Painting My Writing With Colour

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Image courtesy of  https://pixabay.com/

Falling into familiar patterns is easy. They creep up on us without our noticing and we find the excitement in our writing slowly goes into hiding. That’s what it’s like for me anyway.

I’ve done more factual than creative writing over the past three years, but now I’m trying to kick start my creativity. I have a few go-to books I enjoy when this happens and I pulled out one this morning. I randomly opened at a chapter about including the detail of colour in writing.

This was exactly what I needed. I’m currently writing a piece about ‘That Woman’ for my memoir group. My writing was drab, even though I was describing a woman vibrant in both the colours she chose and in her personality. Just being reminded of colour enabled me to revitalise my writing, bring more life to it.

The woman’s grey hair became silver grey hair, so silver the light bounced off it like sparks. Her pink volkswagen car became a car so pink it shocked the drab neighbourhood around it.

Sometimes it is easy to fall into lazy habits, but they are not impossible to turn around. Today I’m looking forward to painting the piece I’m writing with colour.

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On Being the Middle Child

Apparently yesterday, Sunday 2 April, was middle child day. Living in the southern hemisphere as I do, I’ve only just found out about this. We’re already more than half way through Monday as I write.

However, the whole concept of middle child fascinates me for two reasons, the most obvious one being that I am a middle child. I’ve read so many things about the negative side of being a middle child, especially of feeling left out, but that hasn’t been my case at all. I loved being a middle child. The family position proved very advantageous to me.

You see, while the other two were being doted on by our parents, as middle child I was left to be independent and free. There were plenty of times, especially during my teenage years, when I was grateful for my parents not really knowing what I was up to. And then, if I wanted to curl up with a book on my own, no one actually noticed.

The other reason I was interested to learn about middle child day is related to one of my current writing projects. I’m exploring what life was like for me in the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of a middle child. The revisiting old memories is proving lots of fun.

So, to all middle children out there, I hope you had a happy day. I’d love to hear about your middle child experiences and whether it was a positive or not-so-positive experience for you.mice-395831_960_720

A Middle Child Considers Riding a Bike

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The life of a middle child can be somewhat solitary, especially when your brother is nine years older than you and your sister not yet old enough to be an interesting playmate. I found my own amusements, one of those learning to ride a bike and being able to venture forth alone into the wider world. Most of my early years play was on my own, my only company my own imagination. One day, probably about the age of six, I was investigating the darkest corners of our old overcrowded shed, when my curiosity rested on Mum’s old bike resting in the corner.

The bike and I weren’t complete strangers. When I was much smaller I’d travelled around town with my mother, perched in a tiny seat above the back wheel behind her. At first she’d pick me up and place me in the seat, but eventually I preferred climbing up on my own without her help. My instructions were clear when riding in that seat – hold on tight to the seat and don’t let go. There were no child safety restraints in the 50s. I must also sit still, very still, otherwise my mother might wobble and we’d both crash to the ground. So I sat in obedience, part terrified, part thrilled by moving effortlessly through the air, my feet far above the ground, my feet resting on little footrests to avoid them straying into the spokes.

The risks seemed high – mangled feet, falling from my perch, or movement that caused my mother to wobble and crash – all enough to keep my four year old body rigid with fear. Yet the excitement was even greater. I felt so grownup to be moving on wheels and so envious of my mother’s riding skill. I’d laugh and declare to the world that I was king of the castle.

Captured by the Fairies at Midnight

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I’m sure you’ve heard the term, away with the fairies. Well, that’s me right now! I was writing a few words at midnight elsewhere last night, when my mind wandered back to childhood and what midnight meant to me then. For some reason, fairies leaped into my mind, and they’ve stayed there ever since.

All sorts of notions have been running through my brain, as if the fairies have captured me and transported me back into another world. My childhood visions of fairies were deeply embedded in my imagination, fuelled by the books I read. I even went fairy hunting in the backyard by moonlight.

Today my preoccupation continues and I’ve decided to delve into these mythical little creatures further. Just for fun of course. I don’t want them to think I’m spying on them!

Life in the 1950s – Remembering My Childhood Bed

This seems to be the year for new purchases. Earlier in the year our washing machine died and now, after talking about the possibility for at least a year, we’re buying a new bed. This decision prompted childhood memories of the bed I grew up in, back in the 1950s.

That bed was a far cry from the one we’ve just purchased. The base was an old wire wove one, the wires so stretched they sank in the middle. On top of this lay a lumpy old kapok mattress. In spite of this, I still found my bed comfortable. The mattress caved in the middle, meaning this was the only place to sleep. I’d snuggle down, pulling the sheet and thin, worn blankets right up to my chin.

On winter nights the thin blankets provided little warmth when I first got into bed, and my feet usually took time to warm up. When the nights became really cold I filled a hot water bottle from the tap to warm the bed before I climbed in.

For many years, until I could read for myself, either Mum or Dad would come and read a story, helping me to drift off to sleep before they turned off the light.

My bed nestled in one corner against the wall, from where I watched the shadows cast by the street lights as they found their way through the tear in the old blind. My imagination danced, making up stories about the strange shapes flung against the far wall, until I eventually fell asleep.  Or I listened to the rain falling on the old tin roof. Sometimes my parents’ voices drifted through the door, not loud enough to make out the conversation, but close enough to give a sense of security.

I always felt snug and secure in my bed.  My childhood bed-time was special. Now, I look forward to the new bed’s arrival. Its base and firm mattress will support my back, unlike the sagging wire and lumpy mattress once beneath me. The electric blanket will warm the bed during winter months. The soft, light duvet gives plenty of warmth, though I still retain my childhood habit of pulling the cover up round my ears.

Two other things haven’t changed. I still read most nights, turning off the events of the day. Once the lights are out I’ll lay awake in my new bed, waiting for sleep to come, making stories of the shadowy shapes that sometimes flit across the room. Bed-time still causes my imagination to come alive for a short time at least. Unlike in childhood, when I eventually fell asleep, I now need to make a decision – will I let the ideas be and hope I remember them in the morning? Or will I turn the light back on and scribble the ideas down before they dance away into the night?