Tuesday, 4 December 2012

HOLLOW

My entry (and winner!) of Writers Online Monthly One Word Challenge for November.
Poem of up to 40 lines based on the word  HOLLOW.

Route Map 

Here in the place where our story began 
           Walk down the road to the house we once knew
      Hold onto my hand as we pass by the stream 
       Keep to the path where the children once ran 

                 Take the latch from the old gate and let it swing free
Follow the trail of the borders of green
       Take from your pocket the key made of brass
Unlock the door to the essence of me 

       Step into the space that was known as the hall
    Turn to the stairs which will lead to our room
Pause at the fifth, even sit where I sat 
while I waited and listened and longed for your call

Climb to the landing which is carpeted gray
Look through the window, remember the view
Reach for the handle, turn it sharp to the right 
Open the door to the room where we lay 

Lie on the bed with your face to the sun 
Feel the smooth warmth of the blanket and sheets
Place your hand on your heart and imagine it’s mine 
Prove to yourself that the future’s begun

Hope what you have are the things that you sought
Cry as I do for the time that has passed
Know that you've left this dark space in my soul
Hollowed and empty, devoid of all thought.

Water Colour by Stewart Platt





Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Right To Defend Ourselves

15.00 GMT on 18th November 2012 3 Israelis dead 50 Palestinians dead Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ready to "significantly expand" its operation in Gaza after shelling Gaza for the last 5 days. Rockets from Gaza have again landed in Israel, one causing damage and injuries in the city of Ashkelon. Eight Palestinian journalists have bee hurt in Gaza where two media buildings have been hit. Today at least six people have been killed in Gaza including two children from the same family. Both 'sides' have confirmed that attempts to reach a ceasefire agreement are continuing. US President Barack Obama says Washington is "fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself"(BBC News) UK Foreign Secretary William Hague warns that a ground invasion would "lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy they have in this situation" but stresses that the Hamas movement, which governs Gaza,bears "principal responsibility" for the current conflict. So when does defence become attack ? When does the disproportionate nature of the two sides become a reason in itself to stop retaliation ? Questions that only those responsible for firing the rockets,dropping the missiles and killing and maiming innocent people can answer. Actions that only they can enforce. In the name of humanity, please make it stop now.

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Windmill House


The Windmill House

The sky has changed since this morning, from a hazy grey to a brilliant blue.
White cumulus clouds hover motionless above the roof of the house and the sun shines hot onto the back of my neck and uncovered head.

I have walked across the causeway to the sound of herring gulls screeching their familiar call but now the noise has changed to the gentle chirruping of reed warblers as they dart in and out of the marram grass, blanketing this part of the island from the sand dunes to the gorse bushes around the pond.
The old windmill still stands, tall and sail-less as it surveys the shore, watching the endless tides ebb and flow day in day out, and through all seasons.

It was winter the first time I met you here. You stood on the turrets of the mill, waving and calling to me as  the wind tried to blow you from your viewpoint. Your words sailed away and out on the tide leaving me not knowing what you’d said.

The door of the house opened outwards onto the scrub of the garden. You said it was for when the snow came; you could push it away from the door and never be blocked in. But snow never stays long here. The salt in the air and the sea itself keep it from settling thickly. The isolation of the house on the island is enough.

The stone floor of the house felt icy even through my boots and you ushered me towards the open fire. It crackled and sparked as the driftwood, gathered from the nearby beach, burned hot.  We warmed ourselves and drank hot coffee from tin mugs, cupping them in our hands, trying to keep the heat in.
We slept on a mattress on the floor of the upstairs room and looked out at the moon
rising over the sea, round and white casting shafts of light sparkling onto the water.
Real moon beams.
We watched the sun setting over the land in vertical rainbows, pink and purple making splendorous skies. In the morning the sun sent streams of light onto the cold stone floor and warmed us with its rays. You said you would never leave this place and I knew that was true.

Today it is hard to imagine winter ever being here. There is a hum in the air from the heat and from the bees hovering around the honeysuckle crawling up and over the porch . I reach out and grasp the metal door handle, pulling it towards me. But the door is locked tight and I don’t have the key. The windows are covered with net curtains and though I peer through the glass all I see is my own reflection looking back at me. Above my head a single kite hovers then swoops down and across the water of the pond. It plucks something from the reeds, a mouse or a shrew, I can’t tell. I feel the beat of its wings as it passes over me. The sun beats down causing the blood to race and my head to pound. In the distance the sea laps onto the half-sand, half-mud beach as the tide begins to turn.+

Some say they saw you on the beach that morning, barefoot by the rockpools then pacing that stretch of sand. You stood for a while, staring towards the horizon. Then you walked. Straight out onto the sand through the rivulets of wavy streams, to the shore. Into the deeper water and then the breakers. And on.


The kite soared in the sky above, watching silently and knowing everything.

(Watercolour painting of "The Snook", Lindisfarne.
by Stewart Platt )


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Evicted - Writers Online One Word Challenge

Entry for Writers Online  monthly One Word Challenge based on the word OUTCAST


Evicted 

                                                                No longer performing 
                                                                at your best,
                                                                for you've lost your speed
                                                                and you've no control,
                                                                now your strength has gone
                                                                and the weakness shows -
                                                                it's time for another 
                                                                to take on your role.

                                                               Though you used to lead
                                                               and you knew the way,
                                                               you are soon outranked
                                                               by the fit and young,
                                                               who lie in wait
                                                               as you perform the test.
                                                               They have no respect 
                                                               for the song you've sung.

                                                               They will stop you moving
                                                               and they'll cut you off,
                                                               till the territory boundary's 
                                                               on the farthest side.
                                                               You might howl at the moon
                                                               with your soul laid bare-
                                                               Lone Wolf cast out
                                                               with no pack in which to hide.

   


Graphite by Stewart Platt Nov 2012




(Inspired by the novel Lone Wolf  by Jodi Picoult )

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pelican





Pencil by Stewart Platt 6/11/12 

                                                                   

                                                                             Haiku 

Self - sacrificing,
feeds young from her bloodied breast.
A pelican’s love.



Saturday, 13 October 2012

Please Prove You're not a Robot

I've been trying to - but for now anyway, I've given up. 

Granted I don't feel or appear very human most mornings. I blame it on a multitude of things from medication to reading until I fall asleep (then waking and reading more, falling asleep again and repeating this process umpteen times in one night )

But I thought that even I could prove what species I am or I'm not, to a laptop. Apparently not.

I'd just read a very good blog post by Sandra Patterson and was keen to respond with my comments. So I typed the paragraph into the comments box on Google Blogger and followed the instructions which were "Please type the two words".
I dutifully typed       02 mighta

Now, I know you think you are already onto this. I did too.
After all, anyone knows that that's not two words, but two numerals and a word. In fact it's not even a word technically, but let's not go there just now.

So I then typed in mighta on it's own. Maybe the trick of proving you're not a robot is to be able to distinguish between letters and numerals. But no. I then was asked to type in 
Ortiesque 159. I did. Firstly as it is here, then Ortiesque one five nine then Ortiesque one hundred and fifty nine (I know that's not two words either, but what would you 
do ?)

By now I was more than a little disgruntled, especially as when the next 'two words' came up  asked1, my original comment had disappeared so I had to write that in again. 

Even more strangely, the numbers were now showing on different door signs, with the 'word' pictured separately.





What's going on here ?
Who's making up these weird words and taking photos of obscure door signs ?











Now here comes the weirdest thing.
I realised that there is no way on this earth that I was ever going to get these "words" to be accepted by the programme, I tried the little box with an audio picture on it. Click on here and ... well what would you expect ?

I expected a sort of cross between an RP English voice and an English/American voice announcing the words that I have so hopelessly tried to submit.
What I got sounded like someone creating the voice of a typically stereotyped alien , or dare I say it ... a robot !  I was more than a little unnerved about this but now think there are 2 possibilities of what's happening here :
1. My mind has inadvertently been taken over by an alien/robot.
or
2. I am one

This does not sound so extreme when you think that these word things are called "captchas"

Either way, I/we'll  keep in touch with this blog one way or another. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Poem In Process

 Poem In Process

I start in the slush queue
un - noted , unseen, unread
waiting for another's perusal
for the start of the journey
perhaps with a request for change
coming from a holding place.


Released, revised, replaced
I can now go on my way
towards acceptance and publication
or
to be felled by the scarlet slashes
of the correcting pen

But maybe I will silently withdraw
and leave you curious and wondering.



Poem In Process


Poem In Process

I start in the slush queue
un-noted, unseen, unread
waiting for another's perusal 
for the start of a journey

Released, revised, replaced
I can go on my way
towards acceptance and publication 
or
to be felled by the scarlet slashes
of the correcting pen.
But maybe I will silently withdraw
and leave you curious and wondering.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Naked Author meets The Fully Clothed Writer


                                   


Well, have to say my first reaction to the title of this article was to picture a rather unsavoury scenario of unclothed authors with notebooks, pens and laptops. The word 'laptop' conjures up all sorts of possible predicaments in this image – or maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the article in Writers News is nothing to do with nakedness as in baring one’s body, but more about baring one’s literary attempts, at the time of  inception.

Author Silvia Hartmann will be using "Google Docs cloud-based office suite"  to let readers share her latest novel online as she types it. Followers will be able to access her writing progress using a public access web page which will go live at 9am on 12th September.

Silvia says that the project is 'An amazing opportunity for me as an author to push the boundaries of the author/reader relationship. It will be thrilling to write knowing that people will be viewing each word, paragraph and chapter, each backspace as I go along! Some authors plan their manuscripts in advance, but my stories tend to have a life of their own and I look forward to seeing what unfolds with everybody else!'

I can certainly identify with Silvia on her last comment. 
It's always been a struggle for me to plan anything at all whether it is for writing or any other everyday task and I am well known by friends and family for jumping into things headfirst. This has not always been a problem for me though. As the old saying goes "He who hesitates is lost" and I think that applies to the "she" of our species too. There are many things that I might not have done and regretted not doing if I had been less than enthusiastic about getting going immediately, eg (reader to fill in examples as appropriate)

So, The Naked Writer Project aims to go one step further than self publishing, print on demand or ebooks by giving the reader the chance to see the manuscript being typed, and to also comment on the storyline and provide feedback as the novel develops. Potential readers are being asked to provide a title for the book with the prize being a copy of the completed first edition. 

I presume that the idea is to write from a given title as a prompt. It will be interesting to learn what the title will be and how it will be chosen and I wish Silvia good luck with this. I will be trying to follow and keep this blog updated with the outcomes.

Meanwhile...

I can do this ! In fact, it is probably the best way to get me to write anything at all (apart from giving me deadlines or threatening me with forced listening to The Sweet singing Blockbuster) It's a bit like being on Twitter or Facebook but producing a book in the process!

Give me the titles then and I shall be more literarily  productive than I have ever been. 

And the reader of this blog will be entertained, amused and informed in the process.






Thursday, 6 September 2012

Never put off till tomorrow, or the next day, or the next ...

Just in case the reader of this blog fears that I may have slunk off with no intention of blogging again, I can put you out of your misery in this respect and let you know that I am still 'here' and relatively alert.
I have been resting my body and mind recently - allegedly.My body doesn't seem to be responding much to the resting mind you, as the same old aches and pains are around whether physically at rest or not.
I have known for a long time that my mind isn't too keen on resting of course. I don't seem to have been born with the ability to relax, though I am quite  adept at explaining the many techniques to others who don't have a problem with carrying them out. It could be an age thing but like I say, I've always been the same, so I think it's more to do with personality or, I hesitate to say, laziness.

 I have written many times about procrastination and know that writers and artists are renowned for it. But as time goes by I am more of the thinking that it's a condition rather than an illness and the only way to stop it happening is by self control, in varying degrees. If I really want to do something, there's no one who can make it happen but me. Conversely, if I am putting off doing something, it's not due to any one or any thing else.

So, with these profound thoughts itching to get out of my head and onto paper / keyboard I would like to welcome myself back from my "Summer Break".
I have plenty to write about, if only I can be bothered to do it.


Monday, 20 August 2012

The Beauty of a Staycation



It's one of those words that stick in my mind and I keep using despite being determined not to.
 Like "Glamping", I find this word cropping up in my limited vocabulary time and again over the past few weeks : Staycation - having a holiday without going "abroad ".

I've reached that time in life when I can honestly say that I have been there done that and even bought the t shirts as far as holidaying abroad goes, though obviously there are thousands of places that I haven't visited but would like to. One day maybe, but not this year or next ...  

It's a bit of a cliche to say that you don't realise how beautiful the place you are in is, until someone else tells you, but as much of my life tends to be a cliche, I am allowed to say it. And it is true. This photograph taken of the view from my window this morning is enough for me to never want to consider abroad ever again. 

I'm not saying where my staycation is, but I might just stay here for ever ! Then I will have to invent a new word for my position.
Permacation doesn't sound quite right but I'll think of something while I enjoy the scenery and the peace and quiet. 




Friday, 27 July 2012

War poetry


solitude


wa, grey, black, grey

a house collapses

to cry a bit.
,
borrow from neighbours 

bank some money,

build it again

get rid of our fear

it won't collapse again 

in the war
,
the repeating is rare ...

.............................
a friend's death

mean to look,

to the sky
,
yell and scream,

to cry my solitude
,
to wear black,

to walk with him to a

final destination

he is not going to die 

again

one death,

we all have one death

......................
losing the parents,

become an orphan,

permission to be angry
,
retreat awhile for 3 days



place the gardenia,

on fresh dug earth,

return for the living,

impossible to be orphaned twice

........................
pain is waiting,

unknown moment


stop at the gap at the door.

fear overfills
,
a tear drops silently,

solitude,

 a breath.



Neveen Abou El Ola    July 2012




Tuesday, 24 July 2012

When Words Are Not Enough - More Conversations with Neveen



We all have those moments, when no matter how long we plan or carefully put words together the result is not enough for what we intend to say.
Sometimes this is when someone is ill or has died and we struggle to let others know that we share their grief or anxiety and despair. often we have had similar experiences ourselves so it's natural to want and to be able to give comfort.


Today I am not only lost for words but also lost as to how to feel and respond to a situation.


Neveen is seventeen years old, one of five daughters of my ex's sister and brother in law.
She and her friends and family watch tv, movies, chat on the internet and listen to music.She has her own likes and dislikes of most things, as any teenager. She has her own views and opinions and mostly these are quite different from her parents views, also as any teenager.
Neveen reads a lot - poetry, fiction, whatever - and she also writes. 
Perhaps this is why I feel an affinity with her which goes beyond the ordinary concern of a middle aged aunt. After all, I do class myself as a writer and as such should be able to use appropriate language in appropriate situations to convey appropriate meaning. 
That's what writers do.
I am also a parent who has watched three of my own children and two step children go through the child to teenager to young adult troublesome years. So why am I now so useless at knowing what to say and how to say it ?


Because Neveen and her family and friends are in Syria.
As I wrote the news on my television tells me that fighter jets have bombed eastern areas of Syria's second city Aleppo and that there are 1.5 million people homeless in the country and more than 1,000 children have been murdered in the conflict.  
In a report released yesterday on the 16 month uprising, the international charity War Child says young boys and girls are being deliberately targeted in Syria's war.
It calls it a "War on Childhood"


Not only is Neveen and her family in the centre of this dire situation, but they are also Palestinian - refugees from birth and forever second class citizens to the country they live in.


Last night I asked Neveen (on the internationally important Facebook) how everyone was and was she able to go out. She said no she wasn't, but her dad had been to work for the first time in 5 days. He is a doctor with a clinic in Damascus, but had stayed at home the past days as the family are so fearful of the gunfire and explosions.
I asked her how she was spending her days and if she is writing. 
She said she has written something, in Arabic which she will try to translate into English for me. I am not surprised that the subject of her work is "war".


And here is where I run out of useful sentences ... ... 


What can I do to help ? Nothing.
Should I send money ? They don't need it.
What do I talk about now ? The weather ?
I tell Neveen that I am looking forward to receiving her writing, in English, for this blog.
I tell her that she will be a famous writer soon.
She tells me that she may be if she stays alive.
Then she tells me that all of them are ok really. It's just that sometimes you lose hope.


Today Neveen says she is "fine and happy". No reason, she just decided to be strong and happy and today she will translate the poem. 


My heart overflows with unwritten and unspoken words.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18951552
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18964606
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18972098

Letting Go - 250 words





The last of the sunset lingers behind the hill glowing orange as the sky darkens.
Sitting beside your bed, I reach out and brush my fingertips onto the paper thin skin covering your cheek bone. I will you to respond to me, just a flicker of an eyelid or a ghost of smile. But you lie still and silent and a chill creeps into my soul.

My memory does a rewind to the day we climbed that hill, laughing and stumbling as we tugged at each others clothes, trying to make the other go slower. You reached the top first and stood there arms above your head, waving and smiling as I collapsed, breathless onto the ground beside you.
“Look, down there ! “
My eyes followed your pointing finger to the field below us where a small child held onto the string of a coloured kite. The kite swooped and swirled pulling the string taut then loose as the child struggled to stop it escaping.
We watched spellbound, willing the kite to stay aloft.
Then, in an instant, it was free of it’s tether. The string slipped effortlessly out of the child’s hand and we gasped together as the kite swirled off into the sky. Away and away on the wind while the child stood motionless, watching it float into the distance.

You inhale deeply, then exhale one last time. You are off, soaring into the air as I raise my hand to wave you on your way.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Excusing ourselves - or being unaccountable ?

I've found them.The words that I can use as a get out clause for anything that I planned to do, spoke out about doing, wrote about doing - but never actually did do.

Or the things that I have done that in hindsight were plainly stupid or inappropriate.


        "It's a moving target - what we think that we are able to achieve" 


states Nick Buckles, Chief Executive of G4S the security company who is making such a mess over fulfilling the contract for the Olympics that he accepted and signed. 


Substitute the 'we' for 'I' and I reckon that many of us could put these words to effective use. 


Did you plan to clear out the kitchen cupboards once and for all today but didn't quite manage it ? It's ok. As fast as you put things back neatly, someone comes along and takes  stuff out again. It's a moving target.


Were you going to cut the grass but it's rained again and it's now too wet ? Not your fault. Moving target therefore out of your control.


Drawn money out of your bank account and gone into debt? Well, they keep changing the amount of the overdraft. Moving target.


That list of of "to do" s can all be easily explained away by acknowledging that there are so many moving targets in life that non of us can possibly be accountable for what we do or don't do. 
It used to be called 'making excuses' but with a little tweaking of our language we can ensure that we are never accountable for anything and therefore never to blame either. In other words we don't need to take responsibility for our actions or even our thoughts.
 Life itself is a moving target.


Mr Buckles thinks that no matter how incompetent his company now looks because of his mis-management that he is still the man to carry on doing that job.


Mr Vaz of the Select Committee finds it  'astonishing' that Buckles believes that.


I would also add the words incredible, unbelievable, astounding and depressing.
Shows a further decline in our attitudes and social and personal morals.


But that's just my opinion and I can't be held accountable for that.































Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Paying For A Moment You Never Had ?

Flicking through the telly channels this morning and came across this snippet of information - on the Matthew Wright show.

Someone on the show tried to buy an autograph of their hero John McEnroe from a friend who refused to sell it on the grounds that there's no point in shelling out for a moment you've never had.
This then leads to the question - what are autograph hunters and memorabilia collectors doing with their lives ?

Well. that got me thinking.

I know I'm a hoarder desperately trying to distinguish between things that could be classed as memorabilia and general junk (or if you like, making excuses for not throwing things away)
Many of us experience this situation at some time in their lives and others experience it for all or most of their life.  But I must say that when I look at my 'saved' items - photos, books, old tickets for shows, programmes, letters - I do have memories of being part of these events and occasions. Sometimes I have forgotten the event and the piece of memorabilia reminds me of things that have happened over the years that I might not otherwise remember. As I get older I am finding that often this is an invaluable aid to retrieving the memories that have been stored in the rather complicated filing system that is my mind. And I know that in this case anyway, it isn't 'just me'.

I've had collections of things in my time too. The small packets of sugar that you get in cafes was a particular favourite when I was a child. The collection developed quickly and I had sugar packets sent from all over the world as well as to places I had visited. I didn't exclude a sugar packet from Australia just because I hadn't been there. People who I didn't know sent me sugar from their local cafe and from the ones they had visited on their own travels. I took great pleasure in arranging them into areas, colours and themes - and they also came in handy when the sugar in the bowl ran out and we decided which was the least important or pretty and guiltily use it's contents. That collector's habit is still with me today and at the bottom of any bag I possess will be a couple of leaking, screwed up packets of sugar, from Costa Coffee or the little tea shop we visited last weekend.

Rubbers (erasers), pencils and beer mats were other collections but they didn't take off so well as lots of other people seemed to collect them and I like to be original if nothing else ... ...









As for autographs, yes I love those too. The ones I have are in books signed by the author which is a sort of double collection - the book itself and the signature/autograph. I prefer to 'know' the author. 'Knowing' could be that I chat and discuss things with them on a writers' forum or a different social network, or that I have actually met them.

So no, I don't think the autograph owner's grounds for refusing to sell are justified. But of course this is a 'free country' and we can make our own decisions on whatever we want.

Now, anyone interested in buying a copy of a book signed by the author 


(Click  here  or  here)





































+
































































Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lady Bracknell will be turning in her grave

The headline did make me do a double take :

"Couple arrested at airport after trying to smuggle baby in hand luggage "

There are strange, sometimes unbelievable stories in the news. Depending on which paper or website I am reading I usually skim over the ones that are not to my interest, but this one caught my eye. Apparently, a couple were attempting to smuggle their 5 month old baby through an airport, when the security scanner spotted the baby in their hand luggage. 

It was at this point that Lady Bracknell 's voice entered my head and I'm having trouble getting it out again. 

Clearly, it was a very dangerous thing to do and not having a visa for the child seems a bit of a lame excuse for doing it. I hope the baby has not suffered any detrimental effects of any radiation from the x ray machine - and also that this is not the catalyst for a lifetime of claustrophobia.
I understand from the report that that this happened in United Arab Emirates, but of course the line is immaterial.

The good news is that at least this child has not been 'born and bred in a handbag" which as we know  displays contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life and reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.



Let's hope that this child does not grow up to form an alliance with a parcel and marry into a cloakroom ... ...








Monday, 2 July 2012

Haiku

Haiku 

Haiku in English is a development of the Japanese  haiku poetry form.

Most commonly haiku uses
three lines of up to 17 syllables
use of a season word
use of a cut, sometimes with a punctuation mark, to compare two images.



The idea is basically to paint a picture using few words and without "showing all".


Here is my (winning !) entry for Writers Online One Word Challenge on the word SHIMMER




Glistening pollen

leaves shimmering afterglow

on butterfly wings








Friday, 29 June 2012

Shimmer



My entry to the Writers Online One Word Challenge Prose - June 2012

Word - Shimmer

Painting by Stewart Platt  

  


First Born

A hot June day. Sleek fronds of sea weed lie sweltering in the sun’s rays at the water’s edge. Pebbles smoothed by endless tides piled in mounds where they’ve been deposited and tiny pieces of shell and glass glint in the strong light. I stare out to sea.

   The boat was your pride and joy. When other’s named theirs Lady Mary or Sea Breeze, yours was “First Born” and you cherished it as such. My feelings could hardly compete with the empathy you shared with this wood and canvas. Sailing with only seabirds for company was the best time spent and I understood because you were my child, now grown.

  If life had not impeded on your chosen simple one, maybe things would have turned out differently. Solitude is not for us all, but for you it was everything and though I knew this, somehow I failed you. I knew you’d not return. As you set sail the heat shimmered above the water forming a mirage of reflections, quivering and dancing in the stillness of the air.

Today I wait, watching the horizon for some sign that you are still near. Knowing that a mirage is all I will see.


   

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I Am Neveen


I am Neveen. I am Palestinian.This is my sto­­ry. This is the Palestinian Story.
I'd like to take you back to 64 years ago, to the fertile rolling hills of Palestine.
To the land of orange, lemon and olive trees, to around mid May1948.

My Grandmother, heavily pregnant quickly picks 2 or 3 oranges. She hastily feeds the chooks, cuts homemade cheese taken from brine and spoons out salted olives from a large clay pot .She packs red, ripe tomatoes and bread.

Her father rushes to hurry her & help with the children and Grandmother locks the wooden door placing the key in her clothing for her return.
They leave scared, but certain they will return soon.

She walked and walked travelling a long journey to safety. She gave birth along the way, to my Uncle, her third child.
Fear, cold, hunger, thirst and the ghost of death, were their companions, in fact they would be for many years to come
She did not return within weeks as she had thought. Nor would 900,000 others who are now called Palestinian refugees.

My family would make their difficult way across unknown lands, living in large camps, and finally settle in Yarmouk Camp, Syria in the early 1950's.
Here I was born. The culture from the past is still touchable for me.

I was born with Palestinian culture around me and with a Palestinian accent. The sound of a grandmothers voice singing Palestinian songs passes through my ears. My sisters and me are part of a larger family.

I enjoy eating msakhan, one of our special Palestinian dishes - a lot of onion with chicken and spices. I smell it with joy as I enter our narrow alley. My family and I share similar foods from the past. We sit closely together on a carpet in a circle eating Arabic and Palestinian food.
Cheese in brine, salted olives, hummus, red ripe tomatoes, salad, oranges and lemons. We love sweets of hot Knafah and Arabic pastry.

I love watching my Grandmother  moving with her beautiful black dress embroidered with red & green  cross stitches.
"We used to have other colours and stitches, each for every occasion, every town had its own",  she would tell me and her eyes would glitter with pride.
I enjoy our simple life gathering on the floor with all my family around me.
I love spending some evenings listening to my Grandmother’s story. We spend other evenings listening to our favorite poet Mahmoud Darwish and the famous oud player Marcel Khalifah .

Sometimes we go out to visit our family .We drink tea and share food. Men gather playing dice and cards. The women settled in another corner, talking, laughing. I love to sit with my sisters and my cousins laughing and chatting.
We dance the dabka and share each other's celebrations.

When one day I marry, I would like to gather with the women as my Grandmother did. In the Bride’s home, singing amazing traditional and poetic songs. Placing henna on our hands and wearing the traditional embroidered clothes.

Today, when I walk in the streets of the camp, I sense sadness and despair in elderly people's eyes, but when I go quietly onto our roof top, although I see pollution I can still see a blossom on a tree, oddly planted in a drum filled with soil.

That blossom will be an orange one day .


Conversations With Neveen ....

Today I am proud to introduce Neveen, an aspiring writer and poet and a very good one at that.

Neveen is a Palestinian girl and lives in Syria. She is going to introduce herself and share some of her thoughts and writing on this blog.

I asked her this morning if she is well and if she is doing any writing. School has finished in Syria for the summer months and the situation is becoming worse by the minute.
This is what she said :

It is painful to write when you know that nothing will ever change.
Writing about it just makes it more clear and raises the pain level.

But Neveen will continue to write and share her thoughts. And we will be fortunate enough to share.

Write- Place  gives Neveen a very big welcome !










Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I have "Mummy Porn " on my Kindle !

Thought that might catch your eye.
But it's true. Seems I have had downloaded onto my Kindle for a number of weeks now "Mummy Porn"  and it has shocked me, for a few minute anyway. After all I am not only a mummy but a Grand mummy too.  I'd never heard of this genre of fiction until reading a BBC online article by Will Gompertz  Have to say I 'd never heard of him either until yesterday.
So, what is this pornographic material that I have not only downloaded but paid for as well ?
It's Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. 


Apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey sold 205, 130 paperback copies in the past week
The sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed sold 132, 174 and 115,086 copies. 
That's more than on next 50 bestselling paperback novels.


Now I do appreciate that by writing about this 'phenomenon' (as I have now heard it called)  that I am giving free promotion to the author and as this blog is read by millions I am sure sales will increase dramatically (!) too. Well good luck to EL James. Maybe one day she will blog about something that I have written, even if it's only on what I have written about her books.

For my bedtime reading last night I put Stuart Ayris and Vivien Hampshire to one side and began to read Fifty Shades of Grey, which I honestly knew nothing about. I'm not sure who recommended it or why I downloaded it and don't know what I was expecting porn-wise. But after the first 3 chapters I was bored with the repeatative descriptions of  "cold white sandstone and glass"  and "cold steel and marble" which seemed to be applied to every thing from the entrance lobbies of  hotels and offices, to the body language of  the main character and his many receptionists. The asides of the character of the story to herself , in italics, also got rather annoying - "Damn that woman" "Damn that man"  "Damn that elevator"  "Damn this feeling" ...  

It's probably a sign that I am well passed the middle aged woman who is titillated by "racy writing" stage. Or maybe it's just not my style of reading.

Either way, the FSG trilogy is going into my Kindle archives, unfinished.

Don't suppose it will affect my reading habits in any way except for being more careful what I download as so called 'recommendations'.