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29th September

like my child’s blonde hair
long delicate spider’s skein
glistens in the sun

funny . . . ?

I’m thinking about rules again today.
In January my father sadly died of leukaemia. At his funeral, some friends from his renga group read out a renga they had been working on and explained that a section Dad had worked on before he died wasn’t strictly renga because it contained humour, but as it was his funeral they were going to allow it . . .
I sat there thinking ‘Blimey! This was a talented, creative man, who was well admired by many for his work as a teacher, an artist and towards the end of his life a poet, but he still had to die before he was allowed to bend the rules!’
Another thing that bothered me was that renga was supposed to be a fun, sociable, entertaining form of Japanese poetry. So why no humour?
Once we take an art form from another country and transpose it to be enjoyed in our culture, by the use of not just translation but by the very fact that we have different attitudes and behaviours and a different language, it changes. We have humour in our culture. It is very important to us. Our language works differently to the Japanese language – we stress different words when we speak and our syllables within words are greater in number. It changes.
I feel that if I was in a group that told me humour was not allowed I wouldn’t remain within that group. I would be surprised if my father, who was tremendously funny, conformed to these limitations . . . Maybe he didn’t?

Just a wee thought before I get the kids’ tea

more rubbish


(10 minutes. It was 10 minutes!)
I don’t do this often enough, because I’m really worried that I won’t have anything to write about. I sit and try to think of a topic. Or a story. But that’s not the point is it? The point is to keep writing writing writing and not stop. If a load of personal garbage comes out then that’s fine. But the whole point is to just let the words flow flow flow and keep flowing. I’m hoping something really great will happen eventually. Nothing yet!!! Haha – I’m sitting here laughing at myself for being so crap. To be honest I feel crap today. Not ill, just rubbish at getting anything done. Its brain fog. Happens to me unexpectantly every now and then. I have about a week when I’m inspired and ideas keep flowing – there’s no stopping me, and then at some point – I never know when it’s going to happen I just get all foggy and heavy eyed and don’t have anything clever or funny to say at all. I sometimes think it’s diet related or exercise related or even alcohol related. But most of the time, I think it’s probably damned bloody bad luck. Things happen in the brain. Chemicals, that don’t always balance happily and we can adjust them slightly by eating happy foods – like carbohydrates, oily fish and avocados, etc or by talking a nice brisk walk somewhere up-lifting. But often there’s just no getting away from it, particularly – if like me – there are hormones involved. I often find myself looking forward to the menopause – how sad is that?!?! But I’m sure my imagination and dreams will change too when my hormones change. I’m not sure I want that…damn it I’ve got cramp already. I think my chair is too low and I’m having to bend my wrist strangely to compensate. I did just now and the word was ‘cosmos’. Errrrr – I froze. I have nothing to say about the word cosmos. But is it the word – or am I just crap today. I also wonder how much of it is to do with the fact that it’s the weekend. My weekends aren’t like a lot of other people’s . My husband has a shop in a holiday village and has to work weekends. So when everyone else is going:”Yay! It’s the weekend!” I am going “Oh great, back to being on my own with three kids again.” The older 2 just want to bugger off and find their friends and the little one gets upset. All in all we’re all a bit pissed off. I wish it wasn’t like that but I guess its just tough titties. I really have got bad cramp now and I’m hoping the trumpets sound very very soon or I WILL STOP ANYWAY (oops CAPS lock! – quite effective, but a total accident)

26th September

old lavender bush
classy purple fragrant haze
scent through the ages

Once Upon a Time . . .


(It was 10 minutes actually, but I took 5 extra seconds correcting typos)
Once upon a time (!) there was a silly little (well quite tall actually) woman in Devon, who decided that it was time to stop dreaming and start writing. She had been very tough on herself for years and thought that the way to become a good person was to keep doing doing doing all the time. Keep the house tidy, make nice meals, wash up, do lots of washing and look lovely for her husband. She tried to help as much as she could to bring money into the house, by helping with the business and climbing up the property ladder. But she was struggling. She had wanted to be normal all her life and had always felt it important to fit in. But now she realised that not being true to yourself was really hard work and soul-destroying. So, she decided (unintentionally at first) to let go of all the stuff that was holding her back – like worrying about the state of the house, and everyone having clean clothes every day and even stopped caring that the bathroom tiles were quite frankly disgusting and that creamy, yellowy peach and magnolia were liveable with. Who cares. Instead she concentrated on being sane and not busy, busy, busy all the time. It suited some people, but not her. She needed quiet time, calm time, lots of sleep and thinking and daydreaming time for her sanity and she needed a form of self expression. She went back to playing her piano and her flute for a while….but there was still something missing. She did a few Open University courses and enjoyed them and discovered other ‘not normal’ types, but there was still something missing. Then one day she came across a course called ‘Creative Writing’ and wow! She was going to do that – for sure! So she signed up, got into the chat forums and the course materials arrived and she hasn’t looked back since. She knew instinctively that it was the right thing to do. It would be nice if she found that she was good at it, she thought. But it didn’t really matter that much. She would be doing something that made her happy – that satisfied her and that was what counted. Great for the heart and soul. A bit of self-expression. Lovely. She also came across like-minded dreamy people and is getting happier by the day. Her husband doesn’t fully understand, but he loves her and wants her to be happy. And he’s secretly hoping she’ll churn out loads of best-sellers and they’ll become rich

Four No Eyes

calming constancy
of distant roaring sea
and morning birdsong

cold morning air
up my nostrils
and on my arms

tame blackbird sneezes
and waits for me to bless him
surprised when I do!

ground coffee smell
in the warmth of the kitchen
goose bumps on my arms

Breaking the Rules

The suggestion that we should write early in the morning, before our picky, sensible conscience kicks in and when our dreams are still fresh didn’t happen at all this morning.
As I tried to wake up, I drifted in and out of mini realities, that I have no intention of writing down. And I worried about the fact that our little daughter would be going straight from school to play at a friend’s house and I wouldn’t know if she’d eaten properly, was happy, etc, etc….
This writing on waking is going to be a discipline that I will put on hold until a time when mornings are calmer – when the children leave home perhaps!
So instead I waited until the house was empty and sat by an open garden door with my head down and without my contact lenses in and just absorbed the world around me.
I came up with something that combines the spirit of Haiku, freewriting and Virginia Woolf’s observational notebook writing, but without the eyes. As I looked through what I had written (on the back of an envelope) I saw patterns of 3 lines – Haikus – not always 17 syllables, but never more.

double haiku?

the sun seems to want
to stay a little longer
feels it owes us more

warm sun and blue sky
fail to fool the shedding trees
Autumn is Autumn

Groggy Scribblings

So I reached the part in the BRB workbook where we are advised to start writing the minute we wake up. I was enjoying a bit of self-exploration until this point…
1. I don’t actually wake up. I emerge from a chrysalis over a period of about 3 hours. I can’t actually move for about an hour. My husband brings me 2 cups of tea and the first one goes cold, I just slowly inhale its vapours. It wouldn’t be possible for me to pick up a pen at this point.
2. The house is too distracting. By the time I can actually move enough to drop my arm down to the floor to reach for a pen, my older children are saying goodbye to catch the school bus and my youngest is bringing me things.

So now I’ve gone from not-awake-enough-to-hold-a-pen, to too-awake-to – ‘hitch my unconscious mind to my writing arm.’ (Dorothea Brande: Becoming a Writer)
Not only has my mind been thrown into the here-and-now, but I’m still not functioning well physically.
Here’s my first effort:
Slurp, gulp, slurp, gulp. Slow groggy waker forces herself awake, forces down tea. The heaviness of sleep is like a force to be fought off…Don’t wake easily.
Immediately disturbed by small daughter who has found an old plastic phone-card. This ‘morning writing’ may not be for me!
In my dream there was a house. I don’t remember an outside, or an upstairs, although I knew that there was an upstairs. Just one room. There was confusion. People coming and going like a Bed and Breakfast or backstage. Clothes and needs – like food. I felt responsible in some way, but largely ignored

Oh please don’t let Freud loose on this one!
There’s more but I won’t bore you. I shall try again tomorrow, but I’m not getting up stupidly early – I need my 8 hours!
(and yes – I did use punctuation!)


renewed birdsong hints
a final end to the rain
worm hunting begins

child’s sandpit cover
soft and heavy with rain
blackbird takes a bath

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