Samantha looked at the teaspoon. It had been her grandma’s. A treasure containing a story. Her grandma had stolen it from a rich family she had worked for. They never noticed, she would say with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. Too much money, she would then say adding a tut. Whenever anyone important was round for tea she made sure to give them the good teaspoons.
Her grandma had been a kind woman. Smiling, sweet and loving. She had been a hard-working young woman until her family came along, and then she worked harder still at the more crucial job of wife and mother. It was when she was a grandmother that she shone though. She taught her grandkids everything, how to cook, clean, grow edibles and take good care of one’s appearance, all whilst smiling and laughing. Her grandchildren loved her for it. It was a cliché, they were not rich with material goods, but they were rich in love.
Samantha sighed and put the spoons in a “to keep” box, wondering what she herself would leave to her grandchildren one day.
“No, no, no……”, a tiny voice shouted into the darkness. “Not Tony, we can’t have lost Tony.”
“Pull it together man. We’ve got to get the rest of the gang to safety. We’ll come back for Tony.”
In two’s the men made their way for cover. Safely in shelter one of them dared to turn on the light.
“Geoff, what are you doing? Do you want us to get caught?”
“Chill, we’re in the all-clear.” In the distance, they could hear glasses clinking, laughter and soft music. Still, it was clear some of the guys were nervous. They’d been caught out before and they knew the repercussions.
“Look we’ll hunker down here for a while. See if we can get one or two of those vehicles started and then head out.”
More laughter drifted through the air towards them, and they heard a door banging in the distance. Ignoring it they focussed on the cars. How many would they need to fit everyone in?
“Alex! James! Get yourselves back to bed this instant!” The bedroom light switched on startling two young boys. In the doorway stood an angry woman with her hands on her hips.
“Mum… It was just getting to the good bit,” Alex whined.
“You’ve already been told. Any more of that nonsense and James will be going home. You know you were only allowed to have a sleepover if you boys went to bed on time.” She walked into the room and removed some of the dolls the boys were playing with.
The boys skulked over to bed, wading through a trail of dolls and cars and toy guns.
“I expect this mess to be cleaned up first thing in the morning, then you can have these back.” His mother said then with a whoosh she switched off the light and closed the door.
“What now?” came a quiet voice in the dark. A dull torchlight appeared under the bedsheets.
“Give them five minutes to get back to their dinner party and we can play again.” “Yea, now we’ve really got to rescue Tony!”
“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”
― Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess
When I first saw this quote I was instantly drawn to it. I like Sophie Kinsella’s novels too, light summer holiday reading material so wanted to incorporate it into a post somehow.
Ruining your life and becoming resilient, that’s one of the 7 basic story archetypes. Yet no writing idea was coming to me, so I hit google and found this:
“When is it too late to turn your life around?
Short answer: never. It depends on your drive and willingness to make your future into something you want it to be. You could be 80 and still achieve goals that you doubted you could achieve when you were much younger.
Sure, you might have to reassess certain goals as time goes by and be realistic about what you can and can’t do – physically and mentally – but the potential for a happier and more fulfilling life is always there.
Just remember this: the sooner you get started, the longer you’ll have to reap the rewards of your efforts. There is no time like the present.”
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
– Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Suzie was preparing to type on her laptop. The library didn’t open for another hour so she’d made peace with bunking down at the local Wetherspoons to get some writing done before heading over there. She had deadlines and was easily distracted at home. Here she could click away get unlimited cups of tea and there was wifi should she need it. It wasn’t the best, but it would do. Cuppa ready, books out, she began to type.
“Roy that is so outrageous!” Came a rather loud woman’s voice entered through the venue door. Followed by one of those too-loud laughs.
“I’m telling you the truth, Maisie.” The man followed behind her declaring.
“Ooh what a scandal”. Maisie cackled again and Suzie felt her fingernails dig into her hand.
“Oh look. Let’s sit over here, it’s nice and quiet and plenty of room for when the others arrive.” Suzie quickly looked up to see Maisie wafting her hand in Suzie’s general direction. Lord NO, please don’t sit here, please don’t sit here. Now Maisie couldn’t take her eyes off them.
“Sure” Roy shrugged and within seconds they were sitting at the next table.
“So, she met George in prison?” Maisie’s loud voice questioned. What? Suzie had to admit she was intrigued.
“Well, sort of. She was attending with the church, support and all that kind of stuff, and soon they got talking. Then one thing led to another.”
Ignore them, Suzie. You are here to get work done. Take a swig of tea and get on with it.
“And now Ethel’s missing?”
Gulp! Friggin hell. It’s a murder.
“Yup that’s what I’ve been told. Police have been called and all that but apparently there’s no trace.”
Suzie hadn’t realised it but she was now instinctively leaning closer to the neighbouring booth. The doors to the Pub opened again and a rather handsome gentleman entered. Suzie sat back straight but in doing so knocked some of her papers to the floor. The gentlemen quickly walked over and bent down to help pick them up.
“Thanks,” Suzie said and blushed a little.
“Oh George, there you are!” Maisie’s screeching voice came out.
“Hi Maisie,” Mr Handsome, clearly George answered. Then winked at Suzie handing her the last of her papers. Taking them off him. Suzie nodded then began to hastily push everything as fast as she could into her bag. She couldn’t be sitting on the next table from a killer, and what was that wink all about? Crap, she’d be next. She tried to quickly put her coat on then realised she had it inside out. Frick. Starting over she got it on and then the zip wouldn’t go up. What was wrong with her?
George seemed to take the hint and made his way to the booth with Maisie and Roy.
“Oh so sad, we heard all about Ethel.” Maisie’s voice penetrated the air once more.
Things packed Suzie made her way to the door. One quick glance back just to memorise George’s looks in case she needed it for a police fit later.
“Yeah, that damn cat has caused no end of heartache for Lynn. It’s back now though. All’s well that end’s well I suppose.” George said.
Suzie stepped out the door and made her way to the library steps to spend the next twenty minutes out in the cold waiting. That’ll teach me.
Originally written in response to
Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWWC) – Communication
“In order to rise From its own ashes A phoenix First Must Burn.”
– Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents
Even though it often felt she was still
Or going backwards
Yet she never repeated
Life was for learning
Sometimes the pain felt unbearable
Yet through the flames
She could see just a glimpse
Of the life she wanted
I was going to write a long-winded post here about how whilst going through one of the most difficult times in my life one of my closest and oldest friendships came to an end. Yet, just 12 months on from that I had made a new group of friends to who I am very grateful. However, the post ended up reading like a sob story with me prattling on endlessly, so I have removed it. I am sure everyone has their moment in the flames, and I truly hope (although you might not see it at that moment in time), bigger and better things await you in the future, that one day you will look back on and be thankful for.
Originally written in response to
Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWWC) – Order
This week whilst taking the mother for a quick browse and lunch in a local town, I had a few quick glances around the book section of the charity shop. Low and behold these beauties found their way into my basket:
How pretty are those covers?
Whilst I love browsing charity shops and second-hand shops for pre-loved books, my to-read bundle has grown quite ridiculous and is now hoarding a whole bookcase of its own (and that doesn’t include the hidden collection lurking on my kindle).
So, for the moment I think I need to pop a pin in it. All book shopping is on hold until further notice. At least until there is one clear shelf on my bookcase!
Anyone else found some pre-loved bargains that they just couldn’t resist?
Originally written in response to Prompt for #SoCS – Pin. by Linda G Hill
“A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.”
The sunlight was fading.
She loved this hour.
Not quite day and not quite night.
When the world seemed to quieten to settle.
This was her hour with her passion.
She’d nurture each moment.
Correct what needed to be corrected.
Cherish each statement.
Be swept up and pulled into this addictive trance.
Her heart beating wildly as everything seemed to fall into place just right…
“Love, dinner’s ready.” A voice called from downstairs.
“Okay, I’ll just finish this sentence”, she called back.
After a few quick clicks of the keyboard, she stepped away from the pc. The twinkling light tempting her.
“We’ll conquer that next chapter tomorrow”.
I love this quote but I think in this day and age it’s possible to have both. When I first started my current job over ten years ago, I truly loved it. I was never interviewed, instead I met one of the managers for an informal chat and walk around the workshop and office. I was offered a job the next day. I was so impressed by him. He was so passionate about his job and what he wanted to achieve for the business, it exuded from him and it was so difficult not to get swept up by that. He became not only my manager but a firm friend and I am so grateful for that. He taught me so much but primarily how to love your job.
He moved onto another business around two years after I started and whilst I have worked with some truly fantastic people since he will always have a special place in my heart.
Not a career (yet) but ultimately writing is my passion. Like many, finding dedicated time to do it is difficult and I have to squeeze the odd hour in here or there but still, I love it. I have a very understanding OH who lets me witter away about whatever chapter, character or blog post I’m working on. When we go on days out and I stop suddenly to take a photo, he knows that it’s likely for a #writephoto post. I may seem an ingrate when I am distracted by whatever writing activity is consuming me at the time but I truly adore that he inspires and encourages me and my writing. For that, I am forever grateful to him.
When I am really into a novel, I’m seeing the world differently during that time – not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I’m actually walking around in a bit of a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.
Well, I’ll admit I have been looking for an excuse to use this quote for a while. Who doesn’t want an excuse to have Colin Firth appear in their post – haha? The ultimate Mr Darcy in my humble opinion. Mixed with the intensity of being absorbed by a book – heaven. I’ve gone off track a little….
Anyway, whilst the above quote is banded about the internet quite a bit (why not, it’s a great quote promoting books) the follow-up quote is often forgotten or missed entirely, yet for me, it is actually far more interesting.
I’m paraphrasing terribly from a theory I came across years ago, but there was this idea that everyone leads a kind of secret life. All of these things are going on around us that we don’t process consciously but that stay with us. There’s a school of thought that inanimate objects can make you feel certain things and you don’t know why. You pick up a green mug and you drink coffee out of it and you’re not thinking about anything except whether the coffee is good or bad. About an hour later, you feel depressed and you don’t know why. Perhaps the mug is exactly the same color as your grandmother’s. You’re aware of the emotion but you didn’t know your subconscious went through a whole thing—remembered something, relived something, and fed it back to you. So a book can pull out responses that would be dormant otherwise. I find that a very valuable thing to have as a possibility. I’m not simply responding to the author’s vision. The joy I take from a book is mine. It comes from me.
What an amazing intriguing theory and I have been thinking about it all day (no not Colin, his quote, honest). I have favourite mugs, despite a cupboard full of beautiful cups, I do have a couple that are favourites for no particular reason.
Stepping away from mugs for the moment and going back to books, there are certainly books that I have read recently that have entranced me and left me questioning things afterwards. For example, I recently read Anti-social by Nick Pettigrew, which certainly increased my sympathy for those suffering from mental health and poverty and increased my awareness of those who supported them.
Only a few days after reading this book, I found myself in A&E for a seven hour-plus wait. In the waiting room appeared an elderly gentleman and a younger woman. Initially, they drew little attention, however after an hour or two the woman appeared frantic, guards were called, the police arrived. The man had disappeared, it turned out he had run off as he didn’t want his bloods taken. The young woman (who most would probably assume was a daughter) was in fact a caseworker assigned to him. Not only was she terrified that he had run off, she was also aware she would at some point be finishing her shift and wanted to know he was settled and okay before leaving. Upon the police finding the man and returning him, he wasn’t particularly helpful to the nurses, and continued to go to the male toilets repeatedly every 15 minutes, often staying in for large amounts of time, for no other reason than he knew she couldn’t go in there. I’m not saying without this book I wouldn’t have been sympathetic to the pair, but the book certainly increased my understanding of just how difficult a job that woman had to do and how lucky that man was she was there and genuinely seemed to care for him, I imagine with many others he would just be a case on a spreadsheet waiting to be closed off.
Mental health will always be a challenge, but I do think books like this that touch us, inspire us and live with us long after reading can really help remind us of our human capacity to care for others. I truly hope the right people at the right levels of society can also read and be inspired by such books and influence a better brighter future.
What about you? Have you read any books lately that have completely absorbed you? If so, I’d love to hear about them.
I was pleased to meet Einstein and learn of his story He started as a patents clerk, before finding his glory He published his General Theory of Relativity But it took a solar eclipse to remove the science communities negativity,
Next I found Curie, and her life’s situation Poland limited females, with no access to higher education Yet still she triumphed, graduating top of her class Winning Two Nobel Prizes, Oh what a lass!
Then I met Tesla, what an interesting chap Arrived in New York with just the clothes on his back An alternating motor was his brilliant design Despite Edison’s attempt to thwart this brilliant mind.
Benjamin Franklin ran away at just seventeen With no formal education or financial means His genius for business soon made him rich Yet his passion for fellow man is what made him tick!
So how did I find all these geniuses indeed? I went to the library and started to read. Here you have access to the world’s greatest minds Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime!
Originally written in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWWC) hosted by Marsha Ingrao at Always Right.
Education can be one of life’s greatest gifts. Yet, we all learn by different ways and means and a standard exam cannot capture one’s intelligence, drive or brilliance. In fact, hands-on training can often be much more meaningful to an employer. I think there is a place for both in society. Equally, I love a success story, especially from an underdog and history has so many wonderful examples.
She stared out across the water. Her mind lapping like the waves on the edge of the lake. Repeating her story to herself, but adding another line each time. Her life had changed, her plans gone awry, was there signals she missed? Probably. She had wanted the cliché. The house, the husband, the dog and the kids. She fought with everything she could, sometimes risking that which she hadn’t meant to. She had almost got it all. Almost.
The dog was an easy win, who doesn’t love dogs? Convincing him of the house move trickier but manageable. Some thought her husband meek but he could be stubborn when he wanted to. The wedding was a much harder challenge but eventually, she got there. Finally, she was ready for the children to come along.
Yet… as more and more time went in, the dreamed of pregnancy just didn’t happen. Cracks in her perfectly laid plans began to appear elsewhere. Strains that had been glossed over now bowed under pressure. Eventually, the talk was had. The perfectly planned life unravelled. One got the dog, the other the house. The title of husband and wife was vandalised with the “EX-“ prefix. So here she was, alone, in front of the wild lake.
Yet, life gave lessons, not curses. The wild lake representing what she needed, giving her time to cleanse, revive and refresh her life. Time to make some new plans…
“As exciting, difficult and memorable as our past can be, there comes a time when we have to get on with living.”
Patrick Carman, The Tenth City
I realise this is quite a melancholic post this week. I have someone on my mind. Someone I used to know well but life presented some challenges, as life often does, and now they are no longer part of my life. Even though that is the case, I still wish them luck and happiness on their quest. Water after all is the best symbol for refreshment there is.