Tag Archives: Writing

Writing 101 Two, A Cafe With a View

Take me to Pushkar, drop me down in the sunset café. You already did? Ahh yes, here I am, the sky is still bright and very pink. Inside people, locals and travellers begin to gather, for the nightly spectacle that is sunset over the lake. Neat rows of Formica tables are placed so that as many diners as possible get a good view. The best seats are right on the patio, and I’ve got one, under the curved and ornately painted arches, slightly raised from the pavement. I sink into a rattan bucket seat with a cushion made from recycled saris, red, orange and pink to match the sky. Babu comes to take my order, a mint lassi while I’m waiting for a masala omelette, ‘but that is breakfast madam’ he says giving me that look he gives to crazy English women, a sort of half grin as if he feels sorry for me. I add an ice cold cobra beer, Pushkar is so dry and so is my throat.

The smell of spice is suddenly challenged when two young women arrive, laden with backpacks big enough for their tiny frames to climb into, and with grubby salwar kameez. I don’t like myself for saying it, but I’m glad there wasn’t space for them. In contrast the musicians rock up, clothes gleaming as white as the Persil ads, and making a racket like the dustbin men at 7am. Now I realise why these seats were empty. Two drummers, a sitar player and another with an instrument that looks like a sack, a hosepipe and some bits of rope, sit crossed legged beside me.

The drumming begins, starting slowly and with little tune. It’s only when I look around and see people swaying that I realise I’m doing the same thing. For too long the drums continue, my lassi and omelette are both consumed and I’m on my second bottle of Cobra. They’re twice the size of the bottles at home and a few nights ago Muggan, our driver was horrified and amazed that I could contain one, never mind two.

The drumming is hypnotic and I’ve lost some time, pulling myself together, I put the music to the back of my mind and focus instead on the sky. Taking a photo wasn’t working, heads kept bobbing up and down between me and the view. Stay in the now G, stay in the now and imprint it on your soul. It is every bit as magical as promised. Every warm, glowing colour, that nature can create, is up there in the heavens. There might be sound but all I can hear is the noise of the universe, not even a sound, but a vibration, a distant echo that began light years ago. I’m standing now, we all are. With fairy lights around our heads, we watch as the sun slowly falls on the horizon behind the temple.

I am changed by India.

 

Writing 101 One, Stream of Consciousness

I’m doing the WordPress Writing 101 as from today and the first project is stream of consciousness. I won’t be posting the 101 stuff every day, more likely I’ll write every day and post bits from time to time.

This is what sprang out earlier.

Twenty minutes, that’s how long they were standing there. Whispering. What about? Or maybe who about, could it be me? Is it my turn? How long have I had this paranoia? Perhaps since playground days. They were always at it, at the back of class when Miss wasn’t looking, hiding behind their hands, staring at me, sneaky, laughing eyes. When they saw me look back they would look away quickly and giggle in their throats, keeping their mouths shut tight.

Strange, I can’t remember who they were. I remember the nice girls, Linda White, Lesley Morton and Jane Shelton, even one lad, Andrew Philips. He was always competing with me, he was top boy in every test, and I was top girl. I wonder why they separated us into girl/boy, would that happen now? Anyway we were well matched, he would score one point higher one week, the next it would be me. Most often we’d get the exact same mark, with our matching IQ’s. I bet he isn’t poor now, probably heading up some massive organisation (should have married him) unlike me, I wasted my grammar school years. My friends and I were too damn rebellious for our own good. Not that we had much to rebel against, if only that energy had been put to good use, but we were girls, still are of course. Nothing much was expected of us, despite Grammar School. We could be secretaries or nurses, a few dedicated ones could be teachers if they had the right background. I didn’t. We could work in a shop, become machinists in the bra factory or be hairdressers. I worked in a shop on Saturdays when I was still at school and walked out of the first one, they wanted me to wrap meat in cling film! Thinking about it, no-one suggested the bra factory until much later, I could sew well so that might have worked. Churning out fifty ‘Super Bras’ a day . . . perhaps not.

Hairdressing, that was never going to happen. I liked make up and beauty products like every other teenage girl, but no hairdresser in my part of England, would have taken on an apprentice with hair like mine. Looking the part would have been compulsory, back then who would want their hair styled by someone with head of frizz? Nope, hardly a black or mixed race woman to be seen, never mind one who styled hair.

I didn’t work out the answer from the beginning of this twenty minute stream of consciousness write, but hey, that’s the point. Maybe tomorrows Writing 101 will bring me back here.

 

Construction Site Playground

‘Run Gill’ Linda and Delamie shouted in harmony.
I bent to tie my shoe lace and then dawdling, stood again, turned in the direction that all the noise was coming from, hand to my brow to shade the early evening sun from my vision. Then a stillness settled and that strange crescendo rose from the silence, just like it does before a storm is brewing. I watched as if outside myself. The biggest boy picked up a stone, weighed it in his hand.
‘BLACKIEEE’, he shouted. There was just him and me, at least that’s how it felt. That’s how it felt, him, me and the missile, cruising, impossibly slowly towards my third eye.
‘Come on, it’s going to hit you’ Linda Wright’s voice pierced my stasis, and in a split second the target became my brow bone instead of my eye. But it couldn’t have hit me, he was too far away. The red rain told a different story as it rippled through my lashes. In disbelief I placed my index finger to my head, saw the trickle of blood, and finally started running blindly, away from the building site, where we shouldn’t have been.
So very close to blinded.
A pale blue and cream police panda car took me to hospital, to three stitches and a scar I still bear. I don’t suppose the racist bully remembers. No-one punished him, a little nigger girl didn’t matter much in 1967.

Written in response to Bastet’s prompt,
”One of my favorite lines written by Maya Angelou is this:

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

I’ve said that she’s best known for her autobiographies, so what I’d like you all to do is write a small autobiographical piece.”

http://wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com/2014/06/05/short-story-prompt-june-6-2014/

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week# 130

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Julia says,

I’m going to change the mood somewhat this week. It has been the Easter week-end and although it was not about chocolate, it has become a sweet-fest! So, the prompt is:

… but it has nuts in…

Of course I’m going to be rebellious so . . .

Walk for your treats

SX65378745 head south west, cross the clapper bridge on the North Teign River, a mile to the kissing gate. Follow the path west to a dry stone wall and then three stones from the top, eight from the triangular one you’ll find a map shoved in.

You’ll see that you must retrace your steps to the horizontal tree, the ground is boggy, take your boots off and wade through, then the hairy cows won’t follow you. See a standing stone that’s fallen? Put your hand in the mud and feel around. Got it? That’s your treasure box.

‘But it has nuts in it.’

‘Uh?’

Join in at http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week130/

 

 

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week# 126

 

100wcgu-7
Julia says, ‘The prompt this week is:

…Family…

You can take it anywhere you like but only use 100 words.’
Here are mine.

Meeting Uzo

The familiar smell of coach station enveloped me and I pressed my nose against the window hoping to see another self. Nothing. The little belly flutters shifted up a notch, more like a train in a tunnel now. I realised I had to move from my seat, I was last.

There were many black faces in Birmingham coach station, but one stood out.

‘Sis,’ said the big black bear as he wrapped me up. I felt shy as I raised my eyes to meet his, but there was the mirror I’d waited so long for, in the eyes of my newly found brother.

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week126/

 

The Offie

This morning I read a prompt from Oloriel at ‘We Drink Because We’re Poets’. It’s about remembering a place from your past and she said
‘This week I would like you to share with me a poem about a place – a place that was dear to you, but is no longer there. It can be a bar, a museum, a library, bookstore, your old school – anything. I invite you to tell me what changed, what got replaced and how did it make you feel. Form, length, rhyme, all is optional.’
Me, being me, read the prompt entirely wrong. Why I would read a prompt on a poetry blog and not catch on that I was supposed to write a poem I don’t now, but I’ve only just caught on. I’m posting anyway because the little memories were special for me.

The Offie

Sparkling white art deco instead of grubby cream. Now the future homes of well-heeled, aspiring middle class, first time buyers. Curved windows that will forever be a problem to curtain well, high ceilings that will keep the fuel bills high. I used to peep through those windows to see who was sitting on the curved seats inside them, all the time wondering what it would be like to sit there. By the time I was old enough to sit there, it was the last place I wanted to sit, not trendy enough for me, filled with old men and Laners have a night in the posh one instead of the Flying Horse. Me, I preferred the club scene, even if a Babycham was twice the price.
I wonder what happened to Ross, Mr Whitaker. He always had a soft spot for me and watched me grow from a toddler to an eighteen year old, who thought she was sophisticated. In the beginning it was Spangles, Maltesers or if I got lucky a big bar of Dairy Milk. Crisps were Smiths, and the salt came in a little blue paper twist, that you had to reach to the bottom of the bag to find. It was never enough to make the whole packet salty! I loved the salted peanuts as well, until a connection was made between eating them, and waking up an hour after bedtime with vomit in my hair.
The entrance was on the side, in, turn left, no dawdling to see what was up the corridor – barrels, boxes and a pay phone and then a choice of two doors side by side. I was only allowed in the first, the second was for adults. It was years before I was tall enough to lean on the tiny counter to ask for my own sweeties or bottle of fizzy pop. At weekends it was rowdy and when I stopped being a little girl, I’d get yelled at by the blokes who could see me from the other side, the dark side.
Years later I learnt that Ross and his wife had moved back to London. I felt sorry for him, she was a miserable old boot. I rarely went that way and when I did it had deteriorated badly, windows and doors boarded up and generally going to wrack and ruin. Rumours were that it was going to be demolished. Then last year, I was stuck in traffic at the bottom of the road, craning my neck I saw the dazzling white paint. The St Loyes had been converted into apartments. I wonder if there is any trace of the art deco left inside. I wonder if the beery, cidery, smoky smell has ever left the pub and if the Off Licence is someone’s bedroom.
If you’d like to check out the prompt and use it properly, it’s here.

http://wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com/2014/03/17/poetry-prompt-2-the-places-we-are/

Falling for A Quiz!

And finding it surprisingly accurate. Except for the fact that I’m too lazy. I wonder how many of you have a half written novel – or ten, stashed somewhere. I have, maybe one day I’ll finish it, but that will mean focussing in tightly. Trouble is I love life and I’ve got my finger in too many pies. What’s your excuse?
Perhaps it would spur you on if you tried the quiz, It’s here, http://www.playbuzz.com/morganf10/what-genre-of-fiction-should-you-write and this is the answer I got.4100b600-69b9-4037-844e-1b76c5cfa92d

I’d love to know your result, please share!