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Contemplation

I sit here, watching the wind bluster through the silvery leaves of the birch tree in my next door neighbour’s garden and consider what imaginative, contemplative piece I can wow you with in my attempts to show my skills as a writer. From this long, evocative opening sentence, I’ve probably lost most of you and the ones remaining hopefully know that I like to wander through my words as I search for something substantial to design into a narrative.

Well, the sweet peas are swaying, calling my attention to their gorgeous colours. Purples, pinks and variegated whites mix in sweet harmony from one bush – similar to my make-up! I sit here, in my English garden, contemplating my colonial up-bringing under a different sun that shed its light hundreds of miles south many years ago. A place where tea and scones were as ever present as orange juice and marmalade at every event I attended with my mother.  She had a penchant for supporting the RSPCA and anything resembling a fair, mixing into the crowds of people gathered to spend their money on nik-naks at the White Elephant stall. I, on the other hand, stood with my father, watching the dogs and cats trapped in their protected cages waiting for some kind soul to free them. My dad’s eyes always reminded me of those trapped animals. I don’t think he ever escaped the cage of his past.

We delved into the books stacked in mis-matched piles under the canopy of the bric-a-brac stall, hoping to add to our collection of Wilbur Smith or J.T. Edson. He would point out the larger encyclopedias and we would share a smug grin (our editions at home were far more recent and well preserved) whilst pouring through the yellowed pages examining the data that felt out of date just by the paper it was printed on. My brown skin matched his perfectly, as it did my mother’s. My older brother, on the other hand, had darker skin and features, a noble nose and high cheekbones like my mother making him an alien to my looks and fairer complexion. I still remember her making fun of my nose, calling it an upside down bug on my face. Clothes pegs helped fix that.

As we grew older and hated each other less, more of our friends realised that we siblings – a mistake easily made when you look nothing like your brother. We shared a hate for our parents and their old fashioned parenting skills (something my son now shares as he enters his adult years) and their racist attitudes. Isn’t it funny how we all declare we will never turn into our parents but, over the years, carry the traits – the strain of the virus  -that infect us as we age. Hatred is an easy place to rest in your youth and old age.

I digress. My past. My heritage. It’s easy to say I am of British origin but not so easy to explain when my blood carries over four other cultures (I’m estimating. My genealogy is still to be tested). In a world where heritage is now so mixed, the water is brown and cloudy. There is a stronger hold on the originals, the unsoiled pure ones. But, is there such a thing? After dabbling in a bit of history over the past year, my eyes have been opened to the diversity of races – a delusion of purity left for the few. We are all a part of the past travellers who have crossed our land, our people and our culture. Few remain untainted to their original ancestors and their claims are like mine: we choose which culture we want to be associated with and hold onto it as a cloak of identity. My identity changes on a whim. I can be the potpourri of races. My cupboard is filled with cloaks.

I am brown skinned, brought up in a colonial world of racism and definitive feelings of identity. Yet, my world has changed as I’ve grown, allowing me to mix freely – more freely than my parents – with races from varying social strata. I miss that. Here, in England, the old colonial dimension of life is back. You call a spade a spade when seeing someone of the lower classes acting out. The rich can misbehave and neglect their families. It is called impactful parenting or a life lesson for the young. If the poor do the same, it is called neglect. I understand this world but I don’t like it.

Well, my contemplation is pretty much complete. I don’t know what you will take away from it. Probably nothing. But, if you kept reading to the end, I thank you.

 

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There’s Something About Harry

Harry is a bit of a conundrum. She’s the kind of woman you want to sympathize with but end up hating because of her frailty and ability to call every man in close proximity to her assistance. Her life has been hell and though she seems to think there might be a light at the end of the rainbow – it’s the light of an oncoming train! Continue reading

Saturday Night Poetry

Hello and welcome.

Any poet will tell you that events and people inspire the art. Our exchanges breathe moments of desire, passion and slowly dying embers of deceit or delight. As the intensity passes, we are left with the memories of the encounter and this rare beast is what we try to capture within our words. Well, at least I do!

This poem, for me, is the moment trust dies in a relationship. It could be a friendship, a loved one, a relationship with a workmate or boss. In time, we all experience events where life becomes art and the words that encapsulate that emotion are trapped forever.

I hope this poem as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It doesn’t have a name yet. Maybe you could suggest one in the comments below.

Have a great evening.

 

Nuances once found endearing

Now grate against my skin

Scratching, screaming down my vertebrae

Telling me all your sins

Incompetence and flagrant misdirection

Needles picking at your consistence

Integral parts of my anatomy

Shouting out allegories against your existence

Deprivation within the biomass

This disorder known as yourself

Rip disregarded respect and faith

Away from all harmony; my loss, your wealth

 

 

Copyright held by ©Eloise De Sousa (2018)

 

My Dog, The Terrorist!

Eyes wide open with dark pupils glaring into my soul, his mouth remained clamped over his latest hostage. My pleas and persuasion had fallen on deaf ears and now my voice held an angry bite, ready to do battle.

“Put the doll down, Henry,” I growled.

His head cocked to one side, contemplation stealing across his chiselled facade. Pathetic dolly arms flumped as he swung his head to check for attackers from behind.  He was safe for now.  He only had to face me.  But he and I both knew that back-up was on its way.  The heavy footfalls of the Hubble were unmistakable.

“Drop it, now!” My hissing voice reminded me of a stand-off in a spaghetti western.  I should have worn my poncho for this!

Big mistake. As my thoughts trailed away, he took the opportunity to run past my outstretched hands and scuttle out of the kitchen door into the garden, said hostage still trapped between his jaws. I screamed and pursued him, darting this way and that as he pranced before me.  Slight head turns gave him an advantageous view to predicting my next move. Without much effort he ducked and ran just far enough for me to be within touching distance of his wagging bushy tail.

A deep voice made us both jump.

“Henry! What are you doing?” demanded the Hubble. His hands-on-hips stance used for the naughty sprogs did nothing to deter our little terrorist.  With a spring in his paws he pranced past the kitchen door, parading his latest victim with delight.

“Down!” I shouted.

“Drop!” bellowed the Hubble.

A skip and a hop was the terror’s response. His victim slipped slightly and was flicked into the air only to be champed down on again.  In my mind I was weighing up the collateral damage.  Could we lose this one?  Was she a favourite toy? I shook my head.  She was one of too many stuffed toy victims that had seen an ugly end thanks to this four legged brute.  He had to be stopped. Sally, the sweet patchwork doll had to be saved.

With a new directive in mind, I ran into the kitchen.  Ah yes!  Leftovers from the day before: sausages!

I quickly ran out again, my new negotiating tactic in hand.

“Henry, come!” My voice oozed sweetness and trust.

I edged closer to the perpetrator, his piercing gaze fixed on my outstretched hand. His wet nosed quivered.  I could see his jaw slacking.  This was it.  We had a deal. Two tentative steps brought us closer.  The air was heavy with suspense – and the smell of sausage.

Drop. The hostage was free. I threw the tasty morsel to the right as I made a dive to rescue Sally. Yuck! She was safe, albeit covered in slimy saliva. Her hands waved in victory as I shoved her up in the air above my head for all to see. The Hubble just shook his head and walked back into the house.

What? No victory parade? No pat on the back in appreciation for rescuing Sally from the little terror?

Loud chewing noises formed the background music to my victory walk indoors where I demanded an explanation from the Hubble.

He frowned. “Don’t you know you never negotiate with terrorists?”

“What do you mean? It was only as treat!”

“Yes, but now you’ve set a precedent.”

Urgh! No appreciation for my efforts.  I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to argue my point, so I took Sally to the washing machine for a quick spruce up before returning her home to my female sprog’s bedroom.

A scream forced me to abandon my post and run to assist the aforementioned sprog.

“What’s wrong?”

“Henry just stole Miss Giggles and he won’t give her back!” Tears and burbles of how much she loved Miss Giggles ensued.

Oh dear. The Hubble gave his dark know-it-all smile. Grr! I hate it when he’s right.

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Halloween Special

Dearest Reader,

‘Tis with great regret I write to tell you that I have been attacked this night; from the darkness came the spirits of writers past, claiming back the awful stories kept hostage in my grey loft. Surrendering to their threats, I write this message from within the crypt where my dearest memories reside.

Stars dare not cross this sky. Light flails and gasps as the shadows suffocate said emerging spectrum, swallowing its presence with their hollowed souls. Soft gossamer drifts from the ceilings, reminding me of a tale once told many years ago. There was a girl, probably thirteen years or more, who was driven from her home by the vulgar associates her mother entertained. Left to fend for herself, she soon stumbled into an avenue only fit for those who enjoy the benefits of dark nights and full moons. Unbeknownst to this girl, her tantalizing scent and throbbing pulse was all she needed to reside with these pale strangers. Summer came and went and soon autumn set in. She was the subservient messenger for her new found family. Their delicate frames and sharp canines were enough to keep her in check and if she felt an inkling to leave the fine establishment she now called home, the claws of the young, hairy cousins were enough to change her mind.

Halloween approached with the swiftness of death, calling out to all who supported the shadows and skulked in the basements of the decrepit surrounding buildings. At the request of the almost porcelain elders, who sat at the high table all day and all night in the attic, she sifted through the cupboards and larders, searching for something festive. Soon she found a linen closet well equipped for the romantics. Soft gossamer in gold and silver swished through her fingers, drifting on invisible air towards the uneven floorboards under her naked feet. Excited, she ran through the house, hammer and nails in hand and soon the rooms felt like Bedouin tents awaiting pale concubines to perform the sensuous dance of the seven veils for their blue tainted captors. All the residents were pleased with her efforts and promised her light for the first time in that year. Candles were carefully lit and placed around the property, highlighting the gaunt ceilings now chipped and flaking; the gnarled door handles barely capturing the soft light emanating from the waxy tall spires of light. Sadly, that was the last thing the quiet residents saw as the gossamer caught aflame, sucking up the heat with great fervour. Before anyone could escape, the crumbling residence was engulfed, the screams of the girl the last thing passers by heard.

To this day, if you listen carefully, gossamer cries through your fingers as it slinks away, flittering like candle flames from your fingers.

Alas, dear readers, my gaolers have returned to torment me further. They say my stories lack a certain scary quality befitting the day. Apparently, pulling my fingers back and tearing my toe nails is deemed appropriate torture for such a crime. My only solace is knowing that my ears have not been touched, unlike the little boy from No. 16. When he was three, his mother decided to teach him a lesson about listening to her. She decided to scare some sense into him and chose the Halloween night when all the other good children were happily celebrating the existence of witches and ghouls, and gorging on sweets. This tall witch herself, decided to take her dear littling out trick or treating, but with evil intentions, wandered closer and closer to the forest just behind the houses.

Once out of view from the other parents, the nasty woman persuaded her son to follow her into the forest, whereupon she left him for the foxes and wild pigs to devour. The poor child tried to listen out for the direction of her footsteps to find his way out of the labyrinth of statuesque trees looming above him. She laughed and darted to and fro, in and out of sight, calling to him to listen better. What horrible torture for a child so young. Now, deep inside, we all call for the woman to fall to her just desserts, but it is with sadness I tell you what happened next. The wild pigs were not interested in the morsel crying out in front of them. They saw fit to chase and eat the harpy screaming to her young one to follow and listen. The young boy watched his witch of a mother serve a greater purpose in life. Horrified at the sight of her being chewed to nothing, the boy collapsed. The pigs, sensing the youngling’s need for guidance, revived him and led him deeper into the forest where the animals congregated on special occasions. It was decided that they would watch over the child until he was old enough to leave the forest and join the evil mankind who tortured their young. This was never to be. The child stayed young, forever reliving the halloween night.

To this day, if you leave your window open at night, you will hear the cries of the child as he cries for his mother who tried to teach him to listen. Some say it is the cry of the tawny owls, but now you know better.

 Thinking of the youngling never growing old, never leaving that forest, brings to mind certain spirits we were told about by our grandparents when we did not behave: the tokoloshi. To some Afrikaans people, it means, little spirit. To me, it meant little demon! Whenever my grandmother found me doing something naughty (which was often) she would tell me that the tokoloshi would come and teach me a lesson. It terrified me to think that something tiny could reach me and torture me, but to be honest, these spirits holding me down now have similar qualities. I guess our fears never leave us, no matter how old we are and the myths surrounding our childhoods follow us into our old age.

In this welcome, I will bid you farewell. Listen out for the gossamer and the cries of the babe in the woods and think kindly of me, dear reader, for warning you before they come to get you and your half stories awaiting to be told.

 

Book Tuesday

Welcome to Book Tuesday.  Continue reading

Sunday, December 2016

Hello,

I’m so glad I have an opportunity to write to you after a manic November. As successful as it was, the pace made me question whether I would make it to the end. I did though and am pleased to announce that a high number of the children taking part in the NaNoWriMo Challenge for 2016 met their word targets and surpassed them considerably.  Students that participated last year took it upon themselves to really challenge their abilities and their stories have shown what one year’s education can do for them. The plans were stronger and more efficient, their writing was of a higher standard and I’m pleased to say they are actually looking at their edits and correcting them, compared to the tears and tantrums I had to deal with this time last year.

For the younger students, it was a baptism by fire! Some thought it was just another fairy story without a strong middle or a relevant end. After making them sit down and read their stories out to their friends at Library Club, they soon realised that a storyteller has to have much more than pretty pink dresses and matching pink sparkly shoes to make his or her story interesting.  It was a fantastic way for them to work on their stories too, as one child found out that her story had a huge gap and mixed characters, a flaw her audience refused to accept.  After looking at me with woeful eyes, I suggested she ask her friends to help her fill in the gaps and they gladly skipped off to work the story map again and find a solution to the problem.  Hopefully, this will give them the tools to use in class to finish their work in the same way. Check your work, edit out the mistakes and check it again, just in case.  They’ll probably detest the sight of me by the end of January next year as I am determined to make them have more responsibility over the stories they submit for the Children’s Anthology.

My youngest writers surprised me. Their determination to finish and be a part of the process was amazing and I’m incredibly proud of them. Once all the stories are edited and checked again for improvements, I will be busy putting them together into the anthology which will be available for the parents to purchase and of course, I will keep a book or two in our school library for the children to read.

The proudest moment I had out of this whole process was when I read a story written by a year 5 student and was blown away by the style and structure of the story.  It was a typical zombie story but the style was similar to the horror genre on the market at the moment.  I started to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, she had copied that style and even the storyline.  So, I decided to question said writer about how she managed to get such a good script written and who was her inspiration. She shocked me by telling me it came from a story she had read in the Children’s Anthology I created from last year’s writers! Of course, I wracked my brain trying to think of who had written a decent tale of zombies to inspire another writer to such an extent.  The real surprise was when she pointed out it was a story written by my daughter called Live or Die! That pretty much made my day. She is currently looking over her story and working ways of improving the end part which wasn’t as strong as the start, but still very good.

From aliens, to many many visits to Candy Land, from princesses with Gobbins under bridges to foxes and witches, the children have created their own special worlds where readers can lose themselves and go on a magical ride, thanks to their hard work and perseverance.

A special thank you to all the parents who take an interest in their children’s writing – you don’t know what a huge impact you are making on your children just by listening to their stories or sparing a moment to help them overcome the monsters and find solutions to how the princess will find her shoes again.  These children will have more confidence because of your time and energy in helping them, so thank you.

Making waves into oceans

Setting dreams into motion.

Mello-Elo

My Dog, The Terrorist!

Eyes wide open with dark pupils glaring into my soul, his mouth remained clamped over his latest hostage. My pleas and persuasion had fallen on deaf ears and now my voice held an angry bite, ready to do battle.

“Put the doll down, Henry,” I growled.

His head cocked to one side, contemplation stealing across his chiselled facade. Sad, pathetic dolly arms flumped as he swung his head to check for attackers from behind.  He was safe for now.  He only had to face me.  But he and I both knew that back-up was on its way.  The heavy footfalls of the Hubble were unmistakeable.

“Drop it, now!” My hissing voice reminded me of a stand-off in a spaghetti western.  I should have worn my poncho for this! 

Big mistake. As my thoughts trailed away, he took the opportunity to run past my outstretched hands and scuttle out of the kitchen door into the garden, said hostage still trapped between his jaws. I screamed and pursued him, darting this way and that as he pranced before me.  Slight head turns gave him an advantageous view to predicting my next move. Without much effort he ducked and ran just far enough for me to be within touching distance of his wagging bushy tail.

A deep voice made us both jump.

“Henry! What are you doing?” demanded the Hubble. His hands-on-hips stance used for the naughty sprogs did nothing to deter our little terrorist.  With a spring in his paws he pranced past the kitchen door, parading his latest victim with delight.

“Down!” I shouted. 

“Drop!” bellowed the Hubble.

A skip and a hop was the terror’s response. His victim slipped slightly and was flicked into the air only to be champed down on again.  In my mind I was weighing up the collateral damage.  Could we lose this one?  Was she a favourite toy? I shook my head.  She was one of too many stuffed toy victims that had seen an ugly end thanks to this four legged brute.  He had to be stopped. Sally, the sweet patchwork doll had to be saved.

With a new directive in mind, I ran into the kitchen.  Ah yes!  Leftovers from the day before.  Sausages!

I quickly ran out again, my new negotiating tactic in hand.

“Henry, come!” My voice oozed sweetness and trust.

I edged closer to the perpetrator, his piercing gaze fixed on my outstretched hand. His wet nosed quivered.  I could see his jaw slacking.  This was it.  We had a deal. Two tentative steps brought us closer.  The air was heavy with suspense – and the smell of sausage. 

Drop. The hostage was free. I threw the tasty morsel to the right as I made a dive to rescue Sally. Yuck! She was safe, albeit covered in slimy saliva. Her hands waved in victory as I shoved her up in the air above my head for all to see. The Hubble just shook his head and walked back into the house.

What? No victory parade? No pat on the back in appreciation for rescuing Sally from the little terror?

Loud chewing noises formed the background music to my victory walk indoors where I demanded an explanation from the Hubble.

He frowned. “Don’t you know you never negotiate with terrorists?”

“What do you mean? It was only as treat!”

“Yes, but now you’ve set a precedent.”

Urgh! No appreciation for my efforts.  I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to argue my point, so I took Sally to the washing machine for a quick spruce before returning her home to my female sprog’s bedroom.

A scream forced me to abandon my post and run to assist the aforementioned sprog. 

“What’s wrong?”

“Henry just stole Miss Giggles and he won’t give her back!” Tears and burbles of how much she loved Miss Giggles ensued.

Oh dear. The Hubble gave his dark know-it-all smile. Grr! I hate it when he’s right. 

Beckoning to me…

The moon; she beckons with wanton abandon. Her glowing tresses weave their silken threads across the open field. Soft beams blend as her wondrous smile wanes on those fortunate enough to see her; fortunate enough to take the time to watch her dance. We stand there, admiring her finesse, mesmerized by the darkness draped behind her, sparkling with gems so beautiful it’s hard not to stare.

Peace envelopes our shivering bodies as she captures our attention again, flaunting her brightness. She knows just how beautiful she is and uses her assets to her advantage.  Even the sleepy birds turn in their hidden alcoves to watch the show.  

Time passes unnoticed as the sound of giggling imps and their loveable mutt chase each other under her watchful eye.  They know that their time is limited and squeeze the fun out of every second they are allowed to play under her watchful eye.Soft serenades float through the air; we are not alone.  Others have been drawn out from their comfortable homes to greet her, to watch her and admire her.  She beckons to them as she calls to me: dance with me.  Dance! Who can refuse such an invitation. 


With flittering feet, I alight the stars trapped in her dark cloak and jig to the soft ethereal music of the night.  She laughs at my sad attempts to emulate her beauty, forgiving my state of mad love in her presence.  After all, when the moon beckons, no-one can refuse to  dance.

 
Image courtesy of gify.com


#Monday Coffee

Hi!  I’m over here.  Come, sit next to me and I’ll introduce you to the others.  Oh, here comes Lance.  Let’s shimmy up so that he can sit down too.  What did you choose to drink today?  I’ve gone for a Chocochino and fudge slices.  Would you like one?

There’s Wally! I’ll introduce you to him as soon as he returns from getting his beverage.  He’s a fellow writer that started a blog recently, and is getting into the flow of it.  You really should visit him and say hi – it’s always nice to get support when you’re starting out. He has been chatting about the school year coming to an end, the joys of being inspired by education and taking the time to write.

Speaking of writing, I know quite a few friends have been busy at work, creating wonderful books for the summer.  Colleen has been giving it her all in between making her garden beautiful, finding new words of the week, which you should definitely check out, Teagan and Trent have had to put theirs aside for a while due to work commitments. Trent has his own coffee blog where you can catch up with him and his busy week.

I’ve got some exciting news: after procrastinating for a long time, I’ve decided to sell my wares at our local school fayre.  It gives me one month to try and finish off all my outstanding projects and pull them together.  Now that the house move is done, the sprogs have exams and then it’s half term.  Hopefully, this will give me sufficient time to complete the tasks.

Carrie Lynn Lewis puts it aptly when she describes how one can lose their love of writing through ridiculous little habits.  With her careful checklist, I hope to avoid losing my love of writing.  Take a look at her blog to find out the other bug bears. Now, one lady who already has her hands full when it comes to bug bears is Victo Dolore.  From the uncanny patients to her honest, vivid view of life, Victo wades past the crazy stuff we throw at each other every day! Don’t forget to say hi to her.

My cup is empty through all this meeting and greeting!  Shall we get a refill and maybe some more fudge slices before we catch up with these lovely people?