Sharing a poem

I was flipping through a book of poems and came upon one I read over fifteen years ago. It was one of the loveliest poems I’d ever read and I was glad to find that it still had some effect on me after so many years of cynicism.

Music When Soft Voices Die 

Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory —

Odours, when sweet violets sicken, Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,

Are heap’d for the beloved’s bed;

And so thy thoughts when thou are gone,

Love itself shall slumber on.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Larger Than You Think – 55 words

My arms are exhausted and I’m running out of air. I can hear shouts coming from the sandy shore and I’m cold. I feel blood pouring from the wound. My eyes are heavy, and I remember someone telling me the size of the shark population at Stenson Beach. “What are the odds?” I had replied.

– Eliza Dashwood

Night Vision- 100 words

Woman with binoculars

As I looked out into the neighbouring block of flats, I saw a solitary light.

In the dark, the reflection in the window glass showed a clock about to strike twelve. There was movement. I hid behind the curtain and peeked out.

He should shut the refrigerator door, I thought, then he’d be invisible, but as it is, I can see he’s naked, his binoculars fixed on my window.

I wondered what to do. It came to me. I untied the knot in my dressing gown and as I lifted my opera glasses to my eyes, turned on the light.

– Eliza Dashwood

breaking and entering

Last night I was ripped from my sleep by the sound of our door buzzer. It was 12am and my flatmates and I had all gone to bed. The buzzer went again, then the one next door, until I was sure the person outside had pressed the buzzer for every one in the building. I heard someone go down the stairs to our door and sensing that the matter was in hand, I tried to fall back to sleep.

As it turns out, my flatmate caught someone trying to break into the ground floor flat. glass had been shattered and the police were called. As it turns out, a girl who once lived there was drunk, disturbed, confused and trying to get back into the flat she had once lived in before she was chucked out a few months before.

Over the next hour, he had to give a statement and all was quiet again by around 2am.

So, what would you do in that situation?

Today’s Prompt: Breaking and Entering

does friendship mean never having to say you’re sorry?

While out with a friend one night we had a few too many. What started out as a few minor complaints from them about me turned into an obnoxious tirade of abuse and character assassination. At first I was patient, trying to work out if there was any merit in their comments, but as the evening wore on, I began to make a distinction between what is friendly, constructive criticism and a drunken verbal assault. The whole conversation was hurtful and the comments kept me awake that night. As I replayed the scene in my head, I grew more and more angry.

The next day, I saw them again and my first instinct to smack them in the head was repressed. After all, they were drunk. However, there are some things that are hard to excuse and being hurtful to your supposed friends, whatever the blood alcohol level is one of them. I just hope that I can eventually let this one slide and move on.

So, here goes…

Today’s Prompt: Forgiveness

Maybe later, the cat needs feeding

I woke up this morning and sat at the computer and thought, ‘not right now, I have laundry to do.’ How many times have we tried to make excuses to not write? I think that most of us, at one time or another think of 101 things that we “absolutely have to get done” rather than write.

Sometimes, I’ll say to myself, I’ll write after I’ve fed the cat. Once that is done, I remember that I haven’t had breakfast, so suddenly, I’m starving. I think, I’ll write better once I have something in my stomach. As the list of excuses piles up, the day flies by and eventually, the thought of writing is gone until another day.

Maintaining self discipline when writing is one of the hardest things a writer needs to do to become truly proficient. Sticking with it regardless of mood or other things to do is tough, but necessary for the development of craft. So…

Today’s Prompt: Excuses

Have fun.

Writing Prompt – Recipe for Success

I’m writing this because of my mother. Like so many things that mothers do, she put me on the first step towards writing. I say, “first step”, but what I mean is that she hurled me down the whole flight of stairs.

When I was four, nothing thrilled me more that the sound of my mother reading to me. Story time in the evening was my favourite time and I always did my best to interrupt her daily household duties to get her to read to me. So intrusive were my demands that she pulled me aside one day and said, “If you learn to read, you can have a story anytime you want and you’ll never be lonely. Books will be your friends for life.” Our reading sessions became more like lessons rather than straight forward entertainment and as the summer before kindergarten drew near, I was confident that I could get through more than Dr. Seuss on my own.

As the years have passed, she has been proven right. I’m never without a book, a journal and a pen. These tools offer me comfort when I think I’m about to lose it.

Today my mother and I are spending the afternoon in the kitchen. I’ve been pestering her to make my favourite Mexican soup all week. She reckons I’m better off learning how to do it on my own. So today, I’ll prep the ingredients and write everything down so that I can practice later in my own kitchen.

It seems her teaching style has not changed.

Today’s Prompt: Recipe for Success

Writing Prompt – Trouble Sleeping

It’s 2am PST. I should be asleep, but the heat and a sudden anxiety I cannot account for has me up and at the computer. I’d like to blame jetlag, but sleep has been evasive too often for all of the blame to be laid at its door.

Out in the desert, there are no city lights, there’s no sound. When I awake in the dead calm of night, the only thing I hear is the sudden rush of my heart and the thoughts in my head.

I wade through YouTube for something to entertain me. I check my mail for a familiar name, eager to connect with someone at this unforgiving hour, but there is no sign of life and I’m reminded that insomnia is a solitary thing.

It is as though every thought and worry I bury in the light of day has surfaced in the night and at this moment I fear I will never sleep again.

Tonight’s Prompt: Trouble Sleeping

Monday Writing Prompt

It’s 1pm in the afternoon in California. It’s a baking 90 degrees and the air is still. I’m visiting my home town out near the Palm Springs desert and I wonder how I could have ever tolerated the heat.

I’ve been living in the UK for the past ten years and every time I come home, I feel further and further removed from the things that used to seem so familiar. The small town of about 10,000 where my family home is has grown. New shops and restaurants cover the main street that used to have only a supermarket, a few gas stations and a cop shop. The hills where my parents live used to have about 20 houses on it, now the landscape has been taken over by track homes and estates.

Little things that I never noticed before strike me as foreign. There are American flags flying in their posts on my neighbours houses and little plaques with bible quotes stuck on the lawns. At the supermarket, the checkout girl bagged my shopping and looked at me like I had just landed from Mars when I offered to help.

I have never felt so much like a foreigner in my own country before. It’s not just the change in my home town, but subtle things. The way people dress and talk, their manners, no better or worse, but somehow different. In the same way that I no longer feel completely at home here, I have never felt like I entirely belonged in Edinburgh. So, in some ways, I feel like I am without a country.

Today’s Prompt: Home

Usual rules: try to keep it under 1,000 words and ask yourself, what does home mean to you?

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