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Another week and another fine guest post. This time from the lovely Lynn Collins who reminds us that our relationships are precious. Check out her own blog here ‘LynneLives’. Thanks Lynne…
Simon got me blogging. My first post was a guest spot on his blog about 8 months ago. When he said he’d like more guest posts I nearly didn’t offer as I’ve already got one, months overdue, for someone else though that’s about writing and Simon’s open with topics. My first post here was about Mum and when I wanted to write something about Dad your blog came to mind. Many thanks for the offer.
Do we ever know our parents?
This year, what with all the wonderful weather, hot, wet, wet, hot, my garden, like yours too maybe, has been rather overgrown and all the expectations I had of it were dashed. It became even more of a wild woodland than it usually is.
Finally I decided I had to brave the nettles and bramble to go gathering blackcurrants. It would be my last chance of the year, the birds would already have had many, but the bush decided to expand beyond it’s boundaries last year and I knew there would still be a great crop.
What does this have to do with Dad? Lots, please bear with me.
Every time I do anything with any of my blackcurrant bushes I think of Dad, smile and wonder if he liked blackcurrants or not.
I’ve only had blackcurrant bushes for the past 6 years and have had a wonderful crop every year. More bushes have grown and I now have quite a few all cropping well. I prune occasionally and try to follow the pruning as suggested in Dads month by month gardening book which I remember him pouring over.
My smile? Every year when there was just Dad and I after others had left home and Mum had died I would look forward to having some blackcurrants fresh from the bush. Every year the bush did poorly. Dad would explain to me how sad he was that the bush had done so bad and I believed him. Now having grown my own blackcurrants I am left wondering. They only do badly if you have a dreadful year or if you over prune them. Dad was a brilliant gardener and grew fantastic fruit and veg. I can only conclude that he deliberately over pruned them each year as I remember having tons of blackcurrants when mum was alive.
Each year, when I pick my blackcurrants, I can’t help but smile and remember how much I love my Dad.
What will your children know about you? What do you know about your parents?
© 2012 Simon Poore
Writers are often told to think about themes and ‘motivations’. Why do characters do what they do? Today I have been thinking about this and it seems obvious to me that any writer is going to either write about ‘feelings’ and motivations that they have had personally or they imagine or ‘empathise’ about how it might feel to be in a certain situation. This, it seems to me, is the very stuff of writing itself. Especially fiction.
The problem comes with the idea that the feelings that I might have, or imagine to have, may not be the feelings that others would feel in a given situation. Is there actually a set of feelings and responses that we all have? Something in us that is universal?
That swirling feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you are deeply attracted to someone and your emotions translate into a physical feeling you cannot ignore. Have you had that? Does it actually ‘feel’ the same for me as it does you? Or maybe my brief description of it is inadequate?
Commentators often talk of ‘universal’ themes such as ‘love’, ‘jealousy’, ‘conflict’ etc. In the classic plays of the Greeks or in Shakespeare for example. As if such things are fixed and it is a given we all know what they mean no matter when or where we come from. I guess I have a certain pedantic problem with that idea. Firstly those plays were written in very different times to now. And in very different forms of language. Modern scholars can only really speculate about meanings in such plays and pretty much guess that those playwrights meant what we think they mean. The reality is that we have no idea what they meant, and without a time machine, we will never know.
The logical extension of this relativistic idea is that when I write I can never know if any potential reader has a clue what I mean. But over the last few months I have learnt to be less pessimistic about it. Does it matter if people misunderstand? No. Will readers be entertained and empathise with my characters? I hope so…
I like to believe that those beautiful butterflies are real and that we have all felt them and in turn they have made us all feel so alive…even if it’s only for the briefest of moments…
What do you think?
© 2012 Simon Poore
So another week and another wonderful guest post. I feel blessed that people are being so generous and contributing to my humble blog. I also feel a bit challenged and guilty that I haven’t contributed myself for a while! But when quality is offered who am I to refuse?
Today’s post is a thoughtful piece of short fiction from another of my great twitter compadres, Krystal Wade. You can contact her on twitter – @krystalwade or read more of her writing at her blog – www.krystalwade.blogspot.com or on Facebook Krystal Wade
Thanks to Krystal. As always all comments are highly welcomed…
Mark and Lilly
A chill crept its way into my sleeping bag, drawing my eyes open. I’d fallen asleep next to the fire and it had long since died down, leaving only a few cracking embers. Night fought against the first dim-gray lights of dawn, reminding me so much of my favorite time spent on this mountainside with Mark.
But now I found myself alone, sitting in the very spot he’d proposed.
My love was killed long ago. He lost his life in a senseless war, fought for reasons no one could possibly understand. I’m not even sure those who started it understood.
I breathed in the fresh mountain air, allowing the smells of pine and freshly fallen oak leaves to fill my weary soul.
Our children grew up without a father. I refused to remarry, refused to replace him in my heart. How could I? I promised to love him forever, in life and death. I couldn’t open my heart any wider than I already had for him. There wasn’t room for another love.
This place reminded me of who we were together. Who we dreamed of becoming together. When I sat on the rocky earth covered in slick dew, I felt connected to him, at peace, whole.
Being old made the trips to our spot more difficult. The children—if I could call them that anymore—tried to convince me not to come. Begged me even. Being eighty-three shouldn’t stop me from being me. Shouldn’t stop me from doing what I desire in my core. But the thin air must have played tricks on my mind. In all the years I’d hiked to Turk Gap, I’d never heard him speak to me before—and never had I wanted to speak to him so badly.
My organs gave out on me often, landing me in the hospital with my children and their children around me, exchanging worried glances, hugs, tears. But they didn’t know how much I welcomed my passing, how much I needed it. Those damned doctors brought me back every time, stealing me away from my hope for Heaven, for my hope to see Mark again.
“Lilly you old fool. Stand and face me.”
I closed my eyes, picturing the face that went along with the voice I kept hearing. Fair skin accentuated his high cheekbones and striking-blue eyes. His short brown hair is what I loved the most and how it complimented the rest of him. His jaw was chiseled. Mark’s lips were perfectly pink and never pouty. In our fifteen years together I never caught his gaze on any woman but me. Never saw him cradle a hand the way he did mine. We had love. We had hope. We had the world in our grasp, but then he was gone, and I had everything he left behind.
“I’m sorry, Lilly.” A warm, strong hand clamped my right shoulder. The touch, just like Mark’s, sent an ache to my heart, matching the pain I felt on the day of his funeral.
Giving into my aging desires, I looked up to face whoever it was disturbing my solitude. “Mark . . . ?”
But how could this be? He appeared the same as the last time we were here. The man before me couldn’t be my Mark, couldn’t be my love, could he? I pat his hand, feeling for the ring, for some sign this was anyone but him.
He smiled, genuine, loving, wide. “I know you don’t understand, Lilly, but take my hand and we can be together again.”
I glanced at my cane lying on the ground next to me. “You may have to help me up. I am nothing but an aged old woman now, Mark. Look at you . . . .”
Trembling, I broke down and cried. I was going crazy—losing my marbles as the grandchildren would say. My stomach stirred, agony ripped up my chest and escaped my mouth. “God, why? Why did you steal him from me? Why are you playing games with this old woman’s heart? Just end me. Let me be with him again. Let me be free.”
The hallucination gripped me under the arms and chuckled. “My dearest, Lilly, I’m here to bring you home. Please, take my hand.”
How could I say no? I couldn’t. Grasping Mark’s hand with my knobby fingers, I stood and walked with him through the forest. My breathing calmed. My aches and pains of age diminished. The world around us grew bright. Trees blended in with the light. Leaves and rocks no longer crunched under our feet. Night was replaced with nothing but soft white and Mark.
The way we were meant to be.
The way we would be for the rest of eternity.
© 2011 Krystal Wade
© 2011 Krystal Wade