An Exercise for the Mind…

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I am in the habit of changing my screen saver/background image quite often. I  like to have something lovely on my computer screen, as it is the first thing I see every morning.

This picture appealed to me for several reasons. I love trees and this one is lovely but also ethereal, the mist hiding most of the scene. I particularly like the contrast between the nakedness of the sleeping tree and the tree covered in blossom.

I have recently found myself  ‘skimming’ when both reading and writing, and I am not seeing or describing anything enough which is not good. This post is an exercise, not only for my eyes, but also for my imagination. I don’t want to think of my old age robbing me of so much of my enjoyment of life.

The blossom tree in this image attracted me first, being frustratingly out of focus enough to prevent an easy identification. The blossoms are pure white, no hint of colour on them, and the petals are delicate and small. The branches look old, but the slender double trunk would suggest otherwise. Are there any more clues in the picture?

The tree is blooming very early. The companion trees are still bare, their branches stark and austere looming through the mist. Winter has not long departed, as I imagine the chilly dampness of the morning on my skin. The shrubbery in the background is sparse too, confirming that Mother Nature is not fully awake yet.

My mind sifts through my knowledge of flowering trees and comes up with a likely choice. Is it a Magnolia, one of the small flowered varieties, maybe Stellata?

Moving on from the details of the image, my mind is not finished. I wonder where this lovely little tree is. The setting would suggest a park, for the area seems too big to be someone’s garden. There are vague images hiding in the mist, indicating far more space than first thought.

Could that be a roof I can see? It doesn’t look like the roof of a house though…

My mind yearns to explore this scene, to visit the tree and then walk into the mist to see what I can discover…

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal: An Unexpected Visitor…

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My office is usually a quiet, peaceful place. Unless something goes radically wrong and I am having a rant.

Today was almost such a day, but I was trying hard not to lose it, determined to figure out what I was doing wrong and why my WIP was proving so difficult to get right.

I have to sit with my back to the door, something I wish I could change but the layout of the room doesn’t allow for any change. So when I sensed someone standing behind me, I assumed it to be one of the family.

‘Ma’am, that is surely a crying shame…’

The soft gentle voice of a man, inches from my ear should have alarmed me, but my curiosity had the better of me and I wondered what he was talking about. Although I wasn’t entirely sure if I had imagined it, I answered. ‘Pardon?’

‘I have to say that character is all wrong, you know…’

By now, I knew I wasn’t imagining it, but insanity seemed a better fit. I was also fascinated, so decided to play along and see what happened. ‘How do you mean?’

‘If you will permit me to sit down, I will explain…’

I nodded, aware that I was about to see who my mysterious visitor was. I watched as this white haired, distinguished and a slightly familiar gentleman walked past me to sit in the only other chair in the room. He reminded me of someone, but my brain was stumbling around like an idiot at a genius convention.

He had kindly blue eyes and an enormous, also white moustache, a bit like Albert Einstein, but I was sure it wasn’t him. He sat there, next to me, calmly watching me with an amused expression on his face. I wondered id he, like me, wondered what he was doing here. I decided to ask. ‘I feel as though I should know you, but what are you doing here in my office?’

His bushy white eyebrows were moving slightly, reminding me of caterpillars.

‘Ma’am, I have no idea how I arrived here, but judging from what I just read on your notebook, I must be here to lend a hand, so to speak.’

For the next hour, we talked about my progress as a writer, my WIP and one character in particular. I had been worried about this one, so it was refreshing to have another clearly expert opinion.

‘The problem, Ma’am is this. You have not brought him to life yet. He needs to have a life, smell the coffee, and do normal things like a regular human being. He will die soon anyway…’

‘Where did you read that? And please stop calling me Ma’am, my name is Jaye.’

‘Oh, I didn’t read it, Jaye. The poor chap never eats, so he won’t last long…’

I was embarassed but had to laugh. My visitor was right. I had been so involved with the plot; I had forgotten to give him a life. My eyes returned to the chapter on the desk in front of me, eager to see with fresh eyes just what a pig’s ear I had made of it all. It occurred to me to thank my visitor for pointing out what had been wrong all along, but when I turned my head in his direction, he had gone and the chair was empty…

I tried to continue working but my brain was busy trying to remember where I had seen the old gentleman before…

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#Wordle 376

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Journey

Sweet memories hidden from the light never grow, they do not age.

Not so sweet memories creep out from behind the cupboards, shake off the dust, to hurt you. They talk to you, reminding you of the pain and hurt that should have died long ago.

Journey through your mind can be a painful time.

Better to let your thoughts fly, sing a song that brings back happy thoughts.

Don’t let your mind yearn.  Put down that invisible stick you beat yourself with.

Don’t miss the promising times ahead, or strand your mind in yesterdays.

Don’t let your life become an island, let the great machine inside your head pitch new thoughts for the road ahead.

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Frustration and Halloween…

 

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Halloween

Pumpkin pie is a must

Along with cobwebs and dust

With lanterns alight, bowls of sweets you cannot eat.

Children come, their faces aglow

Doorbells ring, sweets to go

Painted witches, ghosts and ghouls

Could be your nightmare has come to call.

Strange entities look back at you

Or has your mother-in-law arrived at last?

Doorbell rings, don’t let them in

They’re not just children, disguised within.

A night when ghosts roam the land

Who can tell what stands without?

Is it sweets they want, or your soul to take?

Don’t let them in, blow your lantern out…

 

When Anita wrote this stunning Halloween poem, I just knew I had to do something special with it. When I read it aloud, it sounded so dramatic and creepy, the idea of creating a video trailer with it seemed a really good idea.

Now, I have made a few trailers in my time, but I am not an expert by any means. Most of the ones I made for our books are pretty basic, as understanding all the complicated instructions sometimes had me running screaming from the building!

So, knowing how much fun I have had in the past, I really threw myself a curve ball by wanting to make this video more stunningly complicated than anything I tried before, with moving images, spooky music and narration.

This is how I have achieved some really wonderful things in my life. I get an idea, and in no time at all, I can see the finished item in my head and I will move Heaven and high water to bring whatever it is, to life. This is what was happening right then with my idea for a trailer.

I discovered that Pixaby.com has free video clips, so I collected a good selection of suitably dark and spooky ones. Then I visited YouTube and their audio library. I found some very similar music to the Halloween film. My dream was taking shape!

With my first trailer efforts, I used Movie Maker and as my teachers used to say, “Could do better!” So I knew there was nothing else for it, I would have to learn how to master the finer points if I hoped to create a masterpiece.

I watched so many tutorials on YouTube and wrote copious amounts of notes and bit by bit, I learned the basics.

This was a month ago. I knew I needed time to practice, as nothing happens in much of a hurry around here, but wasn’t prepared for just how long it would take. Time and again, I tried to get it right and time and again I failed miserably.

Trouble was, it didn’t look that hard. But, and this is what always happens to me and anything to do with technology, it never quite seems to work for me. I get lots of nearly’s and almost’s, but like most people, this would never be good enough for me.

I learned how to shorten the clips and move them about. I added a title page and one for the credits at the end. I had my music and knew what to do with it. All that was left to do was plug in my microphone and narrate the poem.

This took several attempts as something kept stopping my voice from registering.  Much later, I managed it, but when I played it back, parts of my voice were missing.

I was on the verge of pulling my hair out by then, so I closed everything down and walked away. This procedure seemed to go on for days and I was no nearer perfection than I was at the beginning.

I don’t compromise easily, but in desperation, I tried Photo Story.  This system only allows static images, not exactly what I wanted, but I tried anyway.

I also tried Movie Maker again, but the result was the same.

My dream was fading.

In the end, I conceded a temporary defeat and posted the poem on our blog.

My determination has not dimmed though. I will keep trying to conquer Movie Maker or something similar, and future trailers will be better, and you can take that to the Bank!

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Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge… #Etheree

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 108, “Afraid & Grave,” #SynonymsOnly

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World

Gone by

Time entombed

Webs hang thin white

The walls dripped pain loss

Risky to touch the past

To Heaven unsafe, fearful

Being undone by my past thought

Crushed by fear, the light grows dimmer

I see faces from the past, dead, long gone…

©Anita Dawes

 

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#TheSundayWhirl: #Wordle 375

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Lost

We have been here before.

I remember the drive across the mountains

The cool breeze and the misty spray

We try to sing, words fail us

Our hearts broken, still longing

For the child, we cannot have

We have spent a lifetime running

From something we can never find

We watch mothers wiping runny noses

Our tears hit the ground, time wasted

Wishing our lives could be swapped

Farmers across the land watch their corn grow

Lay their heads down at the end of the day

Attentive to every detail to keep hunger away

Family fed, roof secure over their head

While my eggs are empty shells

We no longer go to the movies, no popcorn eaten

While watching happy families on the screen

Many have told us our lives could have been

Filled with small-unwanted souls

This was not meant to be, I could not fill

My arms with anything but my own

I pray that this will come in my next life…

©Anita Dawes

#Wordle Puzzle 373

 

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Locked In

My life has only just begun

Yet I am stuck between two worlds.

I have a need to forget, to alter my thoughts

This ordinary cafe where the waiters sing

Let me in, with no way out

Mother told me never to hit

“Talk, let them see you.”

She has no idea, the mood

Of those that hold me here.

I smell revenge, the air thick

With a need to spill blood, my blood

My will is weak. I have no strength to act

I need a weapon to fight for freedom

This is not my world

Whitewashed walls, pills to make me sleep

Sunlight blinds these walls of white

But my mind can see the place to be.

Outside, I see my mothers smile

She sits in shade beneath our tree

That father planted when I was five.

My world is there, by her side.

Voices tell me she is not there

I took her life when I was ten.

Can this be a dream that keeps me locked in?

I pray that fate will not charge me to live it over again…

©Anita Dawes

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge

Today, it is Anita’s turn to try an Etheree poem…

These look complicated, but really easy once you get the hang of it.

A ten line poem, beginning with a one syllable word, and ending with  words of ten syllables. Full instructions on Colleen Chesebro’s website

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Cold

Dark sound

Two ghost hands

Waiting by the

Old golden bandstand

Still, no sound to be heard

Lights and music once they played

People dancing while banging sticks

Lights out, no people dancing couples

Ghostly hands on drums sound, cold and empty…

©Anita Dawes

#Wordle 367

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I remember when you lay beside me, your touch, soft as silk, the sting of love on your lips.

I wish everyone could live with the same peace we have found with each other.

If I could fly, I would fly around the world and gather all the lonely people and have them live on our little island, or at least beside us on our empty strip of land.

That was when I wrote the wish, placing it in our trunk for safekeeping.

If I could save one lonely person, the wish will have come true.

Now I feel only the chill, the grief at having lost you.

Deaths cruel hand took you away too soon

Now I say let the world go whistle, I care not for the lonely

For I am now one of them…

 

These really are so much fun to do!