My first blog
|This is my first ever blog, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing . I guess I'll learn as I go along.|
|Day Fourteen ~ Creation Saturday! You're all talented writers, of varying backgrounds and abilities. As we near the halfway point of the month, take some time to look back at your entries.
Create a poem inspired from your entries this month. Any style or form (or none at all). Pull lines from all of your entries thus far and see what happens. Obviously you're free to add/subtract words from lines that don't seem to fit the narrative you've come across when compiling your thoughts; this isn't meant to be a summary of the month to date, but a writing exercise.
Oh dear. The poem I've created is a little long and rambly. It's free verse, and I've bolded all the words that are taken from previous posts.
A New Me
we place on ourselves
toward me, and my
fingers tangle together as they
rush ahead of my
My whole life I’ve been swamped with
has become my life saver;
my fingers are a conduit
for my thoughts,
translating the echoes of things
that have been
for other bloggers to read.
Millions of paths,
connecting us all to one another;
for the first time making sense.
I am at the bottom of the hill,
but that’s better than
being buried underneath
a ton of mud and lies.
For the first time in
I’m questioning my facts,
I’m unloveable, right?
Or is that the offering of
a man who knew no other way?
The shame I have felt
suffocated me for so long,
but now I’m getting better.
If I close my eyes,
I get lost in the rhythm
that plays inside of me;
I smile, drum my fingers
by my side
and my world becomes
I am me; that’s all,
but I’m learning that’s enough.
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|Day Thirteen ~ On this day in 1854, Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, PA, was granted the first US patent for the accordion. He made improvements to the keyboard and enhanced the sound. Do you play or have you ever played any instruments? If not, what's one you'd like to learn? Bonus Points today for sharing a favorite song of yours with us that names any instrument in its title.
Music is something I'm passionate about. It's got me through some really tough times in the past. It's the thing that links me to my Dad more closely than anything else. I have an extremely eclectic taste in music, and I've dabbled in playing a few instruments.
As a young child, I took piano lessons. I passed my first grade exam. We didn't have a piano in our house, though. I had an electric keyboard to practise on. But I wasn't good at practising. I preferred to be outside with my friends. Anywhere away from the house, really. So I gave up my lessons when I was about eight. Dad was angry and warned me I would regret it some day. He was right. I wish, wish, wish I'd continued with my lessons. I would love to be able to play the piano really well. I did write a song with my keyboard when I was six. It was called "Little Elf" and was a fairly depressing song about an elf who thought nobody would come to her birthday party. I can still remember how it goes.
All through primary school, I played the descant, treble, and tenor recorders. I played solo and group performances in competitions a few times. We even won once. I loved playing the recorders. I desperately wanted to play the flute, but Dad refused to let me because of my failure to keep up with piano lessons. It was probably a fair call.
When I was thirteen, I discovered the instrument that would be my love forever: the drums. At secondary school, our music teacher, a slightly odd man called Mr Hughes, bought a drum kit. The moment I sat behind them and started to play, everything else faded away. I got lost in the rhythm. I began taking lessons and practising every lunch time. It was perfect; my hero was Karen Carpenter, and I wanted so much to play the drums like she did. Before long, I had formed a band with two of my friends. We used the music room most days to practise our music. It was my escape from the crap that filled my head. I wasn't me when I played the drums. We called our band "Storm," so that when we were famous and on "Top Of The Pops," the presenter could say we were, "storming up the charts." Of course, it never happened. But we did play and sing at school concerts every year. Our "signature" song was "All I Want Is You" by U2. Oh, those were the days!
The first song that comes to mind is "Mr Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan.
I also adore this song, so I had to link it as well:
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|Day Twelve ~ I just spent the bulk of the evening reorganizing my WDC portfolio a little bit. I do it maybe once or twice a year. How often do you organize yours? How do you have yours set up? Are your folders arranged in any specific order? Guide us on a virtual walking tour of your port.
Here's the thing: to the untrained eye, I am the most disorganised person in the world. But that's not it. I may look disorganised, but I know where everything is. I live in my own ordered chaos. (My hubby would not agree with this statement.) Seriously, though. I just feel like there are so many things more interesting to do than to organise things. That said, I do need to have them arranged in a way that I know where everything is. I panic if I'm not in control. How do the two parts of me fit together? Actually, fairly well.
But, onto my portfolio. For me, this is incredibly well organised and straight forward. I actually spent some time in December doing this because I knew I was going to be a Newbies Academy Showcase Member in January. So I spent some time with my port. I have highlighted three items I think help others understand me. There is a static item which lists everything I wrote in 2016: "A Little Of Me In 2016 . . ." . I created this a few months ago, when a lot of people seemed to be doing it, and hinting that people looking to nominate items for the Quills could take a look. My other highlighted items are "PTSD & Me" and my poetry folder, "Poetry" . My piece about PTSD felt like a breakthrough for me, as the response I received was overwhelming. I felt so supported, and validated. So I like people to read this. I think it helps them to understand me, as well. I highlighted my poetry folder because it won a Quill Award last year, and I was so proud of that.
The rest of my port may look a little haphazard, but it's not. It all makes sense. My first item is a static I created as part of my NAG Showcase feature. It lists my most recent items, and items I'm most proud of. It's a mini guide to my port (so if you're looking to figure it out, this is a good place to start).
I also have a folder that holds the items I would most like reviews for. It's mainly my newest items. After this, I separate my folders into "Short Stories," "Poetry," "Rising Stars," "Non Fiction," "Flash Fiction," "Book Items," "Images," "PDG," "NAG," "New Horizons," and "Verdant Poetry Contest." Then, there are my items that don't fall into any of these categories, so I just dumped them in my portfolio on their own. There is: "Writing of Lady Purple" (which is my book of Game of Thrones writing, and I'm very proud of this), "Randoms by Rach" (this blog), "Rach's Welcome Lounge," "Rach's Characters" (something I was working on with another member), and "Say . . . Which Genre?." The last static is part of my quest to review an item in as many different genres as possible this year. I record my reviews here.
Inside my poetry and short stories folders, I've tried to create an order to the items. The others, not so much. So it is a little haphazard, but in a non-hap way. It makes sense, no?
|Day Eleven ~ Vincent Van Gogh said, "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." What is your 'you cannot ____' voice always ragging on you about, and how good are you at silencing it?
Woahhhh. This is a difficult one. My whole life I've been swamped with voices (inside of me and outside) telling me I can't do things, I'm fat, ugly, useless, selfish, unloveable, will never amount to anything. It's only since I've known David that I've started to feel any differently.
It started with my Dad. Don't get me wrong, I adored him. I was always a Daddy's Girl, and we shared many similar interests. But his words were often cruel. From as far back as I can remember, he made fun of me because of my weight. I was always big. I took after him. But he would call me fat and laugh at me in front of guests. When we had people to tea, he would swat my hand away if I tried to get a chocolate biscuit, and say I was "fat enough already." He always refused to give me the bumps at my birthdays because, he said, I was too heavy to lift. We played Blind Man's Buff at my eighth birthday party, and he groaned when I sat on him, and said I broke his leg. He never let up. One lunch time at primary school (I would have been around eight or nine), I stood in the dinner queue with my friends to collect my pudding, and when I got there, the dinner lady announced in front of everyone that I wasn't allowed pudding, or second helpings any more. Mum had written to the school saying this. The shame was immense.
Dad never told me he was proud of me until two weeks before he died. He said he was proud of how I got my life back together, and that he wouldn't change a thing about me. Why couldn't he have said that twenty years ago? I might not have made some of the mistakes I did if he had.
But, voices. That's where I'm going with this. I never believe I will be able to do anything. I never believe I am good at anything. I have major food issues (ranging from one extreme to another). And it's all because of my Dad's voice that is never happy with me. I know he loved me. I don't believe his intention was to break me the way he did. I think he wanted to make me as successful and brilliant as possible. Instead, I became anxious and frightened of everything and everyone. Because I know, deep down I know, I'm unloveable. He would often threaten to put me into a children's home if I didn't behave, or if I upset Mum. And if even your own Dad can't love you as you are, no one else is ever going to, right?
It's really upsetting to write this, and I apologise if it's a bit deeper than we're supposed to write. But this prompt had brought up a whole load of feelings.
The other, controlling voice I have is one that never leaves my side. My grandfather (who abused me sexually, physically, and emotionally). His voice is like a constant commentary; telling me how rubbish I am at everything, and how disgusting I am, how hideous to everyone. He tells me my friends only tolerate me because they have to. He tells me David would be better off without me. He laughs at me, undermines me, wants me to hurt me. He's vicious, and it has a huge impact on everything I do. Everything. But I'm not going to talk about him any further.
I realise I've probably made it sound like I'm psychotic, or schizophrenic. But I'm not. I know (most of the time - 3 a.m. tends to be slightly different) that the voices are echoes of things that have been. It's part of my PTSD. I have my tools I use to ground myself, and I am getting better.
I'm so sorry for writing so much, and for being so down. But this prompt has really affected me. I'm crying as I write this. I wish I was just me.
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|What's your favorite way of passing the time when your internet connection is interrupted for an extended period of time, especially when you had a lot you planned on taking care of online? Or, if you prefer- real talk- how addicted to the internet are you?
No internet for an extended period of time?! Don't even joke about such a thing. I can feel the hives breaking out all over.
Seriously, though. Not funny. I live in rural England, and my broadband cover is somewhat patchy. It has a tendency to withdraw its services at the exact moment you hover your finger over the save button on an email you've spent half an hour typing. The air around my computer is frequently blue. We live in a tiny one bedroom flat. So I haven't had my own office in which I could write. However, this Christmas David bought me a little corner desk which he's fitted into the corner of our bedroom. So now I can type and grumble and swear all I want. He says he bought it for my benefit; because I'm always complaining that I don't have a separate room as my office. Which is true. But I know he bought it so he gets some peace and quiet.
But anyway. I digress. We had our broadband updated to a faster one about a month ago. The internet company said our broadband would be out for about an hour when they made the switch, but they couldn't tell us what time it would be. Well. I was on edge all morning. Sweaty palms (in December!), heart racing, I couldn't concentrate on anything. I had my "no internet survival tools" on hand. These consisted of the book I was reading, a mindfulness colouring book and pencils, a notebook and pen, and a small chocolate bar.
As it happened, when our internet disappeared, I took the dog for a walk. I had to do something physical. So Alfie got extra walkies. He didn't mind. And I survived. The world still turned, people were still able to converse. All was okay.
So, on this basis, one would assume I am addicted to the internet. But that's not the whole picture. If it were just the internet, I'm sure I could cope. But it's not having access to writing.com that makes me panicky. My daily routine is: get up, walk the dog, WDC, eat lunch, WDC, walk the dog, WDC, eat tea, WDC, read, walk the dog, WDC, bed. Oh my days, I've just realised how dreadfully dull my life is. I've never put it into writing before. Ohhhh noooo. I'm hanging my head in shame.
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|Late actor Bob Denver (known for playing Gilligan on the tv show Gilligan's Island ), who would've celebrated his 82nd birthday today, once said "You know, I have no worst experiences." What do you think? When have you had to turn a potential "worst experience" into something positive?
Ooh, I like this prompt. There are a few occasions I can think of, but this is really not the place to share them . So I will tell you about my experience of acting in a play called "Piper's Mountain."
I was ten years old, and still at my local Primary School. At the end of every school year (mid July), there was an end of year "spectacular." That's the only way I can describe it. It was a small school, with only four classes. The younger classes (1 - 3) performed songs and small skits, but the main performance was always the top class. I was moved up to this class a year ahead of my age (I actually had a few working braincells in those days!) and the first year I was in the class, our play was "Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat." I wanted the part of the narrator so badly, but it went to one of the older girls. My job was to stand next to Pharaoh with a rubbish fan thingy and fan His Royal Highness. That was it. I wasn't happy.
So the next year, we had been studying a play called "Piper's Mountain" for a while. It was a musical and the lead was a character called Queen Dolores. I thought so hard about her character. I considered how unhappy and tragic she was, whilst always putting on a fake show of being the life of the party. At age ten, I knew this character inside out. Our teacher, Mrs Middleton, said there would be two performances. The first night, one set of children would act, and another set would act the second night. Well. I auditioned my heart out and won the prized lead for the first night's performance. I was so happy. I learned my lines in a couple of days, and practised her voice and actions non stop. I like to think I was employing Robert De Niro's character acting techniques, as I lived and breathed Queen Dolores.
As rehearsals moved along, Mrs Middleton spent more time watching me and telling me how much she liked my performance. Within a couple of weeks, the girl who was the Queen on the second night had been dropped, and I was to be Queen for both performances. Looking back, this was mean, and I apologise to Sarah. I'm really sorry. But she got revenge.
The first night's performance went really well. The audience responded with laughs and teary handkerchiefs in all the right places. The second night was a little different. There was a part of the play when I had to faint and fall onto a camp bed. Sarah (the ex Queen) volunteered to assemble the bed and move it on stage on the second night. However, she didn't lock the legs into place. So I swooned, fell, and the bed collapsed. Every single person in the room (audience, pupils, and teachers) laughed. I was an overweight ten year old with serious weight issues and I was so heavy I made the bed collapse. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I screwed up my eyes; I didn't want to see all the laughing faces. I knew everyone was thinking how my vast weight collapsed the bed. I was so ashamed.
After what felt like an hour, but was probably only a minute, I figured I had to take control. So I stood, held my stomach, and said, "I shouldn't have eaten all the cake." To which, everyone laughed again. But this time, it was with me; not at me. I then fixed the bed, and said, "I need a lie down with all this fun." Or something like that. And the play continued from there. It went really well, and I got a standing ovation at the end.
I came from a small village and for, literally, years people who were in the audience would stop me and tell me what a great performance I gave. It's simultaneously one of the worst moments of my life, and one of the proudest moments.
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|CES 2017 (Consumer Electronics Show) opened this week in Las Vegas, Nevada, and here are some of the weirder items on display and potentially coming to a store or online shop near you. Any thoughts or opinions on any of the items? Anything you might be interested in?
Okay. The Kerastase Hair Coach. I have serious issues with this. Here is the description, as per the website:
"The Kérastase Hair Coach is a gadget for goldilocks. Powered by smart tech company Withings, the hairbrush connects to an app and is supposed to "improve hair health over time." This means you can learn to "understand and improve brushing patterns" via a microphone that listens to your hair as it's brushed, sensors, and a corresponding app that tells you how damaged or dry your hair is.
The brush is just a prototype, so I was unable to figure out just how tangled my hair was."
Firstly, the brush "listens" to your hair as you brush it. With what? I see no ears! So don't tell me it listens. Don't tell me, firstly, my hair speaks and, secondly, a hairbrush can hear it. Please! This makes me the kind of angry that makes me want to shout at my laptop. However, I'm in the process of trying to convince people I'm sane, so I'll leave the shouting for now. But seriously . . . oh, hang on a moment . . . no! I'm wrong. My hair has just informed me hairbrushes don't need ears. They hear from deep within their plastic/metal.
My other issue with this gadget is: what kind of imbecile is unable to tell how tangled, or dry, their hair is? I know every detail of my hair. I know the placement of every single, miserable grey hair. I have them all in my sights. I don't need a hairbrush to tell me.
Wow. My vehemence has kind of surprised me. But this is the kind of pointless, modern-day idiocies that really pushes my buttons. It's like, do the companies really think we are that stupid? I don't know. *Shakes head*
That car, also. The electric super fast car. U.G.L.Y. I'll have a super sleek Aston Martin DB9 Vanquish any day. In purple.
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|Day Seven ~ Develop a new New Year's Eve tradition. It can be serious or humorous; possible or impossible. Here's a list of 14 weird ones if you need some inspiration.
My family has a beaten-up, old bugle. I've no idea where it came from. It never occurred to me to ask (I really wish I had). Every New Year's Eve, for as long as I can remember, my Dad would run outside with said bugle and blow it for a full minute. Every year. He could neither play the bugle, nor did the bugle have any tune in it. After a few alcoholic drinks, this always seemed hilarious.
When Dad died in 2007, the baton (or, bugle) was passed to me. It became my job to tunelessly blow the bugle outside our house. Which I did. It's harder than you would imagine. If the recorder is the only wind instrument you've ever played, getting a note out of a tuneless bugle is very difficult. The few years in between Dad's and Mum's deaths, we had neighbours around for drinks and I would spend the evening practising my bugling skills. To no avail. But I carried on with Dad's tradition, nevertheless.
In 2012, after Mum died, David and I were supposed to be moving to the U.S. (A whole other story there, for a whole other blog.) We shipped our belongings, including the bugle. Well. David got ill, the move was postponed, and we're still in the UK. But our things are in my stepdaughter's house. Including the bugle. So now, until I am reunited with it, I run outside, holding my hands in bugle playing position, and make my most bugley of sounds. David refuses to go with me. Apparently, it's embarrassing. But this is my new tradition for celebrating the new year.
I should also add that I actually went to bed before midnight 2016, as I was ill and, well, I'm getting older.
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|Fun Fact Friday! On this day in 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by an assailant at Cobo Arena in Detroit, MI. Four men were later sentenced to prison for the attack, including rival skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband. If you had to resort to some kind of evil shenanigans or trickery in order to increase your chances of winning this blogging challenge, what would be your plan of attack? Have some fun with this!
Well, obviously, I would like to think my skill as a writer would be enough
Okay, failing that . . .
As per my entry yesterday, I am floating high up in space. From my spaceship, I can see all the broadband connections travelling between homes. There are millions of paths connecting everybody. Now. It just so happens I have invented these special items I call broadband bombs. They are harmless to human beings, but lethal to broadband services. All I need to do in order to win this blogging contest is drop the bombs next to the places I see the most competition. They are silent; invisible to the naked eye. They will carry out my evil cunning plan without the slightest detection from my competitors.
I hear you doubting my aim, as I am very nearly at my destination of the Red Planet. But I have also invented invisible shoots that are extendable to light years in length. I simply drop the broadband bombs down these, and I can take control of everyone's computers. I can edit their posts; make them appear silly. They will have no control over it. I will be in supreme control. I will win.
( I actually scared myself a little bit there!)
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|Day Five - Are you on the road, or are you safely at home? Think about it...
Actually, I am neither on the road, nor at home. I am floating in a spaceship called Apondia, somewhere between Earth and Mars. I'm on a mission, you see, to explore the Red Planet. We have been warming the atmosphere on the planet for thirty years, gradually causing the ice caps to melt (a skill at which we humans excel!). This causes clouds to form, which causes water to fall and settle. Mars isn't that dissimilar from Earth. There are canyons where water once flowed, worn away billions of years ago. In warming the atmosphere, we have paved the way for this first mission. My role on the ship is counsellor to the crew. I am already on the trail of a kleptomaniac.
In other news . . . I am right at the beginning of the road of my writing. Right at the beginning. I still have so much to learn. Every time I think I have made progress, I read something another person has written and realise they are, like, a thousand miles ahead of me. I am at the bottom of the hill and climbing. But I am climbing. I will continue to climb. And it's the best trip I've ever made.
Please note I am avoiding the word journey. If there's one phrase I can't stand, it's those fake plastic talent show people saying, "This has been an amazing journey!" Nooooooo!!!!!!
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