Memories…

 

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Painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

 

 

 

Memories are funny things, aren’t they? The way certain things suddenly pop into your head, and you think – hey, I know about that, and you remember.
I wonder what makes some memories surface and not others? You could say it’s down to something you have just heard or seen, but I know that’s not always the case.

Just lately I have been remembering a specific time in my childhood, and never realised before how that time must have influenced me. Or was it that threshold of childhood, the time you really start to think and question things? To imagine a future for yourself, that you won’t always be just idling along, not really caring if it snowed, depending on others to organise your life.

This particular time was when I lived in Kent, in a small village called Birchington, a few miles from Margate.. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and up to that point I didn’t really think about anything much. So much had happened to me that I had got into the habit of not questioning anything. Not much point really, as I knew I couldn’t change anything.

I was with foster parents by then with several other children, all from broken families; and surprisingly it was the first time I felt relaxed enough to appreciate the peace and quiet of the countryside, not to mention the freedom from all my mother’s problems.

Every Sunday we all went to church, and right outside the church door was a very impressive grave stone. It was made of a beautiful piece of marble and I thought the writing on it was very ornate and posh. I looked at it every Sunday for a while, when it suddenly struck me that this had to be someone quite important. But why was he buried here in this tiny village?

The name on the stone was Dante Gabriel Rossetti  (12may 1828-9april 1882) and I remember being very impressed by the sound of it, resolving to find out more about him. I was about the right age for romantic flights of fancy and the more I discovered about this tortured man and the life he lived, the more intrigued I became. He was a poet and a painter and some would say that he wasn’t very successful, but history will always remember him as a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

I learnt about Rossetti and how he had ended up a recluse in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea after a nervous breakdown, finally retreating to Birchington for rehabilitation only to die less than a year later. Perhaps he should have spent more time in Kent, for it was making me feel better!  I secretly sympathised with the mess he had made of his life, determined that my life would be better than it had started out to be. I just needed to be old enough to set the wheels in motion.

So you see, I tend to think he was my friend back then, right when I really needed one, guiding me to where I am today…

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti (wasn’t he cute?)

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born 12 May 1828 in London, the second child and eldest son of Italian expatriates. His father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a Dante scholar, who had been exiled from Naples for writing poetry in support of the Neapolitan Constitution of 1819. Rossetti’s mother had trained as a governess and supervised her children’s early education. Few Victorian families were as gifted as the Rossettis: the oldest child, Maria Rossetti, published A Shadow of Dante (1871) and became an Anglican nun; William Michael Rossetti was along with his brother an active member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and became an editor, man of letters, and memoirist; the youngest, Christina Georgina Rossetti, became an important and influential lyric poet.

As a child Dante Gabriel Rossetti intended to be a painter and illustrated literary subjects in his earliest drawings. He was tutored at home in German and read the Bible, Shakespeare, Goethe’s Faust, The Arabian Nights, Dickens, and the poetry of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. After leaving school, he apprenticed himself to the historical painter Ford Madox Brown, who later became his closest lifelong friend. He also continued his extensive reading of poetry—Poe, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Browning, and Tennyson—and began in 1845 translations from Italian and German medieval poetry. In 1847 and 1848 Rossetti began several important early poems—”My Sister’s Sleep,” “The Blessed Damozel,” “The Bride’s Prelude,” “On Mary’s Portrait,” “Ave,” “Jenny,” “Dante at Verona,” “A Last Confession,” and several sonnets, a form in which he eventually became expert. 

Rossetti divided his attention between painting and poetry for the rest of his life. In 1848 he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with six other young men, mostly painters, who shared an interest in contemporary poetry and an opposition to certain stale conventions of contemporary academy art. In a general way, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sought to introduce new forms of thematic seriousness, high coloration, and attention to detail into contemporary British art. Members of the group included John Everett Millais, its most skilled painter and future president of the Royal Academy, and William Holman Hunt, Thomas Woolner; Frederic Stephens; and William Michael Rossetti, who as P.R.B. secretary kept a journal of activities and edited the six issues of its periodical, the Germ (1850). Associates of the group included the older painter Ford Madox Brown, the painter and poet William Bell Scott, the poet Coventry Patmore, and Christina Rossetti, six of whose poems appeared in the Germ.

Colour me Red… #Poetry

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Colour me Red

A friend asked me the other day

What colour do you see yourself as?

I think colour depends on my mood or need

I am light blue when I need understanding

Which is often.

Blue when I need wisdom

A little healing when my body is less than tip-top.

Dreamscape allows me to remember

Lying in the sea, surrounded by blue water

Blue skies above

I am the filling in the sandwich

It feels good to be comforted

Best of all, held by gentle blue hands

Now the day ahead will work.

So when I need to, I remember

And all is well

I rarely see myself as pink

Too fluffy for me

I should try it, as it helps with success

I love a good orange and not only to eat

I see myself when I need energy to boost my imagination

To fill my mind and body with life.

Sometimes I need brown when dealing with family issues

Brown is helpful for grace, something

I am not known for, but  I do try.

I think green when I need a bit of good luck

When buying that lottery ticket.

Everyone in the shop turns green

Not hit the big one yet

But do quite well with this.

Yellow for me if very helpful

When I need to be creative when writing

Craftwork, thinking, which I do a lot of the time

It is almost a hobby.

White, when I feel the need for protection

I see myself and my family walking under

The light of a full moon twenty-four seven.

Red, I mostly think of as my own colour,

A child of Mars, I love with a fire that never dies

Very helpful when courage is needed

You can fight your way through anything when you turn red

Purple feeds my ambition when I feel it fading

I turn purple to keep my ambition alive

Helping me never let my dreams die

Black whenever I feel threatened by seen or unseen elements

Black helps to keep unwanted guests, thoughts out of my life

I realise I have just painted myself a very strange rainbow…

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#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

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(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people of small-town America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination really, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

You have not written another story like these two, will you?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

 Well, that wasn’t too grueling, was it?

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Monday Woes…

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Has anyone seen my enthusiasm?

I started the week full of good intentions. It was a new week – new mood – new energy.
There was none of that – ‘It’s a beautiful day, watch someone ruin it.’

But someone did.

BT did. I think someone had tried to mess with my e-mail account over the weekend and I had promptly been frozen out.  To make matters worse, I had temporarily forgotten the answer to my security question, so couldn’t change the blessed password either.

Thoroughly frustrated, I finally managed to speak to someone in an Indian call centre who said she would e-mail me a new password.  Words cannot sufficiently explain what happened to my temper after trying several times to get her to see why this would not work, and I was passed on to someone else. This young woman was so helpful and immediately understood my problem, that my temper had no choice but to high-tail it out of the back door!

So, not a good start, you might say. But this was only Monday, surely the week could only get better?

I should be thinking about what I want to do next. Anita has a book almost ready for proofing, and my latest crime mystery is nearly finished, but something doesn’t feel right. I ought to be re-editing some of our earlier work, as some of the covers need replacing and the descriptions are just not good enough. The trouble is, I’m a bit short of enthusiasm at the moment, my ‘get up and go’ has done a runner!

Christmas is literally just around the corner and the newsletter I wanted to write is still just a vague idea floating around somewhere. What I cannot understand is why some days are good and optimistic, and then you get that other kind. The ‘what the hell do you think you are doing’ days. Closely followed by (give it up, you know you are too old to bother with it) ones.

I am basing my understanding of this writing business on what I have observed with my sister Anita. She has six good books to her credit and just seems to get on with it (and enjoys the process!) She does have bad days of course, but they never seem to be writing related.
I know we are all different, and that is how it should be, it’s just not very helpful.

I think it is my age that seems to be the problem. I forget far more than I remember and find myself wondering where all the time has gone and know that I have wasted most of it. Why didn’t I want to do this when my brain was younger?
Don’t get me wrong, on a good day I quite like my brain and how it works. It’s just that my good days are getting pretty thin on the ground these days. Today, for example, I’m not even sure I have a brain!

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Second Tries, or how to make the right decisions?

 

 

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My brain must be like swiss cheese these days, soft, spongy and full of holes. I am getting really fed up with trying to think and decide what to do, or even knowing if the final decision is the right one. As they say, if I had half a brain, I would be dangerous!
I can’t decide (or remember) if I have always been like this, or if this state of affairs is yet another symptom of my advancing years.

Time is becoming problematic, far too much of it is spent second-guessing. Wouldn’t life be more efficient if all deliberation could be removed? Easier to pick a winkle out of its shell with a pin, I hear you say. But I am heartily sick of wondering which item to buy, which programme to watch, whether to cut my hair, the list is endless.

Added to my inability to choose anything, is the sure and certain knowledge that whichever one I pick, it will be the wrong one. Always is. I never get anything right on the first try.

Could life be more like plotting a book?
I know many writers don’t believe in plotting. They believe their characters will do most of the hard work for them, and I have experienced this first hand too. But other writers firmly believe in careful plotting, even a story board.

All my life, I have been a ‘winger’, hurtling from one idea to the next. Sometimes getting it right, but more often not. Advancing age has changed all that. I no longer have the time for hit and miss. Decisions I make now, have to be right, although how this will happen, remains to be seen.

Now, I am still virtually new to this writing business, and with the idea of getting it right first time (could be a novelty in itself!) I tried plotting. With a lot of practice, I’m getting better. So much so, that my latest WIP has been thoroughly plotted, storyboard and everything. But this is not something you could really do with your life. Too many decisions, and so many ways of dealing with them.

In addition, other people tend to make your life awkward, sometimes it seems, just to be bloody minded.

Could it be as simple as throwing a dice?

 

Then I remembered something. (It does still happen sometimes!) I once read about a man who always made every decision with the turn of a dice, and apparently, his life was glorious. Maybe it was worth a try, as my way was getting me nowhere.

On second thoughts, that sounds worse than ‘winging it’.

But if I were younger…

They say there are ‘two sides to every story’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’, but what if neither of these things is true? What if it is as simple as right or wrong?
Could it be that when life gets too difficult, we are simply trying to force wrong into being right?

Should we blindly follow our instincts?

 

Recently, I have been thinking back through my life and all the different choices that I had to make. To that small, persistent voice that nags you, insisting you do this or that. How many times had I ignored it, thinking my own choice was better, usually for all manner of reasons? Would my life have been better if I had obeyed that still, small voice? If I had not always chosen the path of least resistance, the path that always looked inevitable. Maybe the choice that looked the hardest, the most impossible, would have turned out better than what actually happened?

Maybe then, I wouldn’t have so many things to be sorry for, so many people I should apologise to.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation and I get another chance to live a better life, I hope I remember some of the things I have done wrong, all of the people I have hurt, and do it better next time…

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A Little Trumpet Blowing!

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I just have to blow Anita’s trumpet this morning, as just found out she made Poet of the Week over on Coleen’s Poetry Challenge Blog.

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/12/10/colleens-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-recap-no-113th/

 

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From Colleen…

“…Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week, who has shared an exceptional message, or shown an impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception, so don’t be shocked if you don’t feel the same way about a poem that I do.

Once again, you’ve all made it very difficult for me to pick a single poem. I’m so pleased with the turn out for this challenge. Your poems are getting better and better. This week, I’ve chosen two special poems.

First up, is Anita Dawes, from Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie’s blog. I was taken with this double Nonet poem because of its old-world tone. Anita skillfully weaves a tale of disaster that grabs you and holds you until the suspenseful end…”

 

 

Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge… #Nonet

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 113, Happy December! Poets Choice of Words

 

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Broken Ground

I fight my way back through snow and rain

My home close, I see chimney smoke

Windows lit by lanterns glow

My path lay deep with snow

The lake forgotten

I hear the sound

Ice cracking

Beneath

Cold

Ground

Feet wet

Sinking fast

My heart freezing

Hope disappearing

I am lost to this world

My voice blown back by the wind

No help has come to pull me free

I pray the Lord, my soul he will free…

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For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in one of the forms defined below. Click on the link to learn about each type:

HAIKU IN ENGLISH 5/7/5 syllable structure. A Haiku is written about seasonal changes, nature, and change ingeneral.

TANKA IN ENGLISH 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of five lines written in the first-person point of view. This is important because the poem should be written from the perspective of the poet.

HAIBUN IN ENGLISH Every Haibun must begin with a title. Haibun prose is composed of short, descriptive paragraphs, written in the first-person singular.

The text unfolds in the present moment, as though the experience is occurring now rather than yesterday or some time ago. In keeping with the simplicity of the accompanying haiku or tanka poem, all unnecessary words should be pared down or removed. Nothing must ever be overstated.

The poetry never tries to repeat, quote, or explain the prose. Instead, the poetry reflects some aspect of the prose by introducing a different step in the narrative through a microburst of detail. Thus, the poetry is a sort of juxtaposition – different yet somehow connected.

Cinquain ALSO: Check out the Cinquainvariations listed here: Cinquain-Wikipedia These are acceptable methods to use also. Please add what forms you are using so we can learn from you.

Etheree The Etheree poem consists of ten lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The trick is to create a memorable message within the required format. Poets can get creative and write an Etheree with more than one verse, but the idea is to follow suit with an inverted syllable count. Reversed Etheree Syllable Count: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Double Etheree Syllable Count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Senryu in English 5/7/5 syllable structure. A Senryu is written about love, a personal event, and have IRONY present. Click the link to learn the meaning of irony.

Nonet: The Nonet poem is similar to the Etheree, but with only nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc… until line nine finishes with one syllable. It can be written about any subject and should not rhyme.

After writing a double Nonet, the visual image result is that of an hourglass shape. Because of this shape, these poems often discuss the passage of time.

Shadorma: The Shadorma is a poetic form consisting of a six-line stanza (or sestet). Each stanza has a syllable count of three syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line, three syllables in the third and fourth lines, seven syllables in the fifth line, and five syllables in the sixth line (3/5/3/3/7/5) for a total of 26 syllables.

When writing a Shadorma I would concentrate on a specific subject. The brevity of syllables is perfect for that kind of structure.

A poem may consist of one stanza or an unlimited number of stanzas (a series of shadormas).

 

#Wordle 380

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New Day

Air keeps me breathing

Keeps my body on the ground

Keeps me rolling through the days.

Hot summers that wrap me in treacle

Hard to put one foot in front of the other

My mind slipping and sliding

Losing parts of myself to the heat

Can I get the missing parts back?

Or do they reform someplace far away

Making a new entity?

I have no evidence of my sudden decline

I look in the mirror and see me looking back

Memories filter through my mind like dust

Reminding me of the potential that lingers from my dreams

The hope that I will taste victory some day

With bare determination, I break myself

Free from this despondency

I am still young, I can take back some

 Of my dreams and make them real

I will start with the small ones

Take each day one step at a time

Make a list. Number one: find someone to love

With hope to be loved in return

Write that story I promised my twelve-year-old self

As I break away from the mirror, I notice a shadow move

A rush of air against my skin

A whisper of wings, an angel on my shoulder

This was the thought I carried into the new day…

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