Sunday, April 30, 2017

For The Love Of Becka

If you had told me five years ago that I would have a dog one day, I would have advised you to visit your shrink straightaway.

But life has this funny habit of making you eat your words, that’s why we should never say never.

Anyway, three years ago, I bought my daughter a Westie after much deliberation to help her get over a rough patch.

Enter Becka. An adorable piece of white fluff with a ton of attitude and a huge loving heart.

I have to admit it was difficult at first. The little lady thought the whole flat was her toilet and I followed her with my mop everywhere. Of course, she thought it was a game and she bit it while I mopped. I wished somebody had recorded that, we did look like a cartoon animation.

I’m ashamed to say I said ‘It’s either the dog or me’ on those early days. More than once…

However, I can’t imagine life without her anymore. I love her to bits and I love the fact that she follows me wherever I go.

Her little black eyes speak volumes and the wagging of her tail when you offer her a treat is a delight.

She’s the perfect dog. She never barks (except when we bring her to the countryside) and she likes everybody.

Most important of all is that she makes my children happy. Even my eldest son, who got extremely angry the day we brought her home (he’s not a dog person), has got attached to her.

And my little one? Well, that one is a worrier and, even though his sister will not be leaving home till she finishes her degree, he’s already wondering how he’ll survive without Becka. I guess I’ll have to buy him another dog…

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Do not Stand at my Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye (read by Tom O'...

Can you write your autobiography in 150 words? See an example below.

I was dropped by the stork in the centre of Madrid fifty-two years ago. I was my parents’ firstborn, so I received a warm welcome. My father swore I was the prettiest girl on earth.

Nothing much happened to me in my childhood, which was mostly happy. 

When I was one, my parents had a second baby. Unfortunately, he did not live long as he had Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition.

My sister was born when I was six and I welcomed her with open arms.

After school, I went to university to study English and on finishing I found a job as an English teacher.

So, as you can see, my life has been quite uneventful…

At the age of twenty-five I got married and, since then, I’ve had three wonderful children.

And what now? I just want to keep on living and keep on writing…

THE JOURNEY by Mary Oliver

Undo The Past

You trod on my soul,
You tore at my hair,
You broke my spirit
And spat in my face.

There was never a lie spoken between us.
I knew you were married,
You knew I was taken.
But I gave you my all
And you shared no love.

I wasn’t the first,
I was just one more toy.
The proverbial bedpost 
Became my sad fate.

Was I blind or just stupid?
Why did I say yes?
Why did I lie with you 
And my husband betrayed?

A long time has passed,
Your face has faded in my mind,
You’re just a memory,
A mistake from the past.

So why do I write about you?
Why do I dream of what could have been?
Why do I still think
You didn’t mean to hurt me?

Maybe I hope
Words will exorcise you.
Maybe I dream 
Of undoing the past.

I want to erase
That odious blunder,
I want to believe
You did never exist.

Can you write a 5-7-5 poem about zombies? See some examples below.

Rotten skin, pale face.
They’re the stuff of your nightmares.
You must hide someplace.

They leave their tombstones
Waving clammy hands like eels
And will grind your bones.

Terrible beauty,
Clammy hands and rotten face,
Bodies without soul.

Tiptoe Fairy

Tiptoeing on a cobweb,
My little fists clenched hard, 
Enjoying the sunset,
letting down my guard.

Are there any dangers
In the pretty forest?
I just see the beauty
And the butterflies.

Look at the ladybird,
Look at the dragonfly.
Nothing as absurd,
As a dragonfly.

I am a fairy,
I am the queen
Of this dainty space
Of this very green place.

Surrounded by flowers,
Covered by leaves.
Nothing will upset me,
Nothing will kill my glee.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bernhard Schlink author of The Reader

18 Great Books You Probably Haven't Read

Review + Discussion: The Reader

Annabelle. A story in 100 words.

In my dream, I saw a swing and a lake. The swing moved gently in the breeze, but the lake was as flat and still as if it was frozen.

Suddenly, I felt a  hand on my arm and a warm whisper in my ear.

‘No bad deed goes unpunished,’ it said. I hadn’t heard that voice for years and it froze the blood in my veins. It was Annabelle. She’d come to haunt me.

‘I didn’t mean to push you that hard,’ I told her.

‘But you did!’

Her laugh echoed in the forest and I never woke up.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Willow. Chapter 13.

‘What? What do you mean cut my wings? And why would she do such a thing?’

‘Well, being a fairy is risky and it comes with lots of responsibilities. Your mum wanted you to have a normal childhood.’

‘So if she cut my wings, how come I can hear animals and plants speaking all of a sudden?’

‘When your Mum died, her spell became undone.’

‘Spell? Isn’t that something witches do?’

‘Not only, fairies can cast spells too.’

‘What? I was joking! You mean witches exist as well?’

‘Of course they do… And we don’t get on very well. In fact, they are a very serious danger for us.’

‘They are? I don’t think I’m ready for this. Do I have to be a fairy? Can’t I cut my own wings or something?’

‘Well, you could, but I think you should wait till you finish reading your mum’s diaries. That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision.’

We talked for five more minutes and I promised Aunt Lucy I wouldn’t take any rush decisions.

As the weather was nice, I walked to the pub even though I was a bit late. I missed Mindy and was counting the days till her return. I wondered how long she would stay home with Mia.

Thinking about Mia made me sad. Would I ever have a family of my own? I wasn’t sure I wanted to have children, but a husband would be nice. I’d be less lonely, I’d have somebody to talk to. But who’d want to marry a wingless fairy?

Just then I heard steps behind me. I looked around and saw Josh. He was wearing a beige sweater that was too big for him and jeans that had seen better days, but despite the terrible clothes he looked quite handsome.

‘Hi there!’ he said.

‘How are you?’

‘Good. You? How’s life as a fairy treating you? Any extraordinary experiences lately?’

‘Don’t you dare to  make fun of me.’

‘I’m not making fun of you. Remember, we’re on the same boat.’

‘You’ve never wanted to jump overboard?’

‘No, not really,’ he said. He smiled and his face dimpled and I have to admit he looked quite attractive. I had to make an effort to remind myself he was unfriendly and obnoxious. Or he used to be.

Walt Whitman Poem ~ O Captain ! My Captain !

Fate. Flash Fiction.

I didn’t mean to kill her. It just happened… You could say it was an accident.

It wasn’t really my fault. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have to say I’m sorry her life had to end like that. She was so young and beautiful… but I am what I am, it can’t be helped.

When she died, I was just a couple of feet away, so I saw it all. I saw her fight against her fate. At first furiously, then slowly and hopelessly.

Now the sun is shining on my web and I’m crawling towards it to claim what is mine.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Robert Frost- Fire and Ice

An abecedarian poem.

Another day, another hour
Behaving like a child,
Creating ghosts,
Decorating my new world,
Expecting the call that won’t come.
Fly away my mind, my soul!
Go where you’ll be free!
Home is not this old brain, this body.
I used to be like them,
Just as clever, as alert.
Knew about life and love…
Lured happiness to my court.
Most of it is gone,
Now I spend my time between dreams
Or crushed under broken hopes.
Pity me not cause I’m happy despite the pain.
Quivering thoughts fill my head,
Roaming ideas flutter on my lips.
Secrets, I keep secrets and I forget.
Tantalizing cobwebs cover my head.
Under my feet there are clouds.
Visitors come and go.
Who will tell me what is wrong?
Xerox the answer for me.
You know that I still remember
Zoo visits when you were a kid.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Willow. Chapter 12.


‘Hi, Willow. It’s me. Mindy. Everything went well. You have to come and see her. She’s beautiful.’

‘Are you okay?’

‘Yes, as well as can be expected so soon after having somebody’s head popping out of my you-know-what.’

‘That’s great.’ I said trying to suppress a giggle. ‘I’ll go and see you as soon as possible. The pub can stay closed a while longer.’

After saying goodbye, I realized I hadn’t asked how little Mary was doing. I wondered if she was jealous of her baby sister. Well, I’d have time to ask when I got to the hospital.

I took Becka home and decided to drive as I was in a bit of a hurry. 

At the hospital shop, I bought some flowers for Mindy and a teddy for the baby. I promised myself I would go to London to buy something better as soon as I could.

As I walked up the stairs to Mindy’s room, I kept on remembering what had happened in the forest. I decided I would pay Aunt Lucy a visit the next day. And this time I wouldn’t let her lie to me.

Mindy’s room was on the second floor. There were at least five vases with flowers in them outside the door. I knocked and waited.

‘Come in!’

‘Hi there! Congratulations!’

I walked towards the bed and kissed Mindy on the cheek. She looked happy despite the fact that her hair was a mess and she had dark shadows under her eyes.

‘So how was it?’

‘Tiring. Painful… You know.’

‘No, I don’t know. And I’m not sure I want to know.’

Just then I felt a little hand on my leg.

‘Look, Willow. Look at my little sister. She’s just like a doll. And Mum says I can feed her and help her change her nappies,’ Mary told me.

I smiled at her and followed her to the crib. Inside there was a red, wrinkly baby that looked exactly like all other newborns.

‘What’s her name? I asked Mary.

‘Mia. Like that all our names will start with s: Michael, Mindy, Mary and Mia.’

‘That’s a lovely idea.’ I lied. I hated it when people did that.

After thirty minutes or so, I said my goodbyes and went back to the pub. Nothing much of interest happened that evening, apart from the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about the squirrels.

The next morning, I went to Aunt Lucy’s home as soon as I finished my breakfast.

‘Aren’t you going to walk me first?’ Becka asked me.

‘I don’t have time. There’s something important I must do. You can do your business in the garden this morning. I’ll take you out at lunch time.’

The last thing I saw before I closed the door was her disapproving stare.

There was a gentle breeze and the tree branches moved  over my head.

‘Hello there. Nice morning, isn’t it?’ 

I turned around, but couldn’t see anybody.

‘Who’s speaking?’

‘I am.’

I still couldn’t see anybody and was starting to get nervous. I looked up to see if there were any birds on the tree directly on top of me. If I could hear dogs and squirrels speak, I guessed I would be able to hear birds too. 

But there were no birds…

‘Can you tell me who you are? I’m a bit confused.’

‘It’s me. Mr Oak.’

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So trees could speak to me too? And more importantly, why had this never happened before? And why start now?

I guess I was impolite, but I didn’t answer him. I just kept on walking as fast as I could. I needed Aunt Lucy and I needed her fast. I ran the rest of the way and knocked on her door like a woman possessed.

She opened, still in her pyjamas, and looked at me curiously.

‘Is anything wrong, Willow?’

‘Yes, something is wrong. Can we please talk?’

She told me to come inside and offered me some tea.

‘Could I have coffee instead?’

‘Yes, of course.’

While she prepared my coffee, I tried to calm down my nerves.

‘So what’s going on?’

I could see that she was worried. She had probably guessed what I was going to ask her and she was afraid. She kept on touching her hair and her eyes darted round the room, never landing on my face.

‘I need to know what’s happening to me and I won’t leave till you tell me.’

‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’

‘You’re a terrible liar, Aunt Lucy. Did you know that?’

‘Er… So, I guess it’s time I told you.’

‘Well, I’ve found out some things on my own. Like… Well, it turns out I’m a fairy. And I can talk to animals and trees…’

‘And how do you feel about that?’

‘Weird. Are you a fairy too? Can you do these things?’

She looked at me guiltily and remained quiet for a while touching her chin with her fingers.

‘Yeah! Those and many more…’

‘So why did you never tell me? Why didn’t Mum tell me? I guess she was a fairy too…’

‘Your Mum didn’t want you to know. She wanted you to lead a normal life. That’s why she decided to cut your wings when you were born.’

Saturday, April 15, 2017

How many of these books have you read?

"Hope Is The Thing With Feathers" Emily Dickinson


In the playground
I’m alone.
I stand shivering
In a corner.

I nibble on my sandwich
I pray my teeth
Won’t make noise.

I watch the bully
From a distance,
A big knot
Grabbing my belly.

When will he 
Next see me?
When will he
Attack again?

There’s nothing
I can do.
Just wait helpless
In my fear.

Why do the grown-ups 
Fail me time after time?
Why don’t they 
Protect me 
As they should?

I see him coming
Towards me.
I know what will 
Happen next.
I choke 
On my fear
And just pray.

Now punches 
Are landing on my head.
I’m on the floor.
I don’t want to cry,
Won’t give him that satisfaction.
He’s kicking me…
It goes on and on
Till mercifully the bell rings.

I can’t take this anymore.
The will to fight has left me. 
Will somebody please help me
Before it’s too late…
For me?