Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Puppy Love

Melody was a very clever little witch, but even clever little witches must obey their parents and respect their wishes.

There was something Melody wanted more than anything else in the world: a puppy of her own. Every birthday, every Christmas, it was the first thing on her list. But she always got the same answer.

‘You know you can’t have a dog, Melody. Mum is allergic to all kinds of furry animals.’

Her Mum felt guilty, so she always offered her extravagant presents instead.

‘Wouldn’t you like a star to light your bedroom?’

‘No, Mum. I like my Cinderella lamp.’

‘How about a portable greenhouse for your rucksack?’

Melody loved plants and spent hours in the garden growing flowers and vegetables.

‘No, Mum. That’s a bit extreme. Thanks.’

Time went past and Melody was almost happy, but whenever she saw somebody walking a dog in the street, she got a pang of jealousy. How she wished she could have her own pet to love!

One Friday, when she was coming from school, slowly dragging her feet because her English teacher had given her a C and she was used to getting only As, she saw something brown moving behind a bush.

She stopped to look at it and noticed it was a tiny puppy.

‘Hi, sweetie,’ she said. ‘Are you all alone?’

The puppy, obviously, didn’t answer. Believe me when I tell you that people who say witches can talk to animals are lying. How do I know? Because I’m a witch myself, that’s why. 

Melody picked him up and saw that he didn’t have a collar.

‘Poor little thing! You must be so cold… And hungry.’

The little witch didn’t think of the consequences. She just decided to take the puppy home and hide him in her room.

Before she opened the door, she put him in her rucksack and hoped her parents wouldn’t notice.

‘Now, please, don’t move or bark, little one.’

Once in her room, she took him out and looked at him closely. He had shiny black eyes and an adorable wet nose.

‘I know what I’m going to call you. Rusty. Do you like it?’

The little dog licked her hand and Melody assumed that meant he was happy with his name.

At dinner time, Melody ate quickly and looked at her watch constantly. She just wanted to go back upstairs to be with her puppy.

When they were eating their soup, her mum started to sneeze.

‘Are you okay, Lisa?’ Melody’s father, Robert, asked.

‘It’s just my allergies, don’t worry.’

After a while, however, she got worse and had to stop eating.

Melody didn’t know what to do.

‘It’s my fault, Mummy,’ she said in the end. ‘I found this puppy when I was coming from school and…’

‘Don’t tell me there’s a dog in the house!’ her father said.

‘Yes, but he’s only tiny. He was all alone and…’

‘I don’t care. I want to see him now. Where is he?’

The whole family went up the stairs and into Melody’s room.

Rusty was sitting on the bed and started wagging his tail when they came in.

‘Oh! He’s so adorable!’ Lisa said. ‘Achoo!’

‘I’m sorry, Mummy. But I think I know what we can do. Linda has told me just today that there’s a solution. You could take antihistamines.’

Linda was Melody’s best friend and she was a human.


‘Antihistamines. They stop you from sneezing.’

That very evening, Lisa went to the doctor’s and asked for a prescription and Melody got to keep her puppy.

Which means this story has a happy ending for everybody involved.

Ten years have passed and Melody and Rusty are still together. How do I know? What if I tell you that even though I’ve been telling you this story in the third person, I’m Melody myself? You don’t believe me? Well, you should….

And one more thing, you should know that even though witches are very powerful creatures, they don’t know much about human medicines.

Diamond In The Sky

Shines above,
Listens to our wishes.
I want to catch this shiny diamond,
But my net is too small.
I let go.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ivory Tower

I stare at my screen and it stares back at me.

‘I’m stronger than you,’ I say. ‘And smarter.’

It doesn’t answer back, but its insolent stance speaks volumes.

‘Don’t you dare pollute me with your stupid words. Don’t mark me with the ink of your stories.’

I’m a woman on a mission and I ignore it. As soon as I start writing I’ll be saved.

That’s how everything begins. One black letter followed by another one. A word. A whole line. A paragraph. 

I never plan. I’m a write-as-you-go kind of person. I capture an idea and start pulling. The thread unfolds and the characters speak. And then, I’m nobody because they have a life of their own and I just watch them from a distance. I might be, at most, the hidden puppet master. I just hold the strings, though. I don’t decide where they go or what they do.

Writing is as necessary to me as eating or drinking. I give my characters life, but they give me so much more. 

Being able to create other lives and other universes is a superpower. It’s like being able to model gold or paint stars. It’s like flying to the moon.

However, being a writer can be painful too. The creative mind is a prison at times. There’s writer’s block and there’s 
the danger of becoming a prisoner of one’s imagination.  As Agatha Christie said, ‘Imagination is a good servant and a bad master.’

When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what to write. At other times, I read and then I fill the rest of my time with life.

There are two types of writers. Those who live in the world and those who live in their own heads.

The first type interact with their fellow men and watch them act. They notice everything they see and use it in their books. They wear T-shirts that say ‘Be nice to me, I’m a writer.’

The others are absent-minded dreamers that live in ivory towers and rely on their fantasies as sources for their creations. I belong to this second group.

My screen is teasing me again. I’ve just reread my words and I’ve seen it laughing at me.

‘Stop trying to make yourself sound important. You’re just an average busybody. You’ve never been good at philosophy. Will you just drop the act?’

I guess I’ll listen to it because it’s time for bed. But I’ll be back tomorrow. Another story is waiting. Another adventure. I have new characters to meet. New places to visit.

Hum, Hummingbird.

Flower fairy, sing a soulful song
While the evil elf plays a glorious grey gong.
Wind, whistle and always stay strong
While the bees buzz, fly and dance all day long.
Hummingbird, hum. Right a wrong
While banshees bewitch and hiss ding dong.
Swan song in the lake will pain prolong.

The Alliterisen (Complex and Rhyming), a form created by Udit Bhatia, is a simple seven-lined poem with a specific syllable pattern and two alliterations per line. For example: Glorious Graves, and wonderful waves. Alliteration is the succession of similar consonant sounds. They are not recognized by spelling, but rather by sounds. The syllable structure for the Complex Alliterisen is as follows: 

1st line- x syllables 
2nd line- x+2 syllables 
3rd line- x-1 syllables 
4th line- (x+2)-1 syllables 
5th line- x-2 syllables 
6th line- (x+2)-2 syllables 
7th line- x syllables 

which allows for infinite syllable sequences. Listed below are examples of some easy syllable sequences. 

I used this sequence. For more sequences, 

1st line- 9 syllables 
2nd line- 11 syllables 
3rd line- 8 syllables 
4th line- 10 syllables 
5th line- 7 syllables 
6th line- 9 syllables 

7th line- 9 syllables) 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monsters don't live under your bed, they live inside your head. What depression feels like.

This thing is stronger than me. I try to fight it off, but it grabs me by the throat and pushes me against the wall.

Now I’m sitting on the ground and I can hardly breathe. I close my eyes to recover and in the silence I hear the sound of my heart beating. For a moment I think of Poe and of dying a horrible death.

When I open my eyes again, I’m inside a well. My situation is even more desperate than before. The walls are wet and slimy and it’s impossible to get out of here.

I’m ready to give up. There’s no escape. The slice of sky I see above me is laden with grey clouds. That’s the final blow, the final nail on my coffin. I start crying and the tears course down my cheeks and fall on my lap.

And then it starts raining. At first it’s a fine drizzle, but soon it turns into a torrential downpour. My hair gets wet, my clothes get wet and, funnily enough, I feel cleansed. I feel there’s hope.

I stretch my arms to touch the rain and my hand touches something rough. It’s a rope ladder. It’s my ticket to freedom.

I climb up the wall and out into a green meadow. The shower stops and I see I’m surrounded by flowers of many colours.

I smile. Now I know I’ll be able to go on. I know the worst is behind me. 


I’ve lived in Madrid all my life except for three years I spent in  Valdepenas and Almasa after I passed the exam to be a civil servant.

A few days ago, I read it’s one of the best cities in the world to live. I’m not so sure about it myself… I probably don’t value it as much as I should because I’ve always lived here.

My children, my daughter in particular, are crazy about Madrid and wouldn’t change it for the world.

The truth is we have a bit of everything over here. Big universities, hospitals, department stores, parks…

I’m sure you have heard of Prado Museum and Retiro Park. 

Prado Museum houses one of the best art collections in the world. And it’s not the only art museum we have in the city. We also have Reina Sofia, Sorolla Museum…

Retiro Park is huge and is home to a lovely lake, a zoo, swings, a night club…

Then there is Casa de Campo, which is a huge forest within the city. Many people go there to ride their bikes or have a picnic at the weekend.

Inside Casa de Campo, there is an Amusements Park and a big zoo. I used to take my children there all the time when they were small.

My daughter loves going to the centre of Madrid. There you can find lots of bars and shops. Some of them are international, such as Starbucks and Zara, others just Spanish. Our bars are famous for their ‘tapas’. A tapa is a snack you’re given when you order a drink. 

In Puerta del Sol, you can find the biggest department store in Spain. It’s called Corte Ingles  and it has branches all over the country.

I live in Valdebernardo, a few subway stops from the centre and have the best of both worlds. My neighborhood is quiet and I can be in Puerta del Sol in half an hour.

Here in Valdebernardo we have a modern park and a little zoo called Faunia. There’s also a bicycle lane that connects us to the rest of the city.

So yes, I guess Madrid is a good place to live and work, but it’s a lot more expensive than the rest of Spain. If I didn’t work here, I’d probably move to the countryside…

Sunday, November 27, 2016

White Jewels

Lilies of the valley hang from tiny green branches, always looking down, as if they were sad, as if their overpowering aroma was too heavy for their little hearts.

Their snow-white heads are pure like a baby’s soul. They look like upside down lamps, like cups full of delicious nectar.

These diminutive beauties are also helpful. You can use them to make sweet-smelling perfumes and they are also good for our health.

Did you know an ointment made from this plant can be used to reduce scars?

Apparently, it’s also good for heart disease and mental problems. 

Legend says if a person puts lily of the valley on his forehead, he’ll acquire common sense.

But this isn’t what I wanted to talk about. I just wanted to speak of the beauty of my favorite flower. I love the contrast between the tiny flowers and the huge, dark green leaves.

These flowers are also called Mary’s tears because of the Christian legend that says they sprang from the Virgin’s eyes when she cried for her crucified son.

One thing I like about these small charmers is that they aren’t ostentatious at all. They are modest and wild-like, but also dainty. The perfect combination in my opinion. 

little snow angels
dance, prance in crisp winter breeze
scent the air near me

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Starry Night

The Swap Quatrain was created by Lorraine M. Kanter. 

Within the Swap Quatrain, each stanza in the poem must be a quatrain (four lines) where the first line is reversed in the fourth line. In addition, line 2 must rhyme with line 1, and line 3 must rhyme with line 4 and so on, BUT not repeat the same rhyming pattern on subsequent stanzas. 

Rhyming pattern: AABB, CCDD, and so on.

There’s a moon, a starry night.
The little dots so very bright.
My baby boy, go to bed soon.
A starry night, there’s a moon.

My lullaby, a lovely song.
The angels’ trumpets so very strong.
My baby boy, do not sigh.
A lovely song, my lullaby.

Time has passed, sweet sunrise.
Forces me to close my eyes.
My baby boy is happy at last.
Sweet sunrise, time has passed.

Christmas Minus One. A short story.

‘What the heck!’ exclaimed Father Moore. He then looked around to make sure he was alone and none of his parishioners had heard him.

Luckily, it was very early in the morning and it was just him and the old church.

‘How is that even possible? I checked after Mass last night and then I locked the door.’

But he looked again and the donkey was still missing from his Nativity Scene. He hadn’t imagined it.

It was Christmas Eve and lots of people would be coming to see it. It was the most famous in the area, the only one that was made up of real-life-sized figures.

‘Oh my! What am I going to do? Where can I find another donkey at such short notice... Unless it’s a real one... And a real one would move....’

He rubbed his hands and walked back into the sacristy. 

‘What do I do now, my Lord?’ 

On a table, next to a big Liturgy book and some chalices, he noticed a letter he hadn’t seen before.

He tore it open and his surprised mouth turned into an o. Then he smiled...

‘Ah! So that’s where he is. I just hope he’ll be back on time for our midnight Mass.’

It was a busy day and Father Moore didn’t have much time to think about his donkey. However, when ten o’clock came and went, he started fretting again.

What would he tell the many visitors if the animal wasn’t returned?

At ten thirty-five, there was a scraping on the roof. A while later, somebody knocked on the door.

Father Moore opened. He was half grateful, half angry.

‘Thank goodness! It’s you! I was getting nervous.’

‘Why? I’d never let you down. We’ve been friends for a long time.’

‘I still don’t understand why you had to borrow him in the first place. And can you please turn him back into a clay donkey? I don’t want a real one.’

‘Oh yeah! Sorry about that... Done.’

Father Moore put the donkey back where it belonged. Next to the ox and behind Baby Jesus. His visitor followed him.

‘You have a great Nativity Scene. It’s the best in the whole of Ohio.’

‘Thanks, I know. But you still haven’t told me what you were doing with my donkey.’

‘It’s simple,’ Santa said smiling. ‘Rudolph has a cold and I needed a replacement. It was the best solution I could think of at short notice.’

Father Moore rolled his eyes. 

‘Never thought of giving Rudolph some Tylenol? It would have been much easier and would have saved me a lot of  unnecessary hassle.’

‘Don’t complain. If I hadn’t taken the donkey, you wouldn’t have an anecdote for your homily today and I know how you love those.’

Santa had a point and his friend knew, so he just smiled. In his head he was already preparing that homily...

Sea Web. A Triolet.

A triolet is a poem of only eight lines with a rhyme scheme abaaabab. The fourth and seventh lines are the same exact line as the first. The eighth line is the same exact line as the second. 

She lured me with her song,
Took my sanity away.
I used to think I was strong.
She lured me with her song,
Her charms my suffering would prolong.
With me she had her way.
She lured me with her song,
Took my sanity away.

Friday, November 25, 2016


The pavement was slippery and snowflakes galore were carried by the strong wind. From time to time, they stopped and went swirl, swirl. Sometimes they got caught on people’s hats and clothes. 

He’d been walking all day and was tired. Only one more parcel to deliver and he’d be finished for the day.

He went up the stairs that led to the building, pushed the revolving door and left the cold outside.

‘How are you, sir?’ the night janitor asked him.

‘Feeling my age. Bone tired. Looking forward to going back home and drinking some tea. You?’

‘Bored. Nothing ever happens here, you know.’

He usually ran up the stairs, but he decided to use the elevator for a change.

He pressed the button and waited. The elevator finally came down and the doors opened.

‘Wow! This is cool!’ he told the janitor.

‘I’m glad you like it, sir.’

Once inside, he sat down on the soft leather bench and looked at the shiny lamps on the ceiling.

‘This is sooo luxurious,’ he said in a loud voice, even though he was alone.

The machine whirred up its shaft slowly. Despite its elegant interior, it was a very old model.

Suddenly, the whirring stopped and he heard a clunk.

‘Oh, no! Why did this have to happen? And today of all days. The first time I take an elevator in my entire life! Just my luck... And I’m pressed for time. I have to deliver this parcel.’

He moved his hands up and down the wall trying to locate the alarm button and, when he finally succeeded, he pressed it till he got an answer.

‘Are you okay, sir? I have already called the maintenance service.’

‘Will it take them very long?’

‘Around an hour. It seems they are in New Jersey.’

He tried to keep calm. He would just have to wait. But on the other hand...

An hour later, when the elevator was fixed and the door opened, two surprised maintenance guys looked inside.

‘There’s nobody here!’

‘Well, he always told me he was the real Santa and I never believed him ... but maybe he was telling the truth after all.’

The next morning, on the twenty-fourth floor, a happy little boy found his Play Station 4 waiting for him under the tree.

‘Look, Mum! Just what I asked Santa for!’