Genre Blender: After the Lights Went Out – a Letter from Jo’s Mother

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/genre-blender/

 

For this weeks writing challenge  two genres are to be blended.  I have chosen to do another piece of writing related to my novel.  This is a letter from Bella to her daughter Jo who is charged with returning hope to a lost human race in a dystopian future on a dying earth.

 

Darling, Dearest Jo,

 

What I am leaving you here is basically as much of the contents of my head as I can give you.  In the hard drive, you will find my diary which explains everything.  Also in it are all my favourite songs, all my favourite movies and all my writing.  It would not mean much to some people, but I know that it will mean something to you.

 

I am so sorry that I could not stay with you.  Nothing gave me greater pain than having to leave you behind, but there really was no other way for me.  I hope that in time you will understand that.

 

I want you to know that I love you in a way that words will never be able to sufficiently describe.  I feel like my heart is somehow bigger than it was before, it has swollen with love and pride for you, you are such a miracle.  Every child is a miracle, every birth is a miracle.  I only wish everyone was able to see that before, they will ever so much more now.  To think of a world without children is bad enough without understanding what that means for us, the human race.  You are special Jo, I knew it as soon as you started taking shape inside of me, as soon as I saw what was happening to the world, the wonder, the hope, the joy of life turning to ash with the fires and the wars.

 

Your life Jo will not be as easy as I would like it to be, you have a purpose and that must come before all other things.  You will realise this as you become a young woman.  You have to go out into the world Jo and find all the lost people, the people hiding away, the people who may be waiting for the end.

 

I fear Jo, that the world has been gripped by a feeling of desolation, people have lost faith in everything, people have lost purpose and if we are to survive, what needs to happen is for a new feeling, a new way of thinking to grip the minds of the people left in the world; they need to relearn hope and faith.

 

By the time you are eighteen, word will have spread throughout the country about a girl that is going to save the world.  You might laugh, you might not believe it, but the story is about you Jo, and it is true.  You will go out into the world and give people hope again, you will teach them what matters, you will help them to have hope again.  You must go everywhere in the world spreading this feeling until you are confident that all the world has remembered to hope and children are born once again.

 

You might think I am crazy, there are plenty of people who do, and there are those in the world who would lock me up and take you away from me and give you a different kind of life that would mean you lose your innocence and your own hope a long time before you should.  I have left you to be raised by two of the kindest, most wonderful people I have ever met.  When I arrived at the farm here, I was not sure what I was going to do, my only thoughts were to find you somewhere safe.  You came early and I hadn’t really worked out what I was going to do when I came across Ben and Susan.  I knew that the universe had guided me directly to the answer – it has a way of doing that Jo, you will learn that.

 

At the right time, someone will come for you, an opportunity will appear for you to go on a journey, you must take it, I have told Ben and Susan the same thing: if the right person comes for you at the right time, you must go with them.

 

By the time you are fully grown, everyone will be looking for you.  I have spread word over the cities and sent messages in bottles about you.  Even before you do anything, you will start to save people, because even if there is one little part of them that believes in you, one little bit that believes you might help to save them, there is a chance we will survive.

 

People believe that the God is punishing them, or that there is no God and that the earth itself is revolting against humans, or we are killing it and it is dying.  That is not true Jo, the earth and the universe knows exactly how to live, it is life itself.  It is the people, Jo, who are punishing themselves, revolting against themselves, giving up.  You cannot let them give up.  I have tried in many ways to try to tell them this but they think I am crazy. They did not like the things I was saying because I was rebelling against their systems, against the governments and against the order of things that they could not see was destroying us. Others like me were finding out the truth about their so-called “wars on terrorism” about the oil, about alternative energy, about the capitalist system that was turning the heart of the human race to stone.  There were websites, blogs and facebook pages which were spreading the word and people were listening.  More and more people were coming to the same understanding and the governments started to put a stop to them, because it didn’t serve their purpose which was to covet power and money.

 

There is a philosophy about existence I once read, and I am not sure where now, but it says that the world exists constantly in a battle of good and evil and it is always a very close battle, swinging slightly one way and then the other, but only ever so slightly so that it always remains in balance.  There is a part of me that believes that and that believes that what is happening now is that the world is out of balance, it has swung too far to the wrong side and not enough people are fighting for the good side, so it seems as if the earth and people are dying.  What I hope is that even now when things are so bad, the universe still knows exactly what it is doing, the universe or God or whatever or whoever you believe holds the power of the earth. I just call it the universe because I am not sure what it is, this power which is in everything.

 

If nothing else Jo, for your own soul, you must fight for the good.  If you are growing up in the world I suspect you are, you may find it difficult to see any hope or understand faith, but you must find it, you must fight for the good in you every second of every day.  It is not something that you just have to do once and then you are good and everything is fine, it is something you have to do with every thought, every word and every deed. It is something that has to be done again and again and again all throughout your life, no matter what you are going through.

 

Things will happen in your life that you will have no control over.  You have to understand what things you have control over and what things you do not, you have to clearly separate these two things in your mind and concentrate only on the things you do have control over starting with what you choose to think.

 

You can choose to believe that I am mad, that this is all just a fabrication and the earth really is dying, or you can believe that just maybe there is some truth in what I am saying and that if you believe in what I am saying, the impossible may just happen, that if you tell people there is still hope, they will believe you.  That is all I am really asking you to do, tell them not to give up, tell them no matter what hardships they have faced, no matter what losses, no matter how many people, how many things have died around them, there is still hope, there is still life.

 

Maybe this is just a period that we are going through in history where the universe is righting itself, maybe there were a lot of things going on in the world that were bad and that had to be stopped, and this was the only way to do it.

 

I don’t believe that there is no oil or that there are not numerous other sources of energy that could be used to get the world up and running again.  I think what the world needs to do is remember what is really important, what is really necessary, what you really cannot live without because Jo, you will not believe the things people think they could not live without before, the things people believed they needed.  We had so much, we had everything we could need and more, but still people wanted more and more and no one stood still and appreciated what they had.  People did not want to sacrifice luxuries for things that would have made the world a better place.  They would not give up a little so that more people could have something.  Yet here I am, giving up the most precious thing in my life so that they can understand this, so that they can be saved.  I probably won’t even live to see the earth saved, I may never know if this crazy plan has worked, but still I am giving you up so that they can have you.  I am making the biggest sacrifice I could possibly give, I would give my own life, I am sure before I am finished I will, but that does not mean nearly so much to me as your life and  more importantly what you do with it.

 

I want you to live in a world where you can have your own children, I want you to know peace and hope and carefree joyous days.  I want you to fall in love, have a family and experience everything that comes with that.  I want you to look around yourself every day and be grateful for the world around you, to appreciate the earth and everything in it.  I want you to see everything, to know everything.  So learn Jo, learn from everything, learn from the things other people say, and learn from their stories, whether told to you in person or written in books, or shown to you in films, music or art.  These people create these things because they have something to tell you, something to say, some part of themselves or their lives that they are sharing with you, a little secret so that when you see it you recognize yourself in it and for some reason you cannot explain, for a few precious seconds, everything makes sense to you.

 

See the good in people Jo, look for it, most of the time it is there.  Encourage the good in people, feed the good wolf.  Be kind, be caring and do not be afraid to be that way even when it seems no one else is.  Respect life, respect other people, respect their choices and forgive their mistakes.  Do not judge them.  Understand that we all need to make mistakes in order to learn.  Understand that there are many things that people will do that you will not understand, and you will want to stop them doing things that they will do anyway.  You have to let them learn, but think of them kindly, show them compassion, breath in their troubles and let them out with your exhalation.  Meditate and do yoga, I promise you if you learn to do it early, it will help you through life in the most wonderful way.  It took me nearly thirty years to look for it and it has been the most helpful thing I have ever done.  It is the one way you can daily give your mind and your body a hug.

 

There is so much I want to say to you, but there is no time, I have to leave you before I cannot because every day I stay it is harder than ever to leave.  When I leave I will never be the same again, not until I somehow hear that you are out in the world spreading hope and joy.  Then wherever I am I will be in peace completely.  I cannot tell you where I am going because I really do not know.  I do not think it will be possible for us to meet in this lifetime and even if I do meet you, I may not be able to tell you who I am, but why don’t you think that every strange lady you meet on your journey might be me.  There is a religion that believes that every soul you meet was once your mother, although that is quite a funny thought, if you treat everyone with the same love and respect you do your mother, you are doing things the right way.  You are everyone’s daughter Jo, I don’t deserve to have you all to myself, so I am giving you to the world, I hope they appreciate you.

 

I will love you always in everything I think and say and do.  Whenever you are feeling alone or sad or you think you may be losing hope, think of me and know that I am thinking of you, rooting for you, hugging you when you are quiet and on your own, smiling at you when you are having fun, laughing with you, crying with you, connected to you always even when you are unsure, even when you make mistakes.  Think of me somewhere watching your story like a movie, a little audience in the sky, in the trees, in the wind, in everything that has life in it.

I love you, always.

 

Bella, your mum

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Signs: The Rabbit Proof Fence

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/signs/

 

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While it is not a particularly great sign, I do like the perspective of this photograph, and it means something.

 

The Rabbit Proof Fence, the State Vermin Fence, and the Emu Fence, is a pest exclusion fence constructed between 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests, from the east, out of Western Australia pastoral areas.  As part of three fences, it stretches for 2023 miles, the longest one being 1,139 miles, the longest unbroken fence in the world in 1907.

Why it interested me, was it was also featured in a book called Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence1996) which was made into a film in 2002. It is based on a true story concerning the author’s mother, as well as two other mixed race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, Western Australia, to return to their Aboriginal families, after having been placed there in 1931. The film follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by white law enforcement authorities and an Aboriginal tracker. (Wikipedia)

The land in Australia is so flat at certain points, including where I took the picture, that it looks like the fence extends to the end of the earth, it disappears into the horizon as far as your eyes can see.

 

The stories of the Stolen Generations are very sad and you can still see a lot of pain in the faces of many Australian Aboriginals.  It sometimes broke my heart to look at their faces. To my eyes, many of them still appear to be lost.  Our towns, cities and societies seem alien to them.  They still appear to carry the suffering of their ancestors, who were at best forced to work for white men, at worst raped or killed, or their children taken away to so-called Christian settlements.  Many of these people have no sense of identity, they have not really been taught their traditional tribal identity, they are not largely accepted or feel that they can be accepted into white Australian identities, they struggle with language, many of them have drug, alcohol and violence issues.  This is not true of all of them, there are many who have become very successful, there are many strong, respected elders who are trying to preserve their native histories and customs.  I hope they find themselves again, and that their culture and traditions survive, as well as their blood lines.

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Done: Foreshadow

I decided today to combine the daily prompt with the weekly writing challenge and have written a short piece about foreshadow which I wrote in ten minutes.  I hope you like it.

 

I had not even met him yet.  Not in person, but we have been chatting for about a week.  It feels like much longer.  It started out as banter, as flirting, it very quickly escalated.  “Do you want to play a game” I asked.  “Go for it” he said.

 

He doesn’t want to fall in love, neither do I, yet I can’t stop myself from thinking about him.  Strange, how can you feel anything about someone you have never met.  He is only a few miles away and we are talking about meeting up.  I know that I will meet with him, but there is a part of me that doesn’t want to, that wants to leave it at this nice, fresh, clean place where nothing is known and anything is possible.

 

This is the best place, not the place where you have obtained the goal, not the part where you see the person in the flesh, but the wondering, the imagining, the dreaming.

 

No reality is ever as colourful as the pictures in my mind, no face as handsome.  I feel a glow inside of me, I am teasing myself with the possibility of love or lust or whatever it might become.  Other people can see it too because I am more alive than I was before, more hopeful.  It is the hope that makes you feel alive, the hope of something great happening, something unknown.  You know that no matter how wonderful your dreams are or how dark your worries are, reality rarely quite matches them, not if you are the creative type.

 

I wait for some more of his words.  They are not even romantic words or wonderfully poetic or anything like that, yet I feel a connection.  Can you feel a connection if it is not in person?  I am not sure.  I have never met someone this way before, so whatever happens, it will be an experience.

 

I will learn.  I am not sure if I will have to learn the same lessons as last time. I am trying really hard to remember the lessons from last time, because those ones were the worst; the ones about love.  You never forget those lessons, you never forget the pain you felt when you were being taught those lessons.  Now, years later, I am ready to try again, to throw myself into the unknown, knowing this time what it means to feel the pain of a broken heart.  Yet still, I wait, eager, but with just a little more patience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/foreshadow/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/ready-set-done-2/

Full Tanka: I Walk

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/full-tanka/

Traditional tanka contain five lines instead of haiku’s three, and 31 syllables instead of 17. The structure is that of a haiku followed by two additional lines of seven syllables each: 5-7-5-7-7.

 

What glory in fields

And delight in child blue sky.

What wonder in sun

And wind fresh from distant sea.

I walk from troubles to peace.

The Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/bradbury-list-twist/

In today’s challenge we’ll ask you to write a new post using some nouns from various sources.

I chose some random nouns myself last week: Head, Mirror. Lights, Desk, Chin, Mountain, Duvet, Grass, Girl, Dream.  Tonight I wrote a short story with them.

Jo tried to tell herself that it was all in her head.  She was imagining all of this.  She was sitting on her step at the caravan looking at the stars imagining a wonderful adventure where she was the main character like the girl who looked into the mirror and went through it to the other side into a magical world.  Certainly all of a sudden she found herself in a place she never imagined, but it was not a dream.  She found herself surrounded by the most incredible characters that truly fascinated her.  She spent her evenings surrounded by beautiful lights, Verity had decorated the boat with fairy lights so that every night when they sat out on the deck together, they were surrounded by hundreds of tiny gentle lights that glowed in the dark of the sea and sky.  It made everything feel so much more calm and peaceful.  Jo imagined that she was sitting on a star herself in outer space, floating through the air from planet to planet travelling around the galaxy.  It was not difficult to believe when she looked around her and up into the night sky at the millions of stars.  What a truly astounding world this is.  It is unbelievable how simply extraordinary it is, Jo thought.  The earth when you sit still and look around yourself exists in this magical way all of the time, how lucky Jo was to realise this, she knew that, she knew that some people did not see it that way.

When Verity was sitting at her desk telling Jo about the world before the lights went out, she described how people had lived in cities and could go months and even years or their whole lives without looking around themselves at the earth in its natural form and appreciating it.  Verity said that some people could not see beyond their own chin, or was it nose?

Jo looked out to sea and imagined what other lands were out there, she thought about trekking through rain forests and swimming in cold water lakes.  She pictured herself riding on a river in a raft, she pictured herself climbing in trees and walking along sandy beaches, she imagined climbing a huge mountain and reaching the clouds.  She could see herself reaching the top of the mountain and looking all around her at how small all of the buildings looked from above.  How could you not look around yourself and appreciate how large the earth was and how small human beings were?  From up high, or from out at sea, you could not see even one of them they were so tiny.  There could be 70 million of them in one country at a time, all standing together and you would not see them from space.  They would not simply not be there.

Jo pulled the duvet she had around her, she could feel the wind picking up but she did not want to go inside yet, she wanted the night to last as long as possible because she wanted to feel this way forever.  She wanted to press pause, so that she could feel this anticipation, this wonder at the world and at what was to come next.  There was so much unknown, there was a whole other country, a whole other land to explore.  She tried, but she was not sure she could envisage quite how green this country would be.  Verity tried to describe the countryside and how she used to walk through country paths as a girl in the summer and she would be surrounded by hundreds of shades of green.  She told Jo how the green of the grass was a lime green, but that the particular shade would change depending on whether there was a cloud over the sun or what times of the year it was.  She said one field itself could be many different shades of green depending on the light and the wind never mind the different colours and hues of the greens of the trees and the forests.   All Jo could do was dream about it and she did most nights.  Sometimes she dreamt about it so vividly that she was almost sure she had been there before, she could see it.  It did not look like a drawing or a painting, or something her mind had created.  She could see fields of grass and forests of trees all around her.  She could feel the cold wind on her face making her cheeks go red, she could smell the life of the plants around her, she could feel the freshness of the air in her lungs, but never in her life in Australia had she experienced those things.  Perhaps her imagination was so good or Verity’s descriptions so vivid that she could create the experiences in her mind.  She would perhaps be able to tell better when she got there, if she had never been there before, surely nothing in her imagination could ever match the reality of it.

Finally Verity called for everyone to go back downstairs into the cabins.  Jo was beginning to feel sleepy now, and she could feel her eyes getting heavy.  The boat was rocking from side to side gently, the motion lulling her to sleep.  She said her goodnights and went to bed, to dream of lands she had never set foot on and people she had never met.

Breathing Room

An extra room has magically been added to your home overnight. The catch: if you add more than three items to it, it disappears. How do you use it?

Hmmm.  Am I going to resist the temptation to play with this one?

I can see the room, perhaps you want to know what it looks like before I put my items in it (and perhaps by the time I have described it I will know for sure).

The room is very square, more like a set than an actual room.  The walls are dark purple and red, and sheets hang from the ceiling (the sheets are not my items, they were already there). There are those spotlights on the ceiling like you get in aroma rooms at the gym, like stars with soft light.  The floor is all covered in cushions, silk and velvet and different textures, again purple and deep burgundy. 

There is music playing in the room anyway, so I don’t need to take my Ipod in (I thought I would have).  I can smell musky scents, someone is burning incense somewhere and although I am alone in the room, I can feel lots of other people around; perhaps the house is filled with rooms like this with people like me. I wonder if all the rooms are different. 

Now I see there are fairy lights all along the bottom of the room (I didn’t bring them either so they still don’t count as one of my items).  I sit down with my legs crossed and decide that I do need something to look at, so the room has to have a window with the view of a tree outside whose branches are blowing in the wind to the time of the music.

I think I would like a cat to be with me in the room, it’s nice to sit still with a cat.  I am not sure whether you can really count a cat as an object though, and it could have just came in the window and it could easily leave that way again (you can’t really count a window as an object and the tree is outside of the room).

For my objects, I will take with me a glass of water which refills itself, a book which changes stories every time I go back to the beginning and one of those biscuits that has enough nutrients to keep you going forever and never seems to be finished (because it is a magic room).  I don’t know why, but once I go in the room, I know I will be there for a long time.

It’s your fault – you called it a Breathing Room and this is where it took me.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/breathing-room/

Mutants and Hybrids: What is the Human Part?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/mutants-and-hybrids/

One part human.  What part is human?  What is the defining feature that makes a human being distinct from an animal, distinct from a living organism, distinct from an object made up of matter?

I guess everyone would have chosen either their mind or their head but is your mind really a part?  I am going to picture a hybrid with other human features, because the thought is deliciously funny and thought provoking.

What if I chose to be one part human hand and two parts Iphone?  I wonder what part of the Iphone would be missing, if one part was human hand.  There would be no need for the full human, the Iphone and hand could exist and function perfectly without any other human part.  It could text and search the internet, it could go on Facebook, it could write my posts on WordPress.  Would the hand have a mind though?  Would it be able to function?

What if I chose to be two parts chair and one part human head.  People could come and sit with me for dinner and we could have the most eloquent conversations and eat the most beautiful cooked meals.  I would never have to work, or earn money, or go to the supermarket, or cook.  I would simply wait at the table for someone to join me and they would be so fascinated by their talking chair that they would feed me food and drink and talk to me.  I wonder if they would take me on trips or to dinner at other people’s houses.  I wonder if sometimes we could sit in the garden and have lunch al fresco.  I wonder if they would wash my hair and if the hair would still grow.  Would my lips get chapped?  Would they put makeup on me if I asked kindly enough?  I wonder if anyone would sit on me and whether I would feel it, or if it would only be my nose that would hurt if it was squashed.

What if I chose to be two parts tree and one part human heart.  Would I feel love and sadness and pain and never be able to express it?  Would I mourn the branches that fell off and the leaves that died?  Would I appreciate the beauty of my leaves as they turn orange and dance in the air to the ground?  Would I feel the fresh wind and feel at peace?  Would I feel affection for my neighbouring trees and plants?  Would I be grateful for the wind and the rain that seeped into my bark and made me grow taller, would I be thankful for the sun for keeping me alive?  Would I wonder at the graceful flight of the birds all around me and marvel at the blue sky and fluffy clouds? Would I look at the tree growing next to me, spawned from my own seed, would I feel love for it, would I feel pride? Would I spend hours contemplating who made me and how I got to be a tree?

 

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What part is the human part of me?

List Lesson: Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge – You’ll Do It!

List Lesson

This week, girl in the hat writer Anna Fonté challenges you to write a list that transcends its orderly or numbered format.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/list-lesson/

Being a typical Capricorn, lists are my thing, so asking me to write a list for a post is like asking me to drink tea (it takes a certain amount of preparation, but it’s a daily ritual that gives great satisfaction).

So I happily share with you:-

Verity V’s Bucket List

  • Go to southern Ireland (country)

Only across the water and I have never been – definitely a must for this year.

  • Go to the Edinburgh Festival

Only up the road and I have never been, I am ashamed to be Scottish and to have never been HOWEVER I am going with a travelling friend in August so I would usually mark this yellow because steps have been made to cross it off.

  • Go to a Burlesque Club

Writing this, I realise I have been to a vintage burlesque ball and I am not sure if that counts or not, so I will have to go to a proper Burlesque club as well.

  • Go to the Opera

Pretty self explanatory (again not sure why I haven’t been but really this is the purpose of these lists – to give you a kick up the ass and get it done!)

  • Go to the Ballet

Pretty much same as above – no excuses for not having been really.

  • Go to the Highlands

I haven’t been away up to the very top and I must!

  • Ice skate at George’s Square

Now, this is a very simple, inexpensive one and I go to Glasgow at Christmas every year, but for some reason it keeps evading me!  Last Christmas I was determined and when we went there was a four hour wait and I couldn’t wait.  Definitely this year.

  • Get writing published

 

This is something that I have added recently since I discovered what I want to do with my life.  Technically I could probably cross it off because posting on wordpress counts as publishing (ask Short Story Competition Editors).  It has been added to the top because it is what I am concentrating on most at the moment and it is what will hopefully allow me to start travelling and cross off the rest of my bucket list.

  • Go to New York at Christmas and New Year

This is definitely very near the top of my list and I am hopeful that I will go this year!  In fact, I think I will start saving for this in June.

  • Go to London

Again, only a train ride away really and people you meet when travelling cannot believe you are from the UK and have never been to London (again I have always meant to!).

  • Learn to play guitar

I did buy a guitar and started learning last year.  I can play one whole song, but I sing this song very badly (my sister confirmed it).  I will persevere.

  • Play the guitar and sing a song in public

I am not sure when I will have the skills or the opportunity for this, but I am sure doing it around a campfire could count as public, right?

  • Go to Tibet

I so, so, so want to go to Tibet and do a yoga and meditation course (my friends and family are all worried about this one – they think they will never see me again).

  • Go on the trans Siberian railway and go to Russia

Not really sure why, but again, always wanted to do this.  I do love snow, which is why I would love to go to Russia.  Also you can get a train from Russia to China and from China to Tibet – I did plan this at one point, but not got round to it yet!  This one will require time and money.

  • Camp out at the beach

Again pretty simple, but just never had the opportunity.

  • Go to France

I am ashamed I have never been to so many places in Europe, but I will, I will, I still have a long time yet (but they tell you not to say that right?)

  • Go to Italy

As above.

  • Go to Japan

Met some Japanese people travelling Australia and they were all awesome!  Japan is an absolute must – especially Kyoto.

  • Go to Uluru

I did it.  I did it!  This was a great experience (but an expensive one).  If you have never camped out in a swag under the stars, you really must – especially out there in the centre, I could barely get to sleep at night for lying looking at the stars in complete wonder.  Uluru was impressive, but I enjoyed the walk through Kings Canyon much better.

  • Go to Australia

I did.  I did it!  I left it all and went travelling in Australia for two years – was by far the best decision I ever made and it gave me a wanderlust that will never leave me.

  • Drive along the Great Ocean Road

I did.  I did it!  Absolutely beautiful drive.  This was on the list at a time when I was still learning to drive and I am so glad I passed in time to drive along it!

  • Ride a motorbike

I did.  I did it! I have been a passenger on a motorbike for one thrilling ride going at over 100 mph and rode a small motorbike on a cattle station (not for very long).  I also adored driving a moped around Pai in Thailand, one of my absolute favourite times travelling.

  • Swim in the great barrier reef

I did.  I did it! I so nearly never did this because again it was so expensive, but I am so glad I did.  Floating over the reef was like spying on nature’s biggest, most wonderful secret – swimming above reef sharks, turtles, little nemos and thousands of other fish and marine life – nothing like it.

  • Go to the Isle of Skye

I did.  I did it!  This went on my list not long after I got back from Australia because I realised how little of my own country I had actually seen.  Handsomely rugged place, I would recommend you visit it for a couple of days if you make it to Scotland (and you should).

  • Go to German Markets in Christmas

I did.  I did it! Again another wonderful experience – I would go to a European Christmas Market every year (I maybe wouldn’t go on a coach there again though, but it is all experience).

  • Sky dive

I did.  I did it! I did this on my 30th birthday and I can assure you, this was the most terrifying thing I have ever done.  I screamed murder on the way out of the plane, I have never experienced terror like it.  Again, I am glad I had the guts to do it, but I can honestly say, I have no desire to ever do it again!

 

There are so many, many more things that I want to do now that I read it again – that is the problem:  once you start doing these things, you just think of more and more and more.  I would highly recommend writing one – it doesn’t need to be as adventurous as mine, it just needs to be what you want to do.

Do one for this challenge if you haven’t thought of what to do yet – and ping it here and let me read it.  I love reading other people’s Bucket Lists.

And if you don’t think you can do it – read this poem which I adore and I am going to read every time I think I cannot do it.

If you want anymore Inspiration check out my Inspiration page which is all the Pinterests I collect to keep me motivated!

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Blog Your Block

Just over three and a half years ago, I was not in a good place. I was most likely depressed. After a very stressful time with a job I severely disliked; an unrequited obsession that at the time I thought was love and now realise was my futile attempt to find meaning in a life that had none; I decided to pack everything up and leave. Before I made the decision to leave, I often burst into tears at my workplace and resorted to copious amounts of alcohol at the weekends to numb the overwhelming numbness I felt daily.

Just before I made a decision that would change my life forever, I walked around the town I lived in and wrote an entry in my journal that very clearly shows to me just how incredibly far I have come on my personal journey since then, because my perspective on EVERYTHING has changed.

Saturday 11th September 2010
I am so bored with it all. I have always known that I was not meant for the banality of this place. This town holds so many bad memories for me. It is like the smell of smoke on your hair after a night out, it lingers and I cannot seem to wash the smoke or the memories away. I can never get clean. The small insignificant high street with more shops closed than open is like a hundred towns in Scotland. It takes about two minutes to walk the length of it. There are a few high street stores, takeaway shops, pawn shops, and charity shops. The pavement is grey, the buildings are grey, the sky is grey and the people are grey. It is early evening and it is almost deserted. Every few steps there is a pub surrounded by dirty fag douts and the awful wailing of some drunk attempting to sing on a karaoke escaping from the open doors. The sound echoes through the rough streets and makes them seem ridiculous. Women stagger from one pub to the next dressed in high heel shoes they cannot walk on partly because they are too high and partly because they have drank half a bottle of vodka before leaving the house. They are dressed in clothes that are too tight, too short and too cheap. They stink of smoke and their hair is streaked yellow, their faces lined and hard looking. Everyone I pass is either drunk or on drugs, the heroin addicts walk past with their stuttered, jerky walks, their faces like hollowed out grey wood, their eyes like dolls. Grey just clings to everything, and it smothers me.

 

I did leave. I left in May 2011 for Australia on my own with nothing but a backpack and a couple of thousand pounds.

My mum said to me before I left: “You know V, there is nothing wrong with being ordinary.” I said: “That’s where you and me differ, because for me, there is nothing worse than being ordinary”.

It was the best decision I ever made. I spent two years in Australia, working, travelling and exploring a part of the earth. At times I was as scared as hell, at times I was lonely, at times I wondered what I was doing, but most of the time I wondered at how amazing the world actually is. I looked around me at the sky, the landscape, the sea, the hills, the buildings and the people. Looking at everything new was like looking at the world for the first time and thankfully that is something that I have kept with me.

I came home a year ago and I was worried. I was worried that I would go back to the sad place I was before I left. I was worried that I would not be able to stay, that I would hate my home town as much as I did before I left. I was wrong to worry. The place has not changed much, but I have. My whole perception of the world around me has changed. It did not change overnight, and the change in me had already started before I left, but going away and coming back made me realise two things: what I want to really do with my life; and that how you feel inside can completely change the way you see everything. You can see all the depravity, or you can see all the wonder. The earth has equal amounts of both. What you see is what you choose to see.

Sunday 18th May 2014
Today the sun is shining, and I am going on my favourite walk. I walk down past the residential streets, the council houses, the high rise flats and the old school. I walk up a hill and within several minutes I am walking past large sandstone houses with beautiful gardens. I walk across a path that goes over the motorway, the sound on that bridge is deafening, but I know that within minutes I will not hear it. I walk past a large abandoned community centre and already on my left the fields start rolling up towards the hills in the country. This road goes for ten miles and takes me from the town I stay in to the valley I grew up in. On either side all the way along are fields lined by either rows of bushes or trees. A few minutes down the path and there is a perfectly kept, very small riding school. Tiny birds twitter and tweet from bushes on one side of the road to bushes on the other. There are horses in the field, and a hen swaggers around the courtyard. Someone is renovating their large house on the left, there are a few piles of rubble in their garden and one looks like a face smiling at me. I walk uphill and through a path with many trees which are bursting with green leaves, to my right a river flows downstream, through the spaces in the trees I can see the water glittering in the sun. I walk even further uphill and the countryside opens up to as far as I can see on every side. There are a few farmhouses scattered around the hills and sheep everywhere. It is just after spring and there are sheep and lambs dotted everywhere resembling the green bushes dotted with white flowers. I look up and the sky is blue with many billowing white clouds, it looks like a painting. I turn left up another road and up a much steeper hill. When I am at the brow of the hill I turn around and I can see the valley unfolding onto the horizon. I turn left down another road back to the town and I walk past a field of cows who decide they will come with me, stampeding down the hill. I have to stop so that they calm down and stop running. I take a deep breathe in and inhale the clean, nourishing air of the countryside. I watch the birds soar across the sky, free and where they belong. Rabbits run along beneath the hedges of ploughed fields. I come to the last part of my walk where the road climbs and then dips and it looks as though the road ends in the sky. I love this part of the walk, I love that view, it makes me feel like I am on my way to the clouds. In the distance I see that the clouds are gathering in a hurry and that they have become dark and heavy, I can hear the mumble of thunder a long way off. I can feel and smell electricity in the air. My home is not the town, but the earth itself and it exists perfectly as it is, that is what I am aiming for.

I am not unhappy here now, but what I want is to see the whole world. I want to walk right around the world. I am not unhappy now because I know I will do it again. I am mindful of slipping too far back into normality. I take care to make sure I am always in a position to up and leave whenever I want. It was difficult getting money together to go and to come back, but I did it and I know that I can do it again. The journey I took made me realise that I am brave and that if I truly want to, I can do anything. So now I am on another path, I am trying to achieve what I have always wanted to achieve. I am going to keep going until I can do the two things I love more than anything else in life: writing and travelling. I always said that if I ever decided what I wanted to do with my life, I would be unstoppable. I know now and I am in no mood to turn back, but I will take the time to look around me and appreciate all that is, because without doing that, nothing is worth it and my life will have flashed by whether I publish a book or not.

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