There has been a distinct lack of posts over the past three months which I can only apologise for. So this will have to a big catch up on everything that I’ve been up to.

So let’s start with the main reason as to why there has been a prolonged silence, I got a job! It’s an hour commute which takes quite the chunk out of my day and by the time I get home I’m to exhausted to think let alone try to write. So there’s my first excuse.

I’ve also been travelling around the country a lot, seeing friends and celebrating family birthdays, there really hasn’t been a second to stop.

Finally, I just forgot.

So here’s the literary side to what’s been going on, I’ve been long-listed for two poetry competitions but nothing came of one and the other is still in the pipeline. I have been writing but no where nearly as much as I should, mainly I’ve been reading because I wanted to get back into reading more. I’ve read a couple of poetry books and also been loving the Fairy Loot book boxes which have had some great books in as well as cute bits and bobs.

I’m planning on buying a house so currently trying to save up for a deposit, things have been pretty stressful with everything that’s been going on but I know that if I keep trying to make it the best I can then it’ll work out.

So I’ve decided to adapt my weekly challenge (as that’s just too frequent at the moment) to a monthly challenge. I’m going to write a poem for each month of the year, I’ve already written one’s for January and February so will update you with those on another post.

Until then



Strong Heroines

The Last Namsara

I consumed The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli in 2 days. It was like a warm blanket wrapping around my mind, welcoming me home. I am a YA Fantasy fanatic, it sucked me in and still refuses to let me go. Over the past year or so I’ve been trying to branch outside my comfort zone to encompass a few more genres that I’m less familiar with. And though I read some very interesting book, I never devoured them at a pace that left me craving more, not because they weren’t great authors, it’s just that the stories never sang to my heart. But reading The Last Namsara was like coming home after a long period, there was that sense of familiarity that holds such comfort. The Last Namsara is typical of the genre, an ostracized heroine, who is a skilled fighter and has a fiery personality, is challenged physically and mentally before overcoming obstacles which inevitably lead to her self acceptance, social tolerance and even love. It’s a classic YA Female Fantasy novel, with dragons, which just makes everything better. The story is well written, the characters are relatable, and I loved it.

So this week I have challenged myself to write a story intro with a strong heroine, that’s my only rule. I better get planning.



Writing Challenge #9

What’s Original Anyway?

As I write this I am listening to Dua Lipa’s beautiful song “Homesick” on her amazing album that I am completely obsessed with. Weirdly I’ve always found that songs with good lyrics actually help me to write. Many people say they can’t write when listening to music because they can’t think of anything other than the words of that song, but as many creatives know all too well, there is nothing original in this world, we are all just reinventing and taking inspiration from those we look up to. This reflects a lot on today’s theme, the response poem normally uses a few words and the form of the poem it’s responding to. In a way, all creative work is just a response to the people it was inspired by, which to me is much more admirable than trying to make something “original”.

And so today I respond to one of my poetical idols, Emily Dickinson, a poet who wrote purely for the joy of it, not to sell but to live through. Though she led a pretty sheltered life her poems are so rich and beautifully written. I hope I do her justice.

Emily – a Response to “Hope”

“Hope” is the thing that clings to my teeth-
That perches on my tongue-
Singing wingless words from my gut-
No one hears a single one-

And Emily there’s a gale inside-
And my mind is frayed-
I can hardly taste sweet liquor-
That helped with the charade-

I’ve heard it in the softest voice-
And from the blackened sea-
But never in heartache-
Did it take the words from me.

Responding to a poem feels like writing to a close friend. There’s a certain comfort to the words that you’re echoing, as though the poet can hear them and understands. I hope you enjoyed my challenge.




Things are looking up!

A heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders, the ache that formed mid-spine is slowly stretching out and my head can once again tilt back to stare up a the stars. The stress of job-hunting was wearing me down, and though I never thought I was too concerned about having a traditional 9-5 job, and I thought I would be okay with doing freelance work from home, the relief of actually getting a regular job that doesn’t reside in these 4 walls is honestly the best feeling. I had officially hit the stir-crazy phase, I can’t wait to do a full day of work, and actually get paid! Which will be greatly appreciated, especially before Christmas!

This doesn’t deter from my ultimate goal of getting published. But right now, that needs to sit on the back burner, in order to save my sanity. Obviously I’m going to keep writing, as much as I can, but I’ll save it all up and set myself longer-term goals. I’m trying to save up for a house you see, and unfortunately money makes the world go round and to get a regular income you need a job with regular hours. Now don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to start work and mainly to get that feeling of purpose back again.

I guess I’d lost hope a bit, and got extremely frustrated with being unemployed. But everything is looking up now, that little bit brighter. Thinking of hope always reminds me of one of my favourite poems by Emily Dickinson.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
I’ve always loved that poem. It’s one of the few I can recite by heart. So I have challenged myself to write a response to this poem. If you’re not sure what I mean then you should check out this great response poem by Valerie Dohren here!
So with that I shall ponder what response I shall give to hope.

Writing Challenge #8

Who am I?

Seeing as I’m delving into the whole identity crisis, I feel as though this question is relevant. Who am I? And when you ask yourself this question you might answer with the following information: name, age, job, where you live etc. And though these things describe you in some aspect, they don’t really answer the question. I refer to myself as a writer, despite the fact that I don’t get paid to write. I am a writer because it is the thing I love the most, I’m a writer because I can hardly go two hours without thinking of a line for a poem I haven’t written yet. Just because it isn’t my job title doesn’t mean it’s not who I am. Maybe it’s the question that’s not accurate, instead of “Who am I?” maybe the question should be “What do I love?” because a person’s passions reveal more about them than their name and age.

So instead of answering the question “Who am I?” I’m going to answer the question “What do I love?”

I love my family, my boyfriend, my friends. I love to write, to create, to make things. I love travelling the world, experiencing new cultures and trying the local food. I love curling up on the sofa with a good book or movie and a cup of tea.

So that’s me.

Now onto my challenge, I hope you enjoy:

Black Out

Birdsong floated into my dreary mind, I rolled over and wrapped the blanket tight around my shoulders. Crisp winter air seemed to have snuck in through cracks in the window. The musky scent of a man’s aftershave disrupted my thoughts. I slowly opened my sleep heavy eyes, the harsh morning light hurt my head, once they’d adjusted I could see a clean room, with white-washed oak furniture. What I had thought was birdsong was in reality the caw of seagulls, as they tunelessly sang to the shushing of the ocean. Why was I near the ocean? The longer I looked around the room the more unfamiliar it became. I stood slowly, taking care not to make the floorboards creak. I was wearing knickers and a large men’s t-shirt. My heart rate increased, what was I doing here? I needed to get out of here as soon as I could, but first I’d need clothes. I pulled draws open until I found a pair of jeans and a woolly jumper, I put them on in quick succession and was surprised at how well this woman’s clothes fitted me. Whoever she was, did I sleep with her husband? Was I roofied? Why could I not remember anything? Shoes were my next challenge, she didn’t seem to keep any in her room, I assumed she was a clean freak with the lack of colour and white everything. So shoes would be downstairs, I pressed my ear to the floorboards, I could hear someone rustling, humming as though they weren’t holding someone against their will upstairs!

“Honey, are you coming down? I’ve made breakfast! I hope pancakes are okay? I was going to make you a bacon sarnie but we’ve run out of bread.” a deep melodic voice called up. Oh God! I thought, Him and his wife are in this together, the sickos! I listened for longer but didn’t hear a reply.

“Honey? Emma? You awake?” he shouted again, this time with a touch of concern. A knot formed in my stomach, a loop playing in my head, repeating the name, Emma, Emma. Emma was my name. Surely it was just a coincidence, I pressed my ear forcefully into the wood, waiting, praying, to hear a woman’s reply. But it never came. What did follow was the soft thud on slippers on stairs. Instinct told me to run, I looked out the windows but there was no way I’d get down without breaking something. The wardrobe was my best bet, I opened the doors and thanked god this couple was not ones for clutter. I got in and swiftly closed the doors with as much stealth as I could. A couple of seconds later I heard the bedroom door open,

“Em?” his voice was louder now, he was so close I could hear his breathing. He walked out and checked other rooms shouting “Emma, where are you?” I could hear his footsteps traipsing back and forth. He came back into the room, his footsteps got louder and I could hear him directly on the other side of the door. My chest constricted and I held my breath so as not to give myself away. But it was too late, the doors opened and the darkness around me evaporated. I curled up in a ball and screamed, not knowing what else to do with myself.

“Emma, what’s wrong, shhh, shh, hey, what happened?” his voice was warm and soothing, I couldn’t hear any malice, it was as though he was genuinely concerned. He crouched down and wrapped his arms around me, his embrace was strong, reassuring but not overpowering. I could feel the muscles in his chest and could smell that same musky scent that woke me.

“Please,” I whimpered, “don’t hurt me” I started crying, because, despite imagining myself as invincible, in reality, I am a coward.

“Hurt you?” he chuckled slightly, “what are you going on about? I’d never hurt you.”

His embrace loosened and he stood up, taking me with him. I looked at him properly now, he had short brown hair, the sides shaved closer to his scalp than the top of his head which was slightly shaggy. His eyes shone like tempered chocolate, they weren’t the eyes of a creep who kept people hostage. He smiled when our eyes met, but then his smile disappeared and a cloud swept across his face. “Why do you look so afraid of me?” he asked. “Emma, what’s wrong?”

“How do you know my name?” I said, my voice croaky. I narrowed my eyes at him.

“What?” he replied.

“How do you know my name? I don’t know you, but you know my name, how?”

“What do you mean you don’t know me? Stop playing Em, this isn’t funny now!”

“HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?” I pushed him away from me, his eyes widened in shock.
“You’re my wife.” he said, his voice softer this time and laced with sadness. “You’re my wife.”

My body slumped to the floor, for some reason I knew he was telling the truth, but I had no recollection of any of this. A photo frame caught my eye, in it was a happy couple with beaming smiles, they looked like they were somewhere in Italy. The woman had blonde hair, blue eyes and a slightly crooked nose from when she fell off the climbing frame at primary school. I ran my finger over the bridge of my nose to feel the scar. This man was telling the truth, he was my husband, but I didn’t even know his name.

“Why can’t I remember?” I asked, not expecting an answer.

Thank you, as always, for reading! I liked writing this piece, it was a tad rushed but fun to write. Let me know if you try any of my writing challenges!



Questioning Myself

The Unfamiliar Everyday

Do you ever get the feeling that everything around you is unfamiliar? A strange lingering feeling as if you don’t belong? Or just that ever repetitive question: How did I end up here?

I do. Right now I’m in the limbo that is unemployment. It’s strange and unsettling. You see, so far in life, I’ve been like a high speed train, constantly on the go and always busy with a project, studying or work. Now it’s like I’ve broken down. My mind whirrs and craves something to keep it occupied and my bank account is quickly depleting (especially in the run up to Christmas). Since I came back from Japan I’ve kept myself busy, applying for more jobs than I can count; doing some freelance work and writing for local magazines and, of course, my blog, which has kept me sane at times. But through all of this I’ve been living back with my parents, and don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, they’re amazing, but having lived away for the best part of 4 years, coming home has felt like a step backwards.

Now you must be thinking, why are you so unemployable? Trust me, I’ve asked that question so many times it’s etched into my brain! Beats me! I pushed myself during university, not only in my course but in my “extracurricular activities” which, for me, was being part of a fundraising group. I worked in events, marketing and management (without ever earning a penny) which has aided me in so many ways. Yet still, for so many jobs I’m not the right candidate. Who is? I hear you plea. Well they want someone who has just graduated and yet somehow has 5 years of experience in the role you’re applying for. It’s the impossible conundrum! But I refuse to stop trying, even if it’s not the perfect job, experience is still experience and right now, that’s what I need.

Other life updates include applying to poetry competitions. If you’re interested in doing this then I recommend looking on Creative Writing Ink which has a list of writing competitions. I’ve applied to: The Rialto, Kent and Sussex Poetry, Calligram, and The A3 Review. I also intend to apply to a couple of short story ones, but haven’t gotten around to that just yet.

In light of the sudden identity crisis I’ve decided to base this weeks writing challenge around that theme, and so my challenge is: To write from the perspective of someone who doesn’t recognise the place and people they live with. This should be interesting.

I’m going to get writing while it’s quiet here.