In a World of a Million Causes

I don’t post much political/social content on social media. I post jokes, clips of my life, photos of pretty scenery, selfies, writing news, and whatever else I think will entertain or interest my friends. If they make even one person smile, I’m happy. However, it weighs on me that I rarely post about more controversial topics. I want to attempt to articulate why that is.

I’m scared of confrontation; I’m scared to voice an ‘opinion’ when I’m not an expert on *insert issue here*; I’m scared of putting forward a misguided simplification of a complex matter; I’m scared to stir up arguments with anyone who wouldn’t change their viewpoint when faced with new information; and I’m scared to write anything that I couldn’t stand by 100%.

I also struggle to know which of the Continue reading

Writing Musings and News-ings

18.6.20 Thursday

It’s been a strange time for my writing. Strange in that I’ve hardly done any! I was prepared for a dip in energy and creativity after submitting my MA dissertation, but the extent of it has taken me by surprise. I haven’t written any fiction in four weeks.

The ‘current situation’ does no one any favours. It’s difficult to recharge when your movements are limited. I would normally spend time visiting friends or have some adventures. I should be in Cornwall now. I feel as if my wings have been clipped (as I’m sure we all do), even though I’m completely aware that I have the privilege of being safe and well. I was very down for a couple of weeks.

I’ve had a lot of writing rejections recently. They Continue reading

The Journey of a Story

Four years ago, I had a story idea, and then last year, BAM, it wrote itself! Yes, that’s a lot of brewing time…

It was inspired by a comment from my Creative Writing tutor about his name, Wayne. Eventually, this idea created a ‘spark’ with another idea – someone I noticed in our local skate park. I wrote it for an OU assignment. It needed unusually little editing. I showed it to Mum, having lost trust in my own judgement, and she was shocked when she couldn’t find much wrong with it either. We both wondered if that meant it was too ‘basic’ for MA level. It didn’t help when a fellow-student described the story as ‘good, but a bit lightweight?’ – a comment that has become a bit of an inside joke. (It’s all a question of taste. ‘Wayne’s Name’ is no action thriller, that’s for sure!)

The best stories don’t always Continue reading

Inspired by Those Horse Stories

When I was little and attempting to write something, gazing thoughtfully at a notebook, Grandma asked where I get my ideas from. I replied, ‘From books.’

She laughed.

Yeah…that wasn’t the right response, apparently! I hadn’t communicated effectively. She thought I meant specific ideas; I meant inspiration.

Books inspire me. Stories inspire me – prose, plays, films, verbal storytelling etc. All of it.

At the time when Grandma asked me that question, I was working my way through a box of books leant to me by a family friend – all stories about horses. I devoured them. I was obsessed with the idea of horses generally, even though I had never ridden one and tended to be too scared to even Continue reading

Grandma’s Hairdryer

My Grandma died last autumn, before all this. It’s strange how we can say that, isn’t it? Before All This. Everyone knows what we’re talking about…

So, before all this, my Grandma died. I inherited her hairdryer, for the simple reason that I didn’t own one. (Yes, I know – super low-maintenance in the hair department! A great trait During All This.)

The hairdryer has been sitting on the carpet, unused, by my ‘work area’ for…umm…yeah…too long. I used Mum’s instead, while Grandma’s – I mean, mine – collected dust – literal and metaphorical – because I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.

I’ve tried not to Continue reading

A Star Pupil of the Isolation Age

I stand in the kitchen making a salad. Glancing out of the window, I see a man walking past. His walk speaks to me. It speaks loudly and clearly.

‘Hello, it says. I am a man who is walking down the road. I’m walking down the road in a ceremonial fashion because it has become deeply significant of late. There is something I must make clear: It’s my first walk of the day. And you know what? It’s my ONLY walk of the day. I hope my serious expression is enough to Continue reading

Socially Distant Runners

Yesterday, Mum and I took our precious daily walk along a main road with beautiful mountain views. We kept a careful look-out. The social-distancing (physical-distancing) thing is strange; it feels odd to deliberately avoid people, even for an introvert like me! It’s better to be safe than sorry though.

As we were walking, a young couple came up behind us. We stepped through an open gateway into a field to let them pass and then crossed the road to avoid an oncoming pedestrian. The woman had to pull her dog and pram onto the sloping verge because the young couple didn’t move out of the way, despite having an empty road to their right! They stayed side by side, dawdling, and didn’t seem to acknowledge her in any way. She Continue reading

When an Old Lady Hits Her Head

A couple of weeks ago, I arrived at my local café to do some writing. One of the old lady regulars – let’s call her Mary – was sprawled out across the pavement. She had tripped as she walked out and hit her head. She was surrounded by café regulars, staff, and a couple of passers-by. The café chef put his hand out, preventing me from treading in the blood on the floor – always looks worse than it is with head cuts!

They helped Mary up and sat her down in the café. One of the passers-by was trained in First Aid and knew exactly what to do, the questions to ask, the tone to take, and the front-of-house lady rallied everyone with calmness and humour.

I put my bag down at the back of the café, and then hovered around, in case I could help in any way. When I Continue reading

Adding my Thoughts to the Virus Fray!

I wasn’t going to share anything publicly about…we all know what! I’m more of an introspective writer, not often commenting on wider issues such as politics and, well, pandemics. It’s not because I don’t care – I write about them privately – but more because I don’t know. I read all sorts of articles, see conflicting views from experts, and non-experts like me, and don’t feel in all conscience that I can share anything. Why should I throw my ‘opinion’ into the mix? This jumble of words started to flow this morning though.

Coronavirus responses from the general public: Isn’t there a middle ground between panic and apathy? Unfortunately, panic and apathy shout the loudest, throwing people from one extreme to the other. News and social media love extremes – extremes get clicks. I suspect the ‘truth’ is somewhere in between, and that’s not me hedging my bets and sitting on the fence (*cringes at the two overused expressions*).

Many of the extreme views come from only looking at Continue reading

Short Story: The Five-Metre Marathon

I need a cup of tea more than I’ve needed anything in my whole life.

My husband Roger likes to berate me, saying I exaggerate every single time I open my mouth. That’s his little attempt at humour. The emergency beeper hangs from my neck and I hold it loosely between finger and thumb, willing my grip to tighten – by mistake, of course. I imagine the look on my carer’s face if she were to be called back so soon – I forget this one’s name. It’ll come to me.

Sandra, she would say, a hankering for a cup of tea does not constitute an emergency, sorry. And then Roger would give me a stronger shove towards the appropriate action. You’ll just have to take the long journey to the kitchen by yourself, he would say, while you’ve still got legs and half a brain.

Very well, I shall.

This will teach me not to Continue reading