Friday, 27 September 2013

Some Poems

The grand Art of Procrastination
It’s half past eight, time to create
Lie in my bed, thinking in my head.
Pick up my phone
Play a game all alone
Look on Facebook,
Photos are ace-look!
Read a blog, pin for a while
So many things that can make a girl smile
But you must write
You must fight
Against laziness and procrastination
It won’t write itself
Won’t climb up on a shelf
At the WhSmiths at the station.

A little kick up the butt a.k.a ‘the beginning’

Practice every day
In any little way
Something is better than nothing, we say.
Find the time, write a rhyme
Or a short funny ditty,
No one is judging or cares if it’s shitty.

That Paper

Money makes the world go round
That paper on the floor he found
Gives life, takes life
Without it is strife
He had nothing, he was nothing
But now....
So happy, delirious
‘A fifty- are you serious?!’
He doesn’t care now, he’s fearless.
Fly to the moon, he’s on a rocket
Skip in his step, dough in his pocket.
Weed or ciggs, a beer and food
Maybe a prossy, ‘Nah, I ain’t in the mood.’
While it lasts life’s a blast
Then way too soon it’s in the past
A memory of a life that could be
If he had that paper in his hand.
Life would be grand.
But in the blink of an eye it’s gone,
So fast.

The dream

A shiny castle, happily ever after
Your prince will come,
Bringing joy and laughter.
The rainbow sweeps across the sky, making dreams come true
All you have to do is wish
Someday he’ll come to you.
Bright lights
Flying kites
This is a civilized place, please- no fights!
3D glasses for the big screen,
dinner a movie and after ice cream
We’re living that dream, that hope and a prayer.
But-caution!-don’t scratch away at the top layer
The glamour, the money, good job and house
Just keep working hard for that money
Don’t question, don’t worry
The elation of Saturday- it’s here, grab a beer!
Slouch back in your chair, with crisps and no cares
Which young kid’s dream of fame
Will be shattered to pain
For the nation to see?
‘It’s not for the money
I love it, it’s me.
I want to be singin’, see my name in lights
Perform at Wembley.
*sobs it’s my dream, see.’
We laugh and we cry
‘Simon Cowell don’t deny
that young talent a chance,
He can sing, he can dance!’
But we don’t really care
It’s quite funny, actually.
We get technology, entertainment
A trade off,
For a small payment
In return for iphones and Kardashians
Is our silence, good behaviour
They’re doing us a favour!
They perform, we conform
That’s the deal. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Read, Write and Be Patient

On my return from holiday I've read an excellently inspiring blog post on The Write Practice about not being disheartened if you don't make it on your first try. The author Gorbett points out that actually it's silly to expect to get it right without lots of practice. Using pilots as an example, he says that they have to clock up 3000 hours of airtime before even being considered for a commercial plane. So why should you expect to be perfect at writing without practicing? He also says you should read a lot and use your favourite authors and styles to help you write.
You can read the blog post here.

And now for the writing practice-
Write about someone who expects to be a master at an art, task, or profession although they have little experience. Be sure to include the frustration that ensues.

I ordered the ukulele on amazon. That's half the battle isn't it- actually buying one? I've been watching some tutorials online and I have to say it looks pretty easy. There're only four strings after all, and I saw this you tube video of an eight year old girl playing mmm bop, so seriously how hard can it be? I'm excited, I think I'm gonna be a hit around the campfire and at family bbqs. knocking out classic after classic.

It arrived! So far I've learnt some of the simple chords; C, F, G. It turns out you can play tons of things with just those three notes! I started to play and sing along but then after half an hour the tips of the fingers on my left hand were hurting. You have to press down hard and I got these intents on the ends of my fingers which I'm not sure will ever actually go away. I'll practice again tomorrow.

Now that I've learnt how to play some basic three chord songs I want to move on. There are so many videos of people plucking the tune out of their ukuleles rather than just strumming like me. It sounds amazing and I want to be able to do it. I practiced the intro to 'I'll be there for you' from Friends, but it was really hard and after ages I still hadn't got it. Every time I thought I had it, I'd slip up and play the wrong string or the right string in the wrong fret. It's so annoying. And now after a break I've gone back to play it and I can't even remember how it starts! They make it look so easy and actually it really isn't. I wonder if I've even got it in me to ever be that good or if I should just give up. Clearly I haven't got the knack.

 OK so that was more like ten minutes than fifteen. It's amazing how much you can do in such a small space of time.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Small Islands Treasure Map

I wanted to try something more minimalistic, as I usually cram my maps full of stuff. I also found a picture to inspire me in a new kind of pirate ship.

Here's the map when it was first coloured in:

Then I thought I'd play around with it like I used to with maps when I was a kid.

Cue tea bag and FIRE!

I'm rather out of practice and wasn't much pleased with the result. Its seems there is actually an art to burning stuff...
I ended up accidentally losing half a piranha.

Dug up from deep under the mud!

Which map do you prefer?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Tiny Writing Treasure Map

I'm using this map template in one of my classes next week. I think the kids will have fun creating their own island. I for one really enjoyed doing it!
Something I love about teaching kids of this age (7-8) is that they're really easily pleased. They were mega impressed by my drawings here and have made me promise to impart my wisdom on how to make such a great castle. Ha ha.

It's taken about two months but I've finally finished draft six of my story. Now I have to face the mammoth task of typing up the changes, which will inevitably involve a lot of trying to decipher tiny sentences scrawled round the margins in pencil and being annoyed at not being able to read my own handwriting. But such is life.

It's probably also time to revisit Jack and Carla at the Lake of Colours. Although they've probably starved to death or died of boredom by now, poor things.

Have you been working on any kind-of-pointless-and-totally-time-consuming-but-fun-nonetheless projects recently?  

Thursday, 28 February 2013

On Writing

 It's time to redraft my novel called Potion,
A process that often seems it's in slow motion.
The words are changing a lot for draft six,
Some bad dialogue and continuity errors fixed.
Map Mysteries on hold, while poor Carla and Jack
Wait patiently at the Lake of Colours for me to come back.
But alas, two projects is much harder than one,
They might have to wait till redrafting is done.
In other news, I've applied to finish my MA in writing,
Wont you agree that's pretty exciting?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Nonsense Verse

I've been sorting through old stuff at home, and have been reading lots of my old writing. Mainly diaries, which are incredibly painful and cringey to read, but there were also some other things. I particularly liked this poem, reminiscent of Lewis Carroll:
A man got up when he was tired
And ate till he was hungry.
He danced all night while he sat still,
 Then flew a plane to Monday.

I got some Dr. Seuss books for Christmas, which probably means I'll soon be in the mood to create more nonsense!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Still at the Big Old House

“It’s so good!” she said through a mouthful.
Jack’s caution faded then and gave way to a need which he was powerless to stop. He picked up a knife and began carving the pig, its crispy skin cracking as he plunged in. He put some slices on a plate for Carla and one for himself and then the pair of them scooped mounds of vegetables and everything else on top and covered it all in thick gravy.
Hardly even remembering to breath as he ate, Jack was in heaven. It was definitely the best food he had ever eaten.
A few minutes of pure bliss passed by, but then something made Jack stop still, fork midway up to his mouth. There on the table, between the plate of stuffing and the boiled potatoes, was a massive grey rat.
Jack hastily put down his food, nudging Carla in the ribs to get her attention.
“What?” she sprayed potato out at him.
The rat was now holding a stuffing ball and knawing on it with big sharp teeth, oblivious to the children’s presence. You could almost have imagined it was harmless, except for two things. 1. He was a big massive scary rat and 2. He had bright red eyes.
Unlike Jack, who knew rats only as disgusting city pests that live in the sewers, Carla had a different perspective.
“It’s hungry,” she said, going closer. “Hey little ratty, there’s plenty of food here for you.”
“Don’t go near it,” rushed Jack, not feeling for a second that they should trust the rodent.
“It’s only a rat,” said Carla, ignoring Jack and going closer still.
“With red eyes,” muttered Jack, annoyed that once again he was more scared than Carla.
The rat stopped knawing then and looked straight at Jack. It made a noise, somewhere between a squeak and a snarl, high pitched and fierce.
“We should go,” said Jack, already edging towards the door.
What happened next happened in the space of a few short seconds. Tens, maybe hundreds of rats poured into the kitchen from the far door, the cupboards, in fact from every corner and hole and pipe possible.
Each one had red eyes, and each one was looking directly at Jack. The noise that the first rat had made was now multiplied, earsplitting and terrifying.
“Run!” Jack shouted, lurching towards the door as quickly as he could.
Carla was close by him but they weren’t fast enough. The rats were already in the hallway and had swarmed to block off their exit back into the ballroom. The other doors were swamped too and there was no way Jack was going to attempt to get through them, so they had no choice but to rush up a small set of stairs, as the army of rats chased close behind. As fast as they could, the children dived through the first door they could find, shutting it fast and leaning up against it hard.
“What if they’re stronger than us?” Jack voiced the incredible fear he felt as he listened to the squeak-snarls and scratches coming through the door. “Not so harmless now.”
Calra’s forehead creased. “You wouldn’t understand. We haven’t turned our backs on nature.”
“I just don’t like big rats with red eyes!” argued Jack.
“They knew where you’re from,” said Carla.
“So you’re saying it’s my fault?”
“No, I…”
“Whatever,” Jack said angrily.
It was only then that Jack actually noticed the room they were now in: a girl’s bedroom. The furniture was in keeping with the rest of the house- old and cobwebby, except this time it was all white. There was a four-poster bed, a rocking horse, a big dolls house with the front open so you could see all the rooms, and a dressing table. On the dressing table, amongst other things, was a music box. As the children stood there with their backs pressed against the door, the lid of the music box lifted slowly open and a ballerina popped up. She started to turn around as music plinked out.
Both children stared, wide eyed.
“It’s the dance of the sugar plum fairy,” said Carla, to which Jack shrugged.
He didn’t know if he was imagining it, but as the music played it drowned out more and more the scratching and squeak-snarling of the rats. But whether the rats were giving up, or the music was simply getting louder, he couldn’t quite say.
They waited, frozen, for the music to stop, which seemed to take forever. Eventually it got slower and slower, until it finished with one last loud ‘plink’ and the lid closed with a sharp thud. After that it took Jack a moment or two to realize that it was now completely quiet.
“It might be a trap,” he said cautiously.
“They’re only rats,” Carla repeated her words from earlier. She took her weight off the door then, standing up straight.
Warily, Jack did the same. His heart was thumping, as he prepared himself for the evil rodents to burst in and attack them. But they didn’t.
Carla was in the middle of the room now, on her way over to the doll’s house near the window. Maybe she was just acting, but it was like she wasn’t scared in the slightest. She sat down in front of the house, inspecting all the different rooms.
“Come here,” she said to Jack, without turning round.
Jack wasn’t keen to stay in the creepy bedroom, let alone start playing with the toys, but if Carla wasn’t scared then he had no reason to be either. He went over to join her.
“It’s a replica of the Old House,” said Carla. “There’s the ballroom,” she pointed to a big room with the same mosaic floors and mirrors. “And there’s the kitchen.”
There were tiny little plates on the table, bursting to the brim with food. There was even a miniature roast pig.
“No rats though,” said Jack.
But Carla didn’t hear him, she was preoccupied looking upstairs at the little girls bedroom. “It’s exactly the same,” she said.
All the furniture was white and in the same places, including the rocking horse and a tiny version of the doll’s house.
Carla gasped as the door opened and a little girl came into the miniature room, twirling round and round. She wore a white dress and had long blond hair, braided into two plaits. And she was distinctly transparent.
Jack quickly looked behind him into the room, but there was no one there. Back in the doll’s house the little girl smiled and waved at them, then sat on the rock horse.
Exactly at the same moment, the real rocking horse began creaking backwards and forwards.
Jack leapt up. “We really should go.”
“Wait,” said Carla, as the rocking horse stopped. She was still looking at the little girl. “She’s trying to tell me something.”
The girl was speaking, but her words made no sound. Then she drew an imaginary square shape in the air and pointed to her right.
“I don’t understand,” said Carla. “Please show me what you mean.”
The little girl twirled her way out of the bedroom and down the hallway to the right, past a master bedroom and to the end where there was a small study. Tiny books filled the shelves and there were overflowing stacks building up on the floor too. The girl went over to the table and pointed at one of the drawers.
“What’s in there?” asked Carl, but the girl was already twirling her way out the study and back down the hallway to her bedroom.
“She wants us to go to the study,” Carla told Jack.
“Where’s this Mr. Old though?” answered Jack. “Surely we can’t just go prying around without his permission.”
“She’s given us permission!” argued Carla. “She lives here too.”
Jack wasn’t sure if being a tiny ghost in a dolls house really qualified as ‘living there’ but he decided to keep that thought to himself.
“Thank you little girl,” Carla spoke softly. “It was nice to meet you.”
The little girl curtseyed and waved goodbye.
Carla was at the door now, and not wanting to be left behind, Jack quickly went after her.
Out down the hallway to the right, they went past one door which had to be the master bedroom. There was a large family portrait hanging on the wall.
“That’s the little girl,” Jack pointed to a blonde girl sitting on the floor in front of her Mum and Dad.
At the end of the corridor there was a closed door.
Jack knocked, all too aware that they hadn’t actually been invited at any point into the Big Old House.
“There’s no one in there,” said Carla. “You saw the doll’s house.”
“Yeah, but…” Jack started. He was going to say that that there was a little girl in the doll’s house and not in the real room, but then he remembered the rocking horse, moving all on its own.
Despite there being no answer, he knocked again. Carla’s expression was a little smug as she pushed the door open and went inside the room.
The study was exactly as it was in the doll’s house, except of course, bigger. Books were crammed onto shelves and were forming tall piles on the floor. A desk in the middle was also piled high with papers and books.
“It must be Mr. Old’s study,” said Carla. “I wish we could find him.”