Friday, 31 March 2017
Beneath the ground, within the diamond pressure of mountains, the wyrm had slept for so long that her body had considered stone. But she had not stayed all these years to shrug off her own precious flesh, sinew, and bone for mere minerals. She might wind around her sparkling stones, but she would not become them.
Instead, once or twice upon a millennium she would stir, just slightly, her body undulating along its length as she stretched, muscles reminding themselves of their flesh. It was only a shift. Even that was enough, she knew, to split the earth itself.
Once she had had sisters, and with the moving of their bodies, they had forged new continents. Once all the wyrms had roamed the surface, gorging on the creatures there, growing fat on other's flesh. She had grown the biggest of all her sisters.
When the sleep came she and her sisters had coiled their way down, shifting the very plates of the earth to make their beds. For millennia she had felt her sisters shifting in their own dens beneath the earth, but not now. Now perhaps she was the last of the earthbound wyrms.
Her brothers had taken the sea, and they too had diminished, but still she could feel one brother, the greatest of the sea serpents. The gentle undulations of his huge body still rocked her to sleep.
Who knew how long she might sleep unmolested? For she would wake again when he did, when he loosed his tail from his mouth and began to feed once more. Coming up, up from the depths, and bringing the seas with him, sating his hunger on the creatures who had repopulated the earth while they slept.
She would join him in his feasting, come to his side though their joining might break the very world. And together they two could make new brothers and sisters to feast with them, and sleep again, and one day wake.
But not now. Now he rocks her with rhythmic undulations, and she shifts in her long sleep beneath the earth, refusing to become the rock she winds around.
Ⓒ Cara L McKee 31/3/17
This story is inspired by Chuck Wendig's one word title: Undulate, and is part of his flash fiction challenge. Find out more here. It's just over 350 words long.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
Do you do any of those photo challenges on Instagram? I used to do it more than I do now, but I still take part in the So Good in Every Way fortnightly themes (sometimes), and the Snap Happy Britmums daily prompts (again, sometimes).
Todays prompt was words, and I was sitting in my kids' school this morning, waiting to help out with walking a bunch of kids to another school, and thinking about how the rhyme, 'sticks and stones' has changed as schools have become more cognicent of the long term damaging effects of verbal bullying. When I was a kid we taunted bullies that words would never hurt me. My own eating disorder, other self harming, and so much other stuff can testify to the nonsense of that.
Now my kids are taught the rhyme 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can really hurt me.' and it's true. Physical violence is rubbish, but we should never underestimate the long term harm of verbal violence. Hence my poem today. It's almost a villanelle but totally a poem.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can really hurt me,
make me small and all alone.
These small things you may condone
can stick around to haunt me.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
Don't leave me all on my own
I need you to support me
I am small and all alone
Words can linger though they're thrown
like careless blown confetti.
Words themselves won't break my bones
but make me feel all alone
Ⓒ Cara L McKee 23/3/17
This poem is for Britmums, for all they do to support us and bring us together, and for my children's school, and is against bullying.
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Today (21st March) is World Poetry Day. To be honest, I didn't know this until Vic Welton shared a poem on her blog earlier today (here). She got some glorious goodies from Viking, which I'm jealous of, but I too can write about the joy of poeming, even without fancy stuff (although Viking, if you're watching, I'd love some freebies 😉), so here is my poem about why I write poetry, and underneath that are some links to awesome poets you might like to check out.
Why do I write poetry?
For poetry makes words into silly-putty
to bounce ideas around
and mould to our meanings.
For poetry is a way to
speak my truth to beauty
and in that, reflect your own.
For poems are small, and sometimes tiny
and can be crafted and smoothed,
embellished and made just so,
and they might even find a new home.
For I read and listen to poetry
and find I must join in:
take your words and swallow them
to set my own words free.
Ⓒ Cara L McKee 21/3/17
As promised here are some top tips on poetry you might want to read and listen to:
- Katie Ailes (of the Loud Poets), Katy Ewing, and Iona Lee (all three women utterly brilliant at spoken word events - go see them) have a joint poetry collection out from House of Three, 2016 (definitely an imprint to watch, by the way). It's amazing. The House of Three website is here, with details of all their books so far (which are all worth buying, but I'm feeling special love for the third one), and an online store!
- To be honest, I bought Butcher's Dog magazine because issue 8 had a mermaid on the front, but I am so glad I did. I mark pages to come back to with little postits, and my copy of Butcher's Dog is hedgehog like with all the mini postits sticking out of it. Amazing stuff, lovely people, go and give them your money. Link above.
- Another awesome magazine at the moment is Hotdog magazine. I really want to get into this magazine! Find it here. Issue one is sold out, but issue two is available.
- 404 Ink is a really interesting publishing house, bringing out a magazine type thing which is gorgeous, has lots of great content, including poetry and is absolutely delightful to be in, and also publishing books now. Their website is here.
- And lastly, because I know you don't want to be here forever, but there is a forever's worth of good stuff happening, I'm giving some love to N Ireland's Abridged Magazine, which is colourful and just the right side of seedy (at times), and also bears its Goth influences with a wry grin. Check it out here.
That should keep you going for a bit!
What poetry are you loving at the moment?
Sunday, 12 March 2017
I loved doing a weblog post last month, and I've been so busy with work that I can't share it seems only fair to keep you up to date somehow! I'm sticking with the fab format suggested by Aly Hodge of Bug, Bird & Bee with her Right Here, Right Now. Do get in touch because I'd love to know what's going on with you. 😊
Right now I'm:
I've just sent some poems off to a festival and another couple to my poetry circle (some really great poets I get to hang out with once a month while we tear each other's work to shreds - possibly my best meetings ever!). The kids are with the grandparents for our first date night in CHUFFING AGES, and last night we went out for dinner and a movie (Trainspotting 2 - I particularly loved what they did with shadows). This morning we're being lazy, and I'm sitting here writing this in my new PJs (which have cats on because I couldn't find any that were just plain lovely black).
I did have Loki cuddling in for a bit, but he's away now, and I'm listening to music (The Wainwright Sisters).
Last time I wrote I said I was revisiting Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and collecting quotes from it to inspire my writing. It was a gold mine. I wrote twelve poems inspired by it, and I've been working on improving them, and some of them have already gone out into the world to seek new homes. Wish them luck!
Now I'm reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I sometimes wish I could be more like Amanda Palmer, but reading her book has made me think that the places where she thrives are places where I am rocking myself for comfort in the corner. I do not want to be like Amanda Palmer anymore, although I do think she's blooming marvellous. Also, until now I have always harboured the idea that Neil Gaiman and I might meet one day and he would realise he'd been looking for me his whole life. It would be a shame, because I'm married and all, but there you go. Anyway, I realise now that Neil Gaiman would never ever fancy me, and I probably wouldn't fancy him either. Although if he read to me that would be fine.
I'm listening to music on my 'phone just now. It's moved from The Wainwright Sisters to Snow Patrol. Ed Sheeran is being a bit of a phenomenon in the charts at the moment, and I'm pleased for him, but not surprised. There's a whole lot of mince out there right now. Especially that dreadful Under Your Sexy Body shite. IMHO
Yesterday the hubby and I finally got our Valentines date night. The kids were a chuffing nightmare for getting dressed in the morning, so it was with delight that we dropped them off with their Grandfather and drove into Glasgow. We ate out together and chatted, and then K went to watch the rugby (which was not good), and I went shopping (which was, although I could have done without all the cold shoulders and butterflies). Still, I got half a fake bear for a great price and also got a gorgeous new dress, which I shall wear today.
I've been a bit quiet lately, in fact I haven't posted anything since last weekend! I seem to be using Instagram stories more than Instagram itself! I love sharing a bit of my walk each day, and the kids and kittens doing cute things which can just disappear after a day. Are you using stories?
Last weekend I was in St Andrews for the StAnza International Poetry Conference. I got to stay in a fancy B&B and spend lots of time wandering about the ruins (with icecream) and gorgeous St Andrews, and writing poetry, reading, and going to readings. My favourite was Leasungspell.
As well as having a Neil Gaiman moment, I've been watching Stranger Things and have developed an obsession with Jonathan Byers, probably because he reminds me (like Christian Slater in Heathers) of a boyfriend that never was. Sigh.
We've been organising a big family holiday in the lakes this summer. Can't wait.
Poems are still being rejected and reworked, but I'm writing more at the moment, and I've got some ideas for reworking some that just aren't working.
The Rarest Rose is still being considered by people, and the Chaptershill book is still waiting for me to decide lots of things about it.
I'm planning to read a load of YA fairytale retellings because it's been a while.
Stranger Things (see below and above).
Jessamyn Stanley's yoga for all bodies, which I've just bought the book for.
New ways for shoulders to ache. I'm over this already.
A gorgeous dress at Yours (which looks a lot nicer sized up and in real life than it does on the website).
Lots of inspiration for writing at StAnza.
Feelings of inadequacy which annoy me monthly.
That I kind of love drawing. I've been doing more, and I think I might be getting a wee bit better.
Watching on Sky/Amazon Prime/Netflix:
K got Netflix for a month to watch The Expanse. We watched it. I was not captivated but he's reading the books. We also watched Stranger Things which was so very good I wish I could watch it for the first time again.
I am catching up on This Is Us on Sky, which is awesome and gave me a day half spent on the sofa weeping (over the programme, I'm fine).
Still wondering if I'm just rubbish at writing, but people keep saying I'm not, so I'm sticking at it.
Still drawing (see above). And crafting lots of poetry.
The big kids are getting bigger, I'm constantly buying clothes, and there are hormones lying in heaps around the house. Just in case I wasn't sure, I am reminded that I'm wrong on a daily basis.
Miss 6 is still a little whirlwind of cheeky willpower.
None of them believe in getting dressed in the morning.
None of them want to go to school at the moment, because one of them has a teacher who makes them upset (which is true, but what can be done? I just keep listening, and speaking to the school, who are doing their best in a difficult situation), because they have to do work all day, because Miss 6 misses me.
I think the main problem is that it's just grey and cold and windy and rainy all the freaking time. Come on Spring! Have at it!
What have you been up to?
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
That prompt from Sara at Mum Turned Mom, 'Embrace', has got my mind wandering down all sorts of rabbit holes, I shared one with you yesterday, and here's another, about the sort of embraces you probably shouldn't have ever had. Probably.
One peculiar night
when there was just us
we drank the bar.
you could do better
than that whispering nothing
who dangles your heart
like a bored cat's toy.
you could have me
and knew I'd gone too far to stay.
I walked home
on feet that wanted
to return to you.
Buried my fear
in instant noodles
and there you were!
Swinging on the lampost,
grinning through the window.
I smuggled you in.
in bouts of incompetence.
You kissed me,
said we could brave the storm
if you could shelter
in my heart.
I offered shelter
but you caught her sparkling thread
and returned to whispers.
Ⓒ Cara L McKee 28/2/17