Bye Bye NaNoWriMo & a Tanka Poetry Challenge

So this is my first year as a “writer” and I was last minute inspired by a friend to try NaNoWriMo. I only lasted 5 days/5,000 words and I’d even made a bujo spread for it.

But it wasn’t the right time for me. I’ve not been in the best place with my mental health recently and adding this pressure on top… well… it felt like a relief when I decided “not this year!”.

It did however make me realise how much I missed writing poetry, and so here I am going to write a poem about… we’ll see. I like writing poetry because it’s a way for me to express my emotions and I feel the words almost leak out of me, I never have to force them.

To anyone sticking with NaNoWriMo, you got this! And if you don’t, that’s okay too.

All the bloggy love from an infrequent friend.

Complete but timeless
If my body were to die
Would my soul become
Again, with the Universe
Welcomes me home among stars.

Poem written for the November Poetry Challenge hosted by Fake Flamenco.

To That Woman In Pizza Hut

To that woman in Pizza Hut, who I think was with her family, her son and grandson, or maybe her brother and nephew. Who’s son/brother was checking out a woman in leggings. When your grandson/nephew came back to the table and told you “Dad’s watching that woman.” When you smiled at him like this was a little joke. Like this was acceptable behaviour. Because your son/brother is of the generation where objectifying women is not only acceptable but encouraged man to man. Where objectifying women is overlooked by other women as we feel intimidated to stand up and call out this behaviour. Yet men have no issue standing up and cat calling us.

To that woman in Pizza Hut, who’s young male relative noted behaviour of his father, looking to you for your opinion. Your acceptance, your smile, they will form vertebrae of the backbone of how he treats women. They will continue the system we women want to break.

To that woman in Pizza Hut, this is what I wish I’d said to you. “Please talk to your nephew/grandson about what he saw. Please talk to your nephew/grandson about how it’s not okay. Please talk to him about what he witnessed in an open way, allowing for conversation but making it clear the actions of his father aren’t okay. Please talk to your son/brother about his behaviour. Please talk to him in a way that women from your generation couldn’t imagine having the freedom to talk in. That I wish you now felt you had the freedom to talk in.”

But of course I said none of this. I am a feminist. I am a woman. I am comfortable being in uncomfortable conversations. And yet I let this opportunity pass by. Another globule of cement fixing a sexist brick on this young man’s wall of ideals.

To that woman in Pizza Hut, who was objectified by a man from a time I wish was further in history than it seems, I am sorry I did not speak out for you. I hope next time I will do better.

Freedom Day?

Sun rose yesterday
Window to experience
Bright dawn modern life

And then they took it away
Crushed by waves, anxious
Days stretch unknowingly to
Demise of the life
I’d been rebuilding, anew.

In the UK the government are going blasé on the COVID safety restrictions from the 19th July. Along with opening nightclubs and lifting capacity on events, they’re removing the need to wear masks or socially distance.

While lots of Brits are celebrating, for me as a vulnerable individual this is taking away a lot of freedom I’d been enjoying. Despite being young and double jabbed, if I were to get COVID the results could be devastating, even life ending. While I can sympathise with people wanting to get back to normal, any sense of normality I’ve been enjoying (seeing some friends, going out to eat, etc) will probably be no go’s again very soon.

With hundreds of thousands of cases predicted each day, it’s going to be a minefield that I just can’t risk. And it will be the same for the plethora of other young vulnerable individuals and all elderly people.

This is just another notch on a long list of uninclusive acts from our country’s government. But I guess there will at least be a easy way to tell if someone is a nice person from now on, whether they’re wearing a mask in indoor public places… *sigh*

Halla *waves* I’m back!

After a fab birthday week and time off work, I’ve been back at work this week and back to exercise! I received my second Covid vaccine yesterday and now literally having flu symptoms has made me take a break, curl up on the sofa, and write a lil blog post.

After my first vaccine I felt fine, grand even, with just a sore arm. I was hoping for similar results this time around but I’ve not been so lucky, although I’m still super appreciative of having the vaccine! Yesterday eve after the dose I felt light headed, and this morning I’d been fatigued. By lunchtime I was finally resigned to the couch. I’m hoping my symptoms disappear quickly!

But in the mean time I’ve been reading. I managed to read a whole book today! I read Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat (translated by Marilyn Booth) which I received in the May Books That Matter subscription box. I love reading about different cultures and this covered five independent but slightly connected characters from an Arabic country so was right up my street.

Having read such a beautifully written book, it inspired me to write again. To write more. So I’ve been writing a little this early evening. I’m started to get more exhausted though, maybe time for some more food. “Food is the best medicine” and all that. I might share some of my writings soon, in response to challenges. But I also want to get started on a LTP and some submissions, as I’ve entered some competitions but not submitted anything yet!

Any advice welcome, hopefully blog with you all again soon. Happy Thursday!

(A select few Birthday week pics below, more on Instagram.)

Hello May & A New Posting Schedule

Happy May 1st! May is the best month, it’s Spring but warm, and has my birthdaaaay!

Ever since I’ve been little my birthday has always been a big event. I’m so lucky to have always had lovely presents and decorations, I absolutely LOVE ballooons! And I’ve carried this tradition into adulthood. We always take our birthday weeks off and I always plan lots of fun around my birthday, trying to have as many different celebrations with various friends as possible. Long story long, TODAY marks the start of my birthday week!

Yess… my birthday week is going to be 9 days long. My birthday is on the 5th so bang in the middle, and I’m so excited for all of our plans! Especially being able to spend time with some friends that I haven’t had a chance to yet due to rona. I’m a social butterfly but I’d forgotten how much energy being with others gives me. Hello extroverts! *waves*

But this is a lil post to shout out my new posting norms. For March and April I’ve been doing challenges that encourage me to write and post everyday! And although I’ve loved it and it’s given me loads of opportunity to practice writing and stick to a structure, I’ve found some other things have had to take a lil backseat, especially when work has been busy as well.

2021 is my year of balance and writing. Not writing and writing. So I want to be able to balance writing, and posting on my blog, with my other hobbies and commitments.

That’s why;

Number One: I’m gonna be taking a whole week break from my blog, you guessed it, my birthday week!

Number Two: I’m going to be posting less regularly in May. I’m not going to give myself a target or a day (sorry!), just a minimum of once a week.

I’m also going to be trying to take part in challenges and get more involved in the community, commenting and liking etc. This has also become low on the priorities in the last couple of weeks. I’ve just wanted to make sure I get my daily post done!

Hopefully this will give me time to start some longer term projects as well. I’ll never have a chance at publishing a book if I never write one…

So this isn’t goodbye, just see you soon. And, happy May! Hope every has a lovely week. I’ll see you when I’m twenty seven!

Any fellow Reedsy Prompt writers out there?

Happy Sunday all! With no A to Z challenge on Sunday what am I to do? Well I thought this could be a nice opportunity to share my Reedsy Prompts Page and find some other Reedsy Prompt writers in the WordPress world.

Why I enjoy writing for Reedsy Prompts?

  • I think the prompts are unique and inspire uniqueness from me. I hope for my entries to stand out and be different even if they aren’t chosen as the best.
  • It’s cool to see what other writers have done with the same prompts, and be part of a community.
  • Sometimes you get nice pieces of feedback on your writing which is always a moral boost.
  • The contest is consistent, it’s every week and free to enter, but I don’t need to enter every week. I can chose the weeks and prompts that work for me.
  • The word limit feels right to me (1K – 3K words). I have often found myself writing over 3000 words and then cutting down, which gives me editing practice. A bonus!
  • Finally it’s nice to write for a purpose, have a deadline and a word limit. It gives me structure and something to aim for.

So do you have Reedsy Prompts? If so I’d love you to share your author page in the comments. And if not, why is it something you wouldn’t want to enter?

Our Lockdown Wedding | Eleventh April, Twenty Twenty

Today is our one year wedding anniversary, and we probably had one of the least traditional weddings you could have, as it was all via video call!

I wrote a semi fictional, semi autobiographical story about it for a Reedsy Prompt: Write a story that spans exactly a year and takes place in a single room.

It’s nice to learn a bit about the blogger behind the blog so below are some pictures of our first and second wedding days. Yes we’ve had two! The first we exchanged rings and vows and was on the wedding day we had planned for 18 months. The second was later in August after Lockdown where we got our legal marriage license. And we’re still planning a third, that will be our BIG day with all of our loved ones.

It was a shock and a disappointment having to cancel our planned wedding day, there was a lot of anxiety around it initially as everything was so uncertain. But two weeks before it was supposed to go ahead, we went into a national lockdown that confirmed we wouldn’t be able to have the wedding we’d been dreaming of.

Me and my husband are rather optimistic, adventurous people. So after a bit of sadness, we decided we weren’t going to let Lockdown stop us getting married, as marriage is about commitment and love between two people, not about a super expensive day.

We started planning, we got Jon’s best man to be our celebrant, we wrote a script and vows, we ordered so many pink and blossom decorations from eBay and I made a flower wall. By the 11th of April, we were surrounded by our friends and family, albeit virtually, and got married in our dining room. And I wouldn’t change it for anything. 💖

WWW Wednesday | 24 Mar 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam from Taking on a World of Words! All you have to do is answers the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: Death’s End by Cixin Liu (the English translated version)

This is the third in a Sci-Fi trilogy The Three Body Problem. I absolutely love the trilogy so far and rated the second book 5 stars. Excited to keep reading this.

Recently finished: 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

I absolutely love Elif Shafak having first read The Bastard of Istanbul by her last year and then How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division. I find her an extremely inspiring woman and feel connected to her. She lived in Turkey and sets a few of her books in Istanbul, I’m half Turkish and spent a couple of years as a child in Istanbul so reading her books feels like a nod to my heritage.

I only gave this book 3 stars however. The first two thirds we’re definitely a much higher rated read for me, as they explored the main characters life and introduced some side characters, I felt very involved in the story. However the last third is mainly about the side characters and because there are five of them I felt less connected to them and where they were taking the plot. I liked how the book ended and would still recommend it overall and I definitely enjoyed reading it.

What will I read next: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I saw this on a TBR, I can’t remember where, but added it to my Amazon Wishlist and I think it sounds like a book I will really enjoy.

The blurb:

‘The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

A to Z Challenge | Theme Reveal

Hey everyone! I’ve seen a couple of bloggers I follow sign up for the A to Z Challenge and I thought I would give it a go. The challenge runs throughout April in which you blog every day (except Sundays) letter by letter. E.g. 1st April will be A, 2nd will be B and so forth. Every blog has its own theme and will blog each letter accordingly.

Make sense so far? Yeah me too I think!

I’ve really enjoyed blogging each day in March using my challenge prompts to help me explore more forms of poetry and practice writing short stories and vignettes. So I’m ready to take on the A to Z April Challenge!

Without keeping you waiting a breath longer, I will reveal my theme…

Enhancing Vocabulary

Each day I will be choosing one to three words that start with the letter of the day, that I’m either unfamiliar with or that I haven’t used before. I’ll then write a short story, poem or vignette with those words included, so they will act as a prompt if you like. The purpose will be to build my vocabulary as a writer and be inspired by new words.

I have downloaded 1000 Words To Expand Your Vocabulary from my free trial of Kindle Unlimited and will probably take most words from there. I tried looking at online dictionaries but there were just too many words that were nonsensical or would have no use in our modern language so this book looks more useful.

I’m excited to try this challenge, creating my own writing prompts and learning new words as I go. Are you doing the A to Z challenge? I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with, wish me luck!

I’m just a bit nauseous… | 12 Mar 2021

I’m sure many people have now seen the news about Sarah Everard, if you haven’t, here’s a link. Her death is saddening but unfortunately it is not shocking that a woman has been attacked whilst walking home.

What I feel most nauseous about is a post a male Facebook friend wrote, the post has since been deleted but it was trying to gain opinions from other men about whether they felt vulnerable walking at night. To show that it was an issue that didn’t just effect women. The quote that got me:

I just want to point out that men can feel vulnerable too.

To me this is as bad as “all lives matter”. No one is saying men can’t feel vulnerable walking home, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that sexism is still rife in modern society, and we need to shout about it.

I urge men not to sexually assault women. I urge men to call out inappropriate behaviour/language from other men.

“Why, in 2021, are women still unsafe in public spaces? And why is the onus on us to limit our freedoms or change our behaviour simply to exist safely? As a new survey from UN Women has revealed today, 97% of women aged 18-24 have been the victims of sexual harassment, with 80% of all women saying they have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.”

Books That Matter

If 97% of women have been sexually harassed, what percentage of men have sexually harassed a women? This is too normal. Check yourself. Check your friends. You don‘t think sexism is prevalent because you are not on the receiving end of sexism.

I hope we keep starting and continuing these important conversations. Choose to challenge.

Usual (sometimes upbeat) creative writing will resume tomorrow, but right now I just needed to rant.