Writing

19.5.15

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His eyes are closed. The hot summer day burns down upon his face. He can feel every stroke of the heat as it laps across his face. He visualises the waves of heat, strong and fluid like the motion of the sea. Red. Flickering light encased through the tangle of leaves above him, fluctuating the colours he sees through his closed eyes. Silent irregular motions, the light ripples. Orange. A cloud perhaps. Yellow now, then back to red through glowing shades of amber and gold. He relaxes his eyes. He lets the colours run.

Suddenly, the colours darken. A warm embrace, across his shoulders to the middle of his chest and then hands running through his hair in irregular but delicate patterns. Soft fingers delicately massage his temples and the stress and pressure he feels is released. The feeling trickles down the length of his body, down to his toes and the weight of his body returns to him. He imagines it as pure and white. He feels free now. It is time to wake up.

Blue. His eyes see only what is natural; the opposite. A flash of white, a smile and a soft kiss. Shifts in contrast, other colours flow in and balance the picture, the perfect picture.

He’s awake now.

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The Door

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He had always wondered what the door would look like. Whether it be aged, warped or beaten by weather and years of use. Or perhaps healthy, covered in a fresh coat of polish or paint, the door handle glimmering. The expectations. He always wondered—and particularly on the journey over in the car. Or in-fact, any journey or space of time where concentration could escape him and his mind could wander. It didn’t matter what it was, only that it occupied his mind at that moment in time. Occurrences of troubling frequency in the recent weeks.

Why were the comfort blankets handed out by the Police to victims of a terrible tragedy or event so dull in colour and texture? The dull grey draped over the form of a woman, consuming her shoulders and her delicate flowery blouse. A cheerful pattern of colours; red, blue and soft yellow. It seemed odd to him that the object of safety and rest so perfectly symbolised the loss itself. Was this carelessness? Or simply seeking to be appropriate? No-one expects to be dressed in colours so bright after an event of that magnitude, only the colours of the police sirens. Oh that was it. He had to stop thinking this way, in every precise detail of an action or occurrence and their perceived notions. Or should he? Surely he is only better prepared for thinking this way. But at what cost?

The door was not how it had been anticipated. It was not one or the other, it was somehow both. The quality of the wood indicated that it had been stained and polished to maintain its rich tones. In the central to the door was a small, proud and ornate window furnished of stained glass. However, much like the people he expected behind it, the door had a character about it. On closer inspection, it was a little worn, the handle softly eroded from years and years of constant use. The wood softened in places where it had been held multiple times or from over-working by the maintainer.

He couldn’t stop this. Not since the event. He had been unable to change his thinking, to escape the details, the constant analysis. Perhaps it was a comfort. But a comfort does not create or exert a terrible pressure in the mind. It does not consume a soul. Instead it seeks to soothe. So that could only mean that the nature of this obsession was not pure. There was benefits to this view of the world, it enabled him to see things more clearly; to see through the shroud of confusion which plagued others. So maybe he was simply overreacting. But then again the problem was looking into things too deeply so in itself a vicious cycle was then created.

Now he found himself re-visiting his approach to the door, how his light feet and legs had become heavy with anticipation. His trachea constricted. His very lungs weighed down as if full of tar, sticky and unwilling to allow him air. He found it strange how his body reacted to this type of stimulus. He had never until this moment felt the weight of expectation and not in such a physical and tangible form. He instantly felt dread. Lights flashed a cruel red and blue in his mind. This simple action had transitioned into crippling him and even simple body functions seemed a struggle.

He remembered the night on the pier. It had been beautiful, the neon of the arcade had reflected far across the water. They had sat together on a bench, papers full of salty chips between them. They were over salted and feeble but it hadn’t mattered, the silence and atmosphere of the setting were simply appreciated, jointly. This night more important than the others because it was the first memory of many. The memory slipped away, like the rest of them.

What was waiting for him inside?

He could not allow another failure. This had to be the first of many successes. Determination gripped him, released the lock over his body and took hold of his arm, extending it out towards the door handle. He coiled his hand around the handle to have a strong and steady hold on it. He tugged on the handle to avoid slowness, there had been enough anticipation, enough waiting. He had no control over the event, he had been powerless. The time was now, he could and would control this. An eternity passed before the mechanism clicked. He pushed. The door squeaked on its hinges. He had always hated that.

Always? The memory of working on the door, returned to him and his promise to his wife to fix the squeak. He knew within a flash what he had been hiding from himself. He felt the pressure, the companion of his constant thought slowly begin to slip away, replaced by a different comfort. Familiarity. This door was not the unknown. The muscles in his forehead relaxed finally after seeming to be tense for so long. The deep furrows in his brow now told a story. His affliction of being able to see things clearly had blinded him from his own truth. The opening of the door, opened another in his mind. Images flashed through his head but not of the sorrow or tragedy this place had known so well. Memories of better times, times that had been lost to loss itself.

Before the sirens, the reassurance that everything would be return to normality and the suffocating dull grey blankets. All terribly suffocating. As if they could ease his shock. It was all so false, he could see through it and it had given no comfort to him. He remembered the night when he had lost them, his hand instinctively touching the scar on this forehead caused by the impact of the crash on his skull.

But it was over now, he had overcome this and now he could move on with is life. Away from the event. His vision momentarily blurred as the weight of the realisation came crashing down his cheek in the form of a single salty tear. He had made it.

He opened the door to his home. Finally.

 

Image sourcefineartamerica.com

The cat

The cat stood watch lazily, its hazel-green eyes never blinking. The cat had been sitting at the window for almost half an hour, to be exact, 27 minutes. The streaked ginger hair running the length of its back started to prickle, slightly. Its eyes swivelled in its sockets frantically. Its pupils dilated to a ridiculous measure as if the cat wished to absorb what it was watching in the blackness of its widened eyes. Very slowly, the cats form became rigid, the muscles tensing all over its body, the tail flickering angrily like an endangered flame.

Bullshit. Adam cursed under his breath and slammed the lid of his laptop down hard, cursed and carefully opened it again. The cat known as Cleo, fidgeted and lost track of what had previously caught its attention. Like an endangered flame. “What even was that shit?” Thought Adam. He knew what it was, certainly not good enough to be published. Unless it was for a kid’s book, he supposed. He slurped the last of his lukewarm coffee noisily. Adam gurgled in pain and spat a mouthful of steaming coffee back into the mug, massaging the sides of his face with his free hand as if that would help soothe the burning sensation. Another thing he was wrong about, he chuckled to himself before quickly grimacing as he remembered his burnt mouth. Fuck sake.

Maybe he was just too hard on himself, he had that column before, and he could get more writing work, right? What was he even doing writing about his stupid cat anyway? Cleo had moved to sit directly in front of him, green eyes staring blinklessly up at Adam and let out one long and shrill meow as if replying to Adam’s thoughts. The stench of stale cat breath wafted up to his nostrils. Hmmm…fishy. Adam wrinkled his nose and frowned; maybe he was telekinetic. That would cool. Maybe if he could communicate with minds he would be able to control th- Adam was brought harshly back to reality as the Cleo sunk his claws into his lap. “Ow! Shit, Cleo.” Cleo did not stop, but instead persisted; this was all part of his ritual. Adam glanced at his watch. “Of course” he thought, “he needs feeding.” Another thing that he had neglected to remember.

“Hey shithead.” Adam turned to see Trish stood in the doorway, half naked, hair wet from her shower and a sly grin on her face. “The cat needs feeding dumbass.” She winked playfully. “Well you need to get dressed, my lady” replied Adam in a mocking tone. “Alas, that is true.” Alice feign sighed, waving her arms around before flopping face first onto the bed where Adam was sitting, scaring Cleo into running out of the room. Things were never serious between them. That was a good thing as far as Adam was concerned, as soon as things were serious they became difficult. Everything was just better off as a joke.

“Thanks for that. He was really digging into me there.”

Trish pulled out a fake finger pistol from an imaginary holster down by her side, blowing away imaginary smoke from the barrel. “All in a day’s work, partner.”

“One day I’m going to tell him I named him after his stupid catfood.”

“He’s just a cat, he wouldn’t understand.” mumbled Trish from through the bedsheets.

“Yeah, but I know the truth so it’d still be fun.”

Trish laughed and lifted herself back up into a sitting position lightly punching Adam on the arm. “C’mon, start writing.”

Sleep-less

I found this uncompleted on my laptop- and I’ve been suffering from insomnia lately so hey, thought I’d finish it:

 

Sleep-less nights leading to                         sleep-filled days

Caffeinated is the flavour

Cups, cans and pills are the vessels

Craved are the facilitators of awakening

 

Short days leading to                                      long nights

The rooms filled with shadows

Time lapses and slows

The wait for the drift of consciousness

 

Sleep is not found here

Sleep     finds      you

6.3.14

I haven’t been able to write here for a while; there has been deadlines, I haven’t been feeling very creative, excuses and blah. Well, you know the addictive hold that Netflix can have over someone.

Something which I enjoy the most about university is meeting new people and trying new things. But I haven’t tried anything that out of comfort zone. Yesterday, on my way down into the town I was walking down the path by one of the colleges and got overtaken by a very tall lad, striding ahead of me- and I walk pretty quickly on a good day. This guy was dressed head to toe in costume- a bit like a steam-punk pirate. That guy has balls. What was particularly cool was the massive axe over his shoulder with his long coat hanging from the end. He must have been on the way back from a meeting on campus-  maybe the pirate society. Either way, he looked like a badass.

As something that just casually and completely happened out of the blue, it was super awesome.

It was one of those moments where you feel the urge to kind of look off to the side and pull a funny face or something. As if you were turning to look at the guy behind the camera lens to say: `did you just see that?`

Or…

maybe I’ve just been watching shows like The US Office too much.

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Image source: http://www.crushable.com

Lava lamp

Not really having a great deal to do tonight, I thought I would give writing a poem a go. Simply because I’ve started a module at uni that involves the analysis of poems and other literary text in a really detailed way. Having just analysed two observational poems about the world that the speaker sees  I thought that I would give it a go by picking the nearest object to me. Just so happened to be my lava lamp, nothing meant to be too deep or meaningful . So, here it is:

Timelessly sealed forms of wax,

Encased in glowing liquid

The rise

The fall.

Ever-shifting shape and form,

Twisting and turning in space,

The rise

Then the fall.

Mesmerising endless cycles

Falling through slowness,

Then the rise

And then the fall.

Some do not make it,

Unsure of their grounding they wait, illuminated.

Then the fall,

Ready to rise again.

Dog Walk

As you can imagine, the daily routine of a dog walker could become quite monotonous and repetitive, the trick to keeping things interesting is often to diversify the route of the dog walk. Easy peasy right?

Sure and infact, I only really know my way around some places because I’ve stumbled upon them on a blustery and dark winter afternoon followed eagerly by my furry, four-legged friend, tail wagging so quickly that it resembles the motion of a propeller.

That is only of course if something weird doesn’t happen instead.

Yesterday’s dog walk occurred on a typical British afternoon, nothing unusual. By that, I mean that the weather was bloody miserable (as it has been for the past week) with only brief and teasing sun-filled windows of good weather quickly eclipsed by grumpy grey-ness. As a British person myself, even I question why us lot talk about the weather so much, it really does not hold any surprises so the conversation usually goes as follows:

“It’s raining here. I wonder if it’s raining in London”

“Yes quite. Cup of tea ol’ chap?”

I was casually walking through town, soaked from being caught out in a particularly enthusiastic shower. If you’re an avid Friends watcher or can remember the episode where Ross goes to get a sun tan but only gets his front sprayed and repeatedly three times (as funny as it sounds if you haven’t seen it) then imagine the same thing but with rain. A lot of 100% Organic rainy rain rain. Except only on the back of my body, great.

Anyway, I was strolling unperturbed along the pavement of the main road near the seafront when a man stepped out from the front garden path of his house. Normally this wouldn’t be a strange thing, I’d just make sure to move over on the pavement so that he could pass, the polite thing to do right? Except that there was something interesting about this man’s attire, or rather lack of. He was dressed in winter gear; jumper, coat, scarf, boots and shorts. Wait…what? Those shorts look a bit…Oh…riiiiiiiiight.

The man had left his house completely dressed. All except for one of the most crucial items of clothing; his trousers. And continued past me in true British spirit; awkwardly shuffling past and avoiding eye-contact at all costs which led me to believe that his lack of trousers was not what he had wanted from today.

I carried on walking past and nearing my home I was still wondering what, how and why the man had been walking at such an anxious pace away from the house (other than the obvious chill haha). Had he been caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to? Was he enduring some kind of strange of punishment? Had he lost a bet? Had all pairs of his trousers spontaneously combusted at all the same time? Had he just forgo- 

And then the heavens opened again, soaking me from head to toe and this time the front of my body, completing the job, stopping only when I stepped in the front door of my home to say:

“It’s…well it’s raining outside.”

“Really?”

What a strange dog walk.

 

Why I don’t trust `Shuffle mode` anymore

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Everyone has it, whether its on your ifruit, blueberry, robot or laptop device.

Yes that’s right, good ol’ Shuffle mode. Whilst of course this mode offers many uses; allowing the user to simply relax as they listen to their favourite songs specially selected for them, it also has its faults.

Of course you must be thinking, what’s the problem? don’t you like the music in your music library? For the most part, yes I do. However, there really are some situations I think you will all agree where shuffle just doesn’t help the situation and here is a scenario that happened to me the other day:

I’m casually walking to the bus stop, I arrive in good time and equip myself with my trusty headphones attached to my favourite MP3 player oblivious of how it was about to later betray me. This is all fine, relaxing as I wait for the inevitably late bus until an elderly couple arrive. Enjoying their afternoon, they enter the bus shelter and stand behind me, out of the rain. As you can imagine, to the elderly couple they see the full embodiment of the teenager stereotype, standing in the bus shelter with music leaking from his headphones, hood up obscuring his face. Aware of this, I flash them a quick smile as I see them approach, just to reassure them that I’m not a psychopath who prays on the old and vulnerable (or whatever picture they have in their head) ,that the hood on my head is simply to shield myself from the rain and I do infact not belong to some violent street gang. A common misconception of course. Anyway, at this point, my music shuffled itself, just as I made eye contact with the gentleman and his wife to `Break a leg` from the dubstep, trance album that my friend had lent to me last summer.

This inspiring composition of sounds, sound effects and bass-y beats contains enthralling lyrics such as: “shut the f**k up man or I’ll beat the sh*t out of you.” A fantastic song really. This proceeded to leak from my headphones at what I can guess to be loud enough to have been heard judging from the elderly couple’s reaction. As they slowly backed into the opposite corner from me with a mixture of horror and despair as I frantically fumbled through my pockets to change the song. I might as well have had a boombox blasting out `Big Booty Bitches` or `Smack My Bitch up`; it didn’t matter now, it was already too late as all my previous efforts to appear like a normal human being had been destroyed as in their eyes I was now a social miscreant. I managed to change the song just in time for the bus to arrive, breathing a sigh of relief. This couldn’t get worse could it? no no…Wrong.

Stepping past the still-shocked couple onto the bus to buy a ticket, it appeared that the song that had been chosen next was: `I Just Had Sex` by The Lonely Island (don’t ask) Anyone not familiar with this song, here is a link to the music video, just so you understand what happened next: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQlIhraqL7o 

At this point, I remembered that I had taken my headphones off the top of my head to around my neck just in case a dialogue was to occur between myself and the bus driver. So as you can imagine the volume at which this played was drastically increased so that all of the passengers (also mainly elderly) and the ones stood behind me, stared judgingly as the song continued to play; `I wanna put another penis inside of herrrrr.` This as you can imagine was not really the attention I wanted, if any, and I quickly stumbled through the crowded compartment of the lower floor to the upstairs of the bus to hide muttering my apologies in true British fashion.

So this is why I don’t trust shuffle anymore, whether I am in public trying not to embarrass myself, trying to tell my girlfriend I love her (At which point it chose`The Penis Song` by Monty Python)  or simply having my friends round my house, it always manages to act as a saboteur regardless of the setting. Maybe it’s just me or perhaps a message from the beyond that I need to re-consider my music taste. Nah, can’t be that, my iPod is just a complete evil bastard.

This is what was on my mind today, hopefully you laughed at my misfortune and if you have any embarrassing shuffle experiences feel free to comment.

Remember: shuffle responsibly.

 

Something that stuck out for me this last term of University, where I was taking a beginners course in Spanish, was how you said or were asked how old you are.

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“yo tengo dieciocho años”

This may not seem to be different or of any interest to anyone else, but I particularly liked it. You see all kinds of posts on websites such as Tumblr, posting what `partner` is in Norwegian and that it translates as something meaningful and how the language is much more emotive and delicate comparatively to English. In the same way, the phrase above literally translates to `I have eighteen years.`

I liked this, simply because from the phrasing it implies ownership of those years; `tengo` the conjugated form of the infinitive verb, Tener: meaning to have. In English we would say `I am eighteen years old` and as we become older, we say it with more despair as if its a quality about us that we regret and have gained nothing from it. I like the Spanish phrase because to me it implies a greater sense of gaining experience from the years of your life much as if you would say `they have knowledge.` If you own something then you can accept it surely?

With another year having just passed it got me thinking and to me this seemed more of a positive outlook. I’m probably looking too much into this, but I think the language that we choose is important. Anyway, this is what interested me today.

Prologue

I was on my dog walk today and felt like writing a little of a prologue for a story, might add more to it later, so here goes:

6:09

Brian watched the light drift sleepily through the gap in his horribly beige curtains from his bed. He battled with his inherent want to tug the curtains sharply into an overlapping position, but decided it required a higher level of effort than he could be bothered to part with. The autumn morning light dimly lit a line across his bedside, highlighting the form of his wife, Sarah, blissfully sleeping without a sound. He had planned to replace the curtains with something more lively when they moved here, maybe blue curtains or a wooden blind, whatever worked. Sarah always knew these things better than him, interior design wasn’t his strong point. Besides, that was 10 years ago now and the material had become tattered and discoloured through age.

“This isn’t going to be a successful or sustainable career Brian and you know I’m right” His father’s un-groomed greying eyebrows had furrowed to combine into one thick menacing line of hair stretching across his creased forehead. “You can’t support a family on…this”, gesticulating with his podgy fingers to Brian’s portfolio of sketches. Beads of sweat trailing down the corners of his father’s receding hairline. His mother had remained silent, staring through glassy eyes out into the garden and rain battering in relentless strokes against the window panes. All creativity had been squeezed out of him at a young age with his father eager to push Brian into a suit and straight into an office job. The sensible thing to do.

6:11

Brian skipped the last 4 minutes he was entitled to in bed before his alarm and slipped out of the floral patterned covers. Sarah’s choice of course. Carefully he folded the covers like origami, following each step and fold without thought, just as a well-practiced Folder would, if that’s what they’re called, Brian wasn’t sure, Origami was not something he’d ever looked into. No time for a hobby.