What inspires you as a writer?
This is the question posed by fellow diy poet Martin Dean to each of us. A very good question indeed. Personally, I find it depends on the day. If I’m feeling poorly, I find it very hard to activate my brain. That doesn’t mean that I don’t necessarily write like that. One of the advantages of having a neurological condition that creates mind fog, is that sometimes absolute nonsense comes out in what is, later, an amusing fashion. For everyday tasks like, dressing, directions and life, not so good. For streaming nonsense – sometimes interesting.
My mind wanders off
To la la land
Quite content to be
(NB:This poem is from 2007 and not connected to the forthcoming film…)
This is the reply I sent to Martin. You may see it in a future diy poets newsletter, so apologies if I am repeating myself.
I’ve been inspired by: the sound of summer grass crackling under barefoot tread, by injustices and personal stories, by scary statistics from the so very recent past, by my friends and family, by my cat (yes, I know!) and by odd things that just pop into my head. Oh, and love, heartache and the bits between.
This past week I’ve written about house clearance, memoirs, waving at neighbours and spin. I’ve not been out much this week.
What inspires you to write? Drop me a line and let me know.
I’ve been neglecting Tishaisms for a good while and pondering what to do to with it. Having had a long think I’ve decided it will be the place I will post random thoughts, maybe the odd poem but predominantly thoughts I’m mulling, well, Tishaisms I guess.
The idea was consolidated this evening when I was picking up the clock that had leapt to the floor once again in the kitchen. That got me thinking about time.
I’ve always had an elastic relationship with time. We don’t always seem to arrive at the same place somehow. Often it runs away from me. Sometimes I snooze and then find I’ve missed it. There are the odd occasions when I beat it, not roughly but quite severely, like arriving at the shop to work two hours early or rushing to the dementia home to deliver a session a day early.
Today I looked around my kitchen at the three wall clocks, the cooker clock, the digital radio clock display and the faces were not in agreement. I thought about how small a space it was for five separate time zones.
Then I considered the clock I was reassembling and the two others on the wall. The big station style clock was the one Luke and I had bought for Mum one Christmas. It is the most authoritarian looking clock. It stopped at ten to nine, some time time ago.
The second was the square one with the pendulum. Luke had bought that for me as he said “I knew you wanted one of them la-di-das, but I couldn’t afford one of them, so I got you this. It’s got the swingy thing you like”. That one stopped at five past six.
The final wall clock, the odd coloured one that I bought from a jumble sale a few years back, the not-very-pretty one, the one that falls down regularly, but it has – thus far – continued to tell an approximation of the actual time.
Funny old thing, time.
I know where I was
I know what I could see
on the screen
above the big bear dressed as a Beefeater
that Saturday afternoon
on the 15th of April 1989
stood among the toys and games
eyes fixed on the screen
seen through streams of tears
until I could watch no more
I remember the subsequent accusations
vilification of ordinary people
a whole city
96 of whom had travelled
across the Pennines
with their loved ones
to watch a game
I remember being in a crush
four years later at a student event
in that host city
and being so angry with the by-standing
police and security
when I yelled that people were getting crushed
when the woman next to me collapsed
we were pinned by a railing outside a club
I yelled that they really should know better
I screamed in their faces
they didn’t react.
Until the ambulance arrived.
I demanded to see the manager
I was told
“Students, you ought to have the intelligence not to do it..”
I was so angry
it wasn’t on the scale of Hillsborough
I can’t begin to comprehend their emotions
but I admire the spirit of the families
and the city that has fought
and campaigned and been lied about
been left to “Let it sink”
yet kept their dignity
I met a backpacker 5 years later
who literally broke down and cried
because I asked her to watch my bag
she told me no-one ever trusted her
because she was Scouse
No-one had ever, ever
asked her to watch their things
the city and its’ people had been smeared so well
Next time you consider joking
there’s a scouser about”
This Year I’d Like:
more space, more sleep,
more sea, more me
more hanging around with friends,
more empty weekends
more dancing, having fun,
more writing getting done
more looking forward,
more living my life
less looking back
less dealing with death.
A Shaggy Coat Tale by Lytisha
There once was a brown bear called Gerald. He had long, thick fur that, combined with fairly short legs, made him look a little overweight.
Gerald was aware that some unkind people thought he looked fat in his coat but he was warm and cosy so he didn’t really mind.
One day he met a Snowy Owl called Sophia. They began to spend a lot of time together, chatting, telling tales and walking in the crispy fresh snow that had recently fallen. They laughed together, made patterns using Gerald’s paws to create a scene then Sophia’s wings to flap the light snow on top to highlight areas and make it glisten.
They got on very well and Gerald thought Sophia very clever. He told Gavin, another bear, about Sophia. Gavin was a very tall slim looking bear, but he never seemed to want to go out to play. He was too busy preening his coat and watching his diet.
Gavin was a little jealous that Gerald seemed to be having lots of fun, even though he didn’t seem to worry about his looks. Gavin told Gerald that Sophia would soon stop being his friend, as soon as she met someone not so fat.
Gerald was upset. He really liked Sophia and wanted to stay friends with her. The more he thought about what Gavin had said, the more he began to doubt himself. In fact he began to worry each time they met that she might find a slimmer companion to play with and leave him, although Sophia had never said anything to make Gerald think that.
Gerald called round for Gavin often to see if he would come out and play, but he never wanted to. After leaving him, and with Gavin’s jealous taunts of Fat Gerald in his head, Gerald went home and trimmed all his lush fur.
When he had finished and looked in the mirror he was surprised to find that he looked much slimmer, in fact more like Gavin. When he went out to find Sophia, she didn’t recognise him at first. Once she realised it was Gerald she came swooping over and playfully threw a snowball at him. Much to her surprise Gerald didn’t respond by rolling over giggling as he usually did, but brushed the snow off and sniffed a little.
What’s the matter Gerald? asked Sophia, a little puzzled.
Nothing. said Gerald a little hurrumphly. They walked on together chatting but Gerald seemed a little preoccupied. In truth he was feeling the cold and he didn’t want to do anything that would make him colder, like play in the snow or stay out for long.
After a short while Gerald told Sophia he had to go home early. When she asked him why, he said something vague about sorting things out a bit. After he left Sophia was sad. She really enjoyed Gerald’s company and looked forward to their games in the snow.
The next day Sophia looked out for Gerald as usual but he didn’t come out until late. When he did come his fur looked not only shorter but, well, a bit like he had put mousse in it. It was all in trendy tufts, not his usual ruffle.
Sophia said nothing but noticed that again Gerald didn’t seem to want to stay out long and was even quieter than before. After Gerald left this time Sophia had a think. She didn’t know what she had done to upset Gerald, but it seemed he didn’t want to spend much time with her anymore.
Being a pragmatic and wise bird Sophia decided the best thing to do was to ask him. She flew to his lair and knocked at the door.
Gerald was very surprised to see Sophia outside and invited her in. It was very warm inside as Gerald had built a big fire to keep himself warm. He did miss his long bushy coat, even if he did now look longer and slimmer.
Sophia was almost suffocated by the heat, but she stood near the door so they could speak. When she asked why it was so hot, Gerald miserably told her that it was he was trying to impress her.
- How? She asked, confused. I am really not so good at being in very hot places and you didn’t know I was coming?
- No, I cut my fur to impress you, so you would see that I was slim and so that you would like me. Only now, I get so cold.
- Oh you daft bear! Exclaimed Sophia. I thought you didn’t want to spend any time with me.
- You thought I didn’t want to spend time with you? Asked Gerald in amazement, Why would you think that?
- Well, you’ve been coming out late, you’ve not wanted to play games and you keep going home early. I miss our games and I miss my friend.
Gerald looked a bit sheepish, for a bear. He realised that Sophia was right, in trying to impress her he hadn’t thought through the consequences and now she thought he didn’t want to see her. The complete opposite to what he wanted.
- It is you, Gerald, I miss. Not some slim, trendy bear with no time for me said Sophia.
Gerald realised how daft he’d been and apologised. He explained that he had been listening to what other people thought, without asking himself what he wanted and what Sophia would think. He vowed there and then to grow his fur again and to listen to his own thoughts before following the advice of others.
The longer, shaggier and warmer Gerald’s coat became, the rounder he looked, the more time they could spend together.
Seeing them out playing in the snow together regularly, Gavin even stopped trimming his own fur.
I wish to protest about the protesters methods of protesting about the protest to which I protest.
I say to the anti-immigration lobby not in my name. I say it in my name, not from behind a mask.
As I gaze out the window
awaiting my nurse
I see the lads passing
kicking the ball
I see the teenager dreaming
clearly in love
I see the girl twirling her hair
humming a little tune
I see them now
I see me then
The youth that I happily mis-spent