed across

Grandma’s eyes

I felt the pain like a physical blow.

 

Side by side the old couple

had sat on the mantelpiece.

Been proudly displayed

to her red lipstick friends

who peered through a fog

of chemist shop perfume

and hairspray, nodding their approval.

 

I emptied my piggy bank

on market day

bought a new little lady.

I presented my gift

wrapped in a blue striped paper bag.

 

Her eyes lit up and as she set

the old girl down next to her mate.

My heart sank;

She was half the size

of the old man.

 

old man and lady

I’d failed yet Grandma beamed.

More precious than a trinket,

she now had a tale to tell;

the tale of a granddaughter

who tried to make amends.

 

Today is Day 12 of Napowrimo and the above is my response to the challenge: write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it.  I still own the ornaments shown above, which have no aesthetic beauty but are extremely dear to me as I hope my poem explains.

 

The Topline

It’s tough out there.

Really? Once More?

As it was the last year

and the year before

and before and before and before?

 

It’s guaranteed we’ll smash our targets

we’ll exceed every goal

the bar charts show

every year in growth.

The percentages are permanently  flashing

We gave the competition a thrashing

although….

 

One thing intrigues, regarding your peaks

of the increases you frequently speak;

surely they emerge from troughs?

but they’re  not spoken of?

 

We lead from the front,

we’re leading the charge

we’re grounding our clarity

we’re driving hard

we lean in and rise up

a positive outlook

in the right direction

gaining more and more traction

we come to the table

we’re ready and able

in a tough landscape

a snapshot in time…

will always see us

deliver the topline.

For goodness sake man!

Give it a rest!

It’s tough in here too,

let’s just do our best.

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.

 

Together

Together

 

The chores were the same but it was different.

The bed linen was now king size.

The mugs were chosen together

Large handles to accommodate his big hands

the colours to please her.

 

The supermarket shop was initially uncomfortable

and took twice as long.

What do we like to eat? Do we like the same things?

Which toothpaste? Which Milk?

 

Hanging his laundry on the washing line

seemed intensely personal

but he smiled at her as she did so

and she held his gaze.

hand holding together

Day three of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. I’ve interpreted the prompt to include a glimpse into lives which have changed, time being the catalyst. I leave the reader to imagine what story could have unfolded to lead up to this point in their lives.

For those wanting to join in the Napowrimo challenge here is the link to today’s prompt. Napowrimo Day 3

 

Annoyed Trout (Predictive Text)

Changes

 

“Predictive text you are so clever”

said no one in the world pepper.

You act when there is no seaweed

inserting “penis” instead of “please.”

When inadvertently, I press a key

where are you to rescue me?

If the settings were simple to use,

I would have turned you off Syracuse

but as I’m unable to figure it out,

here you stay to annoy my trout.

frustration