The Monday Muse. Choux your buns.

This time four days ago I was being kissed by the sunshine and caressed by silence. Today I am nuzzled by rain drops, sirens, children screaming and adults complaining. Goodbye Spanish campo, hello my old friend London.

Having just returned to the city from a holiday, it has taken me a moment to become accustomed to the sheer amount of souls I am once again surrounded by. It has also taken me a moment to become reacquainted with the types of souls this city is filled with…

While strolling down the aisle of a supermarket yesterday I decided, what with it being Sunday and the last official day of my holiday, I would see off two weeks of indulgent face-stuffing with a gooey cream cake.

As I perused the pastries I saw a pair of podgy fingers reaching for a chocolate lacquered choux bun; someone else had plumped for the same snack selection, although it appeared her decision needed a much more rapid wish fulfilment than mine. The bun was not her pick for the trolley, it was a mere little something to amuse her loose lips whilst she chose what she really wanted: a chunky Victoria sponge oozing with fresh cream and strawberry jam.

Now I am sure that her honest nature had her taking the empty cake box to the till with her to pay for her in store treat, but time and time again when I see these supermarket munchers, grazing on the stock as they shop, I wonder why. Perhaps they are safeguarding against that impending apocalypse that might just stop them from enjoying that box of Coco Pops the following morning. Or perhaps they can only prevail over the weekly food shop if there are tummy loving perks on the way round. It’s the ones that don’t close their mouths that are the worst. Munching on buns whilst in the middle of the supermarket, the congealed butter and cream swirling around their tongue and slapping against their cheeks.

I wonder if they’ll ID me after I’ve drunk the whole bottle of Vodka in my basket on my next grocery shop…

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Literary Lion. Tumble.

Greetings from a Literary Lion on holiday! Whilst packing for my little Spanish vacaciones I remembered to tuck one of our lion’s words into my suitcase. I found an appropriate setting for its capture today, whilst I was trudging the Andalusian hike of the Rio Chiller, which saw me wading through water and tumbling onto what are now a pair of very bruised knees until I reached our word of the week… ‘Fall‘.

As always, you have two weeks to tell your tales in 400 words or less. Remember to tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your post, pingback to this post and all you Instagrammers and twitterers, don’t forget to give me a mention.

Here is my falling tale…

 

Tumble.

Every week he would arm me with the same headphones and a new track of calming. The voice would resonate within my ear, encasing all air beneath the padded earpiece as it commanded, twisting feathery wisps along my ear canal, shuddering the eardrum, dispatching its schemes right into my inner ear.

His legs would tuck neatly below the mahogany desk, smile soothing, nodding. My eyelids would weigh and droop as they were pulled under.

He would sit, I would fall.

This is what his Ph.D had taught.

Literary Lion. How to say goodbye.

When it comes to blooms and eyes, two of my favourite tales from the last month have included Graham’s In His Mind’s Eye and Andy’s Her Flowers. A good excuse for some escapism if you haven’t read either already…

But the cat has put his poet’s hat on for this fortnight’s Literary Lion prompt, the word is “Limerick“. Being such a wordy writer myself, I decided to take the prompt literally, and have penned a limerick, but there are of course many other interpretations out there to find…

You have 14 days to tell your limerick worthy tale in 400 words or less. As always please tag your post with Literary Lion, remember to pingback to this post and point me in the direction of your stories on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my little limerick…

How to say goodbye.

The air moved a vacuum of sound.

With a blunt breath and eyes on the ground,

the mortal invaded,

through sunlight he waded

and silence was heard all the way down.

Literary Lion. Bloom.

I might be fighting off the temptation to play sleeping lions here today but my feeble fingers have just about managed to pluck a piece of paper from my little jar.

The word is the very beautifully penned ‘flower’.

There are some exciting things on the horizon for Literary Lion, but in order to make room for the approaching antics the event is now becoming a fortnightly affair. So from this week onwards I am giving you 14 days to craft your post of 400 words or less. Please remember to pingback to this post, include the ‘Literary Lion’ tag and of course give me a tinkle on Instagram and twitter.

As part of the new and improved Literary Lion I will be choosing a favourite tale each week to link to in my next prompt piece, so have your writing hands at the ready…

Here is my floral affair…

 

Bloom.

This time he bought me roses. Their razor thorns grazed his face when I cracked them across his skull. They swung so smoothly through the air, whistling as they went.

Twelve bunches of flowers in the last sixty-four days. But the roses were lavish. She must have been special. His guilt oozed from every petal.

The first time was a bunch of weak wilting daisies. Puny and pathetic. She probably had mousy brown hair. Plain Jane.

They got better looking each time. One day it was elegant, slender tulips. The next week was bright beaming amber sunflowers. That bunch hurt. I wasn’t the smiling type.

But the roses were the finest of them all. Blossoming pink spheres. Velvet to the touch. Plump, ripe and undeniably beautiful.

The Monday Muse. One Day.

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One Day.

I can’t remember exactly when I first started saying “one day”. I know I was very young. And I know I said it a lot. I also know that I say it as much now as I ever did then.

I am the dreamer of the family with her head in the clouds. I’ve grown accustomed to that face some people pull when I mention my plans for “one day”. Back then I made my aunt buy me an extra large sketchbook so I could map out the plans for my future abode. These days I lose minutes to the dark side that is daydreams and living in reverie.

Lucky for me while chasing my one-days I’ve found a partner in crime. Amidst seven years of citing one-days to each other, we almost didn’t realise when we were in the middle of a one-day moment last week.

Last Wednesday was a lucky day. The boy and I attended Wimbledon for the first time (the ultimate tennis event for those of you who aren’t into watching two people smash a ball around a court).

We sat munching our lunch and hiding from the rain in the corridors beneath Court 1, lamenting for the day we would be relishing in VIP treatment and swapping the overpriced ham sandwiches for the three course lunch whipped up by Michel Roux just a few doors down at The Gatsby Club.

As the usual two little words tumbled off my tongue I had an epiphany. I might “one day” be sitting pretty beside the privileged of Wimbledon, but I was also sat slap-bang right in the middle of a one-day moment right now, a moment I had dreamed of since I first found myself roaring at the TV screen alongside a nation of Tim Henman supporters in the 90s.

That said, I shall forever be a dreamer.

Without dreams, I wouldn’t have found myself back at Wimbledon again yesterday within touching distance of the almighty Roger Federer. In that front row seat the silence was palpable, the sounds were magnified and for that moment in time, the grass was a green as it was ever going to get.

I’ll always chase the “one days”, but thanks to this week, I will also remember to stop and smell the rosy aroma of those that are happening right now.

 

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Literary Lion. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

It’s official. I always thought I was quite adept when it came to all things technological, but apparently I am wrong.

I was off on a jolly to the Wimbledon tennis championships yesterday – something I have been wanting to do ever since I was small – and I had scheduled this week’s Literary Lion to post magically in my absence. Or so I thought.

Apologies to those of you who were gearing up to rise to the Lion’s prompt yesterday, I hope you can forgive me and my newly realised technologically challenged ways.IMG_6091

This week’s prompt was likely dropped into the jar by a festive visitor. Whether you chose to believe it was Santa that gave me the prompt is totally your prerogative, but I think this word has the bearded man’s name written all over it.

The word is ‘Merry’.

As always, you have a week to pen a piece of flash fiction in 400 words or less. Include the tag ‘Literary Lion’, pingback to this post, have a butchers of each others work, and give me a mention on twitter and Instagram so I can share the words.

Only 169 sleeps til Christmas. Here is my merry tale.

 

Kringle.

Those fluffs of white weren’t fooling anyone he was rosy. Glistening strands of silver hair that caught the firelight in their synthetic forgery.

I don’t know why I’d never realised. Yes his belly was round and his cheeks were flaming, but that’s what the diet of the inebriated will do.

Hold the mince pies but don’t forget the sherry.

I wanted to check my stocking one more time before some shut eye. I found him slouched in the armchair, buttons undone, beard around his neck, necking the bottle. Moments ago I’d tentatively poured a dribble into one of those small sherry glasses. It was crystal etched with florals and the ruby liquid sang between its light catching edges.

For sipping only.

As I tipped the bottle I envisaged the authentic festive father slurping between present placing, trying not to see pine needles all over the floor, leaving with crumbs in his beard. But this was not that, and he was not authentic.

I tried to wonder if the real thing was just waiting on the rooftop for the sleeping household, but then I remembered catching Mum slipping a coin under my pillow when my last baby tooth fell out and I realised it was all a lie. No chocolate wielding rabbit, no tooth trading fairy, and no man in a red suit being pulled by horned creatures across the sky.

The only man in red was sat in my front living room with a bottle of empty sherry and a head that would flinch at the slightest sound in the morning.

Merry Christmas to me.

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The Monday Muse. Embracing the Odd.

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Embracing the Odd.

I was often told that if I wanted to be a writer I would need to grow a thick skin.

My papery epidermis has taken a tear or two over the past couple of years, but a comment I received last week was to prove to be my biggest test yet.

It is never nice to be told your work isn’t good. So far, I haven’t yet come across too many unhelpful comments, and most of what I am told is justified, even if I am a little reluctant at first to admit it.

Last week I was given some feedback in relation to a freelance job I was bidding for. The company had asked if I would write a trial piece for them, which is industry code for “we want you to write something for free even though we can see a huge portfolio of your work online.”

I obliged, and it was within an evaluation of this piece (which came from an anonymous ‘evaluator’ that hid behind the name of the company) that I found this pearl of wisdom…

“Your words seemed odd.”

Baffled by the buckets of brilliance that it must have taken to come up with that little whip-smart nugget, I didn’t quite know what to say.

It took the strength of a superhuman not to reply with an equally insightful observation such as “your face is odd”, but instead I printed it out and I pinned it on my pinboard.

Over the past few years, I have started to embrace my eccentricities. So if it shines through my words I’m afraid it’s just the mark of someone who’s becoming a bit more comfortable in their skin… which, funnily enough, is getting ever thicker.

 

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The Hemingway Day. Hide.

 

Having spent the past hour dithering between Wimbledon watching, work and this blog post, I am struggling to find more words than the six below. Welcome to The Hemingway Day…

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Hide.

The wind disguised his skulking inside.

 

Thanks to The Daily Post for the photo prompt this week, here are some other photos of doors.

Literary Lion. Catch me if you can.

 

Thank you to everyone who has responded to Literary Lion so far. The kitty has meowed for another week, and the word is ‘Escape‘.

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You have seven days to craft a story of 400 words or less, inspired by the prompt ‘Escape’. Remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your piece and to pingback to this post so we can find your work in the WordPress reader. I encourage you all to try and read each other’s work and leave some feedback, there are some wonderful stories being told each week.

Please do tweet me your stories too, or tag me on instagram and remember the hashtag #literarylion

And so to my ‘escape’ inspired tale…

 

No Way Out.

I thought her breathing techniques were flawed. That calm, velvet hued voice was trying to control my abdomen. I resisted for as long as I could.

The sleek synthetic strands twisted across my wrists, almost beautiful. The threads frayed, cracking into untidy tendrils as they snaked past skin cells, drawing rusty droplets that tainted their clean coils. My blue veins pulsed beneath the grip of the rope, staining the fibres further with every heart-powered throb.

When there’s no way out you either pray or resign yourself. Tonight, defeat. I was futile in the battle, witless in the war, completely hopeless against the takeover.

She edges towards me with her mirrored tray, empty but for one glass cylinder of clear fluid. Her closed fist nears my chest and she unfurls her fingers to reveal the mint and black capsule in the centre of her palm. She pleads with me for cooperation.

I imagine the muscles of her neck convulsing beneath my thumbs, but my hands are hopeless, bound to the white metal bars of the bed. I thrash my legs, but my body is shrouded by drearily patterned polyester.

She leans towards my ear. Whispering. Breathe in for seven, out for eleven, give the parasympathetic nervous system a chance.

The sleek synthetic strands twist across my wrists, almost beautiful.

 

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The Monday Muse. Skinny Fry.

You will have to excuse my meandering mind again today. As I was laid face down on a surgeon’s table this morning, I couldn’t help but wish I was sat on the riverside bench that the boy and I had perched on just 20 hours previously with two portions of chips and a can of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always loved what we Brits can do with a potato, but I hadn’t sampled the magic for at least six months.

So as I studied the speckles of a blue vinyl floor, I started reminiscing about chips…

 

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Skinny Fry.

I was a fussy eater until I was around 25 years old. As a kid, I was often left sitting at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished, staring at a plate filled with greens.

I would long for a portion of fries.

My Dad used to tell me I’d turn into a chip. I used to think it wouldn’t be as bad as turning into a cauliflower or a piece of broccoli. At least I could be a supermodel skinny fry with a French accent.

 

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