Nathalie’s fault…

Everybody knows I love Eric’s writing (and Eric himself)
Tonight, he left a comment on my “Plus-one” post that was epic.
It wasn’t a comment—it was a story, it was a fable, it was a
ballad.
I was blown away by it and when Eric asked if I minded him turning it into a blog post, I told him he’d better or I would have to do it myself since his words were too gorgeous not to be shared.
So, he did and I’m reblogging it. I’m so, SO honoured (and touched) my blurry photograph inspired such beautiful lines. Please read the luscious words of a wonderful man—a knight and a bard rolled into one 😍💜

My Sword and Shield....

So was checking my WordPress feed today…
And I came across Nathalie’s post… Plus One

and after reading Her amazing scene that she had composed about her evening out this weekend…I was inspired, by her beautiful picture.

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to compose something of my own. I left it as a comment on her page. But She and I agreed that it would most certainly have a place here so here we go:

She wore a black dress, this combined with the golden brilliance of her hair…made her look like the night sky, in September…A harvest moon hanging over an ocean of stars and all the wonder and silent beauty of fall evenings…where bonfires crackled and sent embers of leaves skyward to the gods..a time when the air around you was crisp and cool and your breath made clouds in the wind…and a prickled blush would flood your cheeks..as you walked in the…

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Plus-one

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You know Spring is on its way when the days start ending in a slow kind of fade instead of dying abruptly like they do in December.

Friday night. The evening is announced with gold and purple bleeding into an English sky that’s actually visible for once. The usual mass of grey is noticeably absent, the sun has made an appearance and what a difference it makes. There are tenebrous-looking clouds dotting the sky here and there but it is on rare evenings such as this one that the very special luminosity of Turner’s paintings come to life.

I get to the party on time (early), for a change. Which would seem strange as I’m known (almost famous) for my tardiness but I don’t really want to be there, so it makes perfect sense—the sooner I arrive, the sooner I can leave.

I take in the crowd and it’s exactly what I imagined, I expect to have to go through many “and what do you do?” before the ordeal is over — I’m bored to tears already. The lawyer isn’t here yet because we agreed to both come directly to the venue and obviously he would never imagine I could arrive on time.

A glass of champagne is handed to me and I observe the way the bubbles race each other to the surface as somebody drones on about equity laws. I have no idea what they’re talking about so I smile and nod my head at regular intervals because sometimes, even I have to blend in and hide my unusualness. I don’t do it very often and only for people I care very much about.

A solid feeling of middle class confidence hangs above the room. The women are polished and the men all wear that same satisfied smile. They are where they want to be in life, or maybe they are very skilled at deluding themselves. I’m not sure, but the atmosphere is stifling and now is one of those moments I wish I could be just a little more normal, I wish small talk wasn’t so difficult. I have a sudden desire for the ceiling to come down on top of all of us just to see all those people being ruffled and react in not quite such a contained way. I am a horrible person—they can’t help being who they are and neither can I.

I make my way to the bar visualising shots of tequila waiting for me, neatly lined up, slices of sunny lemon and a small mount of salt.

This is what I want but cannot have for fear of the act slipping. Just as I get to the bar, a man approaches. He makes eye contact and I know what’s coming next. The fact I sigh only inwardly shows how good I’m being tonight, my patience is being tested and I’m winning this fight. So far.

“Hi, I’m Mike” he says, taking my hand before I’ve had time to react and shaking it enthusiastically.

There are dozens of other bottle-blondes in this room, did he just pick the first one he noticed not huddled in a group? The one gazelle isolated from the crowd? I have a feeling he might have, so that means I am a random choice and even though I don’t give a fuck about this guy in the skinny suit, it still irks me. What a depressing thought.

I’ve been too good an actress and now this guy is doing his charming flirty act and I’m clearly expected to trill like a bird and feel flattered.
Oh, he has no idea!

Luckily for him, I see the lawyer across the room, making his way towards me. I watch him assess the situation from afar, he quickens his steps. In no time at all, he’s at my side and a lovely scented kiss later, the skinny-suited guy walks off looking dejected. He thinks the lawyer putting his arm around me in a proprietary way meant that I was being rescued, when the reality is that he was.

“I saw that look on your face, I arrived just in time, didn’t I?”

“I have no idea what you mean” is my wide-eyed innocent reply.

He laughs—he always does when faced with my “failings”. He’s not annoyed with me as he could be—as others would—he appreciates the fact I agreed to be his plus-one at this function and even wore a predictable black dress, even it is accompanied by vampire jewellery. He knows “this” isn’t me, he knows I’m trying and he’s grateful that I am.

“One hour and we’re out of here, okay?”

I readily agree because, why wouldn’t I? We all want to be accepted and loved for who we are, especially when what we are is that weirdly-shaped piece of the puzzle which has never quite managed to fit in anywhere.

Grateful Thanks

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This post starts with a small celebration dance. You can’t see it, but you can imagine it I’m sure since we’re all creative people here, one way or another.

I finished the Fiction part of my Master’s with an 83% mark. This is actually a massive deal because Fiction is my secondary genre and not one I’m good at. I suffered from terrible writing block when it came to delivering a short story for the course. It was so bad I required an extension from my tutor after telling her that I was well and truly stuck and didn’t see a way out of it. She was bloody fantastic about the whole thing (good of her, since I was basically drowning in self-pity) and gave me an additional two weeks past the deadline to sort myself out.

During this stressful writer’s block, all the friends I tried to gather sympathy from were useless: “you’ll manage, you’re amazing”…etc…which only made me eat even more chocolate than usual because I wasn’t managing and they were being completely unhelpful (bless them!)

This is where the people you know—who actually write—come in, because they can understand like your other friends can’t.

Tom, (Idle blogs of an idle fellow) after I told him of the torture I was enduring, sent me regular texts over a couple of weeks to ask how the writing was going and to offer to read anything I had so far. Which was great except I had nothing for him to read. Absolutely fuck all. In the end, spurred on by the thought of yet another text of his asking how the story was going and me embarrassingly replying again that, er…it wasn’t…I tentatively started writing, going back to an idea I’d had a couple of years ago.

Which meant that the next inquiring text from Tom could be answered with: yeah, actually I have something and I’m going to send it to you.
So I did and he said he liked it and his feedback was encouraging enough that it took me out of the rut I was in.

So, this might not have been immediately obvious but this post is actually a post of thanks dedicated to various people, starting with Tom.
I don’t think many of the people who read my blog know of Tom and it’s a crying shame because he’s a great writer. He’s talented and he’s witty and that’s a winning combination. He recently had his first novel (The Life Assistance Agency) published and when I stupidly left it on one of the dreadful southern trains I immediately bought another copy because I was only halfway through and I needed to read the rest.

When I texted Tom to tell him about leaving his book behind (and something not terribly funny about “funding his lavish lifestyle” since I had to buy it again) he replied in typical Tom fashion: “I’m happy for you to keep losing-and replacing-my book. This (not at all) lavish lifestyle needs funding.”
And that’s why I like him, because he is funny as well as a great writer (also he has the best hair in the whole of London—not a verified fact, just my personal opinion)

So, anyway, Tom gave me a bit of a kick-start with my short story and that was nice, but then the always amazing Candice was the driving force behind the rest of it. She basically told me to put my phone away and forget about any possible distraction (Hannibal included, sob) and I know it all sounds pretty obvious but I’m the worst procrastinator ever, so I needed someone to just tell me what to do.

Candice was so encouraging that I sat down and thought: “I need to write this and write it well just so I can be deserving of the faith she has in me…and forget the bloody Master’s.” Thanks to her support, I managed to finish the story and consequently sent her my unedited mess which she read—she also gave me a bunch of great suggestions that were all in line with what I thought needed to be changed-or added or whatever-so that was another confidence booster.

I think pretty much everyone knows Candice but if there’s anyone who still doesn’t, she can be found here: TheFeatheredSleep
and this is a link to her books (they are bloody terrific)
She is a queen as far as I’m concerned, such a talented writer and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have her in my corner. That 83% as well as the fantastic feedback I got from my tutor on my work is largely thanks to Candice pushing me and having faith in me when I really didn’t think I could come up with decent material. So, thank you my amazing twin, and I’m sorry (#SorryNotSorry) for all the gushing.

I must also say thanks to the lovely Meg and the equally lovely Vic for reading part of my short story, and Mr M too—you guys are brilliant, but you already know that.

I wish I could take you all to the pub with me since I clearly owe you drinks but you’ll be there with me in thoughts as I proceed to get quietly and pleasantly buzzed. Cheers to all the creative people out there, we can be mightily difficult but we are fucking amazing too. (Again, not a verified fact, just my personal opinion)

Higher plane

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A love dark and twisted,

based on crossing—fully aware—the gates of Dante’s Hell

plunging in and emerging out of each other’s minds

finding parallels, like in no one else

different, but the same—on a higher plane

finding its equal in the echoes of Giotto frescoes

a few stark and mournful piano notes

conjured up by a virtuoso more than two centuries ago 

mutual admiration coupled with manipulation

adding to a need—greed—burning and consuming

leads to an operatic and Gothic blood fest in lieu of sex

this elitist love is a nightmare painted with sanguine shades

a baroque moon, of its pale light bled

intense as an hypnotic belly dance performed in a pit filled with poisonous snakes

beautiful, pathological, impossible

only death

can reconcile the irreconcilable

*I have now finished the last season of Hannibal. I did the whole binge watching thing with the first 2 seasons but tried to make the third one last because I just didn’t want it to end. I do (really, truly, madly) hope the show gets picked up again, but if it doesn’t, the Season 3 finale was just perfect—just how I would have ended it if I’d been in charge. It was – the word is overused and devalued but it’s the only one fitting here – beautiful. And now, I shall hopefully stop boring everyone with my obsession with the fascinating psychopath and maybe also quit acting like such a fangirl (no chance) *

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80’s playlist

He walks around the room getting ready, picking up his watch, strapping it on with efficient movements. I am lying on the bed flat on my stomach and it is quite something to watch him move, so sure of everything—of his place in the world-when all I do is constantly wonder.

“I’m sorry I have to go, you’ll have to make your own way out.”

“Are you comfortable leaving a woman loose in your mansion?”

He laughs. A lovely unencumbered sound. There really is no doubt in his mind.

This complete trust I don’t deserve makes me bury my face in the pillow. I close my eyes and think I’m not real…nothing is, and the sky will swallow me at some point and I will just cease being and wouldn’t that be wonderful, and peaceful?

I feel his lips pressing on the hollow of my back and he sighs.

“You’re mine” he whispers against my skin.

I bristle at that, though I don’t show it. Those are the words of the vampire. They immediately transport me back to a time when I was fading, when everything about me was being annihilated.

His tone is different and he is nothing like that bloodsucker, but there is a tight feeling in my chest all the same. Pure knowledge does not eradicate raw feelings.

He carries on, oblivious to my inner turmoil.

“Why don’t you stay? Instead of coming home to an empty house, there you’d be filling it with everything that’s missing.”

I don’t bother replying, we’ve had this conversation before. I won’t do anything that resembles commitment and so far he’s tiptoed around the issue, but how long till he gets bored?

And while we’re at it…how long till I stop using the past as an excuse? Do I purposefully wreck anything good in my life because that’s just who I am? Some kind of fraud, ultimately unloveable.

He rescues my face from the pillow and kisses me deeply and tenderly, and sweetly. This act dispels the clouds but the fog is waiting just behind the door, patiently. It knows there will be an opening shortly, there always is.

I watch the effort he makes to pull himself together and leave me—there is real regret etched on his face. Why does he put up with me? It’s a mystery.

He simultaneously makes me feel happy and sad and nostalgic—for something I couldn’t articulate even if my life depended on it—like an 80’s playlist.

Happy Ending

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I dig out the old typewriter

as I want to drunk write

a crazy flamboyant story

Moulin Rouge style

only the whore doesn’t die

but lives happily ever after

having renounced her ways

stopped hawking her wares

for a handful of rose petals

a treasure chest filled with hope

wild kisses beneath a lamp post

silhouettes backlit by the storm

a canary bird waking up at dawn

twirling on its perch, notes emerge

from its tiny beak a power surge

powerful as waves on a fractured shore

there lies the beauty of being a writer

tap tap tap go the keys

you can rewrite, relive, tweak

each and every bit of the story

my whore has red stains on her cheeks

vivid colour induced by satisfied lust

I’ve taken out consumption, disease

added drama I deem alluring

it’s perfect now as it is—romantic—

tempestuous, but with a happy ending

Nagging thoughts

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Painting my lips, glossy red as the peeling paint covering the cracks in the old, all-knowing walls.
Before I leave, his seed still drying on my legs, nagging thoughts pull at the corners of my blanket of happiness.

Later, an overflowing bath and still, the same lingering taste, niggling thoughts resurface while I hum a song, not happy, not sad, immutable as the tide, wishing I could wipe my mind clean as I do the steamy mirror. The crow at the window goading me with his fixed stare is just an extension of buried emotions, things that have no place in a life wrapped in lace. And yet, the double edge of a mind that will not rest can seem like a curse, when the ghosts, chased away long ago, tug with cold fingers in their unrest, and cover the peaceful daylight with a translucent veil.

Through the cigarette smoke…

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Crystalline Tear

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we meet between the fjords

when air feels like ice and snow falls

covering everything with silence—

winter’s dignified lack of lament—

as a solitary fire welcomes us, and dawn

in the here and now I slowly disrobe

you briskly peel off your clothes

flames are coursing through our veins after all

shivering skin tinted with bluish hues swiftly turns pink

bodies wrapped up in smoke of their own making

vanquishing the cold, showing up the North

we burn surrounded by ghosts armed with swords

our distant kin—fierce tribes of Vikings

honouring our passion with cheers and raised shields

they know

I caught the howling wind with my fingers

and bottled it for a few decadent hours

don’t you see?

I’d do almost anything to taste a crystalline tear

rolling off your perfectly formed cheekbone

 

Hell hath no fury

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Even a psychopath with a god complex can feel hurt

An empath can get attached to a monster

and get confused about where his loyalties truly lie-feel divided, conflicted, almost torn apart by it

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And so we have a twisted relationship based on manipulation, deceit and lies

A last supper where the chance for forgiveness is offered
but not taken

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A betrayal felt so keenly, Christ and Judas come to mind (as it’s meant to)

but perhaps Brutus and Caesar is more apt

An inevitable blood bath

as hell hath no fury like a psychopath scorned and denied his fantasy of playing happy families

“I let you know me. See me. I gave you a rare gift. But you didn’t want it.

Pain, anger, sadness, it’s all in his face and this is one teacup smashed to smithereens—nobody will be able to put it back together again.

The monster is gutted emotionally so he guts the empath physically

He murders the gift he’d been keeping as a surprise had the empath chosen him

and walks out into the rain

and while he leaves 4 bodies in his trail

at that moment, it is his pain I feel—I don’t even care who gets to live or die among those he left behind

What does that say about me? A little, or maybe a lot…but I think it says far more about TV
and its possibilities

because when it’s done right, it is art on the highest level.

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*This will bore anyone who hasn’t seen Hannibal to tears. I finished season 2 last night and it was actually better than the first as they kind of put aside the “killer of the week” thingy to concentrate on the relationship between Hannibal and Will and the psychology of it. The season finale ended with me in tears, and wrecked emotionally. The macho man I watched it with told me to stop being so dramatic while he frantically paced the room trying to pretend he hadn’t been affected by what he’d just seen. I don’t say these things lightly but this was the best season finale I had ever seen and it beggars belief this show was ever cancelled.Finally, Mads Mikkelsen is THE man*