Season of Mist…

 

and cobwebs…

 

 

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Image by Jaye Marie

 

 

This morning was a typical autumn morning, misty and damp. And usually the way with weather like this, every fence, plant and bush was covered in lacy, fairy-like spider webs.

Each one soaked with dew and very visible.

 

 

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Image by Jaye Marie

 

 

Despite what other people say about the tensile strength of spider silk, all of these magical webs always seem to vanish the minute the sun appears.

Time was of the essence, so I grabbed my camera and rushed outside. I have long wanted to capture a web in all of its intricate beauty, so there I was, running around the garden in bare feet and a nightgown, trying to capture the best of these webs.

We marvelled at the patience and intelligence, even the ingenuity of all these spiders. Such complicated ways of anchoring their masterpieces.

All that work, and in the space of half an hour, nothing left to show for it.

Now, where have I heard that before?

 

Then I remembered.

I had just finished uploading several chapters of the current WIP when the computer crashed. I prayed that it had automatically saved my work, as Word does have this capability, but once the dust settled, I couldn’t find these new chapters anywhere.

Then there was the time a while ago now when floppy discs were being replaced by far better ways of saving data. As if ours had heard the word, they suddenly became corrupt, taking several manuscripts with them. Despite expert help to retrieve these files, we never saw them again.

I can understand losing something as delicate and fragile as a spider’s web, but technology should be more robust, in my opinion…

This got me thinking about my own footprint. Would I vanish without a trace when it’s my turn to shuffle off? Would anything I have ever done, remain? Live on somehow, without me?

Today’s world doesn’t seem to support longevity. Technology moves on, leaving things outmoded and obsolete, so fat chance anyone remembering me unless I manage to do something totally memorable, or achieve greatness in the next few years!

 

 

#Wordle 372

Are you doing these yet?

You really should, such a great exercise for the writing mind, log in HERE and have a go!

 

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Matches flared

Vision blurred.

Body bruised

Mind numb.

Voices blossomed

God’s listen

Savor silence.

Doors unhinged

Nail slammed in.

Aches begin

Edges vanish…

©Anita Dawes

 

 

Rodeo…

Missing Carrot Ranch  already

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No Carrot Ranch 99 word Challenge for one whole month, what will I do?

Should I make up a prompt, keeping true to 99 words

Send it out to you?

Or off to Texas I should go, to join the Rodeo

With horses black and brown, piebald too.

Can I stay, asked just one today

Before the clowns chase them away.

Popcorn and hotdogs you will find

With lasso in hand, I will tie my cow

Blue ribbons in my pocket carried home to you

On Trophy wall you pin.

With three weeks still to go

More gold cups and blue ribbons yet to win…

©Anita Dawes

 

 

Death on the Stairs!

 

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When I first saw this photograph, I was shocked at the stupidity of it.

Trying such a death-defying stunt just to decorate a stairway seemed a very stupid thing to do.

Then my mind took me back to the early days when we did so many silly things, trying to put food on the table when the kids were small. I remembered the house that we were hired to decorate. Gloss paint on all the woodwork and a very expensive wallpaper on all the downstairs walls and of course, the stairs. Nothing very complicated, we thought. A piece of cake…

Now, I am very tall, but that doesn’t help with old houses with high ceiling

We had a ladder, but that wouldn’t be any good on the stairs. Then I remembered the exercise bar that I had at home. The kind that spans a doorway so you can do pull-ups. With a bit of luck and a following wind, we could clamp it across the stairs to take the other end of our scaffold board. Make sure it is firmly fixed and level, then we could balance the stepladder on it to reach the top of the wall.

At this stage, I have to confess that I don’t like heights. I get nauseous and more than a bit giddy, but we needed the money.

Praying to all that was Holy, and armed with a carefully pasted and folded length of wallpaper, I ascended the ladder. It was very wobbly and I fully expected to fall and end up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped up like a parcel in soggy wallpaper.

Those of you who have papered a wall will know that a fair bit of stretching goes on as you align the paper, trim the top and smooth all the bumps and air bubbles away. Several times, I swayed precariously on one leg but managed to complete my mission.

What I didn’t know at the time, was all the near heart attack moments that Anita was having as she tried to keep the ladder steady. She was in the perfect position to see just how dangerous it was and how close we came to disaster.

We had a lot of fun in those days, taking incredible risks, and some impossible jobs. This particular job was memorable for another reason too.

The owner of the house had several celebrity friends and they would often have to duck under our ladders as they came and went. The best day of all was when Bucks Fizz visited, and Mike Nolan signed his name on Anita’s arm! They signed their latest record for us and told the world about the crazy girls who were decorating their friend’s house!

So, taking risks was worth it that day!

Not every job had such high spots. Like the time Anita knocked over a tin of white gloss paint all over a dark chocolate coloured carpet! The owner caught us trying to scoop up the paint with spoons, and we expected our marching orders (or worse!) But they couldn’t have been nicer about it.

By the way, how are you supposed to wallpaper stairs?

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We want to send a very big THANK YOU to those readers who boosted our follower list to 1000 last week…

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99 Word Challenge forThe Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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The birth of a Nation is hard, as any mother will tell you.

It’s new, shiny and fragile.

It must be nurtured, fed at regular intervals

Like a garden, it needs water, love and guidance.

All easy to say.

You let it grow, wait for the day it can stand

Take the rain. Will it weather the storms?

Yes, if it was built on firm ground

Strength comes with unity

Invisible hands holding everything together

A strong chain will let no rust in

You know what is said about one weak link

Never take your eye off the ball…

©Anita Dawes

One of our best Worst Ideas Yet?

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As if we don’t have enough to do, we have stumbled into what might possibly be either a brilliant idea, or the worst kind of madness ever to visit our house.

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but for some totally inexplicable reason, we are both equally enthusiastic about actually writing a mystery/thriller book together.

This may not work for a multitude of reasons, for we usually write in such different genres/and the arguments will probably reach hitherto unreached levels/we may end up killing each other!

We have started, and early indications would suggest it could possibly work!

Anita wrote the first section/intro, and I nervously followed. We average about 500 words each, but this could easily change when the musts get going.

Quite apart from being the most unlikely writing partnership, can you imagine what our respective muses must be thinking?

Other writers have done this, and in the past, we have often wondered how it would work. Now we will discover how hard it will be and if it will even work for us. And if we can do it without any of our legendary arguments, it will be a miracle!

Already, the conversations about the direction of the plot have been pretty spectacular, for we have such very different ideas about everything. The fact that I am the thriller writer around here stands for nothing, and my suggestions have not been well received, to put it mildly!

Today’s discussion ended with Anita suggesting that we start again, and this time write a spooky supernatural story.

We could, of course, but I am trying to finish my current WIP at the moment and all of this chaos is playing havoc with my schedule. It is my turn to write the next section, so I had better make it good!

Another Trip in my Time Machine…

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I am taking another trip in my Time Machine to a time at Clapham Common when we had gas lamps in our square. The man would come with his small ladder to light them every night, and again in the morning to put them out.

Mum would send us out to pick up the coal left in the road after the coal man emptied the sacks down the coalhole. He was always so dirty and so was the small boy that sat on the horse-drawn cart.

The man on his bike with the grinding wheel would call out, and mum would send me down to get her knives and scissors sharpened.

The one bike I looked forward to was the ice cream man. If I was lucky, mum would give me three pence for some of the best icecreams. So much better than what was in the shops.

Mum didn’t often have any rags for the rag and bone man, so I didn’t get a free balloon that often.

All these things seemed every day then. Looking back now, they are magic. All that fun without an Xbox!

The best thing of all was Billy Smarts Circus. They would pitch the tent on Clapham Common and very often, we would get in free under the canvas. Elephants, tigers, the clowns, and best of all, the high wire act. Watching them swing so free across the ring, never dropping one another. With my head tilted back, I could believe I was flying with them.

On my way home, I would stop for a while and watch the men with their model motorboats on the pond where they were allowed to play. I preferred the ones with sails, the old buccaneer kind.

Time to go home for tea, maybe I will take another trip on my Time Machine soon…

Anita’s Time Machine…

 

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Mr Edwards ran the baker shop not far from where we lived, and Mum would often send me for a fresh loaf, warm in my arms, smelling like heaven.

All the way home it was so hard not to take a bite. I did once and that was enough. The best thing for us kids was the fish and chip shop. If we took in an armful of newspapers, we could walk home eating a free bag of chips.

On hot days, we could get a cold drink from Mr Tom’s sweet shop. He offered one-penny drinks or a small one for a halfpenny. When you had been running around, it was better than popping indoors for a drink of water, for Mum would ask why was I so hot, and what had I been doing. Spending that halfpenny was best.

It was always easy to come by a penny or two. Take the rubbish out for Mrs Kindle, or sweep the yard for old Mr Wright. I ran many errands and often earned enough to go swimming and buy a bag of broken biscuits on the way home. For a penny, I could spend all day in the paddling pool.

For five pennies, I could spend an hour in a tin canoe rowing myself around the small island in the middle of the pond. When our time was up the man would call us in by our number and I always wanted canoe number 5.

Oh, for a time machine so I could take my kids back and show them how I lived and how I played…

Anita Dawes

Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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99 words isindeed a challenge, but so worth the effort!

 

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PASTA

What is it good for, not eating.

Throw it at the wall, see if it sticks.

Leave it until it falls off, give it to the kids to play with.

Oh, wait a minute they have already done that.

My granddaughters have used it for school projects

Picture frames you cannot dust…

The Italians love to tell us it has to be Al dente, the bite.

The thought of eating pasta makes me want to run for the hills…

And I know it’s well-loved across the globe

But seriously, why was it ever invented?

Does it grow on trees?

Anita Dawes

The Joy of Editing…Reposted

 

I have edited many books in my time, and usually, start at the beginning and go through the draft that way.

This is how I edited my first book “Nine Lives” and I think for a debut, it turned out quite well. It was meant to be a one-of, but the characters had other ideas. Or wasn’t it supposed to end the way it did?

So I was literally forced to continue the story, and when it was time to edit it, an interesting idea occurred to me. I have no idea where it came from, and I don’t think I have heard of other writers doing the same.

This sequel had turned out to be quite complicated. Maybe sequels are, I have no idea, not having written one before. The idea of editing all of the character’s chapters separately seemed like a logical and workable thing to do.
That way I could see if the threads of the story (and their lives) were running fluently and whether there were any gaping plot holes anywhere.
Well, I found quite a lot of holes and several lapses of continuation, leading me to update my running storyboard yet again.

At times, it seemed all I was managing to do was make it even more complicated, and I despaired. As I get older, there seems to be far too much despair happening around me, but I digress.

There are four main characters in “Out of Time” and all are so different from one another, so I concentrated on each one in turn. I found that I could enter their own space and really get to know them personally. The result seems deeper and more rounded, and it is almost time to reunite them into the final book.

There is just one problem though; it falls short of the 60.000 words I was aiming for. Should I rustle up a bit more, or leave well enough alone.

What would you do?

© 2015 Jaye Marie