Touching Base and NaNoWriMo

 I just really like the picture. Check out the artist's other work"
I just really like the picture.
Check out the artist’s other work

So…

November already? Where did time fly away to? In my part of the world, Halloween isn’t really “a thing”. I don’t know anyone who actually has a party without knowing a foreigner planning/holding it (generally American) or a local person feeling nostalgic about the time they spent abroad (again, usually in America) and wanting to re-live the ”epicness” with varying degrees of success.

It’s been a quiet two weeks on here and I have to apologise. I have not been nearly as productive as I meant to be and of course that got me down. Many things get me down, I should really kick that habit but failure sucks even if it’s the only way we learn, and I wallow before I ‘surge’. Tis my process.

Anyhow, so what’s been happening in my corner of the universe?

1)      Short Story Collection – That’s still a struggle because I keep trying to put the book together and lose sight of the stories which kind of zaps my creative abilities and convinces me that it will amount to nothing more than an idea in my head.

2)      Procrastination – I am a GRAND procrastinator. This applies to all facets of my life, if there is a delay I can do/have on anything, you betcha I will make that stick! Heck, I even procrastinated graduating.i figured I could do it later (no, not really, I graduated later because I was a terrible student at university, really terrible… that’s the only reason).

3)      Fresh Stories – I have this useful little app on my phone that I make notes of ideas that pop into my head right before I nod off and that document is getting a little long but, number two kicks in and I don’t finish anything. I may plot or just plod ideas down for something and then leave it alone to fester. This isn’t a great plan because when I go back for inspiration I think of all the things I am not doing which leads me to…

4)      Performance Anxiety – Now, most people have some kind of ambition or dream. Some are grand, some are not. But when you understand what your personal goals are and you set out to achieve them, at some point you will find yourself second guessing your abilities. Your ability to translate that desire into what you envision it can be seems further that you think you are able to go. When this happens you need to find the joy.

5)      Assignment: Finding the Joy – You need to re-discover why that goal is important to you. My happiest moments are when I create something from nothing. I don’t yet have a process for how to regularly churn out my work and reading other people’s methods cripples me because of all the excuses I come up with at the time.

So, how am I going to find my joy? As it needs to link back to my writing I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I have never finished it successfully and only really tried to twice but this year my goal is to enjoy the process.

I will be writing about three friends who re-unite at a school re-union and try to reconnect while dealing with their own disappointments and accepting who they are now versus who they thought they would be then. This will  probably will never see the light of day but it will help me bring the fun back to my process. It is tentatively titled “My Skirt Wasn’t That Long”. If it isn’t too terrible perhaps in the future I’ll make some snippets available here. But I really don’t expect that to happen…

So, if anyone reading this is also doing this, check me out here

That’s it for now.

Over and Out!

Please Don’t Kill Yourself – Anna Akana

We can squeeze in one more
We can squeeze in one more

So…

I’m an Anna Akana fan and I think as many people as possible should see it but it feels like cheating to just put a link here and its theme isn’t very tea friendly.

Suicide hurts those left behind. Don’t do it, please.

Death is hard enough for the living when they can blame someone else for taking away someone important from them. It’s even harder when within their grief they blame you. Death is easy for dead people because well, they don’t have to deal with anything anymore (probably not my smartest line). I am Catholic (by birth, I inherited it like I did my creepy long, skinny toes), I don’t really have a problem with the Catholic faith but no religion is perfect, I think half the test is picking something to believe in and sticking to it… but I digress, death sucks for the people left behind to death with the gap caused by you no longer being there.

I haven’t had a suicide that was that close to me really. In high school I had a friend who had made a suicide pact with another friend of hers but he decided to go it alone and she was left behind to deal with not wanting to do it without him, they weren’t dating and she had a lovely sweet boyfriend who seemed there for her and for the life of me I can’t remember why she wanted to commit suicide because her life was well… pretty damn perfect. She had the ‘normal’ issues a teenage girl would have with a Dad… she was well liked, she was so damn pretty I wanted to wear her skin for a while…yeah, I may have been slightly creepy in school.

When I was, I think, in the tenth grade, a cousin came to stay with us for a week or so, to do some school shopping before going back home. I remember hanging out with him like any other cousin but we weren’t that close really, “cousin” is used very loosely in my family… most terms for any relative is randomly chucked about, you never can be sure there is actual familial attachment when you refer to someone as an aunt or uncle, again I digress. So this cousin of mine, a few weeks after going back home had a disagreement with his father and decided to make him ‘pay’ by killing himself. He succeeded. His dad was not the same man after his son killed himself and even though there were other factors that led to his Dad’s eventual death, his suicide did not help.

In both these cases, I saw what happened after, the pieces those left behind had to put back together. For one it was the broken promise, the other it was the constant internal back and forth over what could have prevented the suicide, both different forms of betrayal.

Suicide is selfish, it is a self centred escape from whatever you think is caging you in or what you are running away from. I fear the nothing of death more than I do the misery of life because as much as I want to believe that there is a heaven waiting and a room with my name on it, I don’t believe I have earned passage into paradise. I understand the forgiving nature of God as I understand him can wash away my sin but that just makes me a clean slate, no different from that slave in the parable of the talents who didn’t multiply what his master left. We have to “do” to “earn”, that’s what I believe.  And when what you do is leave behind holes in people’s hearts because you feel your internal hole is too heavy to bare… you need to reach out to someone, anyone. Allow other people in to reel you in from drowning in yourself.

What am I trying to say… when you choose to end your life, people get hurt. If you are thinking of ending it all, chances are damnation from God isn’t going to deter you, but surely the pain and devastation you leave behind cannot be worth the empty sleep you are rushing for.

Talk to someone, try and find something that can ease the pain of what you are going through instead of passing it onto loved ones who will have no way of washing out the stain of blame that festers within their grief.

Please just watch the video and get help if you feel there’s a chance you may need it.

There’s always someone who can help, even if you can’t see them yet..

Over and Out.

Indigo Sunset – A Short Story

  ...

Indigo Sunset

By Claudie Muchindu

The moonlight crept into the large warm room, landing on a bare foot that had escaped from a vibrant red and brown quilt. The foot belonged to Noora Kim, she was sprawled across a couch that was not designed to be slept in but was not necessarily uncomfortable.

She had fallen asleep trying to read a copy of an 18th century Portuguese poem written by a traveller to ancient China which now lay on the floor. Her plan was to translate it and then make her way to bed but she soon found that it made no sense to her. The notes on this copy of the poem had Arabic notes and she only had a basic level of spoken Arabic and had more of an inability to read it than anything else. The document was useless to her and for quite a few of minutes she wished her mother had been more forceful in getting her to learn the language. Her mother had tried to get her to be literate in it and Korean but Noora believed that European languages were her path to a future with opportunities and her predication had been right. Noora had become an expert translator of English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Spanish and German but she shunned anything Asian. Noora had no interest for Asia and the Middle East.

Noora woke with a start, she couldn’t tell what had woken her up but she was wide awake. She lay back for a few minutes waiting for a sound to come to her and when nothing came she swung her feet onto the cool wooden floor. She walked over to the large window and looked down on the quiet street from an 8th story view. The streets had been asleep for a while and the only traffic that she could make out was pollen. Flowers were in bloom and the scents wafting into her open window in a glorious medley. She shut the window and drew the curtains closed.
Her apartment was silent and dark and she turned on the lights in the living room, checked her front door. She hadn’t locked it but she bolted it then and went into the kitchen and closed her windows there. There were no curtains to draw though. She put a container that had some leftover lasagne into the microwave to heat up while she closed windows and drew curtains in the 2 bedrooms upstairs. There was no need to close the bathroom windows because she didn’t usually open them. She returned downstairs as the microwave gave off a reminder beep that it had finished its cycle and she took the lasagne out and made her way to the more comfortable couch in the living room, putting her feet beneath her she turned on the TV. She settled on a re-run of an Italian cooking show and ate her lasagne with an Italian chef keeping her company. The phone rang mid way through her meal and she glanced at the clock by the door as she reached over to pick up the receiver.

“Its 10 o’clock mum” she said into it as she put it by her ear. “You are awake aren’t you?” her mother said with a heavy Korean accent and Noora smiled to herself.
“I could have been busy” she replied.
“You never busy. You maybe eating some silly food now, aren’t you?” her mother accused and Noora put the container of lasagne on the side table and lay back on the sofa.
“Maybe.” She said,
“Maybe, uh?” her mother asked, “Maybe you eat proper food once in a while” she went on to add without waiting for a reply.
“I make some homemade dumplings and sweet bread for you, you coming to the meeting tomorrow?” she asked.
“What time will Dad be there?” Noora asked lowering the volume on the TV before her mother made some comment about it.
“You can call him and ask if you want,” her mother said briskly and Noora rolled her eyes,
“Ma, its his mother that’s just died” she said softly.
“And mine has been dead for longer, he didn’t come to see me then but I better than him. I go and say my goodbyes…” she paused as if shuffling around, “after all, you should not be angry with the dead.” She finally added.
Noora nodded “Should I pick you up?’ she asked
“No, too much trouble. I think drive will be good for me. You remember directions to the house?” she could imagine her mother putting together the final touches to the basket that would feed everyone although chances are there’d be enough food without her having to bring any extra.
“Yes Ma, I remember the house. I’ve spent a lot of time at Gran’s, remember?” Noora was referring to the numerous holidays she spent at Petals Estate when her mother would give her over to her grandparents to bond with.
“That was long time ago,” her mother said with a whisper of sadness in her voice.
“OK, I tired now.” she said abruptly as if Noora had made the call and Noora smiled to herself.
“See you tomorrow Mum” Noora said
“Yeah, don’t sleep late. Also drink some water. Probably lots of oil in that food.” her mother added and Noora glanced at the container and surely enough a sufficient amount of oil has coagulated in some places in the short time she had put it down.
“Not that much” she said guiltily and her mother chuckled.
“12 o clock?” her mother asked,
“12 o’clock.” she agreed,
“Tomorrow.” she said softly,
“Tomorrow.” Noora said and hung up.
Her mother believed goodbyes were for the dead.

Finally feeling tired she picked up the container of lasagne, finished it quickly, turned off the TV, put the empty container in the sink, gulped down a glass full of water and walked upstairs.

She was still wearing the shift dress she had worn to work in the morning and it had wrinkled considerably due to her nap in the study and she glanced at her reflection in the mirror as she took it off. Her hair was dyed a strawberry blonde and the braid that had started the day a little too tight was a glorious mess on her head and her underwear was definitely not a matching pair. She’d have to make sure she wore a matching pair tomorrow.  Her mother hated mis-matching underwear. Unclipping her bra she climbed into bed and fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow. Noora never had trouble sleeping.

Noora woke up at 6AM in went for her half hour cycle as usual, she compensated for her oily food by regular exercise and her body rewarded her by not punishing her too much. On Saturdays there were more cyclists than usual and she smiled to a few that she knew but mostly she rode with her eyes on the road in front of her, she stepped into the shower and had a warm long and lazy bathe. She decided to wear a brown and blue dress her mother had made for her that she never wore. It fit her very well and had the slim bodice and poodle skirt she loved. Having a designer mother had its distinct advantages.  Finding a matching pair of underwear proved a little more difficult for her though but eventually she did. The bra had been worn on Tuesday but her mother wouldn’t know that. It was practically clean and the underwear was ‘decent’ in her books.

She made her bed up, decided against opening her windows because she wasn’t sure how long she’d be at her Gran’s place. She trotted downstairs and washed the container that she had left the night before and put some music on while she made her cereal breakfast and sat down in the living room with a fashion magazine she had bought the day before and hadn’t read, she usually read magazines with a purple pen in hand to put her notes and ideas as she read. She wasn’t one for passively taking in information.

By the time she was done it was almost time to leave, her Grandparents lived two towns away and it was a three hour drive so she went into the study, picked the handbag she had taken to work the day before, decided it didn’t match her dress and transferred her purse into a larger blue bag that had similar detail to the hem of the dress she was wearing.  She briefly looked through some translations that she’d have to get through next week, picked up the translation that had fallen to the floor the previous night and made a note on her desk to pick up a few sheets for her Comparative European class before Wednesday and almost left the house bare foot before going back into house to pick a pair of pumps by the door and remembered to lock it before walking down the stairs to the parking bay of her building.

It was a few minutes after 12 when she pulled up to The Petals Estate. Her paternal grandparents owned a large farm estate that exported flowers all over the world. She remembered her grandmother claiming the judge of a woman was how she grew a garden because children have minds of their own and aren’t copies but a flower was the sole product of your efforts. She parked and noticed that her mother hadn’t arrived yet. She hoped she hadn’t met any trouble on her way. The large door stood open and she walked in to find her Grandfather sitting in silence staring at a large portrait of him and his wife.

“Baba?” Noora said kneeling down beside him,
He kissed the top of her head and reached for her hand.
“I was supposed to go first.” he said to no one in particular, Noora squeezed his hand and stared at her grandfather who looked like he had aged in the last 2 weeks since his wife’s death.
“She used to say that the first thing she would do when I died was replace that painting.” he said with a smile on his face.
“She did hate the way the painter made her smile look,” Noora said remembering all the times her grandmother would complain about the portrait that hung in the living room.
“I love that smile,” her grandfather mused, again, apparently to no one in particular.
“I fell in love with it.” he said to Noora with a smile on his face.
“She used to smile like that when she had an ‘inappropriate’ thought, well, thats what her mother called them” he said with a chuckle.
“She had a spirit that no one could pin down or hide and this painting is the closest I’ve ever come to replicating it.” he said and Noora felt his hand shake a little within hers.
“She was supposed to leave after me.” he said in a whisper and Noora was stunned into silence. She didn’t know what to say to her grandfather. Her grandmother always overpowered him but there was no doubt that his wife was as devoted to him as he was to her. She just had a louder voice.

“I hope everyone hungry” Noora’s mother had walked in and stood in the doorway with a large basket.
“I not smell food and that very bad Uncle” she said shaking her head as she walked into the living room.
He smiled and tried to say something but Noora’s mother shushed him and he sat back with a grateful look on his face.
“Auntie would be very upset with you” she continued to chastise him with mock anger and Noora walked over to her mother and helped her empty the contents onto the bar counter.
“You know, she no like it when you don’t eat” she added and he nodded with a smile on his face
“The judge of a man is by the width of his belt” he chuckled to himself and Noora thought briefly that her Dad had a very narrow belt.
“Noora, go get 3 plates” her mother commanded her when everything was displayed and uncovered.

“4.” another voice said from the door.
They all watched Noora’s father close the door behind him and there was silence for almost 5 full seconds before Noora stood up and gave him a hug.
“Play nice,” she whispered as she squeezed her father in greeting
“I can play as un-nice as I want to, I’m grieving.” he said through gritted teeth
“That doesn’t mean you have to be mean today” she replied with a large fake smile on her face and thought briefly that he never needed a reason to be mean she groaned inwardly. It was going to be a long day.

Her mother plated up while her grandfather went to wash up.
“Did you have a good drive?” Noora asked her parents
“No, its so far all the way up here and all the pollen made my nose act up.” her father complained
“Lovely drive,” her mother said, “You know, they put a new coffee shop with different teas at the bottom of the hill” her mother said cheerfully.
“A tea shop then?” her father said with a smirk on his face
“No, a coffee shop that also sells tea” her mother said glaring at him
“I haven’t heard of those. Maybe they have them back in Korea but over here a coffee shop sells coffe and a tea shop, tea.” He said with finality
“Did you see it?” she asked Noora with audible strain in her voice.
“No, I missed it” she said staring at her father, disappointed in his insistence on being sour.

“We should go sometime” her mother said as Noora’s grandfather walked back in with a small box that looked like it had been forgotten in a dark corner for at least a decade.
“This is for you” he said giving the box to Noora’s mother and everyone was silent for a moment.
“she hid it well but she did feel guilty about the way she treated you,” he said taking her hand
“but you know how her pride, she made herself a Queen in her mind” her said with a wistful smile
“What is it?” Noora asked staring at her grandfather.
“A wedding gift” he said
“A wedding gift?” her mother asked startled “Why a wedding gift? She didn’t even come to my wedding.” she said in a slightly angry voice.
”Even when she is gone she still wants to belittle me,” her mother whispered, a slight panic in her voice, “like I can ever find another husband.” He shook his head at Noora’s mother. “It was for a wedding that already passed, not one that about to happen” he said quietly pulling her to sit down next to him and her mother had a puzzled look on her face.

“This was for our wedding?” she asked looking at Noora’s father and he shrugged, apparently he didn’t know about it.
“After all, she could only be your mother in law through him” he said nodding briefly to his son
“Her heart was very proud. Sometimes I believe the only reason she actually gave me the time of day in the beginning was because I had a little bit of noble blood, even though it is not that much” he laughed “After all, how noble can I be being almost the 200th person in line to ascend to a throne no one even remembers?” he asked trying to lighten up the room and Noora was the only person that laughed a little at that. She loved imagining what like would have been if there hadn’t been a coup in Iran and her father’s family could have continued to live there in wealth and majesty that made this estate look like a pale paupers hovel. But she’d never know what that kind of life would be life, she had never even been to her father’s homeland…neither had he even.

“At the end she began to regret interfering with the two of you,” he looked at his son
“She smothered you beyond measure and when you rejected her choice for a bride, she felt you rejected her.” he lowered his head.
“She did reject me” his son said “She cut me off and said if I didn’t ‘fix my mistake’ I wouldn’t get a thing” he added, his voice laced with venom.
“I should not have let her coddle you so much” Noora’s grandfather said thoughtfully his head still lowered
“You put your mother’s wealth before your wife’s love” he said sounding as though he was struggling to stop himself from getting frustrated and raised his head to look at his son. Noora did not recognise the look on her grandfather’s face, it was a look of defiance he never would have had for his wife.
“You could have made your own money instead of getting only what your mother left behind.” he looked at his son, “She could never have cut you off, even if you became gay.” He added as an afterthought and turned his attention back to Noora’s mother.

Noora’s father cleared his thought uncomfortably and stared at his mother’s picture on the wall.
“She put that together when Noora was 3. She would have given that to you then but his mind had already been poisoned too far and she thought you would read it the wrong way” he said softly.
“I would have” her mother said looking at the box with an envelope taped to the top.

“When you feel pregnant and she knew it was a girl, her heart began to change. It almost killed her when you gave Noora your surname and not ours but she did not blame you. She blamed herself.” He squeezed her hand and gazed into her eyes and Noora saw a shimmer in his eyes. “She saw you in a new light when you gave her her mother’s name though.” he said smiling at Noora

“She could have said something” Noora’s mother said with a slight whimper.
He laughed “How could our Queen tell you that you were becoming a better mother than she ever was.” there was no bitterness in his voice. “You know, it was her request that Noora holiday here, not mine” he sat back in the chair, still holding Noora’s hand.

“She tried to give you the mother you never had at the end. I know it could not have been easy for you being brought up moving from home to home without any roots. Never feeling like you belong and when you finally have a chance to earth some proper roots to have someone come in and interfere in that” Noora’s mother was sobbing now and Noora’s grandfather put an arm around her shoulders.
“She grew up like that in the beginning too, that’s what made her heart a little heard to you. You were her when she was younger and she wanted a woman for her son that was like the woman she had become, not as she started.” He paused, staring at the portrait again.

“Yes, she had many regrets with you” he said with a sigh “A chance to have a dutiful daughter that she could never have or be but she didn’t know how to fix it.”
“The envelope on top is your family history and why your parents gave you up.” her mother choked and Noora patted her back.
“In her death maybe she can give you both the history and a future she never could when she was alive. Maybe you can set some roots now.”
“She never told me about that” Noora’s father said abruptly
A flare of anger fleeted through Noora’s heart, this wasn’t about her father but he insisted on making it about him.
“She could not, she was ashamed” her grandfather replied without any expression.
“What did she have to be ashamed about?” he said in a huff
“Being wrong.” He said curtly.
“Maryam was not a good match. You threw away the best wife you could have and to appease your mother…no, to inherit from your mother you married a woman ill matched but of ‘good standing’. In her old age she realised good standing doesn’t come from the blood, she could not find peace with the fact that you crumbled so easily. You walked away without a thought when she threatened cutting you off.” His voice was strong and had an authority Noora had never heard before she gazed at her grandfather. Never had she heard him talk so much or in this way before. She could not think of what to say.

“She was ashamed of raising a son too weak to be the kind of man she wanted him to be.” he added before turning to Noora’s mother again.
“I gave up everything to move down here with her. She knew I had nothing when we found this beautiful patch of land to work on. She had nothing.” he said with a longing nature to his voice.
“She said she could live as a pauper if she had children with royal blood.” he laughed.

“It was hard for us, foreigners in a new land.” he was staring at the portrait of his wife again.
“She forgot that those hard times made us stronger than anything else could have” he looked at his son.
Noora stared at the portrait again; from the looks of things, her grandmother had gone through her life constantly with an ‘inappropriate’ thought running through her head.

This would be a long day for sure.

*******************************************************************************

So…

This is the raw version of one of the stories I am editing for my collection of short stories.

Yesterday I read this article, “Story First, Writing Second” and I finally GOT IT. Often my process is get vivid imagery of something I want to write about and figure out what that image is as I go along, which is great but eventually means I hit a brick wall and cant move my story forward so I stare, go backwards, chop a lot, add in more and hit another brick wall. Now I need to structure myself more and figure out what I want my image to say before just running along with imagery which works great if I could actually draw, not so much when I have to use words.

Over and Out!

Giving Birth to Natti – A Trio of Poems

 Yesterday's Breeze
Yesterday’s Breeze

I

Natti’s Waking

Natti had a secret she never could share
When the moon winked though her curtains
A snake would crawl into her bed

A snake with rough hands and skin wrapped in sweat
A long thick tongue danced with blunt teeth in a pit of spit
Into her skin the medley would go

They’d always mark their trail
But his lips would always insist
‘This is nothing but a game’

Above his snake hands, sat broad shoulders
For this snake was built as solidly as a wall
When the moon shone and liquor warmed his heart
He’d come in to play

His tongue wove tales of love and devotion
His eyes refused to see the abundance of her emotion
Her tears mingled with his for they often cried together

He must have shed his old skin
For he has come to share
And tonight, it’s a taste for something new

Into her sheets with pink frills and purple dolls
Taking space she has already made warm
He has come to take what she is not yet ready to give

His hand covers her belly
Makes her face that tongue flickering from his face
He has come to play
Tonight? It’ll be with toys

His skin against hers
He whispers words of his darkest desires
Confessions can be shared between slaves and their masters

She’s not ready, he’s tried to be patient
To quell his spirits from stirring in those dark, dank places
He’s lost the battle and fanned his unnatural obsession
The moon has refused to see tonight’s sin

Her screams to the heavens bring no angel’s mercy
He squeals from above her, as a troll before his gate
Heat never burned with a stronger flame
He’s lost control and bitten too hard

The snake crawled into Natti’s bed tonight
It did more than play like yesterday
Tonight it left its seed in a garden.
A garden much too young to grow.

II

Natti’s Mirror

She gazes at her reflection
Many nights from yesterday
She looks without seeing
At the woman she has come to be

Her eyes tell no stories
She closed those doors long before
But if the mirror could speak
This is what you’d hear

‘I’ve known her long and I know her true
Before snakes crawled and the moon spoke
Easing what should never be into what is
A snake’s egg had begun to hatch

Through me
Natti came to understand
When dealing with snakes
All you need, is to learn how to crawl

When angels refuse to save you
Sometimes, to save your soul
You have to kiss the devils hand

She had a choice and she made it with no guilt
She could have given in and died an inward death
Instead she learned to play and ease into her scales
For when one tastes venom, one must accept the bitterness

The snake had an empire and  Natti had the key
No longer did he creep to take what should not to be given
When the son kissed the earth, he taught her to be rich
But when the stars danced, she taught him how to love

She took her shackles
Made them worth their weight in gold
Shackles they remain
But gold is easier to live with than steel

Before me stands a woman
Strong, bold and true
Today she lays to rest her father

He taught her to be rich
She taught him how to love’

III

Natti’s Flight

One day, Natti met Van Whitt
He awoke her slumbering heart
When he blessed her with a kiss,
She felt he saved her from the truth

She would have given him all her riches
But he had plenty of his own
All he ever needed
Was for her to want no more

He gave her two bands
She gave him one in return
He gave her his name
She gave him a son to call his own

Natti Van Whitt dreamed of sinless tomorrows
While today’s passed, the sun danced even at dusk
Van Whitt’s world was complete and whole
But Natti had a secret, one she never could share

Natti began to feel a foreign yet familiar crawl
Within the walls of Utopia, Hades’ spawn had begun to grow
When you’re raised in a snake’s pit
Soon, your own skin will begin to shed

Natti had a hunger not even Van Whitt could fill
When Natti decided to play by snake rules
She ignored the darkest of the snake’s desires
Van Whitt unlocked her heart my dears

He had no way of knowing that within it, slumbering in yesterday
Were the seeds planted on a yesterday far away
He gave birth to her love
The love of what is born from what has always been

To live in her yesterdays, Natti traded in her soul
What she forgot, my dears
Is when you trade in your soul
Eventually, the Devil will collect.

*************************************************

So…

I am currently editing my work but I am at the phase of simply staring at what needs to be done, thinking of how terrible it all is, which is horrendous for the self esteem and leads to nothing being done.

To get me out of my funk, I am going through my gallery and I found this old gem from a writing exercise. It also needs an edit but I like it in its raw state so I am sharing it here today. Its a little miserable but… hopefully it isn’t terrible.

Over and Out!

When You Need a Mind Hump

 I wish I knew the source
I wish I knew the source

 

So…

Sometimes all we need is someone to drape us in hugs, physically or mentally but I get the picture and for anyone else who feels it too, lets all mind hump!

Last week was torturous and I spent nearly all of yesterday beneath my covers so I will put a post up soon but for now, all I have is a picture and a sentence.

Over and Out!

 

Imaginary Tea with 300 Sandwiches – In Pursuit of a Wedding Ring

300 Sandwiches
300 Sandwiches

So…

*I have been having some technical issues so this post is slightly late but enjoy!*

First up: Often I can hold multiple opinions about something at the same time, my mind is fluid like that.

Second: No one but the people within the relationship know what’s REALLY going on and even then, chances are just one person knows and the other is winging it.

 He Likes his Food
He Likes his Food

Now, originally I wanted to ignore the story, I saw a comment about it somewhere, thought “Yeah…there’s nothing positive I can add here” and I walked away from it, then I found this video by The Young Turks and I thought, “Wait… what?” So went over to the 300 Sandwiches site here (I love bread and potatoes but may have a slight intolerance for them but that doesn’t stop me eating them because my intolerance wont kill me). I like the look of the blog and the sandwiches actually generally look good so on a food front alone, its gorge and I like me my yums.

But I am struggling with the idea that this was tongue in cheek humour and yet the pursuit of the wedding band is still on…Or maybe I am having a translation problem. Here’s why, (sadly) it doesn’t matter how successful you become as a woman, you are still judged “harshly” if you haven’t chosen to get married and have babies. And its unfair that that is the case, but it is. And when a woman chooses to do that there are even more things she must now give up in order to still be viewed as successful, cut her working hours, be there for the children. I don’t follow “Giuliana and Bill” but I saw the hate that Guiliana garnered for not being as visibly involved with her son (Duke) as Bill was and putting her appearance ahead of her health. As I didn’t actually follow that particular story I wont put up any links for that. But other than celebs, in my “real life” women set targets for themselves to be married by, date for not more than five years, if he hasn’t proposed by then, “make him”. This can come from having a “my eggs are shriveling and I want to know if your swimmers are going to be available soon” kind of conversations or “trap” him by making sure you are negligent enough for his swimmers to actually do some “damage”.

Thing is, all relationships are about give and take, the knee jerk reaction to this is: “You mean that’s what I have to do to get a ring?” I have been told on numerous occasions that women cannot feel for something without personalising it, that it is wired into our heads. I need to be “in” whatever it is that I am liking or see myself being “hurt” by what offends me. The person may have been referring to me alone because I have basket case tendencies on occasion and it may be “safe” to generalise but he had a point (of course it was a guy who said it).

On principle, this idea that women need to convince a guy that she is worth marrying and he is in a way doing her a favour of providing marriage is disturbing. I am in a long term relationship and have been for a while and my mind sometimes chaffs against the idea that doing certain things makes me more “marry-able”, because I think, if you want to marry me, you will. If my single sandwich makes you think you could eat 300 more (or 299 more), that’s awesome, but I shouldn’t need to prove I can supply those 300 for you to ACTUALLY decide you want to marry me. Plus I make lunches for us almost everyday, mostly because I am an awful person when I am hungry (no seriously, I don’t get PMS or mood swings, I get hunger pangs that go to my brain and drain me of all rational thought. Its terrible!) and I need to eat and he’s generally free at the same time so we eat together. Then Saturday is his day to cook or we cook together, as long as that “exchange” happens, I don’t feel like I am being taken advantage of. So what is she getting out of the exchange to not feel taken advantage of? He cooks regularly according to her and I think that’s grand! You cant just turn your relationship to a chore pursuit for that ring, its about the journey and I really hope they get that.

So while this may have been tongue in cheek, I really do hope that she enjoys the process, and this guy is worth it if it isn’t in her to naturally make sandwiches three times a week for someone else. But at the end of the day, they know what goes on behind closed doors and if the two of them are both on the same page, great! We all want to be happy after all, and if this is her choice then there is no problem here.

We live in an age of choice and people should be allowed to do what they want to do to meet whatever goals they aim to achieve. Marriage by 300 Sammies! Do it! If he proposes before 300, I hope she enjoys the process enough to keep going!

Over and Out!

Imaginary Tea – Own Your Perfection and Be Thankful

 I'm Going Far and Wide
I’m Not Sure What Path I’m Taking Here

 

So…

I’m working on a few short stories and that’s a first for me, I usually handle one project at a time because I thought it allowed me to “give it my best”, but that means I kill ideas because I don’t feel “ready” to flesh them out and that could be a cop out (most likely is). So right now, I am trying to tweak three stories for my first collection of short stories and I’m working on two half stories that involve running away and travel but they are so raw, I have no idea where they are going.

But I digress, today I am sharing two videos because last week I didn’t put up a post. And this week I am typing this while drinking a cup of green Japanese tea. My stash is almost done, nooooo!

First up: When Your Boyfriend Asks You to Strip For Him . Oh my word! Can I just say how much I ‘gasmed over this? I honestly don’t even know. I felt my stomach lurch and my heart flutter when she reached the end, and I swore at her… many times! How dare she make me feel all these damn emotions! Granted I re-watched it multiple times and shared it with everyone I know who would share my feelings. Why don’t we (women) love ourselves more? Why do we project our (imagined) faults onto our partners? I sadly find it very easy to depreciate myself in front of other people especially my physical appearance (not my mind, since I am posting its produce here, overinflated view of my mental abilities). My flesh and bone is “distinctly average” and sometimes I find it hard to believe someone would think I am the sexiest woman in the world because… “c’mon!” Like this morning, I was trying out some yoga and I noticed cellulite on a part of my thigh that I didn’t know it collected and cringed but was fascinated by the fact that it wouldn’t matter to “my person”. Granted I haven’t shown him that particular pose so he hasn’t seen that cellu-pocket (as I like to call it) but wouldn’t it be great if we could see ourselves the way the people who love us see us? That would be amazing. Allow yourself to do that. Somehow. Don’t become an arrogant git but own your “perfection”. Coz we all have a dose of it, so don’t binge but take a sip once in a while.

The Little Things is just a reminder to keep our eyes open to the good things that people around us do. Sadly I can often “miss” the nice things and to those nearest and dearest to me, I love you spades and boatloads. I am thankful for having you in my life and even when I can’t physically help you, know that I think of you, and your nuttiness drives me and my fiction. Whether I am escaping from it or drowning in it.

Thank you so much for getting to the end, I know this is very random… watch the videos. They’ll distract you from the lack of direction going on here.

Over and Out!

Behind Your Teeth – A Poem

I want to fly away on your wings
I want to fly away on your wings

Behind Your Teeth

I hid my secrets behind your teeth
“Your heart beat drives my own”
I hid my secrets behind your teeth
“Let me go and I’m bound to fall”

You’ll never hear me speak
Of dreams I’m prepared to lose
For if I never admit it, I can pretend
That who I was, is who I am still

I tucked my secrets behind your teeth
“Your heart beat drives my own”
I tucked my secrets behind your teeth
“Let me go and I’ll not know my way home”

My need to assert myself?
Its wilting in the blaze of you
If I’m a caterpillar, then you are my cocoon
But I don’t yet know if I’m a moth or butterfly

I buried my secrets behind your teeth
“Your heart beat drives my own”
I buried my secrets behind your teeth
“My legs can no longer carry my weight alone”

There’s a part of me I’ve lost
Its stained beneath your skin
If you give it back to me
I wont know how to make it fit

I planted my secrets behind your teeth
“Your heart beat drives my own”
I planted my secrets behind your teeth
“By your side is where I belong”

*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*

So…

Last night while convincing myself to fall asleep (its often a debate), replaying Miley’s new video Wrecking Ball, prickles of a poem began poking about in my head. People have “opinions” on the video, I LOVE the song and the “cleanness” of the video works for me. I am putting down my love. The song speaks if you allow yourself to listen.

Now, I haven’t written any fresh poetry in ages. I think my poems dried up when my sister died but I am not entirely sure because it was something we shared. I’d just been struggling to put my feelings down on paper while I dealt with the the relationship I had with her and the kind of relationship I wish we had had. There will be a post about her one of these days but for now, its just the poem. There’s nothing else I want to add because I’m feeling “prickly” and the longer I stare at it, the more likely it is that I wont hit the publish button (even though this poem is not about her, I am not a “mushy” person and this poem is bloody mushy. Dude, I hate you so much right now, you know who you are).

Thank you Miley, for helping me find some poetry again. I don’t know how or why it happened but thank you.

Over and Out!

Imaginary Tea with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ms Adichie knows something...
Ms Adichie knows something…

So…

The video I would like to share is here;

First confession: I love Ms Adichie (I feel so cosmopolitan using Ms).

Second confession: I haven’t read any of her books (yet).

Now, seeing as I love her why wouldn’t I devour her books? After all, her art is an extension of herself and I love reading her interviews and watching her speak. (Laying on the excuses now). Well, I did come to her party late. One of my younger sister’s is into stories that have a “deeper” moral compass and if they have an African Or African-American theme even better. I bought this sister Half of a Yellow Sun as a birthday present one year and I didn’t have any intention of reading it because it was not “my thing”. I preferred either pure escapism through fantasy or history that was culturally different to my own. I found solace in gasping at the horrors other societies inflicted and didn’t want to learn any more about how African’s did it.

But the truth is, I was escaping her work because I thought it was another example of how African writers should write. Insert village, un-pronouncable (I decree that a word) names and then make the story about a struggle that usually cannot be wholly felt by most contemporary Africans. I believe we are more than that and I wanted more examples of contemporary African story telling, which I could not get anyway because I shunned stories written by African sounding names, which is terrible I know.

I stayed in my father’s village as a child one holiday (I have never had so many nosebleeds in my life but learned holding your head over burning sunflower seeds cauterizes your nostrils and stops bleeding for a few years at least), and I cannot base all my work on that one interaction when it isnt ingrained in who I am, yet any time I came across successful African writers, that is what I found. You needed it to be rural and lay it on thick. But those rural locales are where my family stems from and is a part of me but not the part that comes to mind immediately when I define myself. But this post isnt about my identity.

I feared that if I read her work, I would try and make my writing more “African” to be successful. That is not the content of the video (and you should really see it, if you haven’t), it is what I would talk to Chimamanda about if I were to share a cup of tea with her. Identity.

The video is about being a feminist. I believe generally society holds women a lot morally upright than they actually are. This post will end up being a lot longer if I keep going, and I did promise these would be short, but I will say that when the time comes for me to be a mother. I hope I do not forget that I want my sons to be as self reliant as my daughters and my daughters to be as practical as my sons. We shouldn’t continue to hold our daughters as mass nurturing mammary glands because not all women want or should be having children. I hope when my daughters are of an acceptable child bearing age that I do not suddenly expect grandbabies to fall from their wombs at the risk of their dreams. May my sons know value above financial success and most of all, may my children have a sense of humour, because they will probably need it to survive having me as their mother.

Check out her new book Americanah. I will be reading this one soon…just need to borrow it from the sister.

Over and Out!

Imaginary Tea with Anna Akana – How to be Alone

anna akana

So…

I love characters (and people) that have something to say but don’t shove it down your throat with some kind of moral authority, add that with a quirky personality and you have my heart. Right now my major internet crush is Anna Akana, here’s her youtube page.

The video that moved me this week is here: How To Be Alone

As a child I was not a social person. I preferred my own company because it required too much effort dealing with other people and I hated small talk (still not a fan). I wanted to talk about “serious” things and other kids really didn’t, so even if I hadn’t chosen my own company, it would have been thrust upon me anyway.

One of my teachers thought I was abused at home because I was “too quiet”. My mother was grilled about my “home situation” during a PTA meeting when I was in the third grade, and afterwards asked me if I was OK (and happy). At the time I couldn’t think of why I wouldn’t be happy, everyone had problems including me but I was OK. In the end, what I took from that conversation was that I (and how I presented myself) was a problem, and I needed to fix that. My solution? Become more involved. After the third grade there wasn’t a year that I wasn’t involved in at least three extra curricular activities, in some kind of leadership role and smiled while doing it. Thing is though, I would much rather have just gone home early, read a book or written some story about something that was vaguely true and been internally satisfied. Instead I saddled myself with a perpetual people pleasing that I still struggle with. All because third graders are supposed to be noisy.

I only started fighting my people pleasing ways in university. Which isn’t really a good time to be fighting what defines you and led to my degree taking place at two universities and took twice as long to complete. Not fun when everyone has you pegged as an over achiever, so in the end, you appear to be a failure.

Letting other people’s observations become your reality is guaranteed to keep you wrapped in unhappiness. I really just should have learned how to express my desire for alone time instead of pretend I didn’t engage in it (if that doesn’t sound suggestive)…Obviously not in third grade but after then, instead of devising more methods to prove how social I was when I would rather not have been.

Over and Out!