The Game of Life

When I was a kid, my family frequently played board games. A favorite was Scrabble, and later on Upwords. For those games, my Mum kept the letter tiles in a black felt bag; all we needed to do was throw the tiles in, hold the top closed and shake it vigorously. When it came time for each of us to replenish our letters on the rack, we’d just dive in and grab what we needed without peeking.

Life is sort of like that; and has been like that of late.surreal-photos-0

I was setting my tiles out on the massive, traveling board of Life; connecting, re-thinking, reconnecting, making good or making bad words, with more or less points when the Universe picked up the board, folded it nearly in half and tipped all of my tiles into the bag. It happens, I suppose. The Universe looked around nonchalantly while giving it a good shake then plopped it back into my hand and left with a smile.

Nothing traumatic had happened, just a sense of crawling to a stop with dissatisfaction in the passenger seat. So, I took a step back with my bag o’ tiles in hand and busied myself with other, less personal things. The bag was always there though, clack-a-lack shaking in the background; a reminder that soon, sooner, soonest I’ll need to return and place my tiles in a more pleasing manner.

How unwriterly of me to step away from my imagination. I might be crucified by some diehards with their pointed fingers; “You must write every day!” I can hear the cry.

How soulless of me to step away from the cushion for so long that I’ve forgotten the last time I came face to face with my essence.

The platform that helped to shape me over the past while is going through a necessary crumble, and a change is due. Perhaps it’s a reset; the letters are present, after all. I’m about ready to reach into the void and arrange them just so on my board. Ready to return to the stomping ground of my soul and look upon it with fresh eyes, and create some new crisp, thing.

Slowly, slowly, play the Board Game of Life.



Friday Fictioneers – No Good Shall Come


No Good Shall Come

Word Count:  100

She stood on the parapet; beautiful, beguiling, radiant. I loved her, so deeply. But we did not belong to each other. Our love was genuine and mutual, yet torn from its secret space by King Robert’s malignancy. He saw us share eyes in this very courtyard surrounded by onlookers, and could bear no more. I was too far to be her protector, and could only watch as he, with a roiling, bitter heart, drove her over the edge.

She died in my arms, and I in hers, as the Guards’ arrows pierced my heart.

“I love only you.” We whispered.

Friday Fictioneers: One of a Kind


One of a Kind

Word count:  101

“That was close!” Beryl grinned at Maisie, who was running alongside.

“Indeed. I ought to turn around and give that driver a piece of my mind.” Maisie loathed the weekly circuit; so undignified, so vulgar. However, to express such distaste would mean certain shunning.

“C’mon Maisie! Go faster! Burn off them calories!”

Maisie paused.

“Y’know, I’m very cross…with the man in that car, Beryl.  I’m going to have a word with him.”

Beryl shrugged and plowed onward.

Maisie buffeted the flow, feigning angry justifications until everyone had passed. Then she ambled back to the field where she could nibble in peace.


Mum’s the Word

Ten years of Mother’s Days.

Y’know that scene in Contact, when Jodie Foster’s character is hurtling through the wormhole? That’s sort of what our last decade feels like. We’re vomiting out the other side into calmer space, and it’s still a little fraught (what family with kids isn’t?) but holding intelligible conversations with children certainly helps.

I am not a naturally maternal mother, I don’t think. I was not the sort of girl who dreamed of getting married and having babies. And when I did meet my husband, we kinda sorta knew we wanted to have kids when we were ready. But, the Universe had vastly different plans and knocked us up before we’d even exchanged vows.

So began our bewildering, mentally unprepared tumble into parenthood.

Now we have an almost ten year old son and a daughter, who will be firm in telling you that she is not just seven, she is seven and a half.

I’m not a coddler or a helicopter parent, but I know how to comfort, and offer solace, and take care. My children are not the be all and end all of me, and I don’t think I’m an intrusive parent. They are independent, but never shy away from a hug. They think about stuff, and ask questions. They eat their vegetables, even if they leave the chicken nuggets behind. They do their homework before they go outside. They do as they’re told. They are funny, and loving, and spirited kids, each with their own talents. They are selfish, but care about the planet and other people. They are not yet masters of their own emotions.

At the end of the day, I am happy to ‘tuck them in’ and perform our secret handshakes, play thumb wars and occasionally read to them, even if I groan about doing so, because I’m knackered and all I really want to do is make a cup of tea, sit next to my husband and watch the next episode of The Blacklist. I get exasperated at having to repeatedly remind them to wash their hands after they use the loo, to not leave drinks and snack wrappers lying around, to put their clean clothes away, to do the jobs they are supposed to do, and to be home at 6:30. No, not 7, 6:30…why?  Because the kitchen closes at 6:30, that’s why.

It’s all really ok; there will come a day when I’ll still be reminding them to do their chores, and to pick up after themselves but they’ll have curfews of 10pm, and I’ll ask them to be careful driving the car.  There will be dates, and broken hearts, and proms, and college, and whatever path they choose after that.  Or no college, if my son has his way.  But he won’t.  So.

I might have lost myself for a while there during the early years but look at what I found…a better me, a wiser me, a cheekier, classy, gracefully clumsy, more well-rounded me.

I am not my kids, and my kids are not me.

Without each other though, we wouldn’t be the wonderful unit that we are.

Happy Mother’s Day. And that includes furkid Mothers too!

Friday Fictioneers: The Curveball Life


Photo courtesy: B. W. Beacham


The Curveball Life

Word count:  100

Stephanie dug her toes into the wet sand, and took a good sniff of river air. Not too unpleasant, in spite of the debris on this side. She stared at the yacht masts in the distance; tinder sticks that ought to snap with one gust of wind. They wouldn’t of course; affluence continued for the marina crowd.

But, y’know Steph, she thought, you’re rich in other ways. Despite the misfortune, you have your family and a roof over your head.

She sighed, agreeing with herself, and wished not for the old, but for the promise of a less worrying future.

A Warrior Knows When to Accept Defeat

There are days in a warrior’s life when defeat drapes itself upon the heart; the weight of it pulls the mouth down, and every step feels like drMichael-Maier-1-Fantasy-Emotions-Grief-Contemporary-Art-Post-Surrealismudgery. There is no rising above it on a day like this. It feels so full, and leaden that the only thing to be done is to sit with it, and be morose friends for as long as necessary.

Defeat glums the soul, shrouds the light, and I am a stubborn one; I want it to do so. I want to feel its heavy-handed, tawdry weight. I languish in it, allowing it to seep into the very core of me.

What point is there in all of this? Nothing is getting better. Positivity? Shoo away, put up no fight, but don’t cower; wait in the shadows until defeat is exhausted with the effort.

Today, I am done, I am solitary, there is no hope.

It is not hopeless, I understand that; I am simply not hopeful today.

And that’s ok.

It’s a busy thing, to tirelessly keep the balls of life up in the air. Not just my own, but others’ too. I realize that I can’t keep up, so they fall, and I fall with them. I catch myself, held suspended in some sort of shadowy between-ness.

It will pass.

It’s temporary.

I have not stopped being a warrior; I’m just caving into darkness for a spell.