Seconds, Months, Years?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a poem called China for National Poetry Day and put it on Fictionaut. It took seconds. Not ‘published’ as such, no kudos or slap on the back, but out there for someone to read when the thought behind it was still warm in my head. By contrast, the lag between producing a few words and publication in a book seems an eternity. An acceptance appears in your email and you remember suddenly that you submitted it ages ago. Eventually there’s a request for proofing and you look at it as if it were an old photograph from a distant era. Then, by the time it’s published, you’re greeting it as if it were a long lost friend you thought had been lost at sea.
I’ve had two pieces of work published in the last couple of weeks. The first is a flash fiction piece ‘Greyhound’ which appears in ‘Best of Friday Flash: Volume 2’ in both ‘e’ and paperback formats. This is a slightly modified version of one of my very first stories written nearly two years ago. #Fridayflash has been a great vehicle for promoting the art of the very short story and this volume contains many writers that I have come to admire. It’s a thrill to be included alongside them.
The second publication in Kindle and paperback formats is ‘A Blackbird Sings; a book of short poems’ – little pieces of description or small stones as they are sometimes called. These few words were written on a dreary winter’s day in January and it is ironic that I am writing this in October some ten months later as the wind picks up, the leaves fall and the skies darken in the middle of the afternoon.
I really pleased with the publications. I just wish it didn’t take so bloody long!

Small Stones July 21-27

July 22

The displays in the department store windows conjure images of summer cottages and seaside air. Colourful photoframes sit atop a white wooden desk. I picture myself in a garret writing and looking out to sea.

July 23

The radio plays a song that captures the life of a singer taken so young; each word now laden with meaning, prophesy and sadness. It is the voice of a 22 year old girl who knew too much suffering for her age and who paid too high a price for her imperfections.

July 24

Three weeks later, the perfect rose bush has passed its best; its petals faded from intense orange to a weak pink, the edges yellowed by summer rain.

July 25

A snake of people queue from St John’s Wood to Lords to watch a legendary cricketer leave this great stage . Thousands come to watch, to say that they were there and thousands will be turned away.

July26

I move words around on my CV for the thousandth time, a lifetime of work in a thousand words summing up thousands of hours doing a thousand things that cost thousands and affected thousands.

July 27

I am reading an article about a wedding anniversary and a marriage that has survived through accepting differences. Within it is truth, honesty, humour and things I could and should have said when I had my chance.

Small Stones July 18-21

July 18

Night falls early on a cool grey day. Outside the rain sweeps across the garden, the grass lush and green. Only a few flowers betray evidence of autumn.

July 19

I listen to words of contrition on the radio; once mighty men with great power trying to summon up humility and regret for the occasion, denying knowledge or responsibility. Last year the banks, this year the media, next year…..

July 20

I am busy doing nothing. I sit down and try to concentrate, prioritise on what needs to be done. Everything must be done now and yet everything can wait.

July 21

A veil of dust, smudges and pollen is lifted. A clean pair of glasses makes the world a brighter place.

 

Small Stones July 14-17

July 14

Birthday cards from old friends and Facebook messages remind me of long friendships and good times in different places. I take a moment to remember a special memory of my time with each and be grateful for their friendship.

July 15

The promise of heavy weekend rain brings out the evening gardeners in a rare synchronised display of activity; a snatched half hour of motorised action on front lawns before the street falls silent once more and the orange machines are returned to their garages and sheds.

July 16

There is a knock at the front door. I stir as if it was part of my dream. The phone rings from a distant part of the house but it has stopped by the time I get there to be replaced by my mobile ringtone. Outside sits a telephone engineer three days early for our appointment. Welcome to the weekend.

July 17

Like a child playing a cruel trick on a sibling, the sky is misbehaving. Sunshine tempts people out of their houses whilst black clouds release sudden showers sending them scurrying back inside.

Small Stones July 9-13

July 9

Water falls over my body, washing away the dust and pollen of the summer which irritates my skin. I fumble for the shampoo, knocking over several other bottles in the process. The shampoo has a rich fresh smell. I squeeze a small amount into my hand, conscious of the fact that there is little hair to wash but enjoying the luxurious feel.

July 10

The sky is dark and black, but bright golden evening sunlight still falls on the garden. A binary rainbow emerges, the first bursting with colour emerges from the trees whilst the second has a softer palette.

July 11

The gym is busy tonight; each person in their own little world pedalling, rowing and pumping iron to a Techno soundtrack oblivious to the beautiful setting sun outside.

July 12

There is so much to do but I feel weary and overwhelmed by each new task. I close my eyes but now I see is a whirl of blinding lights. I sit for a while, my head spinning around with ideas, problems and fatigue.  Outside the world speeds on without me.

July 13

I am holding marbles in my hand. Not the smooth glass variety for children but black pieces of racing tyre discarded on the track. Unlike a road tyre, it is tacky to the touch, ugly and misshapen. like blu-tac with no give.

AROS – Small Stones 2

Each photo, once a source of pride and joy, is placed with heaviness and regret into an envelope in the hope of a fresh start to a New Year and a new beginning.

AROS – Small Stones 1

If not a new beginning, it’s a beginning of sorts.

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