Hello Constant Reader (aka Mum)


“without Constant Reader, you are just a voice quacking in the void.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

O.k so I’m twisting Kings definition here somewhat, but up until lately my parents were the only people who consistently and faithfully read everything I wrote. Starting a blog seems to have changed that a little. Just under two weeks in and already I’m starting to see familiar names popping up in my notifications tab whenever I receive a new ‘like’ or comment. Thanks for that guys. It means a lot.

I’ve always sent my stories and poems to Mum for beta reading. (And Dad for proof reading – he’s a senior member of the grammar police and it’s led to some interesting discussions about it’s use, especially in poetry.) As soon as I’ve finished my first draft, even if it’s gone midnight, I put it straight in an email and send it. I know full well they won’t find it until I’ve called sometime the day after to tell them it’s there but I send it anyway. I’m lucky to have such supportive parents.

Although, I have to admit, sometimes my mum is a little too supportive. I love that my mum firmly believes I could write and publish a book if I applied myself but all the ‘gentle nudging’ in the world won’t make the task less challenging – or daunting.

Although I’m sure she’s happy I’ve started this blog and, as a result, am ‘writing more’ now. In fact, I know she is because as soon as she found out she added the link for my blog straight to that little bar at the top of her browser. She’s read everything I’ve posted to date. Thinking about it, she’s probably reading this righ…

Hi mum. I love you. x

Anyway, I seem to have gone off thread a little here. I hope I’m not waffling too much although I’m sure my Mum will tell me if I am. She’s always been a kind but fair critic – unlike my dad, who’s just a chronic critic. I always know when a piece is finished because dad tells me it’s good, except for the spelling mistake in the third paragraph and the misuse of a comma halfway down page two.

So far, my parents tell me, the ‘aliens’ story didn’t quite work as well as ‘potato’ although both are well written and it would need to be longer and more drawn out to get enough build up in there to really pack a punch. My blog pieces are interesting and my first poem was fun and very ‘me’.

However the poem I posted last time didn’t work for them at all. they said they could see what I was trying to achieve but it didn’t quite work. It didn’t flow well and the words didn’t really make any sense.

Now all poetry is subjective, not everyone is going to like or even ‘get’ the same stuff. I know this, just as I knew it wouldn’t be my parents thing when I posted it. I know it in the same way my parents knew I’d try to justify my stylistic choices the moment they dare suggest it might not be quite up-to scratch. I saw the amused look they shared as soon as I uttered the word’s “But it’s not supposed to flow….”

It may have taken a while for my brain to catch up with my mouth, but eventually I managed to shut myself up (although I couldn’t help pointing out the four likes it had received first.) I’d like to feel I’m pretty tough skinned. That I know the value of honest feedback, even when others are telling me stuff I don’t want to hear; and that’s mostly true. Unless it’s my parents.

I suspect they will always bring out the inner teenager in me. Luckily, after the initial ‘you don’t understand, you’ll never understand!’ tirade, my inner teen tends to storm off in a huff and slam the door behind her, leaving the slightly more adult me to mull over that advice in my own time.

My parents might just have raised so valid points about that last poem after all, I was extremely overtired when I wrote it and I ‘might’ have been trying too hard to be ‘clever’. See, I can accept criticism with good grace. Eventually.

Without criticism and feedback, we can’t grow as writers. I’m sure my parents role in providing that has already played a huge part in getting me this far and I’m eternally grateful that they continue to offer it, even after all these years of ‘you just don’t get it!’.

I’m thankful to everyone who’s ever hit like, or left a comment on my blog, you’re all fundamental in helping me improve my skills and take my writing further. Please, please, keep offering your feedback, and don’t be afraid to tell me when I get it wrong. Perhaps it will help me get it right more often in future.

Cake:

1924358_10152678988559874_1904441595523389991_n

Swiss roll is something else I’m yet to master. The kids will still eat it, but I’m always looking for advice on how to improve.

 

Advertisements

It’s Been A long Week.


In the reserved hours, remiss or raw,

Take your pick. I will

Sacrifice the foreboding and forbidding

Behind day’s glow, and under moon beam

Express the unexpressed.

Execute self reflection, reflections of self

Notwithstanding; drawn out

Act, and epilogue.

Liberal in guilt,

Open to blame;

Needing to

Give in and

Weep.

Except,

Exhausted now,

Knowledge is put to bed and wisdom sleeps.

Linda Williams ©2018

Um, I need a Cake … and a coffee. … That gives me an idea:

11053520_10153511791209874_7829746368980184165_n

Coffee cake never last long in this house as it’s my husbands favourite.

Have the Aliens Landed Yet?


So, I’m not sure I’m completely happy with this, but it’s been a tough week so I’m posting it anyway. Once again thanks to Eric’s Wednesday writing prompt for the inspiration:

“John? It’s Pete, sorry to ring so late but that little taxi firm of yours is still going right? I need a favour.”

John sighed and shut down the laptop. His brother’s timing impeccable, as always. “Yeah, just about, although if the accounts are anything to go by…”

“Don’t worry about that now, I have a job for you, might be just what you need.”

John laughed. “You need picking up?”

“Not me, but I need someone to collect some VIP’s from the airport.”

“Don’t you guys have your own drivers?”

“Look, it’s a bit of a rush job, o.k.  N.A.S.A’s involved and it’s all… never mind, can you do it or not?”

“Sure, give us the details. I’ll get our Janie to send someone out.”

“Great, double rates, alright? And, if it goes well…”

John jotted down the information, cursing the pen when it gave out, scrambling in the draws for another.

“Just remember, keep it quiet.” His brother said before he hung up. “N.A.S.A doesn’t want anyone to know they’re here.”

John pulled himself out his chair, it was late. Janie was still manning dispatch in the spare room, he’d get her to send someone out and switch the machine to divert. The lads knew the drill and it’d been a slow night. He was ready for bed.

Andy arrived at the airport in good time and opened the glove compartment to grab a piece of card and marker pen, pausing to double check his phone before committing pen to paper. He’d almost refused the job when Janie had it called through, it smacked of nail holes and sky hooks. A picture, he’d told her, paints a thousand words. The photo she’d sent him only had about a dozen, written in John’s unmistakable scrawl. ‘Pick up the Aliens for NASA, Heathrow, T3, VS2790 2am.’

He printed the name carefully on the card and put the pen away before getting out. Part of him still worried that it was all some elaborate hoax. The flight number had checked out and Janie had promised him double time, but still…

The Arrivals lounge should have been quiet this time of night but Andy had had a job just to get through the door. He’d turned his card round to hide the name when he’d realised how many cameras and microphones were in the room. Airport security had cordoned off half the room, leaving a clear path to the door but it was mainly ignored. The noise level in the room was rising steadily.

“Can anyone confirm the arrival of flight VS2790?”

“Is it true there are extraterrestrials on board?”

“Have the aliens landed yet?”

Andy hugged the card a little closer and a man in a smart suit entered via the staff doors and raised his hands to quiet the crowds. Perhaps it hadn’t been such a good idea to get Janie to send that picture through Twitter after all.

Thank you for reading.

I also have to thank my parents, who received letters for a Mr and Mrs Alien for a number of years, due to a corruption of their surname. Of course I’ve left the decision on exactly who, or what, is getting off that plane completely unto the readers imagination this time round.

oh, and I can’t forget the cake:

12046697_10153737721694874_894507630486917765_n

Alien cupcakes, from back when I didn’t know what on earth I was doing in the kitchen.

Life gets in the way


I should have posted my attempt at story around Eric’s prompt ( https://erick79.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/another-wednesday-writing-prompt/ ) last night but it’s all gone a bit off schedule.

My eldest finally felt well enough to brave going out Tuesday but after nearly a full week of high pain days, spent mostly in bed, she’d memorised every cobweb and speck of dirt her room contained and insisted on a deep clean yesterday.

I took over once she started shaking and didn’t get finished till late so I haven’t even made a start. Today she’s doing her first horse therapy session and, dependant in how she feels afterwards, I’ll hopefully get something written and up in the next day or so.

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with more cake:

These were baked and decorated with my girls and their friends for a charity bake sale

It’s Time to Pull My Socks Up.


It’s Time to Pull My Socks Up.

P.E. (physical education) was the bane of my existence. I think it was one of those subjects you either loved as a child or dreaded, that heavy mass in your stomach already forming as you pick at your lunch, knowing what come next. The scathing comments in the changing room, the ticking off for taking too long to change, the humiliating wait will the popular kids choose teams, knowing you’ll be called last again, falling over you own feet as you rush to join your side only to face plant right in front of your sneering team captain…

O.k. so perhaps the last part is just me, but you get the idea. The only thing worse than regular P.E. lessons was Sports day. I fail to understand how a whole day of track and field events is supposed to be fun; it always felt like pure torture to me. In middle school participation was compulsory, this fact should have been softened by the fact students were allowed to choose which event they wanted to but as the best athletes got first choice it never worked out that way.

I can’t remember a single year where my name wasn’t written up against the 1000 metres race because it was all that was left over. 1000 metres? I couldn’t run five without aching all over and running out of breath, the lack of co-ordination caused by Dyspraxia combined with loose ligaments and hyper-mobility meant my legs kicked out the side behind me when I ran, leaving me constantly off balance.  It always felt more like falling than moving, I hated it; almost as much as I hated the laughter it caused amongst my classmates.

After my first middle school sports day my Mum promised I’d never have to take part in another. Every year I’d proudly present a signed note claiming I’d twisted an ankle or hurt my wrist and excusing me from physical activity. In my final year at the school my teacher already knew what to expect. She was waiting on the field, hand outstretched as I approached a resigned look on her face.

“Really Linda, you’re not a little girl anymore. It’s about time you pulled your socks up.” She told me.

I looked at my feet. My socks looked fine to me, but I’d been raised to respect Teachers and if Miss said they need to be pulled up then I should do as I was told. The result wasn’t pretty. I stood there red faced while she yelled at me for my disrespectful attitude and downright cheek without any real understanding of why I was in trouble. It wasn’t till I got home that anyone bothered to explain to me what ‘pulling your socks up’ actually meant.

Literal thinking can be an issue with some people with Dyspraxia and I still struggle with unknown colloquialisms and idioms. Although, I am better at recognising them now, after that particular event I developed quite the fascination for them and began collecting them along with other words and phrases to add to my vocabulary.

‘Pull your socks up’ happens to be one of my favourites. If you’re not already familiar with it, it’s an informal British saying meaning ‘to make an effort to improve your work or behaviour because it’s not good enough’. It’s a saying that often springs to mind when I’m trying to overcome an issue caused by my dyspraxia, like when I forget to write down appointments so I won’t forget or when I carefully plan out getting ready so I won’t be late and then put off what I need to do and run out of time.

It’s also something I keep saying about this blog. This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted blogging. I’ve read up on the best practice to build a blog, when to post, what to post, always use a photo and don’t get fixated on your stats. Yet every time it all seems to ‘fall by the wayside’ and my blog runs out of steam. This time I’m determined to make it at least six months. My kids have bets on when I’m going to fold already. But I’m going to ‘pull my socks up’ and give it my best shot. Posts may be a bit sporadic but I hope you’ll ‘bear with me’.  Perhaps, with your support, this time I won’t find myself handing in yet another sick note.

Today’s cake:

13619978_10154363269299874_2015236120369878654_n

Made for one of my youngest daughter’s Primary School Sports Days.

Dyspraxia or ‘Why I don’t wear makeup’ (Poem)


It’s not
bravery behind my bare face,
Shame to say.
For today,
just like any other,  I race
to get dressed,
pressed for time,
before searching for the hairbrush
in the fridge.
I’ll abridge
this tale and tell you in an hour
I’ll find the thing
on top the shower.
Then forget
and yet again forget,
in shame,
to brush my teeth.

I forgot, before I left,
to lock the door.
So,
with kids in tow, I’m back once more.
And while I’m here the lunches
that I’ve left behind.
They need
Signatures in books, permission notes.
Then back on with shoes and coats.
The cold coffee
I found by my toast
still in the toaster, will have to wait.
We’re late.
And once they’re in
A friend, waiting by the gate
Suggests I get one, warm.
In the cafe.

Apparently,
It had been my suggestion.
Planned yesterday,
The memory has slipped away,
although
It seems likely.
And the chance to stop a while,
Order my thoughts,
reconcile with friends, once more,
the ability to get out the door
with being late,
sounds great
After all those dramas, so I sit
My friend plays mother as I unzip my coat
and discover
I’m still in my pyjamas.

L.E.A Williams ©2018

To find out more about Dyspraxia (aka DCD) check out https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/about-dyspraxia/

Today’s cake:

426824_10151066295054874_1257355329_n

One of the first cake’s I ever baked and decorated

425977_10151066294269874_1021364909_n

Made for a school fate in ’12 (UK hosted the Olympics)

My Response to Wednesdays surreal writing prompt


So to get me started I decided to try out the writing prompt suggested by Eric’s Blog with the hope of distracting him from the pain he’s currently suffering and giving me something to do while I sit with my 16 daughter who also suffers from chronic pain and is having a bad time of it today.

I had quite a time with coming up with ideas but eventually something my brother said sparked my interest. So here it is in all it’s ‘first draft’ wonder, all 499 words of it. Hope you enjoy it:

potatoes-ketchup-murder-blood-111130

“You’ve got it terribly wrong, it won’t work.”

Jon considered rolling his eyes but the gesture would be lost under the hood of his heavy ceremonial robe. Instead he settled for a swift tug on the rope that secured her hands and acted as a lead. She stumbled but managed to stay upright. They had started without him again; he could already hear the sanctimonious chanting.

“Was that really necessary?” She asked, stopping to blow uselessly at a few reluctant strands.

Jon tried to ignore her and move on but another jolt sent him backwards and he landed on his arse, looking up at the girl as she tried to shake the hair from her face. The little cow must have pulled on the rope.

“’A’ for effort alright. I certainly look the part, white bloodstained dress, hands tied nicely and, o.k. so I haven’t found a boyfriend yet; but it’s still a waste of time, not to mention life. Mine in fact.” She blew uselessly at a few stubborn strands. “It’s all a bit cliché isn’t it? I mean, how many times have you tried this before?”

Jon surveyed her from the floor. This wasn’t what he’d signed up for. It was the third time his sect had attempted a ‘raising’, none had been successful. It had been his turn to present the sacrifice. He’s been told to expect pleading, screaming, tears even but this girl was something else.

“Look, you don’t have to take my word for it. I’d been working on my thesis when they grabbed me. It’s all in my bag, back there.  You can read it for yourself. I might even have a…”

”…What are you talking about?” Jon snapped, getting to his feet. “Look I don’t have time to mess about, they’re waiting.”

“Haven’t you been listening?” The girl huffed. “It won’t work. The original text calls for a sacrifice right? ‘A fruitful virgin dressed in white’? Only the translations all wrong, it should read ‘the white fruit of Virginia’ and if you’d only come back to the other room I’ll prove it…”

Jon knocked thrice on the huge oak doors. Inside he could still hear the chanting but it died away as he entered and approached the altar bearing the sacrifice in his arms, just as tradition demanded.

“What the hell’s that Jon?” The master of ceremonies demanded. “Where’s the girl?”

Jon sighed. “It’s a potato. Alright, look, the girl recons it will work and her theory’s pretty sound.  It’s not like the other way works any better. I say we give it a go.”

“But it’s a bloody potato! Oh for… fine, whatever, let’s get this nonsense over with.”

As the sacred knife pieced the skin, the room began to shake and Jon began to wonder if the girl had been right. “The potato is the key,” She’d said, “if you want to summon the devil.” Perhaps it would have been safer all round if they’d just sacrificed her after all.

and if you’re wondering what the prompt was:

“The potato is the key”

via Wednesdays surreal writing prompt

P.S. I’ve never baked a potato themed cake so I’ll just leave this selection of choux pastries here instead. They were certainly the devils work – and do look a bit ‘potato’ like, right?

My choux pastries- hobbyist baking course ‘17