Tag Archives: Writing

Hello again

Well, my goodness. It’s been months since I wrote anything here. Just have been finishing up my book on Grief and Loss. It seemed that each time I was happy with what I had written, I found more to write about. Anyway, I have put THE END in my mind.

So back to blogs.

Way back in October 2014, I was living with The Architect (A huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan) and I was involved in the Writing 101 Challenge. On October 2 the challenge was: –

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there. 

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.  Click here to read my response to this challenge.

Loving Frank I opened the book on page 29 and the word Stetson jumped out at me.

After re-reading the post, I thought I would continue with the correspondence between Ezekial Butler and Frank Lloyd Wright. So…

Dear Mr Lloyd Wright,

I received your response to my letter and must say I am surprised at your attitude. My intention in writing to you was to show my concern as to what you and Mrs Cheney are currently involved in. This ignoring of the rules of our society can only bring you much unhappiness: Not to say, what the lifelong effects will be on Mrs Cheney’s children. 

My concern is for your spiritual wellness and that of Mrs Cheney. Please be aware that you are involving not only you two but both families as well. I implore you to desist in cohabitating and send Mrs Cheney back where she belongs.

Yours faithfully,
Ezekial Butler.

 

Dear Mr Butler,

I was amazed and deeply offended on receiving your letter.  I strongly object to your deciding that you have the right to correspond with me on this subject.

Nothing has changed since our last exchange of letters. Mrs Cheney still lives here with me and will continue to do so for as long as we both deem fit. Do not write to me again on this subject.

Yours faithfully,
Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Having read more of the books about Lloyd Wright, I am sure he would be offended and from what I have read, would put this Ezekial Butler firmly in his place.   I wonder what happens next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Diary

100-word-challenge

This week’s 100-word Challenge is to use the word RECORD
in a story of 100 words.  And as Tara Says “No more, no less”.
If you want to tag along and get involved,
visit Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook 

Tara Says:

Using “record” for inspiration, write 100 Words – 100 exactly – no more, no less. You can either use the word – or any form of the word – as one of your 100, or it can be implied. Include a link in your post back here, and add your story to the Mister Linky list. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave your submission in the comment section, or as a Facebook status post. Remember to keep spreading the love with supportive comments for your fellow Wordsters.

Now here’s my effort.

She hasn’t kept a diary since leaving school many years ago, but now her life is so exciting, different and challenging that she thinks she will record everything so that when he leaves her, as no doubt he will, she will have these memories to look back on.

But as she writes in her diary day after day she begins to think that maybe this time will be different.  Maybe he won’t leave her as the others have.  But so taken is she with these thoughts she fails to notice when he becomes less attentive and yes, he leaves her.

Just the way it is

summer

 

Well, that certainly sums up Summer in Wellington this year.  It has been cold, wet and windy for many days and the number of summer days can be counted on my fingers.  The forecast is no better and gale force winds are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday in Wellington.

How very different to last year. Then we had day after day of warm, sunny weather and I wrote about lunches in 3 different places with three different pools.  Well the pools are still there of course, and lunch is still on but unfortunately this year they have all been inside.

So I have had time to read more books and drink more tea.

Then today I thought again of the resolution I make around this time of the year.  For the last 4 years, my only resolution has been to get back to writing blog posts daily.  I’ve set the goal, have the best of intentions and then something/anything gets in the way.  So this year I haven’t made that resolution and it’s just as well because we are now at the 15th day of this New Year and I have managed to write two posts and now this one makes three.

Well anyway.  having started to write this post this morning, I then left it to continue my sorting out and clearing extraneous belongings; then it was lunch time and I thought after all that effort and energy I deserved a treat.  So I opened my book “The Lollipop Shoes” by Joanne Harris.  Well, it’s not really my book,  I belong to a book club where we share books with each other and this one belongs to another member. It’s a great way to read books you have been meaning to, and you don’t have to buy them or reserve them at the library.  You keep them for as long as you need. In fact, I’ve had these books since November.  After my latest Adventure with the chair and the rug, I wasn’t able to go to the December meeting so I’ll return the books in February.

After a couple of hours, I went back to decluttering.  I’m really feeling very pleased with myself at how well I’m doing (with a  little help from Grandson No 4 who has helped move things up onto the high shelves).   I have to have the occasional stop for tea and to rest my right arm and shoulder, and that’s an excuse I won’t be able to use for much longer.  The six weeks is up in 10 days time.  And then I shall be able to drive again.  Hoorah!

So my resolve, which I’m keeping secret this year, is to get back to writing and to posting a blog daily.  And as we say Watch this Space.

And from Bridget Jones’ Diary –

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds. Number two:
Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket.
Equally important will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue
to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobic’s, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits or perverts. And especially will not fantasise about a particular person who embodies all these things”

Movie going

“Fiction writers, magicians, politicians and priests
are the only people rewarded for entertaining us with their lies”
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

I was at a total loss what to write about today.  Then I opened Judy Reeves Prompts and Practices and what jumped out at me? “You’re in a movie theatre”

Well quite coincidentally, I was in a movie theatre on Friday with a friend.  I haven’t been to a movie for months, in fact, since before my latest adventure.  I have read the Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, the UK edition.  My friend hadn’t read the book and so we decided to go to the movies.

We are so lucky here in Wellington.  We have 4 Bijoux movie cinemas, three of which belong to a chain and one that is independent of the others.  We chose to go to our favourite, one of the chain.

We arrived in time to sit and have a cup of tea and a bit of a chat; then we were called into the theatre, the movie was about to start.  These are small theatres seating 100 people at the most. If you have a glass of wine (or in our case tea)or food before the movie starts, you are permitted to take these in with you.  Certainly not something that the big National chains would ever allow.

So we went into the theatre.  The lights were still up as we made our way to our seats.  There were probably only half a dozen others in the theatre and so everybody had room to stretch out.

I enjoyed the movie after I got over the fact that the story was now set in the US and not in and around London as in the book I had read.  It took some time for me to get over the difference in the houses displayed to the houses imagined by me.

Emily Blunt as Rachel was all and more of what I imagined her to be.  She’s an unemployed, alcoholic, divorcee.  Well,that’s enough to make one turn to drink anyway.  She doesn’t tell her flatmate that she has lost her job because of the alcoholism.  Her ex-husband also blames her for his losing his job even though he now seems to have got over it or at least, has found another job.

From the train window,  Rachel watches the inhabitants of the houses in the street where she used to live. One day she sees something that sets her on a trip to places that she doesn’t want to go, or perhaps she does.

In the unlikely event that you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to do so and also encourage you to see the movie.

And in my least pleasant personna – I’m totally envious of
Paula Hawkins and her abilities.
How I wish I could write such a book.

And now as the south wind is blowing very strongly, I think the rest of the day will be spent inside.

I have been honoured by being sent the manuscript of a new Fitzjohn mystery from Jill Paterson.  Poisoned Palette is the title and if her other books are anything to go by, this will be another good read.  By the way, Jill is a friend and it is as a friend that I am reading and commenting on the manuscript.

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I'm not impinging on anyone copyright.

I found this on Pinterest. I hope I’m not impinging on anyone copyright.

Celebrating

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

We all love celebrating our friends and acquaintances achievements.

Some of you may know that I designed/wrote and ran a course on saving your memories.   It was not like writing your life story .  Rather  this was a course over 6 weeks that encouraged the participants to write one memory each week, to be read out to the others the following week if one wanted to.

These were always very personal memories being shared amongst us, but right at the start the number one rule was

“We will cultivate a safe environment in which to share our stories. We will be nonjudgmental and attentive to the needs of others in the group.

Sometimes memories will cause tears to be shed.  If the environment is safe and nonjudgmental the tears will be accepted without embarrassment.

Accept also that there will be lots of laughter.”

And there was much laughter, a few tears and some memories that were being expressed to others for the first time.

From time to time I have received communication from some of the participants but not for several years.  Imagine my delight on opening my emails today to find one that read:

“Hi Judith.  It all started with you, your lounge in 2009.
I’ve finished my book started with a story prepared under your guidance
Will you be coming to the launch party?”

What excitement! I immediately replied when and where is the launch to be held?  I’ll be there.

As I understand it this is a book based on Brian’s experiences having been born in London in 1938 (exactly like me).  His was a very different story to mine and he introduces the book thus:

“As long as I ever knew my mother, she was either amused or angry
with the voices which plagued her, an experience which provided the
spur for an extraordinary lifetime adventure.”

So I’m sharing y excitement with all and sundry.  I know that many who are battling with their own book will want to join me in celebrating Brian’s achievement .  And me?  I’m looking forward to December 8 when I can reconnect with this strong man and get to know him through his bookClapping hands

And my next reason for cheers is that my list of followers has now passed 900.  Way back in 2011 when I started this adventure in the blogosphere I wondered if anyone would read my posts.  Well, now I know that they do.

Thank you to all of you who have faithfully followed me for a while and thanks to the new followers. If I haven’t already sent you a comment of thanks, I shall do so very shortly.

Applause

Promises Made

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, ”
From Stopping by the Woods on a
Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.

 

Do you find that occasionally (I do hope it’s occasionally) that you make promises then some time later remember that you haven’t made good on the promise?

 Looking through Prompts and Practices in Judy Reeves’ A Creative Writer’s Kit I came across the prompt “Write about Promises made”

 Well, the promises I have made to my friends in the blogosphere that certain of the fiction stories I had written, would be continued.  Woe is me!  Life got in the way, more particularly my latest adventure, that these promises were never fulfilled. 

 There are several that I could continue and I need to decide on which one

 “The effrontery of the man quite took away Maisie’s breath.  How was she going to deal with him and the fall out if his claims became known in Society?  She would need some time to think and plan; perhaps consult Reggie; certainly consult Sir Charles (Juliet’s brother) and his friend Sir Hector Ryder, Head of the Metropolitan Police and maybe even  the ailing Earl.

But time was certainly needed.  She would put this scoundrel off for a couple of days to give Sir Charles and Sir Hector time to delve more deeply into this man’s past, although the thought of bringing the fellow’s claims to their attention horrified her.

“Well obviously I shall need some time to consider what you have told me this afternoon,” she said. “And equally obviously I shall need to see the so-called proof of the relationship between you and my husband.  So I suggest that you leave now and come back again in two days time, with some proof of your claim at which time I shall have an answer for you.”

With that, the swarthy gentleman picked up his Panama hat, gave each of the ladies a broad smile, thanked the Countess and took his leave.

A shocked silence remained in the drawing room after his departure.”

  • Then there was Sarah of Here and Now. You may recall that she met a man in a bar with whom she had drinks and then suddenly found herself a prisoner in a dark room. 

When we left her, she had been to the police station and made her report:

The policewoman then excused herself from the room returning shortly with an older man whom she introduced as Detective Brian McLeod. The Detective asked Sarah to repeat her story and at the end of it sat for a few minutes looking very thoughtful.

 He then said, “As the Sergeant has already told you, it is most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But if you’re determined then so be it. But I must ask you to give the Sergeant the names of the three people involved.

 “We will have to interview them, probably at their house rather than at the police station, but if you are sure that you don’t want them charged we will issue them with a warning. Are you OK with that?”

 Sarah was relieved that the Websters would not be charged and so she gave their names to the Sergeant who promised to keep in touch to let Sarah know when they had been interviewed.

 So feeling much better Sarah and her friends left the police station and found their way to a local bar where they all had a well-deserved drink

  •  And what of Sandy and the woman claiming to be her daughter?.When we left her both women were pleased with the way the meeting had gone. 

“Barbara because she had now eased her conscience somewhat.  She knew she had to thank Sandy for her kindness and understanding and decided she would take a bunch of flowers with her the next time they met.  A small gesture but it all helped with her conscience.

And Sandy?  She was pleased because she had found that this was a decent young woman who had made a ghastly error of judgment and while Barbara would have to live with the outcome of that, Sandy decided that she could forgive her.  And besides, she had learned much about her daughter that afternoon.

As soon as she arrived home she called both Greg and Cathy and invited them to come round.  Of course, they were both eager to hear how the meeting had gone.  So, tea served Sandy told them about the meeting.  How they had discussed her daughter and how she was convinced that Barbara was a young, somewhat confused young woman who had acted first and thought about the consequences later.  She told them that she planned to see Barbara again and that even if though they would never be friends, she would like to get to know her more.

“Oh I’m so glad that it worked out well, and so happy you found out some things about your daughter,” said Cathy.  “Yes, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with her.”

               ******************* 

So which one shall I continue with?.  All three have been buzzing around in my mind over the past months.  Some notes have been made and I think it’s now time to move on with them.  There are also several one-off posts that I should like to pursue.

Decision time.

g-t-and-dog

No G & T but another cup of tea and decision is made.  Paris from Harney &Sons is this afternoon’s choice. If you’re a tea drinker and you haven’t already, I suggest you try it.

So I think it will be Maisie and her cohorts.  So please watch this space.

 

“Just living is not enough,
One must have sunshine,  freedom,
and a little flower”
Hans Christian Anderson 

 

Here and Now – Chapter 6

First, apologies for the long delay in getting this chapter out.  The story has been buzzing around in my head but only today has it crystallised.  I hope you think the wait was worth it.

 

 

 

 

Sarah turned as the door firmly closed behind her. Was this nightmare over? Was she really free?

She looked right and left and could see nobody moving about. The streetlights had just come on and she looked around for a street sign so that she could have an indication of where she was.   She saw a street sign, Kingsland Road, E8. She had been there before to the famous Faulkners Fish Restaurant so she knew where she was. She hailed a passing taxi to take her home.

Arriving home she knew she would have to talk to her neighbour Lisa who probably would have been wondering where she was and who no doubt, had been caring for the dogs. But first she wanted to go inside and take a shower. She felt dirty from the place in which she had been kept for the past few days.

As soon as she put the key in the door the dogs started yelping and barking which in turn brought Lisa to her door. She ran to Sarah and gave her a hug. She was so pleased to see her. Sarah explained that she just had to have a shower after the past few days and promised to come up to Lisa’s as soon as she had done so.

 While in the shower Sarah thought over the past few days and how she was going to tell her neighbour what had happened. She decided that only the truth would do. So showered and changed, having petted and fed the dogs, she took herself off to Lisa’s flat.

 And while Sarah showered Lisa had called Tom who hurried over to see his sister.

 Sarah heard from Lisa how worried she had been. How she had enlisted the help of Tom and how together they had gone to report her as a missing person at the local police station.

 Then Sarah told them what had happened, the meeting with Alex Wishart, the detention in the basement of a house in the East End and how she learned that she had been instrumental in a young woman committing suicide. She was still trying to come to grips with this information as both Lisa and Tom peppered her with questions, some of which she couldn’t answer.

 They agreed that they needed to tell the Police that she had come home, safe and well. But she didn’t want the Websters to get into trouble. They had suffered enough because of her thoughtlessness and she wondered aloud whether she would have to tell the Police who they were. None of them knew whether these people would be charged with unlawful detention but they all agreed that the Police Station was the next stop.

 Arriving at the local Police Station they asked for Sergeant Jane Palmer and were relieved when she came into the reception area. Taking in the fact that there was now another woman with them, she ushered them into an interview room.

 They quickly got down to the purpose of their visit. Tom introduced his sister to the policewoman who commented that she was pleased to see her safe and sound.

 “But where were you?” she asked Sarah. “Did you take a few days off without telling anyone because let me tell you we were all very worried about you.?”

 ‘Before I get into that” Sarah replied, “I have to know whether I have to make a complaint against the people who held me. As you can see, I’m unharmed and they really wanted me to know something that happened in their family which was partly my fault.”

 “Well, it’s most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But tell me what happened and then we can see where to go from there”

 Sarah then related the facts.   How she had been sitting in the bar on Friday night, how she met a man and they had a drink and then dinner together. She told the policewoman how she had woken up in a basement tied to a bed. She recounted her fears while lying there wondering just who the man was and why he had drugged and kidnapped her.

 Neither the policewoman, Tom nor Lisa interrupted this flow, although all were equally horrified.

 Then Sarah came to the part about escape and how Alex/Ronnie had engineered this. And then she told of her confrontation with his parents and the fact that she had been instrumental in their daughter’s death. She told them how she had then been allowed to leave, how she found herself on the other side of London and took a cab home.

 There was absolute silence in the room at the end of this dissertation. Nobody spoke for several minutes trying to assimilate what they had heard and trying to imagine the terror Sarah had endured.

 “So can you tell me the names of these people Sarah?” asked the policewoman.

 “I can, but I don’t want them charged with any crime. I think they have suffered enough because of me. I don’t want to add to that suffering.” She replied.

 The policewoman then excused herself from the room returning shortly with an older man whom she introduced as Detective Brian McLeod. The Detective asked Sarah to repeat her story and at the end of it sat for a few minutes looking very thoughtful.

 He then said, “As the Sergeant has already told you, it is most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But if you’re determined then so be it. But I must ask you to give the Sergeant the names of the three people involved.

 “We will have to interview them, probably at their house rather than at the police station, but if you are sure that you don’t want them charged we will issue them with a warning. Are you OK with that?”

 Sarah was relieved that the Websters would not be charged and so she gave their names to the Sergeant who promised to keep in touch to let Sarah know when they had been interviewed.

 So feeling much better Sarah and her friends left the police station and found their way to a local bar where they all had a well deserved drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions Made

“Life is what we make it,
always has been,

always will be.”
Grandma Moses

The email elicited an immediate response.  The woman whose name was Barbara sent details of her birth date and her adoptive parents.  She knew that she had been born to an unmarried mother and thought that was in a home caring for pregnant girls.  But she didn’t know exactly where this home was.  She also attached several photographs one of her as a toddler in the arms of a man with a woman looking on with a loving smile.  A really happy family snapshot.  Another showed her as a teenager and the third showed her as a young woman in her early twenties, with a serious look in her eye.  Sandy could see no resemblance to herself but then as she had no idea who the father of this child was maybe the resemblance was more towards him.

She printed out the email and hurried round to share the news with Cathy at the Resource Centre.  Cathy was delighted to see her and to know how swiftly Barbara had responded.  They talked about how to proceed from here.  It was decided that Sandy and Cathy would meet Barbara at a local coffee shop rather than at Sandy’s house.  They thought it better to meet on neutral grounds in case things did not go well.  It was further decided that Sandy should go home, write an email suggesting they meet at the weekend in the coffee shop at the local mall.  After all she didn’t know where Barbara was living, if she worked through the week or even if she had some other responsibilities.  Really she knew so little about the girl.

So another email was sent setting a time and place and even though Sandy now had a photograph she was concerned she wouldn’t recognise the young woman.  A suggestion was made that she carry a certain magazine under her arm as she entered the cafe.  Very cloak and dagger; almost like a thriller.

Another email received accepting the arrangement and concluding with the sentence that she, Barbara, was looking forward to meeting Sandy on the following Saturday.  Sandy advised Cathy of the arrangement and then settled down with her thoughts of what she might have set in train.

If this person were her daughter then she would have to advise her son of her existence and some of her close friends would also need to know, but she could leave all that until she was convinced that Barbara was indeed her long lost daughter.

Saturday loomed large in her thoughts over the next few days – far off but also very  close.  Sandy wasn’t sure how she would feel when she met Barbara and how she would cope if it turned out that this was her daughter. And what if it wasn’t?  Would she have raked up her past for nothing.  But whatever came of it, she now had a new very real friend in Cathy.  A friend in whom she could confide.  She made another decision that whatever the outcome of Saturday’s meeting was, she would offer to volunteer at the Centre.  She had the time and the energy; surely Cathy could find something useful for her to do.

 

It Has Arrived

 

“There   are three rules for writing a novel. Unfotunately.  nobody knows what they are. W Somerset Maugham  “

The long awaited day is here. The fiction writing course starts today and lasts for eight weeks. Pencils sharpened, new notebooks ready, mind cleared of extraneous matter and ready to go.  Well I think my study buddies, Chris, Donna and Joss will be at that stage, me? I’m still swanning around in Tauranga. The weather has turned and the rain has been falling on and off all day.  The farmers will be pleased but not so the holidaymakers or the 1800 passengers off the Sea Princess that docked here this morning. How sad that they’ve missed the good days, but I’m sure the retailers are making them welcome.

So tomorrow I shall leave my friends and make the six hour drive home. It’s strange how we begin to look forward to going to our own home when we have been away for a while. And my little bolt hole is becoming more like home.

So then I shall read all the information on the course that I received today and the next day I shall get into the course – pencils sharpened, new notebook ready, mind cleared of extraneous clutter (wishful thinking?) and ready to go.

image

 

Back to School

Have you heard?  Several weeks ago following a rush of blood to the head I signed up to a course to improve my fiction (and any other) writing skills. And then I convinced Chris in Kitchener Ontario to join and she in turn convinced Donna, who seems to live sometimes in Mexico and sometimes in Canada. Well it seemed like a great idea at the time.

But now the countdown is on the course begins on Monday and it’s so long since I studied anything seriously.  So things could get a little hairy over the next few weeks. I don’t quite know what to expect but it will no doubt be a great learning experience.

Meantime, I am still swanning around on my extended holiday in Tauranga where the lovely weather continues and I am thankful that I live in this bountiful land.  We are far from the strife raging around the world but I hope we are not lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.  Terror and terrorists can strike at any time as we read and hear in the media. We must be vigilant even in our little corner of the world.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  Benjamin Franklin