Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Regretful Reflection -

As it nears the new year many make promises, vows and plans they often don't keep. Some of these promises are as simple as getting more exercise, eating less or recycling more - something normal and unimportant. This come new year is one where I am having to tear a hole in my heart - a hole the shape a father figure should fill. I do have a father although sadly he no longer deserves the title and I have told him so in two heart wrenched pages of words so he knows how I feel and knows why I can no longer recognise him as my 'dad' anymore. Those close to me will know the reason behind this - many (if any) who read this now won't. That is why I am reposting a poem I wrote during my first year at University which really sums up for the me the past 6 no 10 years even of misery my so called 'dad' has caused me, my family and others who cared for us. So when you read this poem please reflect on your own fathers and count yourself lucky to have at least a fairly average one and not a rotten apple as mine is. For my true father - the one who loved us all and actually meant it when he said 'his family is his life' died - departed my home and my heart many, many years ago.

Husband, Father, Drunk.

The stab of the screw causes the cork to jettison with a pop.

The crystal ring and slosh as the poison is poured into the glass.

A colour deeper than blood.

He licks his pale lips eager for the taste on his tongue, to feel it in his mouth and body.

The tense raging hunger, need, desire and longing is finally quenched,

For another hour or more.

He returns to his chair before the TV, turning it on

With a determined press of a button on the controller that never leaves his table.

It is the only sense of sane order left to him, the one thing he still has control over.

The wide screen jumps into life with the vibrant colour and vigorous energy of fireworks.

That force reminds him of his lost and wasted youth.

The news and weather again and again and again and again. News 24 rules his attention.

The global disasters, famines, bombings and corrupt politics flicker

Over his glazed grey eyes, watching the world spin and change.

A world he no longer feels part of, a world he thinks no longer needs him.

All are excuses, reasons, motives,

as feeble as the hand that lifts the poison to his mouth once more.

To take one more sip, one more mouthful,

One more glass, one more bottle


This is what it has come to. His days spent slumped before the TV.

His body crumbling and withering like a tree split apart by lightening. Beyond saving.

The poison that is so delightful claiming more of his soul, his spirit, his mind, his body and his life.

A life he will not fight for even though he has everything to die for.

Erasing the person he once was. Without any sign of defiance, just simple surrender.

The poison makes his heart, mind, and eyes blind to what he has. What he’s losing.

It has washed his heart black, making it as hollow and cold as each bottle he drains.

He appears oblivious to the pleading looks of his children,

The tears in his wife’s eyes.

All hoping, praying, wishing, waiting,

For him to change.

To be the father that used to laugh, his eyes once filled with happiness.

To be the husband that used to smile, a heart once filled with love.

That man has long since left their home and their hearts.

His soul leaves them contained in the empty bottles they put out to recycle.

That man now sits in my father’s chair but is not my father.

Just a reflection, a look alike, bitter and resentful towards everything.

A ghost that haunts us with misery, shame and pain.

A perfect stranger that we simply call Dad but acts nothing like him.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Joanne Harris - Sneaky peak at chapter from Runelight - sequel to Runemarks!

I may be the last to discover this as I am a highly unobsessive and outofdate follower and great fan of Joanne Harris mainly due to her fantastic book Runemarks which focuses on my greatest interest - Viking mythology. However I found myself on her website once more if only to cheekily check whether she still displayed my favourite short story The Old Ways Never Die in her Fan Fiction section and found a nice suprise. She'd put in her little blog there in the November 2009 section a chapter extract from her sequel to Runemarks - Runelight. I read the chapter and I am most intrigued as well as happy to hear that Joanne's teenage daughter is becoming quite a writer herself too - who knows what a talented generation may evolve there.

So below is the link to wet the appetites of any Runemarks fan. I hope others enjoy it as much as I do.

RunelightExtract.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Wishes come true and Future Hopes and Dreams

Well Christmas 2009 has been and gone but it still held quite a few suprises for me.

First it saved my secret wish of photographing a Robin in the Snow until Christmas Day itself as I was left with nothing to do whilst Mum finished wrapping my presents hurridly and secretly in the kitchen bless (she was very far behind in preperations for it due to my Auntie’s MS getting worse and requiring a lot of attention.) So I was watching out the window into our snow covered garden, waiting for a bird to be still so I can photograph it when all of a sudden my friendly Mr Robin popped out from the hedge and delicately hopped around in the snow. He posed or should I say paused? Several times for me to photograph this great Christmas icon. I like to think of this moment as Nature’s present to me for photographing her splending beauty.

I hope you like this photograph as much as I do. Definitly the highlight for me of 2009. You can see more of my favourite Winter/Christmas photographs at http://www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrie1008

Scary to think it will be 2010 in a few days. But I intend to continue my creativness into that year and beyond. Having shown Mum a picture of my Norse Collection Limited Edition book she now wants me to make her one so I will definately be creative at least until February. My best friends liked the gifts I made them too. Got some very excited texts from them both full of praise for my talent and thanks.

I’m still trying to keep my creative spark for writing going but it seems to be doing ok as I woke up one morning and suddenly had this scene in my head and this voice beginning a whole new story:

The day I murdered a man was the day the sky burned and the earth split apart. The day I murdered a man is the first and last thing I remember. All I recall when I focus my mind as far back as it will go is the intense rage I felt inside me, the fear in the old man’s eyes and his gasp as I pressed the trigger in the gun I held and the bullet pinned him to the earth. Not even a second later the buildings forming that alleyway shook and a rumbling louder than thunder echoed across the clouds stirring them. After that I ran. Ran with the other people who fled into houses and cars. Chaos had come to town and it had all begun the day I shot that man. A man I have no memory of. My whole life seems to have begun at that awful moment even though some reckon I lived for 20 odd years before my memoryabandoned from me.

Doesn’t it sound exciting? Don’t know why but I am yet again writing from the point of view of a man. My first ever story was from such a point of view but looking back through that now makes me feel so ashamed due to the cliched characters and speech. The over all story idea was good but boy my writing was so bad at the start. But having seen one of my favourite pieces of writing described as great on Joanne Harris’s website and featured under her Fan Fiction section is a sure sign that I am definitly getting better and at least have some talent.

Speaking of which I watched an interesting little news clip on BBC News 24 about how apparently it’s at this time of year when more of us than ever decide we are going to become the next JK Rowling and adopt the title of wanna-be author. So in relation to this a reporter got author Kate Mosse to give a mum who writes 5 top tips on how to write a novel. All budding writers should watch this when feeling low as it is encouraging and very useful.


My Mum’s got me two new books for Christmas one on a similar plot to the old classic film Homeward bound but with wild bears in Canada titled ‘Seekers’ by Erin Hunter and Dark Fire (stongly hinting about dragons) but sadly the last in the series so I will have to buy the first with Christmas money. But I don’t mind. I might pick up a few other books too. Just finished one titled Outlaw on the legends and tales of Robin Hood and to be honest the most believeable I’ve read yet by Arnold Bold (I think – book is upstairs hehehe). Speaking about books makes my boyfriend’s voice creep into my mind with the line he seems to believe is a golden rule ‘any good writer should read a book a day’ apparently reported by Neil Gaiman. Bah! I could probably manage a book a week if I wasn’t tired after work and distracted by TV and eager to catch upon some serious World of Warcraft adventures.

Anyway I’ll see him again before New Years day as I’m spending it with his family and hopefully going to see Avatar too. I’ll report back on how it goes.

Until then keep smiling and may you all have a Happy New Year in 2010.

BBC News - Kate Mosse's top five tips on writing a novel

BBC News - Kate Mosse's top five tips on writing a novel

A little interview with author Kate Moss giving tips and encouragement to a mum wanna-be-author.

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Norse Collection (3 exculsive books) Made and Written by Me

The idea to make this book was not my own but a student's at the college where I work. As we were both young writers we thought it was a good idea to give each other our stories as presents. But I wanted to bind my favourite works into a book and thankfully my partner had done one previously for me so I got him to show me how.
The Norse Collection is my own exclusive title to my favourite short stories (x2) and 3 poems all of them with Norse mythology showing through strongly as the inspiration behind them. To make it I bought a set of 3 A5 notebooks, took out the pages, made holes down the middle of mine and sewn them together. I then laid out my suede like fabric, cut to shape and so it folded gently around the book cover - enough so it could stretch but also was tight enough around it when closed. After the flaps had been glued down and given time to dry I then took the blank cover paegs at the back and front of my main pages, spread glue lightly over them and pressed them hard against the inner book cover. Let it for half an hour then placed under and between several heavy books over night. Once all the glues areas were dry I took some gold 3D fabric paint and put the title and my maiden initials on the front and left to dry over night. Then it was just a matter of trimming the pages to fit within the book covers.
I only exclusively made 3 copies of my work, one for the student and 2 for my best friends as an extra special christmas present. It took a long time to make but it made me feel proud to see my own words in book form.

Friendship Momento Fabric and Paper Hanging

This is a paper and fabric mixed photograph hanging that I made 2 of as christmas presents to my 2 best friends whom are featured in the photograph. With a special message in runes at the bottom.First I used Image Maker past to transfer a reversed photocopy of the photograph onto a piece of calico. Whilst it dried and set I made the background using decorative pieces of paper that are reportedly made from recycled fabrics in India. I believe this to be true as you can make out thin strands in the material. I used green for grass, white for snow and a blue strip with stars on for the sky. All three strips were glued onto a larger whole piece of neutral paper. Then once both were dry I positioned my fabric photograph, pinned in place with the red and gold ribbon as the border and sewed the ribbon in red thread to go against the ribbon strips. I then folded the excess neautral paper at the top on to itself several times to make a strop hem, used a holepunch to make holes and then inserted a thicker strip of red and god ribbon to make the hanging.You can just make out at the bottom the golden runes I wrote using 3D fabric paint. Written on the back is the interpretation 'Friends Forever'.

Feeling nearly as busy as Santa himself!

Well I know it's a big claim to make but these past 3 weeks have been a complete and utter whirlwind for me. If it's not work making me so tired I have to have early nights which takes away my WOW playing time then I have Christmas coming up so I've been busy planning, buying, making, wrapping, posting and writing christmas presents to all my closest friends and family not to mention decorating and cleaning the flat. On the whole the past 3 weeks have been pretty productive and creative.

Productive in that I feel I've been making a real difference to the Library where I've introduced quite a few e-resources as we call them. Such as getting the Library up on Twitter - soon to be put on a large screen in a rotating tweet display so our message gets even further to our students. Setting up a Delicious Links account to make e-resouces seem a bit more accessible and modern and in doing that I came across Shelfari.com. A fantastic online virtual book shelf site where you can personalise and customise your own bookshelf. So I've made one for the Library to display in a more visual and interactive form our newest additions to the actual library catalogue. Also set up a Library blog to keep students uptodate with new books, library events, library changes, new e-resources etc.
Creative in that I made by hand 2 beautiful hanging textile photographs of me and my best friends and printed and hand bound a small collection of my favourite Norse mythology inspired short stories and poems as a special literary treat to them both. The actual book idea was not mine but a student at college whose become quite good friends. I also made a nice thick green furry hand muffler for my Auntie who has MS so she can't really use gloves anymore due to her stiffning hands. All these things took a long time to make and create but I enjoyed doing them and is extremely proud of them. Pictures to come up soon.
Now I just have time to myself. I'm going to spend this weekend with partner and his family exchanging presents then coming back on Sunday to travel to my family home on Monday for the rest of the Christmas week. Whilst there I will continue at last to work on my Yorkshire Ghost Story, take photographs of puppies, scenery and wildlife I see and maybe even drum up some more crafty ideas for when I come back to Huddersfield for the New Year.
At least I can finally be busy doing things I want to do and enjoy.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Morning Sunrise 09.12.09 Castle Hill view 027

The Sun rising behind the hill beside the victorian tower at Castle Hill. 09-12-09.

If you wish to see many more from the Sun's head peeking over the silohuetted horizon please visit www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrie1008.

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