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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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

 

My Poor Abused Friend – Poetry

In youth, you were hypnotic, inviting reciting,

invocation with intonation,

around a campfire charms and incantations

uniting the village, outlet of emotion,

stories told of heroic devotion

conquering enemies, stealing love’s kiss

of purest love, of Heaven’s bliss.

but academia tied a knot ‘round your neck

restricting your voice, removing choice

cutting, shaping, controlling, conforming,

boxing your soul into stanzas and form

with counted metre they drove the stake home

Elitists emerged declaring “this is the way”

confining performance to plays and stage

in plush theatres for the rich who paid

the poor

left out in the cold.

Heralded as art your heart lay dormant

amongst dust and cobwebs still conformant

but a spirited few saw through, sought out

your cindered Beauty; “Truth will out”.

and so your time has come, it’s now.

the yoke that choked is smashed and broken

words are alive and passionately spoken

your energy taken up by a youth, who

taste and chew the new true you,

the devout, who speak out, shout out, call out,

slam down, throw down,

giving the low down,

honouring

your crown,

standing on streets, stamping feet to your beat

whilst denouncing cheats who held you

captive.

You are once more free to be

unleashed beauty

with depth of sea , height of sky

asking why

of you and me, bearing souls,

uncovering truth

appealing to old whilst captivating youth

not held to a page or strapped to a stage

accessible to all, who hear your call

hearts open wide allow you inside,

bring darkness to light,

revealing scars and bites,

what lies beneath, wounds and grief

making sense of confusion, turmoil and pain

and through you

we discover

we are all the same.

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.

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.

Dear Deer

Come close my dear,

and I will tell

the tale of a dear deer

(with a tiny tail)

who sadly didn’t fare too well.

He died at the fair

when he decided to try

a new fur dye he’d seen.

Flowing around the unique horn

of a unicorn was

a rainbow mane,

unicorn hair

when along came

a bare-faced bear

who had an aloof air,

(perhaps of a heir bear).

He added too much dye

and I declare!

It burnt the dear deer’s eyes!

You see, the no-eyed deer

he could not see

so ran and ran

and damn,

he ran into a dam,

that broke,

he choked.

For four hours he tried

to survive….

When he finally passed

we sang for hours and hours

hymns for him

that dyed dear deer

of ours who died.

hymns

Day 14 of Napowrimo saw a challenge that I had to read up on to understand;

write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.

I hope I have achieved the objective?

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.

 

From there to here

I am of hard cobblestones

that broke developing bones

of damp bricks and dense drizzle skies.

I am of the baggy grey sock

that slumps down the leg

and is constantly hitched up.

I am of skipping ropes tied

to flaky paint lampposts

of hot buttered toast suppers.

I am of backyard washing lines,

coal holes and metal bin lids.

I’m of children home by lamplight

and Grimm Fairytales.

Of job centres and blue collar jobs

and paydays prayed for weekly.

Now, I’m of tidy semi,

tarmac roads, motorway hell

of clinical 9-5 desk job

office politics, niceties, pleasantries.

I’m conditioning brilliant white socks,

limiting lightly buttered whole meal toast.

I’m central heating and condenser dryer.

I’m of assessed, measured, compared,

evaluated, tracked and monitored kids

and censored fairytales.

It’s Day 11 of Napowrimo and the prompt is to tell of where you are from and where are you now. Please excuse the poor punctuation… this is written on the hoof as always.