I Remember

I remember her turned back as you arrived,

The ex husband walking after her as she turned away,

It reassured me, that it wasn’t just me to end up hurt.

I remember the colour of your eyes change as the memories slipped away,

The frustration of knowing yourself, the reality of the situation.

I remember lost looks, and a saddened face,

I remember the hope that came when you mistook me for another.

The stark reality that in the end, all we have are memories,

Until they too become lost.

Memories

Walking down the street, hand held by mum,

My eyes shift to the right, and I see you.

Standing in the doorway, cig in hand, 

Arm lifting, you wave. 

Standing in the street, I get stuck talking, 

The village gossips are asking if he’s dead yet. 

Walking down the street, towards me, 

An eye roll gets sent my way, long strides carrying you home.

Waiting for the bus, because what else is there to do,

Movement catches my attention. 

Through the window of your place of work, 

Waving your duster around like a flag. 

Sitting next to you on the bus, laughing like we always did, 

You ask me, “why would you wanna stay?”

Text messages back and forth, “how you getting on?” 

Phone calls just to check-in, and to hear your voice. 

A lifetime of memories, that words can never do justice, 

A lifetime of memories, is all that is left. 

I started a new life, and your life ended, 

And I miss you. 

If Heaven was a Place on Earth

White hair, glasses and radiant smile,
She sits.

The black cat on her knee,
Sleeping.

The muted TV plays on in the background,
The presenter’s loud “180!” can still somehow be heard.

A newspaper’s pages are heard turning,
Followed by the clearing of a voice.

“Guess what”, he says,
With joy in his eyes.

I love you.

What is it, to win?

It’s hollow now. Soulless. Nothing there but bones and headstones.

So many years feeling worthless, but now they are worthless to me. And yet it does not feel like a win.

It is heart-breaking to know of the pain they have caused. Through choice, or through ignorance.

Acting saddened and disgraced that her last wishes were not heard. But you heard them and did nothing. A dying woman’s wishes ignored and pushed aside, just so that you can stand there and say, “I was there.”

A village full of Vultures. She knew what you were, and unfortunately you proved her right.  

But yet, it does not feel like a win.

The Lost Daughter

I saw someone this week
I drove past them.

Their mannerisms struck me
In those few short seconds.

The grey hair
Growing past your ears.

The female passenger
Stony faced.

I’d been looking for you
And then suddenly there you were.

Human

Songwriters: Jamie Hartman / Rory Graham
Human lyrics © Warner-tamerlane Publishing Corp., Reservoir 416, Songs With A Pure Tone, Askia Worldwide Publishing, Maxwell And Carter Global Publishing, Stonestreet Works, Brandon Skeie Publishing, Marquise Cut Publishing

WRITER’S SUGGESTION:
LISTEN TO SONG WHILE READING

They could hear the sounds of a busy happy hour as they arrived through the open side door. Scanning around to look for an empty table, the 3 women stood stock still.

“Over there!” Christy shouted above the noise of the bar.

Alex provided a nod of her head and took the lead in heading over to the available table. It was small and round, 4 wooden stools surrounding it. They approached the table and sat down, placing their phones face down as they took their jackets off.

“What we all having?” Alex asked, making eye contact with Christy and Jessica.

“Dirty martini.” With a smirk, Alex replied, “Shaken not stirred?” She was met with one raised eyebrow and a playful smile.

“Christy?”

“Vodka coke, please darling.”

“Sure thing.” As Alex turned to walk towards the bar, the music stopped her in her tracks.

The sound of the guitar, rising up from seemingly nowhere, transported everyone into what felt like the deep south. The musicians on stage played their instruments to perfection. The accompanied percussion and accordion added tremendous weight to the experience.

The voice that appeared from the back of the stage caused the bar to fall completely silent.

“Maybe I’m foolish,

Maybe I’m blind..”

The female voice rose up from the depths. The singer walked forwards, microphone in hand. Her blonde hair fell perfectly to brush against her shoulders as she moved.

I’m only human after all,

Don’t put your blame on me.”

Alex stood completely transfixed. Her brown eyes met green and she swore she felt the earth move. She could feel everything, every goosebump, every beat of her overeager heart.

Don’t ask my opinion,

Don’t ask me to lie.”

As the beat picked up, Alex looked briefly around at her friends. The were both sat, heads nodding. Jessica had one finger tapping on the table, Christy had her phone up and pointed at the stage.

“Some people got real problems,

Some people out o’ luck,

Some people think I should solve ’em.

Alex found herself forgetting completely about the drinks she had been on her way to buy. Her feet remained rooted to the floor, her knees buckling when once again sparkling green eyes connected with hers. She sank slowly into the seat below her, not noticing how Christy’s phone had moved to capture her.

“I ain’t no prophet or messiah,

Should go looking somewhere higher.

That last note drove a shockwave through the crowd. A shared feeling of awe could be felt by everyone present.

Don’t put your blame on me.

Structure

I recently found these character interview suggestions. A useful way of getting to develop and getting to know the characters you’re writing. It’s given me some structure to my character planning and has helped me to think more deeply about who it is I want in my story. My characters are now on their way to being well-rounded and quirky, no longer just names on a page.

  1. Name:
    What do they like about their name:
    What does their name mean to them:

  2. Background:
    Birthday:
    Place of birth:
    Parents:
    What was important to the people who raised them?
    Siblings:
    Economic status growing up:
    Ethnic background:
    Places lived:
    Current address and phone number:
    Education:
    Favourite subject in school:
    Special training:
    Jobs:
    Salary:
    Travel:

  3. Friends:
    Who they live with:
    Who they fight with:
    Who they spend time with:
    Who depends on them and why:
    Who admires them:
    How do others see them:
    Who are their enemies:

  4. Dating:
    Single or married

  5. Overall outlook on life:
    Religion:
    Do they like themselves:
    What would they change about their life:
    What demons do they have:
    Are they lying to themselves:
    Are they an optimist or a pessimist:
    Are they real or feigned:
    What is their morality level:
    What is their confidence level:

  6. Typical day:
    Physical appearance:
    Physical build:
    Posture:
    Head shape:
    Eyes:
    Nose:
    Mouth:
    Hair:
    Skin:
    Tattoos, piercings, scars:
    Voice:
    Clothing:
    What do people notice first:
    How would they describe themselves:

  7. Health:
    Disabilities or handicaps:

  8. Characteristics:
    Personality type:
    Strongest character trait:
    Weakest character trait:
    How can their strongest trait be a weakness:
    How much self-control and self-discipline do they have:
    What makes them angry:
    What makes them cry:
    What fears do they have:
    What people, places, situations do they avoid:
    What are their talents:
    What do people like about them:

  9. Interests and favourites:
    Political views:
    Collections:
    Food and drink:
    Music:
    Books:
    Movies:
    Sport/recreational in school and now:
    Colour:
    Childhood daydreams:
    Current daydreams:
    Way to spend a weekend:
    A great gift for them:
    Pets:
    Vehicles:

  10. Typical expressions when:
    Happy:
    Angry:
    Frustrated:
    Sad:
    Afraid:
    Most used facial expression:

  11. Idiosyncrasies:

  12. Laughs at:

  13. What annoys them:

  14. How to cheer her up:

  15. Hopes and dreams and how do they see themselves accomplishing these:

  16. Worst thing they’ve done to someone:

  17. Greatest success:

  18. Biggest trauma:

  19. Biggest embarrassment:

  20. Cares about most:

  21. Secrets:
    If they could do anything, what would it be:
    They are the kind of person who…:
    What I love most about them:
    Why will the reader sympathise with her right away:

  22. How are they ordinary or extraordinary:

  23. How is their situation ordinary or extraordinary:

  24. What is their core need:

  25. What is an anecdote:

  26. Their history:

K.M. Weiland. (2011). Outlining Your Novel: Map out your way to success. PenForASword Publishing: United States of America

New One (in the making)

“I saw her today.” She looks solum at her friend, “she was right in front of me.”

“Alex.” His warning tone is evident and exasperated.

“I know. I know.”

“You cannot do this again.”

The Freedom of Truth

You would think I’d have had enough. All of the assignments, the lectures, the stress. Yet, I have spent all day waiting for 5pm. Not for the rest or the break away from work, but for writing.

The relief of knowing I no longer have restrictions placed on my writing to be academic, to be reflective. I can write to enjoy it, write to unwind. The joy of it, the satisfaction of the words coming together and all of it making sense in the end… I have missed it.

Life has taken over and it has taken ‘writing for pleasure’ away from me. Instead, all I have had is writing to meet the domains, to tick boxes on that ever-growing list of things that University ask of us.

I have missed this. I have missed my laptop, missed choosing the font that I want and not the font that University insists we use. All of the little things that make up the bigger ones.

I have missed the freedom of my own truth, my own words, my own self.

I welcome writing back into my life with open arms.

Until the next time.   

Relief

There is a sigh of relief,

The last of 3500 words,

The last assignment,

The end of a long 3 years.

A breath of fresh air fills the lungs,

Time for a quick rest,

Time for me,

Time to write.