Studying and writing success

It’s been a while, as expected.  I’m in week 4 of the third term of my Masters. Global ethics and human rights,  and strategy, change and leadership are my modules.  I’m particularly enjoying the first one, especially as there is a good group dynamic.  This is something that is lacking when studying by distance learning but the discussion board is much more popular than usual!

I am currently lying on the sofa with a poorly sleepy Charlie who I had to pick up from nursery. He had a long nap but since waking up he has just wanted to cuddle and go back to sleep.  I’ve already disturbed him once to check my chickpeas aren’t boiling dry.

It seems I am going to have a productive week study wise, especially as I’m already ahead of schedule. Good thing too as we’re away this weekend and it makes up for the craziness of last week when I was doing extra long days ad staff were off sick, which also ate into my study time.  As Charlie was sick he (and therefore I) is off the rest of the week so I  hoping to tick off everything on my list for once and do more than just study!

In particular I would like to write another short story or two. I had some success at the end of last week which has boosted my confidence but mostly it is telling me I need to get my arse in gear. The problem is that writing is the thing I want to do most of all but it is – for various reasons – the bottom of my priority list.

Anyway I finally have some writing officially published! One of my short stories – Last Train to Somewhere – is in this quarter’s edition of e – magazine Kishboo :-). Also released on the same day was the long list for a flash fiction competition that I entered and for which I made said long list so an exciting day all around!

You can find Last Train to Somewhere here. It is number 12 in the 2015 winter edition along with 14 other great short stories.

The Midwinter Reap

My 750 words a day is still a work in progress.  I had a busy weekend as it was my Grandma’s 80th.  But, now I am hoping I can slowly get back into it again.  Today’s word count is around 500 but I am happy with that.  At least I have written something! I feel like I just need to let my mind wander more, write whatever comes to my head at a given time. My creative muscles need stretching, widening, and I need to get out of my comfort zone.

Today’s episode was influenced by a frosty morning’s walk to work.

~*~

She walked through the winding streets in the deep snow, passed frost-bitten houses that stood together hand-in-hand, their ivy-draped facades like sleeping faces; mouths shut, silent, not letting any secrets out; eyes closed in sleep, blinds waitng in anticipation to be drawn apart and let in the light of the world.  Waiting in anticipation for something that would never come.

She continued along her unwritten path passing around the lake.  Solid ice licked the edges of the midnight black pool and she could see the dark waters turning shimmering white, edging ever closer to the centre of the lake; she could hear the crisp crackling sound as the water transformed.

He was skating over the water, not even a shadow but a shadow of dust.  He moved like he was flying across the border between ice and water, spirally towards the centre of the lake as if he were spinning an icy web.

She watched his progress as she took the snowy path around the lake.  He never hesitated: he had a goal; an agenda.  So unlike her.

The path ahead of her was clear of snow and ice; even Frost had not yet painted the deep dark path that cut through the forest.  He was waiting for her.

As soon as she entered the shelter of the trees even the air was warmer, but the oppression was deeper.  It was pushing her further and further into the forest.  It was all around her: a warmth that made her skin prickle and burn and her heart thunder.  But, at the same time, a menacing chill crept up behind her, running slowly up her spine until it was ringing in her ears and she could taste it in her mouth.  The vile taste of him as he reached deeper and deeper inside, turning her insides to ice and suffocating her from within her own body.

Her organs froze; she could no longer hear the steady beating of her heart or the way her tummy was leaping in anxiety, fear, anticipation.  Yet she could still see her own breath in the half-light of morning long after her lungs had frozen.

The frost encased her fingertips, completing the process, and she was trapped inside an icy shell.  Her mind was numb, her brain as dead as her lungs, yet like her misty blue breath in the forest, thoughts still came to her.  Thoughts unbidden and not her own.  Thoughts planted by the ghost of her nightmares.  Finally, he had come to her, crept up on her during his mid-winter reap.  And now she was him and he was her.

Together, they took a clumsy footstep, testing out their new body.  What started as a creek, a screech of fingernails on a blackboard, was polished away to a hum, a lilting lullaby, that carried them through the forest, floating, and they painted the trees with frost as they went.