Latest story for my #futurelearn course

The next story for my futurelearn course:

Katie had just locked her car when the fox surprised her. As it flashed past her she caught her breath, watching him leap over fences as he ran through the front gardens of the houses in her street.

He then dissapeared up an alleyway half way down the road. Breathing again, she felt a flush of joy having seen the animal.

Moving to the city had been so much harder than she expected. Her job was great, how could she fault being artist in residence at the largest library and community centre for miles around.

But the concrete jungle was getting her down. It had only been six months since she had moved from the wide open spaces of the East. 

There she could stand in the noisey silence of the early morning, the dome of the sky above her and the resident sparrows in nearby trees would swing from branches and chatter to one another. 

Now all she had was a little slice if sky from her dorma window and the constant rumble of humanity en mass.

Later in the day she met Lucy for coffee and recounted her meeting with the fox. Lucy paused, pushing back her 1980’s peroxide fringe and sitting back in her chair. She studied Katie for a moment, taking in her classic talored trousers and crew neck top. She noticed that in spite of an expensive bob hair cut and perfect natural makeup, she looked soul-tired.

“You know, there is more nature in the city than you might imagine. I think it’s time you but your artist sensibilities to it”.

Katie put her coffee down “what do you mean?”

“Well, if I were a photography student and I only took photos of what you have described the city to be, what would you say to me?”

“I’d tell you to change your perspective, to look big, look small, look sideways…”

“Well then my friend, time to go do that”.

So she did. Suddenly a new world opened up to Katie. From tiny flowers pushing the vaement aside, ferns and lichen reclaiming walls, silly pigeons making eyes at one another on rooftops and clouds of starlings in the evening, there was more life in the city than she could have imagined.

And of course, there was the fox in her street – home had come to her.

#Futurelearn course in #creativewriting

So I have started a future learn course in creative writing. I’m enjoying it so far (which to be fair, isn’t very far yet). We have been asked to write a first draft of the beginning of our story, in 500 words. So here is mine… remember, it really IS first draft…

The tap was dripping again. It had been dripping on and off for a week or more. Piles of dishes and plates layered with cutlery were stacked on the small draining board threatening to avalanche the dying plants on the windowsill.

Clothes were piled up near the washer dryer, acting as a causeway from the kitchenette part of the bed sit to the sofa come sleeping area. In the half light of closed curtains, not much of the midday sun was getting in but a pioneering ray of light had made its way to Hazel’s face. She pushed her pillow over her head and tried to block out the day. An hour later, Kenny, her neighbour below had decided it was late enough to turn up his music and the muffled sound of drum and bass reverberated through the floor. The beat finally drove Hazel to get up. Reaching for the nearest clothes and pulling on a pair of slouchy jeans she found a mostly clean maroon t-shirt along with her favourite midnight blue sweat top. Shoving feet into already tied trainers she wrenched the tap shut again and scraped her dark tangled hair back with the elastic band she found in her pocket.

The kettle and instant coffee found, she was now drinking a brew from a stained mug found under the desk.  She rested her head on her knees as she sat on the now folded up sofa bed.

A bedraggled hare, its blue grey fur flea bitten and a chunk missing out of its right ear, sat next to her, its whole body drooping. It raised its head tiredly towards her and spoke.

The intervention had come in 2030. Humanity became, overnight, part of the sentient collective as earth was flooded with microscopic DNA advancers, turning everyone from homo sapiens to homo-novis. The change in DNA had caused an unexpected shift in that part of a human which was not physical: the soul and mind.

Ancient cultures and modern writers had hinted at it, but now every human could see and converse with their own souls. Other people’s souls could be seen as a blur of coloured light, but to the individual they looked like an animal. Likewise, other people heard another soul’s words as faint chirping or the scuff of leaves along the pavement. But for each person, the conversations we used to have in our heads, now happened both there and out loud with the other that was also us.

You know we cant go on like this” the hare said.

Hazel shifted a little so she could look at her. Once soft and thick fur was now thin and bald. Itchy patches could be seen down the hare’s spine and a listlessness to the eyes had appeared. It really was time to choose. Either she had to get help, or they would die.

National #poetry day

As it’s national poetry day, here is a quote from Didn’t he ramble by Edward Kamau Braithwaite:

Bring me now where the warm wind
blows, where the grasses
sigh, where the sweet
tongue’d blossom flowers

where the showers
fan soft like a fisherman’s
net thrown through the sweet-
ened air

Bring me now where the workers
rest, where the cotton drifts,
where the rivers are
and the minstrel sits

on the logwood stump
with the dreams of his slow guitar

Recent  #inspirational finds 

There is always so much to see on the Internet and just put and about. I thought I would share some of the things that have inspired me recently.

Bullet journaling 

I have been organising myself using a bullet journal for the lady couple of weeks. I really like the concept and I also I like how customisable the who thing is. My day pages have a diary space, room for notes and the weather as well as a day journal and scripture  journal:

I also have some goal pages:

Action for happiness, the Blurt Foundation and TWLOHA

Have all posted cool stuff recently:

And last but not least 

The young people I work with inspire me all the time. This felted star was made by a young man in my lunch club – he had never touched a felting needle before:

#poetry -Vulnerability

Better a word shared than not said at all,

better to stretch, to open to give

than to hide in lonely safety.

We weren’t made to solidify,

to grind to an inevitable halt

to fossilise until we are

merely a record of who we were.

The give may burn

but what rises from the ashes

is a life made pure in love

the connective bond

which calls out our humanity

to live another day.

The 358th year of British #Tea: time for a #mindful pause?

I see Google is celebrating the British cuppa today. Which is a good thing I think. In spite of Britain supposedly falling out of love with tea in favour of coffee, anecdotally, I know loads of people who drink both.

I like most drink coffee out and tea in. Although, i’m bucking the trend and like my teabags round (I also like them fairtrade)…

At the end of the day however, there are less tea drinkers in Britain, and why? Bcause we just cant be bothered. The Independent says:

Tea’s fading popularity is attributed to faster-paced living, a generation gap and a stodgy image. Many people these days do not want to take the time to brew tea, and even fewer will interrupt their busy days for the leisurely, civilized ritual of afternoon tea, a 19th-century invention of Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford, who decided that tea and cakes were the best antidote to a late afternoon ”sinking feeling.”

But wait, isn’t that the point of a cup of tea? A time in the day where we can stop, and savour the moment rather than rush on by? Perhaps in our modern world we need a touch of old fashioned.

Maybe the humble British brew could in fact help us all not rush headlong into busy oblivion….

And then again perhaps it is just, a nice brew.