The assignment for today’s Writing 101 course was to select a response to a comment made by a fellow blogger and to extend the original response into a much fuller post. It’s something I’ve felt rather shy of doing, for some reason I can’t define, so I’m glad to have been ‘pushed’ into it. The first task was to read through all the comments I’ve received since starting my blog in June, and the responses I gave to those comments, to try to identify something I could extend into something worth posting and which would, hopefully, generate conversations rather than short comments.
I came across a comment left by alilovesbooks from some time ago. Ali writes reviews about the books she has read, and had informed me about a book written by one of my favourite authors, Jodi Taylor but under another name, Isabella Barclay. I suddenly realised that I read voraciously but never comment on my reading on my blog, which is a bit odd considering that my own writing style (such as it is) has been influenced by the authors whose books I’ve been reading for the last 50 odd years! So – I’m going to start remedying that right now, starting with Jodi Taylor/Isabella Barclay. I can’t believe I started that last sentence with ‘so’ – it drives me mad when others start a sentence with ‘so’, so why did I do it? I’m not feeling well – have a bad head cold and feel ugh, also running a temperature. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
The many faces of life
This little musing/verse/piece of writing has, yet again, been inspired by one of Shafali’s pen and ink drawings. Please pop over and take a look at her artwork, so talented and I’m so envious of her talent and so pleased that she shares it with us 🙂
Who can say we are, each of us, single entities on this earth
Are we not all exposed to different experiences
Do we not tend to make sense of them differently at different times in our lives
Surely they then shape our thoughts and attitudes as we grow
Our experiences then must also shape our personalities as we age
As, surely, we all exhibit ‘good’ and ‘bad traits
But who is to say what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong
Only we ourselves can decide those questions to our own satisfaction
Do we not all hide something of ourselves from view
Are we not all presenting the illusion of the self we want the world to see
And, if that is true, does that make us bad or does it make us sensitive
For do we not want to protect those around us from our worst selves
A young girl at sixteen – fresh faced and innocent looking in her youth
May, at twenty seven, be hiding behind a mask of paints and powders to keep her young
For our society is critical of women’s ageing – we don’t feel secure in our growing maturity
Yet our experiences shape who we are and show on the faces we so assiduously hide
With age comes knowledge and knowledge is power
If I want to paint my face with paints and powders I will – if not, I won’t
I will be who I want to be each and every day that I live
For my life is constantly changing – and my life shows on my face
Another short story using Shafali’s beautiful pen and ink drawings as a prompt. Please visit her site to see her wonderful drawings.
Monday 11th May 2015
It was exactly one week since Jane Meadows had moved into the ground floor flat of a lovely old Victorian house, and six more days before she had to go back to work. During the past week she had steadily worked through the pile of packing boxes, which held all her earthly possessions, and found every item a place in her new home. It was time to tackle the garden, or forest as she termed it which, she had been delighted to learn, belonged to the downstairs flat – her flat. No-one else had access to it so it was hers to do with as she liked.
Stepping out of the French doors, which led from her sitting room to the outside world, she stood and surveyed the rest of her territory. The grass was at least three feet high in places whilst there was a massive laurel bush which had run rampant over the years and taken over most of the end of the garden. This would certainly have to come out as it blocked the light which, in turn, failed to reach the lovely sitting room. Jane had plans for her garden: a patio where she could sit of an evening sipping a glass of wine or two, a border round the edges of the garden, a small fish pond and eventually a summer house where she was planning to write her novel when the muse eventually spoke to her. But first she had to clear the site. Jane, not one for standing around looking at work which needed to be done, had already organised a team to help her. Her two brothers, Jeff and Kevin, were due to arrive in the next ten minutes and she’d decided that they could make a start on the laurel bush. Read more
This week’s Wednesday Writings has, again, been inspired by one of Shafali’s drawings. This week it’s a Mystery Chest, though it’s inspired me to open up the memory chest in my mind and delve in to see what treasures I could find there. Too many to write about, as it happens, so I’ve had to shorten it, edit it and keep it to my childhood years – so long ago now that I often forget the simple joys that being a child brought.
Please do pop over to Shafali’s blog to have a look at her beautiful artwork.
Making daisy chains on a warm bright day
Sitting down at my grandmother’s feet
The grass, spread around me like a sumptuous quilt
Studded with thousands of tiny flowers, so neat
A few paragraphs to introduce one of the main characters in my proposed novel. I’m playing around with dialogue, character building and background. Please don’t read it as anywhere near finished as it very definitely is not.
Evelyn Manners, aged 26, and 5′ 6″ tall with dark bobbed hair, straightened her already very straight pearls, checked her brooch was aligned in the perfect position, and set her hat ‘just so’ on her head. She twirled round in front of her dressing room mirror, pleased with the deep rich, almost midnight blue ensemble she was wearing. It certainly set off her slim figure, and she knew it. ‘Well Mary’, she said, turning to her maid, ‘I think I’m ready – what do you think? Perhaps another string of pearls’?