Nourish

While living away from my home country, besides family and friends, there isn’t anything that I really miss. But one day totally unexpectedly a wayward thought came into my head, I suddenly thought of my sitting in my Granny’s kitchen on a Friday night sharing a pot of tea. This was a lovely old habit that came about while my brother and sister were watching something in the sitting room. This was our time together.

On this peculiar morning, I kept thinking back to these conversations, surprisingly bread possessed my senses. My tongue tried to chew around the soggy sandwiches of school lunches, car warm baguettes for beach picnics, seasoned by salted sand. My nose was tickled by melted butter on golden morning toast. And late night conversations had over crispy garlic bread. All brought their own memories and reminders, mostly bringing a smile.

Bread is a staple in many countries but each seem to have their own version. The Italians for focaccia, the French for baguette and brioche. Germany has sourdough, the UK is famous for white bloomers and scones. Ireland my home country owns the domain of soda bread and brown bread. While I adore proper brown bread I find it very difficult to find in some countries, even flour can prove elusive sometimes. Rye bread, yeast breads, pizza, whatever you choose to call it can usually be found, somewhere with a bit of searching. Occasionally sometimes it is more satisfying to make your own, to your own tastes, your own reminisces.

The opening line for Nourish from The Scottish Book Trust was:

If stories be the food of life, write on!

A call for short stories revolving around the theme of food, as long as it was true, was all they requested. Trying to be clever I instantly disregarded my first thought for what this story should be about. I tried a few stories about how the plight of the world leads to hunger, how the earth grows and blooms when we, the human race, leave it in peace and so on. As you may imagine from the above descriptions they were stilted, preachy or plain rubbish. I eventually had to admit my first instinct was worth a try. Homesick was the result. It isn’t perfect and I feel it still needs work but I think the bones are there. Of course, once it was submitted I noted a couple of mistakes that I had missed. The one thing that really didn’t come across in this version, due to formatting and time restrictions, was the recipe lay out that I experimented with – maybe you could use your imagination to see how I may have achieved that particular feat.

The link below will connect you to the Scottish Book Trust site (scottishbooktrust.com). Here you will find my story and many more there are also poems and many more creative offerings.

http://scottishbooktrust.com/writing/nourish/story/homesick

I hope you enjoy it and maybe if you have some more free time you will take a look at some more. One thousand words is the perfect bite size story for busy lives.

Silent Waters

This last while I have been concentrating on two projects, one a long fiction piece and the second a smaller poetry project. The poetry project came about as a way to refocus my mind when I hit a wall on the longer project. That was the original idea, however that is not what has happened. Instead I seem to keep returning to one poem in particular, which I know has a longer path, much long than usual, but it will take some time to complete. Therefore, for this installation I will show you the first three stanzas, none of which is completely finished, and I will hopefully reach the end before the end of summer…

The working title for the moment is Silent Waters, but I have feeling this will change umpteen times before the end. I am one of those for whom titles are an ordeal. It must be nice to know a title from the start, maybe I will have a piece where that will happen someday.

Silent Waters

A boat on silent waters
Resting against heavy stone.
Water bound ropes slitter to the cold below,
The stone quay and heavy iron dwindle
Into the dark of lost sight

Aboard lies a small soul
bedraggled hair and green eyes
Torn nails and cut elbows.
Laid on the bed top dreaming
Into the dark of the coming waters.

Through frog-eyed portholes
A flicker of light winks back to shore
The alarm raised, ringing loud into all houses
Rushing into boots and boats
Into the dark of cresting motion.

Knees bend in rhythm
To the dipping white horse heads.
Searing lights skim the crests
And highlights the gorges and up slopes
Into the dark of the deadly black.

Delightful Distractions of Poetry

For the past month, I have been working on something, but as with any project worth anything it is driving me around the twist. I have found that when I have got to this point during the day I have to do something else, otherwise I am liable to delete everything, permanently. I am a queen at hoovering the house, scrubbing the worktops, watching rubbishy telly. And of course reading. I have read a number of very impressive books over the last while (The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey, Orkney – Amy Sackville, returning to George Orwell’s 1984) but this month the most delight I have found is within the pages of poetry books (Penguin’s Poems for Life, Pablo Neruda, Janet Paisley, Seamus Heaney).

Poetry forces me to sit still reading and re-reading. Giving me the time to absorb the language and imagery and to appreciate the complex nature of writing.

Since I have found myself reading poems again I have noticed that my mind keeps forming sentences and stories that don’t work within the traditional structure of a short story, perhaps it is more suited to the structure of a poem. Hence for this months offering I have included an extract of a few lines from one such poem (currently untitled). I have been trying to stitch this piece together for a while. I know where I am going, but I am finding the path to it broken and disjointed. While, this would normally annoy or frustrate me for this one composition I am thoroughly enjoying the to-ing and fro-ing.

I know I will eventually produce a final piece, be it a poem, experimental story or traditional short story but for the moment it is a poem that does not wish to end.

This extract is taken from somewhere in the middle, at present, it will change again.

Crack, the cheap wood splits and splinters,
Folding, resting into triangles of an accordion bellows.
The lid forced downwards, tight, and close
Finally pressed onto cold lips.
Sinking and collapsing into the eternal resting bed of damp clay
An exact rectangle, four by ten, of naked brown earth.

The JCB passes onto another
All falls still and silent.

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