Discover Prompts Day 4: Street

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This prose poem is called ‘Halfway Down Our Street’. The start of each sentence starts with a letter from the title to spell out the name of the poem.

Home was in the middle of our street,

An equal distance to the shops or park.

Life for eight year old me began on

Friday night after school when I couldn’t wait to

Wake up with a fistful of pocket money

And run til I reached the comic store.

Yeah!!!!

Darkness seemed far away as

Once afternoon came I’d play in the park

With my friends at soccer or tennis or a

New crazy creation that passed for fun back then.

Out and about, exploring by the stream

Until we heard our parents call us to

Return home for our dinner.

Saturday night was alright: chips and the A-Team.

Then I’d ask politely to go outside and play again

Right up until the moon popped up

Ending another day of uninterrupted fun.

Eight o’clock was bedtime as I shuffled up the stairs

To read comic books and dream of tomorrow.

Discover Prompts: Day 3 – Song

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My love for music is lost in the nineties from the days of shoegazer and indie rock to Britpop.

It’s so easy for me to become lost in a haze of spangly or churning guitar, or dreamy keyboards that float over me.

Those memories draw me back to being in the sweaty back rooms of pubs or music venues where I’d either sway on the spot or jump about with my mates as the music demanded.

On Saturday mornings, the first thing I did was hop on my bike and pedal to the local music shop. Then, I’d rifle through the stacks of records looking for that rare gem. If the house was empty when I returned, I’d play my music the way it was intended: very, very loud!

My Back Garden Is The New Wilderness

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Hi Everybody,

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.

The Spring sunshine has been with us the last few days in Southeast England and the fine weather looks set to continue over the weekend. In regular times this would’ve meant that my hiking boots would’ve been on as the morning sun broke through the curtains and I’d have been straight out the door ready for a new adventure.

But these aren’t regular times as Covid-19 lurks about. The Government’s advice has permitted us Brits to pop out for exercise once a day. However, the advice increasingly points to us staying in more. Like a lot of people I know I’ve decided to not go out at all (apart from a supermarket run once a week). A lot of us are rightfully having to forego time out in the wilderness in order to stay safe.

I wrote a blog post a week or so ago about doing ten thousand steps at home. I’ve been trying to maintain that – some days are more successful than others – and looking to build on that in terms of ideas to motivate me. A quick bit of maths informed me that if I do 288 laps of my garden, then I’ll do those ten thousand steps. That seems monotonous, yet it’s also a challenge I’m prepared to undertake.

I’ve figured there are a few ways to mix it up. I’ll try it at different times of the day: the mornings are lighter now and it gets darker later in the evening. Maybe I could do a night time garden walk! Walking at different times will give me a chance to compare the sounds of nature through the day. Maybe I’ll put my hiking boots on and pack some food and drink to simulate a hike. Though I may receive a few random looks from neighbours, it’ll be worth it.

I think it’s important to make use of the space you’ve got at the moment. I guess up until now I just took my garden for granted; to me, it was just a green area that needed mowing every couple of weeks. Now, it has more meaning and value than I previously thought.

Others will live in apartments and may not have access to green spaces right now and may come up with even more imaginative ways to pass the time and gain fitness.

Wherever we live right now I think it’s more important than ever to appreciate the space we have. Then, whenever we can return to the outdoors, we should appreciate that with renewed vigour too.

Hope Is Important

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Hi, I’ve been inspired to write this poem because of the amazing efforts of people to reach out to others during this crazy time in the world. If you take the first letter from each line it spells out ‘Hope Is Important’. Thanks for reading.

Here we are, uncertain times,

Optimism hard to define.

Please stay at home, distance keep.

Extra care, yet lack of sleep.

Isolation, maybe self-imposed,

Seeing life as it slows.

It’s time to wake up, realise

Much love can come amid the cries.

Please reach out and offer support

Or stay at home – a battle fought

Right either way; make a change today

To combat this horrid virus

And leave stories to inspire us.

New Age for Humanity begun

Time to see we can be as one.

Stepping Over The Threshold

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Hi Everybody,

I hope you and your families are all keeping well.

A couple of days ago, the editor who is doing the developmental edit of my book emailed me back with all her suggestions. As yet, I’ve not looked at it as this feels like such a significant moment for me that I wanted to give it fresh attention at the weekend after the working week was complete.

I’m really excited because it’s a watershed time for me: I’m going to learn a lot about how to develop my writing style from here and this will shape my future. So, not only will I be using my editors suggestions to make my hiking story stronger; I’ll be absorbing all the info I can to help me structure and plot better, and to bring the characters to life.

I wanted to put this post up before I begin looking at the editing suggestions because it’s the start of the next leg of the journey. I know I’m going to be busier now, yet the old adage that when you do something you enjoy often it doesn’t seem like hard work is true.

In a near future post I’ll start to detail my journey into self-publishing more: what I’ve learnt, where I’m at and what resources and services I’m using. To me, the whole process is like designing my own study course whilst simultaneously developing myself as a writer.

It’s clear to me now that when I see checklists or watch advice videos on YouTube about self-publishing I know I’ve gone about matters in a semi-back-to-front way. Perseverance and determination will be key factors in smoothing that out. It’s so typical of me to turn off the main road and take all the back roads to hit the target. The important thing is that I reach the end and, ultimately, how the journey shapes me as a better self-published writer in the future.

Happy weekend, Everybody. I’ll look forward to reading posts from other WordPress users this weekend too.

10000 Steps A Day At Home

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Like an increasing number of people in the UK, I’m following the Government advice to stay at home during this sadly bleak time for the world. Like a lot of people I’m also trying to find ways of passing the time.

It’s been interesting to see videos on the news or YouTube of what other people are doing to fill the hours. With a total lockdown in the UK looking more imminent, the number of home exercise videos being submitted online offers one way to relieve boredom and keep fit.

I’m usually able to follow an exercise pattern in the winter months whilst the rest of the year is left for hiking. So, to be in a situation now where my territory is limited is a strange thing. Currently, the UK Government says that a daily trip outside for exercise is okay, but, as I said, I’m electing to keep trips beyond my gate to a rare minimum.

I could keep on following fitness videos to fill the gap. I can certainly amass a decent amount of exercise by spending time doing work in the garden. The thing is I’m missing clocking the miles in the countryside, though; walking in the wilderness is outright my favourite form of exercise.

And all this got me thinking.

What if I could bring the countryside to my own home by walking a few miles every day?

So, yesterday morning I woke up early and headed out into the back garden. I did umpteen laps doing my utmost to focus on the colours of the trees and plants, the chatter of the birds and the blue of the sky. It was easy to lose myself in the vibrations of nature and before I knew it I’d totalled nearly four thousand steps.

I had work commitments after that, and so I resumed my home trek in the evening. During another solid march in the garden I concocted an idea to take the hike inside once night fell. Indoors, I popped mountain walking videos on YouTube in an attempt to simulate a hike. Then, as I paced between the kitchen and the living room, I could dream of being in the fantastic landscapes on the screen.

Seven thousand steps….Eight thousand steps….I told myself to keep pushing on to ten thousand and eventually I made it. Sure, I’d built up a number of steps doing incidental tasks in the day and there were plenty of times during this ‘expedition’ that I wasn’t walking at regular my regular hiking speed indoors. However, a sense of elation poured through me when I’d achieved it.

I hope this is something that I can repeat every day. It’s given me another way to think about keeping in shape. Having a bit of variety with workout videos is a good thing.

It also surprises me how it’s taken me until now to see that I have a hiking trail right in my own home!

Back Again

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Hello

I hope you and your families are all well during these troubling times.

I’ve been off air for almost 5 years. I’ve long been thinking about resuming the website. The truth is that I’ve been so focused on writing my novel and my family responsibilities that I let the website slip. There’s no excuses really; even a few lines a couple of times a week would’ve been some kind of commitment. But, still, time has passed and I’m more wiser and committed in my writing endeavours these days.

Over the past few years I’d played around with the kind of book that I’d wanted to write. Short stories have always been my main medium and I’ve put together a good number to publish. Yet, in 2016 I became addicted to hiking with my friends. In the next two years we went on some amazing journeys around the UK. I began keeping a journal and by the time we completed Ben Nevis in 2018, I concluded that I had enough material to put a book together on our countryside adventures.

Certain factors impeded me, though, in completing my work: I’m terrible at following directions and even worse at becoming lost; plus, I’m terrified of heights whilst having a love of high up places. Such matters slowed my progress mightily and, at times, my work almost ground to a halt. However, much-needed wisdom came to me after some time and rather than see those above-mentioned concerns as blocks to completing my novel, I used them in my writing to fuel me onward to finally sending a completed manuscript to my developmental editor about three weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve been focusing on learning about self-publishing. I’ve read books and watched a fair number of YouTube videos on the subject. It’s like taking a university course again. I’d been so focused in getting my novel in for the developmental stage that I now see that I’ve neglected other areas that I should’ve tended to. I’m putting these down to rookie mistakes and over the coming weeks and months I’ll try and sharpen up.

Now, I’m armed with a self-publishing checklist and a backpack full of commitment to see everything through to completion. I hope to share my progress and insights of my journey to self-publishing here and to make connections with other avid writers and readers across the globe.

Again, I’m really sorry it’s taken me so long to post something up, but I’ll check in again real soon. And I can’t wait to check out other people’s posts.

Wishing you all peace and good health.

See ya soon 😊

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Daily Prompt: Kindness of Strangers: Space and Time

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Kindness of Strangers.”

It had been a stressful and testing day at work. The unbearable heat made it all the more insufferable. By the time I got home that evening, I was ready to flop on the sofa. I flicked mindlessly through the TV channels; I was so tired that I was as indifferent to a news story on a famine as I was to a cartoon.

I looked up to the ceiling, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened my eyes again I found myself floating upwards through the ceiling, through the roof, above the houses. I could see the streets and lights below getting smaller and smaller until….

I was rising through the clouds. I could see the outlines of continents, the movements of the oceans. Night turned to day and back again. It was clear to me that I wasn’t just floating upwards; it was as if I was being swept by the winds across the world. But I couldn’t feel the winds or the heat of the sun, or the rain or snow.

I was just there.

And soon, I found myself floating through the outer layers of the atmosphere until I was high above Earth in space itself. I could see our planet, suspended like a teardrop in the dark abyss. I looked around, spinning on the spot as if in a gyroscope. Stars and planets and galaxies and black holes and supernovas and nebulas whizzed around at unfathomable speed.

As I slowed I looked at the Earth again. I could see every person as if I was right next to them. I knew their thoughts, felt their breath, understood their hopes and fears. I came to understand why good and evil existed and the importance of hope. I saw there was a solution for everything, no matter how big or small a problem; at the same time, I witnessed how and why people in different corners of the globe make mistakes, but never truly learn.

I learnt a lot, I saw a lot, but then I forgot it all. As I came to, my mind ached, my mouth was bitter and dry. All in a moment I understood how, what, when and why; but, all in a moment, my new found knowledge and wisdom had dissipated into the depths of space.

I flicked off the TV and went to bed. I would wake the next morning only to make the same mistakes as today, not having learnt a thing.

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Daily Prompt: The Thread of Time

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”

I think a lot about what life will be like in the future: ten years, ten thousand years, ten million years – the near and far future are full of so many possibilities.

I’ve always been interested in history – right back deep to Neanderthals and before – but studying what the future may bring has only been a recent interest.

How will people be living ten thousand or ten million years from now? Will there be world peace? Will we have reached a higher state of consciousness as a species? Will we meet people from other worlds?

The Universe contains the past, present and future. Could there be planets out there that are younger than ours yet more advanced?

These are some of the things that blow my mind. The thread of Time runs constant through it all.

Together

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You taught me to see how it could happen

The truth only you did see.

And when we join our hearts and minds together

We know we can be free

But the day-to-day takes over and

We run around in despair.

One step into the beyond, though,

And we know we could be there.

These shackles of responsibility may chain us

To these uncertain times.

Step back, take my hand, move forward –

It’s all going to be just fine.