Grubby, floured, raw and real

Getting crafty for Easter!

Getting crafty for Easter!

I sometimes find myself sitting down to start writing a blog only to start worrying. What if no one reads it? What if no one likes it? How do I make a day in my life interesting to the world wide web?

Cue the minor meltdown and a hasty scuttle away from the computer.

But now I’m beginning to understand what a waste of energy all of that worry is. No one can have exciting days every day. Not everyone has a new story to share after just 24 hours. It’s not a given that your next blog post will have more ‘likes’ than the last.

And that’s ok. The thing is, I don’t come on wordpress for popularity. I’m not on here to get as many followers as possible or an inbox full of comments. I embrace the fact that – for now, maybe not forever – I am simply me. I am one person with one life, sharing one story. So what I have to say is already different from everyone else.

So what is my story today?

Welcome to my Easter weekend…

* * *

Saturday was a day for baking! Hot cross buns and a three tiered Easter cake…our ambitious goal for one afternoon. For the hot cross buns, we used Delia Smith’s recipe.

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It was going so well…until the timer failed to go off. What remained of the buns were a sorry sight!

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So we quickly turned to the cake, a simple regular sponge with coloured butter icing and decorated with creme eggs, mini marshmallows, and butterfly sprinkles.

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This was the result!

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Exhausted and (mostly) pleased with the results, we settled in for the night with the rest of Britain to watch the long anticipated episode of Doctor Who, ready for our Easter Sunday walk through Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.

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So, today, this was me. This is my Easter. This is my story.

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What’s yours?

Lady Purple

Source: lets-stay-wild

Source: lets-stay-wild

I have often heard the phrase ‘It’s a small world’, but recently I have had to disagree.

The world is INFINITELY huge. It is not land mass that makes a planet, it is the people that live on it’s surface, and people cannot be shrunk to a number or a list of character traits. This world is the battle for life that is fought behind every front door; it is singing the same song over and over again just so you get it absolutely right; it is loving your family fiercely and unconditionally; it is having a favourite colour that you wear on every special occasion; it is believing in a happy ever after.

Each step that is taken, each word that is spoken, echoes through time and ripples out from one person to the next. Our own little worlds bump and collide, whether it is a shared smile with a stranger or the monumental event of falling in love. We cannot survive without these pocket worlds, even if we have no knowledge of them. And I like to think that it is this that makes us so vulnerably human.

Now, each and every one of us is different, with varying priorities and beliefs. But recently, I have learnt that there are those of us out there whose worlds stretch across oceans and embrace every stranger, with a solid smile and an unfaltering trust. There are real life heroes who teach through example, touch hearts with ease, and leave a lasting impression even when they’re gone. There are people who revive belief in humanity and kindness, and give us something to aspire to be. These people make the world infinite, for their pocket lives bump against everyone they meet and create waves of goodness as a result.

And I know that I want to spend my life striving to be one of those people.

So on this Easter weekend, even if you have no other belief than a fervent love of chocolate, be sure to bump into another’s life. Smile at a stranger or make an extra effort with a person you love.

And let’s honour those who make the world an infinite, beautiful place.

* * *

I would like to dedicate this blog post to Lisa Marie Nora Doran, an inspiring woman, hero, and idol to my best friend and sister who recently lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis. May you be forever singing your heart out with the angels upstairs.

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If you want to make a donation to help towards fighting Cystic Fibrosis and enhancing the lives of those who suffer, you can donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the name of Lisa at: http://www.memorygiving.com/lisamarienoradoran

Well, dip me in ink and colour me purple!

The most magical moment in writing is when what you are carving out, letter for letter, comes to life. It breathes, it sings, it roars, it flies from the page and into the aether. And you are Creator.

Now, this is not new to any of you. In fact, I am certain that you have had many more of these moments that I could ever lay claim to – and I envy that. When the characters on a page run away from you and say something you had never planned…and something you could now never discard. When a world is built up around you brick by brick…until the bricks melt away and turn to seamless marble. When a monster twists and mutates…and becomes the most beautiful creature ever dreamt. I hope to have that. I hope to one day look back at my work and be able to point to the sky and say: ‘I made that. That is me up there.’

The thing is, I have learned recently that we bring things to life every day, and not necessarily in writing. Talking to a small child we find ourselves telling stories of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, shaping that tiny person’s mind and filling it with imagination and wonder. The first time we question the ‘Meaning of Life’ or some equally daunting prospect, we are cooking up a whole recipe of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ and stirring them until they match the consistency of what we feel but cannot quite say. Telling someone you love them brings to the surface a lifetime of expectations, of puffy white dresses, of fat little children, and the wrinkles of old age.

We are living not in one static world, but a mismatch of thousands. We are eternally creating endless possibilities, beginnings of the new, memorials of the old, promises of the future. We are conductors of silent music and summoners of dreams. We nuture in nature and blur features in a mirror. We are eternally Creators of ourselves and all of those around us.

So those days when you feel like there is nothing of worth you can offer and you’d be better off staying in bed? Hell, do it. Stay under that duvet and don’t even get a glimpse of the sun until you are ready.

Instead, spend the day dreaming up fantastical notions of dragons, and power, and magic. Dream, and create, and mould, and adapt.

And then, Creator, get out of bed and share it with the world.

by littl3fairy

by littl3fairy

Leave an echo behind

Whispering the words trust me, you put your palm against my heartbeat and told me to listen. Your forehead was touching mine and we were breathing the same air, frozen in a cliche. We stayed like that until the sun came up. We stayed like that until I believed you loved me.

* * *

I tried to run, tried to drag you down the hill with me, but you tripped and fell and lay in the grass laughing until you got a stitch. You were beautiful even with your face scrunched up and your cheeks blotchy. The only boy I had ever seen cry. I told you you were an idiot, so you stuck your tongue out at me and put leaves in my hair. I hated that.

* * *

You let go of the kite before I was ready. My hands were mittens, tangled up in that flimsy string you told me would hold the weight of an elephant, or maybe even me. Cheeky sod. The diamond flapped in the wind, sunlight bleeding through it and blinding me as I chased after it, running right into you so you would catch me. When I landed, the breath was knocked out of me and I struggled for air as you pressed your lips to mine, drowning me.

* * *

The first time I caught you singing in the shower, you chased me around the house in a towel and rubbed your wet hair all over my face, demanding me to stop laughing. You bit my nose when I couldn’t. Your breath smelt like peppermint and shampoo.

* * *

Sometimes, if I sit really still and close my eyes, you are here. I can feel your breath tickling my cheek as you tell me to wake up, teasing me, telling me I’ve been snoring. You refuse to shave more than once a millennia and your stubble scrapes against my chin.

* * *

That’s when I remember.

Source: blog.pearhaven.com

Source: blog.pearhaven.com

Into the Zoetrope

I firmly believe that there are certain projects, most especially in writing, that should be left to fester when overworked. Which is why there has been a definite lack of blogs on elspod as of late.

Blogging is something I greatly enjoy, but unfortunately I am a sufferer of Binge-Writing. I can write at lengths for days, get inspiration from walking down the street, and pump out blog after blog on varying topics in different forms, and I love every minute of it. I write until I have emptied myself of every thought and idea…and then I just stop.

I stop because something I love begins to feel like a chore and that terrifies me. So I follow my instinct: I simply stop writing. I stop writing to please other people and wait until writing begins to feel like something I’m doing for myself again. Right now, I feel like I am writing for me. I am writing to help offload a little bit of life into my blog and free up my mind to make space for the everyday. I merely ask that you bear with me. For what I have to offer today is not of the conventional everyday, but is instead a short story.

Follow me Into the Zoetrope…

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Source: ginamoroney.com

Source: ginamoroney.com

The cold metal of the handle stung her palm as she slammed the door shut. His voice was still ringing in her ears, roaring with the gut force of a lion. She felt trapped, forced to cower in the corner of her own mind. Not that Peter understood; he was the worst of all. It was as if he could not be happy unless he was filling up space like an ever expanding balloon that she could not – would not – burst, because she thought she loved him more than she had ever loved herself. He would approach her as she gazed in the bathroom mirror and wrap his strong arms around her waist before whispering that the day she fell for him was the happiest of his life. But expectations followed this declaration, a struggle in the dark that choked her with a suffocating heat and burned the moonlight onto her retinas as she performed Act One, Scene One of a play that he called ‘Love.’

Only here in the attic could she find peace from this relentless onslaught. It was a room of history and antiques, books and boxed up toys, each one labelled and neatly stacked. A tasselled lamp slumped in a corner; she switched it on and a soft pool of amber light illuminated a sturdy table with a proud zoetrope atop it. Ever since she could remember, this proud spinning wheel of pictures had brought a smile to her face, playing out the sequence of a man dancing, holding a single rose. She knelt down so she was level with the slits in the black card. Already, she could spy the multiple motionless silhouettes of her dancer, a shadow rose clutched in his shadow hand, itching to begin…she reached out and span it.

Oh, how he danced! Such grace and ease with which he moved about his strip of paper, tripping out a story that she wished she could be a part of. It would be so much simpler in there with him, dancing the days away. She leaned closer, the breeze from the motion of the picture wheel brushing against her eager nose. In fact, the closer she got, the more she could see: soft hollow cheeks, a smudge of a moustache, shirt tails flapping around a waist, petals furling and unfurling gently, with each rotation. No, that wasn’t possible. He was just a silhouette, an inky shape on paper.

A warning growled in her head, telling her to stop and walk away. Irritated, she stifled Peter’s voice. He didn’t have a say up here. Up here, she made the rules.

She leant even closer this time. She could see the shine of the shadow man’s shoes, the wave of his hair, a crease in his trousers. The zoetrope spun faster. There a button, a fingernail, a belt buckle.

She was entranced by wilting notes of music, hypnotised by a rhythm that seemed to be coming from the shadow man himself. As she bowed in ever closer, the slits in the zoetrope got bigger and bigger until they enveloped her completely. The spinning wheel engulfed her, consumed her head, shoulders, arms, legs, until it catapulted her right into its heart.

Panicking, she looked down. She was no longer knelt on thick carpet, no longer peering into a zoetrope. Her hands had turned the same inky black colour as her shadow man, every freckle and fingerprint a dark crevice. Running those alien hands through her hair, she saw that her long locks were thin ribbons, as if drawn by the nib of a pen. Her clothes, legs, feet, were one big blot on a stark blank background. All around her were walls of white paper, spinning frantically, whirring out the eternal dance that she had watched so many times before. But the routine was changing. Her shadow man wasn’t dancing any more. Instead, he was waving his signature rose high above him, as if in greeting.

A scream ripped from her mouth and tore through the wheel. She backed up and bumped into a paper wall that scraped against her in its rotation. A hand touched her shoulder, reached for her fingers, stroked her hair, as shadow man after shadow man span past her.

She was caught in a spinning nightmare, with no stillness or tranquillity, just an endless twirling mass of chaos, and she needed to get out. She couldn’t breathe.

As if the shadow man had read her thoughts, the hands touching her began to lift her thin papery body up the wall of the zoetrope until she was high enough to latch on to one of the slits in the cardboard. It was not hard to haul herself up and swing her body up on to the lip of the picture wheel. Slowly, her breathing steadied.

There was the same attic, the room she had sought refuge in her whole life since Peter had entered it…but it looked different now. It seemed ludicrous she had felt alone only moments ago for she saw him in every dust particle; immortalised in every toy. Out there she was never alone for he was always with her, telling her what to do, what to say, how to think and feel. What had once seemed a safe haven now seemed ominous, the lair of her personal monster. If she left, he would be there, just outside that door.

‘Not if you stay here,’ said a voice from below.

She looked down. The wheel had stopped turning and the shadow man was looking up at her excitedly.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Peter.’

‘You’re not Peter.’

‘Am I not?’ The shadow man frowned as if confused. ‘I could be Peter if you want me to be,’ he said.

She stared at him, at the many versions of him, each one frozen in a fraction of movement, all looking to her with smiles on their faces. She could stay here, with her shadow men, each one holding her in an eternal dance, each one smiling at her forever. Not one of them would tell her what to do.

She looked back at the stale attic room.

‘Do it! Just let go and fall for me. It would be the happiest day of my life,’ chanted her shadow man.

She got to her feet, wavering on the brink of two worlds: one of Peter, one of shadows.

‘But how can I fall if I know you’re going to catch me?’