Thursday, January 31, 2008

digitally enhanced

[random thoughts about fingers and toes]

Everybody’s talking about sock puppets. But they unnerve me. Such knitted snakery and lack of limbs. Buttoned eyes that never blink. They make you think you are the one in control, the one working them - but they have already devoured half your arm. And now they are quietly conspiring with your lower limbs. Dropping stitches like secret hints. They plan to have your feet for tea.

- - - - -

Crossing my fingers doesn’t amount to much. But it’s better than nothing. Better than closing my eyes. Better than a sentence that starts with a full stop. Better than a year of absent thinking and a French introduction. A tidy riddle and a dirty exclamation.

- - - - -

They count to ten. Over and over. Everyday. Just to say they are doing something. Making progress on fingers and toes. Forty between them, but they never get beyond ten. Always holding hands. Always walking backwards.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

sitting pretty

(not exactly a short story but a short something)
(inspired by a post on Sarah’s Writing Journal)

It’s hard to find the perfect bench. One that fits, that suits mood and persuasion. One that encourages the right words onto your page.

Some benches are always in the sun and some prefer the shade. Words written here may bristle with goose-bumps, or burn with rage. There are benches that face the sea, that make you sway and spin stories about drowned gods and fish that dream they can fly. Some face the swings and the slide, and make for playful verses filled with colour and rhythm and rhyme. Some benches have names, dedications to the deceased. Beware of these loud benches, over-owned and all too keen to whisper ghost secrets into your ear.

Sometimes it’s safer to sit alongside, X-legged and lower down. Cross cut by striped shadows of arm and back. A friend of a bench.

It’s always raining these days, and I can’t remember the last time I visited my benches. I need to do a tour, to check they are all still there. Weathering this winter. Peeling and patient.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

one by one

There is something I can’t resist about those cut and paste death threats and murder confessions. Words in different fonts and colours stuck in lines onto a blank page and all the rage in cheap thrillers and the 1970’s. So much more artful than just trying to disguise your handwriting.

I always wanted to have cause to create one - and I know a friend who indulges from time to time. It’s something we could all benefit from - carrying a small satchel stuffed full of words clipped and culled along the way. Ripe to be sprinkled, literate confetti on a windy day. We should all carry little silver scissors - ready to snip at each others conversations and tear holes in our confessions - stealing the parts we like and rearranging them our own way.

But there’s more to it than that. It’s something about spelling out anything that carefully - as if the process forces a stronger focus on each individual word or letter, making you think more about what you are saying, making you more connected to the essential way that language is built within the human mind.

And I just got myself a post Christmas treat - a letter printing set, a grown up version of one I had as a kid. I remember the little rubber letters, lining them up in the holder. And I’m still thrilled at picking the letters out one by one, slowly watching my words form, and remembering to write everything backwards. Perhaps that is the ultimate key - that anything you say is stronger if it makes sense both ways round.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

two moons, one me

[inspired by the latest prompt at one deep breath]

A slightly different take on the theme this week as I have chosen to focus my attention on moons captured by pen and paper.

Two haiku - the first inspired by a piece of art that has hung in my bedroom for many years, the second by a friend who has hung around for nearly as long.

The Weary Moon by Edward Robert Hughes

at the foot
of my bed - a moon
that never fades

she sent a postcard
of the moon - promising
to visit soon

Thursday, January 03, 2008

a new complaint

Plus one on the calendar and its out with the old, in with the new. A Christmas treasure given to me by you. A dragon scale, a petal from a petrified flower. A mantra repeated hour after hour.

A lack of space - something has to go. A heart shaped box - kept beside my bed, for thirteen years or thereabouts, since the days when those three words still meant something. And hidden within - a lighter, free with tokens on cigarette packets, from when I had nothing better to do than smoke. Two herbal throat sweets and one white pill. Three buttons - two black, one white (ownership unknown). One tarnished silver earring (ownership known). A little white crystal, quite possibly of magic origin. And a perfume sample that she says smells like rosemary while I disagree.

And something secret - something treasured that now needs to be set free, thrown away or returned to the sea.