365 Day Writing Challenge 20: Missed Connections

365 Day Writing Challenge

20. Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting story lines to inspire your writing.

Some people are valid in this world. They constantly let the world know that they exist. Their existing is always palpable.
Other people are not valid. These are the ones who are always skulking on the outskirts of life, unnoticed, forgettable. Small, quick smiles as they sidle past you on the tube, squeezing themselves so they take up as little room as possible.
I am one of the invalid ones. I am a skulker, a scuttler. I spend my life getting out of the way of those that matter. At work I keep my head down and nod rapidly whenever my boss speaks to me. I have a small group of similarly ineffectual friends and we speak of insignificant things. If my life were a colour it would be grey.
But I have a secret, one which burns inside me, and it isn’t grey, it’s gold. Burning gold, right at the heart of me. And when I am home, alone, away from my drab outer life, I let it consume me. And then I don’t feel small and grey any more. I don’t feel insignificant. Because I remember.
I remember when I met him. About a year ago, I was trying to convince myself I could make myself more interesting by taking dance classes at the Dance and Drama Centre in town. Needless to say it wasn’t going well. My teacher seemed confused at my pale, pasty limbs flopping around, out of time to the music, while everyone around me bounced and posed energetically. He would say nothing to me all session until the end, where he would clap me on the shoulder and say something vaguely encouraging. “Keep up the good work”, “you’re really coming along,” etc.
One day, after a usual session of attempting dance in the far corner of the room, I was surprised to see my teacher clap his hands, say “Well done ladies!” to the room at large, and leave. Now at the time I was playing a little game in my head – one of my games to distract me from my life and from, well, me. It was a detective game. I know it sounds stupid. But it didn’t really involve that much investigating, more just attaching significance to things that weren’t really that significant, and creating a vast sequence of increasingly ludicrous events that could explain it. So when I saw my teacher leave, my brain exploded with possibilities. Perhaps he was having an affair? (I didn’t even know if he was married). Or maybe he wanted to avoid one of the tanned, toned housewives in the class? This thought made me snicker internally. I didn’t like my smug classmates, with their patronising, knowing smiles.
Now I’m not an impulsive person. But I was feeling adventurous that day. I packed my stuff as quickly as possible and sprinted past the smug housewives. I could feel their eyes on my back, and knew they’d be talking about me once I left. But I didn’t care. I had let fantasy and reality blur, but I didn’t care. I ran down the stairs, hoping I could still catch my teacher. At the top of the stairs I saw him. He was in the foyer, laughing and hugging a man I didn’t recognise. I stopped, composed myself, and let my breathing slow down. I began to feel rather foolish. He was just meeting a friend. For a second my world had been filled with colour, albeit pale colour, but colour nonetheless. Now it was firmly grey again. But, I thought, I couldn’t just stand here at the top of the stairs. The smug housewives were going to be coming down the stairs any second. I shook my hair, straightened my back, and made my way down the stairs. I was heading towards the door when I heard my name. I turned, and saw my teacher waving me over. I made my way towards him, smiling, trying to look elegant despite my general dishevelled appearance.
“Susan,” my teacher said, “this is David, he’s an old friend of mine.”
I turned to look at the man next to him. He was huge, muscular, with short hair and a huge smile. He thrust out an arm and grasped my hand, enveloping it in his. “Call me Dave”, he said.
Call me Dave.
In that second I was no longer my small, drab, grey self. I was interesting, beautiful, the sort of woman that turned heads when she entered a room, I was the sort of woman that even someone like Dave, someone as attractive as him, would be interested in. I was transported, I felt like I was floating above everything.
I don’t remember how I got home.
But there I was, in my drab little flat, in my drab little body. My heart was fluttering, it felt like that of a small animal, like a mouse. I felt dizzy. I threw myself onto the sofa, staring at the ceiling.

Advertisements

365 Day Writing Challenge 19: Great Minds

365 Day Writing Challenge

19. Great Minds: Write about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.

This is going to be a bit of a cliché, but I think my boyfriend has a beautiful mind. I find it not only beautiful but fascinating, because it is so different to mine. There are so many things that he has been able to make me see differently, completely different to how I or anyone I know would look at it. That is one of the reasons why he has been so good with my anxiety – he is able to make me look at things rationally. I always tell him he should be a lawyer because he is able to argue so doggedly, but also be so pedantic (it drives me mad sometimes) about every tiny detail.

I also think he has a beautiful mind because he always sees the good in people. He always gives second chances, and he always forgives. And he’s so trusting even though so many people have given him reasons not to trust anyone again. I also love his mind because he is free of all the constraints I have, always worrying about what is the “right” thing to do and what other people will think. He doesn’t care about what other people think, he is always himself. That is something I am jealous of and hope I will be able to do some day.
Sometimes anxiety can make you believe that things aren’t real. But I know Max is real because I couldn’t have made up someone so different to me.

365 Day Writing Challenge 13: The Letter Poem

365 Day Writing Challenge

13. The Letter Poem: Write a poem using words from a famous letter or a letter from your own collection.

“You are my lover and I am your mistress, and kingdoms and empires and governments have tottered and succumbed before now to that mighty combination – the most powerful in the world” – Extract from a letter from Violet Keppel to Vita Sackville-West (1919).

Vita,

I truly believed that we could change the world, you and I. Well maybe not the world. But our worlds. We created a little world for ourselves. Fantasies, games. I was feverish for you, desperate for you to transport me yet again. You are a true artist, Vita. A true artist can take someone away to another place through their art, and this is what you did to me. You took me away, made me feel that I was different. That I was beguiling, a dark and sparkling woman who turned your head. But when you left, Vita,when you left, you dropped me unceremoniously back into this world, dull and grey as it is. And as I hit the ground all the magic seeped out of me, like air wheezing from an old sofa. And I was myself once again, dumpy and unoriginal, while you carried on as before, seducing others, reminding me that you, yes you, were the beguiling one, not me, no, of course, of course not me. You were the master of the games all along; you were holding all the cards, while I, foolish dog that I was, followed you with my tail wagging.

You made me feverish, Vita. I felt that I had to have you, otherwise nothing made sense any more, not one jot. Is it sad to miss a fantasy? But how much was fantasy, and how much was real? My head hurts.

Vita. The lights are so bright here. Everyone is so false, their teeth too white, their voices too loud…my head hurts. Too much drink, Vita, too much smoke…the smoke gets in your head, you know?

I know you loved me, Vita. But you didn’t trust me, you didn’t believe me…

Why couldn’t they have left us alone? Left us alone to play, just play, we weren’t harming anyone, play never hurt anyone?

I was feverish, mad. I always wonder about the mad. Who are we to say they would be happier, bungled and botched like the rest of us? Why don’t we let them be if they aren’t hurting anyone?

I would never hurt you Vita.

***

Another unsent letter. This shall go to the smoke like the others.


 

Violet Trefusis and Vita Sackville-West had a long affair, starting when they were just teenagers. The affair ended after Vita accused Violet of breaking their pact (to never have sex with either of their husbands). Vita went on to have affairs with other women and men, most famously Virginia Woolf. Violet went into decline in her later years in France, and I imagined her writing this letter during that time. if you would like to learn more about their relationship I greatly recommend reading Diana Souhami’s Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter.  

365 Day Writing Challenge 12: Hello

365 Day Writing Challenge

12. Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello”.

“Hello?”

There was silence on the other end of the line. Then her voice. Startling, yet still clipped, still nasal, still upper class.

“Yes?”

Janie’s heart was pounding in her chest. She could feel it echoing around her whole body. Her mother hadn’t recognised her voice.

“Yes?”

That tone was like a quick stab, reminding her of so many childhood memories. Why are you doing that. Why can’t you be quicker. Why are you like this. Throughout her whole life – why. Her mother questioning her existence.

“Hi, Mum.” There, she’d said it. She was past the point of no return now. She’d expected it at least a moment’s pause. For her mother to be at least a bit surprised, at least slightly taken aback, that her daughter was getting back in touch with her after seven years. But, no. Mrs Wiltshire was never surprised. Well no, that wasn’t strictly true. She had been. Once. Just that once.

But not now. She’d had seven years to regain her composure.

“Well?” her mother said. “Did you call me up to just breathe down the phone?”

Another stab. Though she should have expected it. her mother was always cold, always sardonic. Always waiting for you to do something to interest her.

“Did you see the news?” Janie asked.

“News concerning what?”

Janie took a big breath. “My people. People like me. Our news.”

“Disgusting.” her mother said. “Absolutely disgusting.”

“Really? Over a million people are disgusting are they?”

“Is this why you called me? To gloat?”

“No.” She paused. “Actually yes. I am. I’m not a freak. There are millions of people like me. And even more who think like me. We proved you wrong today.” She paused, but then went hurtling on, so her mother couldn’t interrupt. If she didn’t say it now then she never would. “You don’t love me.” Strange to hear it aloud. “If you did then you would be happy that I’ve found someone who loves me. You’d be happy that I have friends who love me. You’d be happy –” her breath coming faster and faster now – “that this whole country sees me as a person. They think I have rights. They know that I’m a human being.”

Then she slammed the phone down, the noise of it somehow still not as loud as her own heartbeat. She stared at the phone, terrified that it would start to ring, but knowing that it wouldn’t. She heard the patio doors slide open and looked up. Leanne was stood there, smiling cautiously.

“Everything alright?”

“Yes,” said Janie. She would tell Leanne about it later. But not now. Leanne cocked her head, still looking concerned, so Janie pulled her into a hug. They held each other in the sunlight spilling through the open windows. They could hear the laughter of their friends in the garden. Janie breathed in the smell of Leanne’s hair, and thought of what her small, scared, childhood self would think if she saw her now. If she knew how she had stood up to her mother.

She thought of her mother, forever straight-backed, forever with her lips pursed. She knew that phone call hadn’t resolved everything. But it was a start. It was definitely a start. Today was the start of a lot of things.

( Featured image from BBC)


 

A woman calls her mother after Ireland votes Yes. 

© Kate Warren and Rebuild Expand, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild Expand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What did you learn From Your Grandparents?

Articles

 

“What did you learn from your grandparents?” This was the tagline on an advert I saw today on a bus for Dirty Grandpa, a new film with Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron. Even though the film looks terrible, it got me thinking. Grandparents are always portrayed as the ones who spoil us, and our relationship with them as good and pure. But lots of the time this isn’t the case, and in face we do learn a lot from them. What did you learn from your grandparents? Let me know in the comments.


 

She taught me to always appreciate the beauty of poetry. He taught me that I was likeable, that I was fun. She taught me how to make pastry. Then coffee cake. Then scones. Then pastry again. He taught me the joy of drawing moustaches on the faces in the papers. He taught me that spending time with me was not a chore, but something he enjoyed. He taught me that I was special. She taught me that I was a stupid girl. She also taught me that people who call others stupid are stupid themselves… He taught me that people can change. So did she. She taught me that the soft and the savage can come hand in hand. He taught me that your heroes can let you down. She reminded me he was human.

 


 

© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dad

Poetry

I was from another world,

and so were you.

When I think of you,

I think of hills.

Long, long walks

off into the unknown –

I think of the wind in my face,

crisp, clean, clear.

I think of the autumn leaves.

I think of the magic you bring –

that something new and different and exciting

could be waiting

around any corner,

any time.

We aren’t from different worlds any more.

Hope

Poetry

I should be you.

And you should be me.

I am an accident,

An anomaly.

The usurper the rightful king finds on his throne.

Someone somewhere has stumbled into a parallel universe

Where everything’s the same but a little bit different.

An alternative timeline

Where you stumble in the dark

Trying to get back to where you belong

To feel the pull of gravity once more.

But it doesn’t work that way.

You’re not Odysseus,

And I am not the suitors.

The universe is not made of rigid rules,

And we do not live lives of undeniable fact,

Treading down a narrow ditch that has been dug for us,

Until we reach a fixed point,

Every action, thought, breath, pulling us there.

(Featured image from Foter)


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fantasy vs Reality

Poetry

I just want something to happen.

Either the hot rush of tears

or the shock of a phone call

or the sharp pain of betrayal –

something

other than this muffled heaviness over my mind,

than the knowledge that emotion is just beyond my grasp,

shrouded in cotton wool,

And I want to feel it, I truly do,

I want the fuzzy picture to become clear,

I want to pierce through,

to bring tension to slack muscles,

to feel the cold of reality,

rather than the air-conditioned warmth of fantasy.

(Featured image from inframe)


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

One Year

Thoughts

Thank you for knowing me better than I know myself.

Thank you for letting me be needy.

Thank you for being endlessly patient.

Thank you for making me see the world in a better and different way.

Thank you for making me laugh so much it hurts.

Thank you for always challenging me.

Thank you for being you.

Thank you for a wonderful year.

10406864_10152165725031943_7620255347211773308_n


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Life Through A Prism (or, The Facebook Poem)

Poetry

It’s alright when he’s just yours.

You only see him where he’s supposed to be,

Where he is right now, not where he was before.

Because there’s the friends from home.

There’s the parents.

There’s the ex-girlfriends,

The one night stands,

The bad haircuts,

The cheesy grins,

The chavvy clothes,

The guilty pleasures,

The secret porn.

The puberty wanks.

The conversations with his mum,

The issues with his dad,

The past illnesses,

The stupid mistakes.

The people he fell out with,

The people that drifted away,

The people he barely remembers.

The holiday in Tenerife,

The in-jokes you had to be there for,

The bands he thought were cool,

The first crush on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,

The family nickname he hates…

All the stuff,

All pictures of a person you don’t know,

Songs you don’t know the words to.

And you realise you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

You’ve got more than you bargained for.

Because these are the things that make up a person, make up a life.

And all you have is one face of the cube.

(Featured image from OpenPhoto)


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.