A limerick about trains

More specifically, about train drivers. I work on a heritage steam railway in Cumbria and have buckets of fun every day, mainly because it’s a beautiful place and the people are lovely. Bank holiday weekend was particularly enjoyable thanks to a doube-header train each day. For those of you not up to scratch on your train lingo, that’s a train pulled by two engines. Like this:

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Finding Inspiration Where You Can

This week is my reading week at university. For most this means focusing on your upcoming assessment, maybe going home for a few days and generally taking a chance to recharge your batteries a little. But not me. Oh no. I decide to tech one show, rehearse for another, do my coursework, write blog posts and continue to write a novel. I did take the week off work though. That’s something.

Thanks to this rather hectic schedule I have been writing wherever and whenever I have had the chance. Some things are more well formed than others, some things are snippets that (I hope) will lead to bigger and greater things. When you’re as busy as I am at the moment you can’t question it when something comes to you. You have to just grab a pen and paper (or napkin, or ipad, or phone) and write it while it’s there. Sometimes it’s golden, some times it’s less so.

One little snippet came to me tonight while I was waiting for the show to begin and before the button pressing went all wrong (teching can be pretty scary when the technology decides not to do what you tell it). This is currently untitled and unfinished, but I hope you enjoy.

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You Not You (a sort of poem)

I am horribly, mournfully, soul-wrenchingly aware that I haven’t posted anything on here in a very long time.  This upsets and frustrates me but NaNoWriMo is slowly taking over my life.  Combine that with university, writing for a million different publications and spending the weekend with my family for various celebrations I have decided there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  So today I dig deep into the vaults and give to you all a sort of poem, which I like to call You Not You.

I saw you walking down the street today.
At least, I think it was you.
He might have been a bit too tall, with curlier hair and cleaner shoes.
I didn’t see his face but I felt his smile.
It was the same lemon flavoured, Thursday afternoon kind of smile that you always give me in the car park at five o’clock when we’re both too tired to talk.
And I didn’t hear his voice but I knew he would be singing American sitcom theme tunes completely out of tune with the wrong words if we weren’t, you know, in the middle of the street.
The stride may have been yours.
I took two steps to every one of his and found myself watching my feet and depending on you not you to tell me when to cross the street.
He wore some twisted chinos that you wouldn’t be caught dead in but I just thought that maybe someone had bought them for a gift and you hadn’t the heart to be rude so wore them regardless.
You not you are so cute!
That little flick of your curls that you don’t do made me melt a little, especially when we waited for the lights to change and the wind kept blowing your hair in your eyes.
And the way you not you bit your nails but kept stopping yourself because you’re obviously trying to quit.
I was so busy following you not you that I found myself in the newsagents I always avoid because the guy behind the counter always winks and calls me ‘darling’ in a voice that brings to mind Hannibal Lecter and fava beans and a glass of Chianti.
We reached for the same Red Bull and you not you smiled your lemon flavoured smile except now it was more coconut flavoured.
And you not you stepped back and bowed your head in a ‘go ahead’ kind of gesture and turned instead to the Relentless.
Thinking about it perhaps he was too polite to be you.
And more well dressed than I’ve ever seen you even when we had that fancy dinner and you tried to wear a tux but you didn’t realise the stains that were on your jacket.
He wore a shirt and tie and his top button was done up in a way you always complain about because it pinches your neck and makes you feel like you’re being strangled.
Instead of a stack of comics and sports magazines he carried a leather bound hardback copy of Doctor Faustus and I know that’s not your kind of thing because it’s fancy and pretentious and no one reads that kind of shit any more.
Except you not you.

Projects

My aim this summer was to make sure I keep up my writing and not get back to uni in September and realise I hadn’t written a word for three months.  Thankfully I am managing to do this.  However, I am doing this in my usual style of taking on a million projects at the same time.  So here I shall share them with you.

Camp NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an event that happens every November where you aim to write a 50,000 word novel in 31 days.  It’s very intense, incredibly hard work but ultimately so rewarding.  There is a huge amount of support from other participants and the people who run the event.  They also run two ‘camps’, one in April and one in July.  I just missed taking part last November so am happily taking part this month and hoping to finish my first novel!

Full length play – I have also started writing my first full length play.  I have written several short plays which I really enjoyed and have had some good feedback from people.  I thought I would challenge myself a little further by extending my word count.  I didn’t realise how much harder it would be and am currently sat at the end of act one wondering how to proceed.

Short play – I also started a short play which is very different from my usual style.  I am a very naturalistic writer normally but this is much more absurd, physical piece.  I’m surprising myself with how the piece is coming along.  I have never been a fan of writers like Beckett, despite my best efforts to appreciate their work, but this piece is turning out much like Krapp’s Last Tape.  I’m intrigued to see how it ends.

For 30 days I will… – My second blog is challenging me every day to be creative and write something new.  My current challenge is to write a poem every day which started our pretty easy.  However, writing a poem alongside everything else is proving more difficult than I thought it would be.

So juggling everything together is proving to be harder than I thought but I know that when the end of the summer comes around I’ll be so happy with all I’ve achieved.

A Summer’s Day

Breathing. Sighing. Talking. Laughing.

A summer breeze through the still bare trees.

Breathing.

Napping in the sun on a crowded green.

Sighing.

Kisses and hugs among nibbles and mugs.

Talking.

Throwing and kicking and missing a ball.

Laughing.

Hoping. Wishing. Holding. Dreaming.

Watching from a distance while sitting in the centre.

Hoping.

Knowing that this day was unique in every way.

Wishing.

Photographs. A video. Building memories.

Holding.

The first fun of the summer still to come.

Dreaming.

Dancing. Hugging. Kissing. Sleeping.

The hold all wrong, to laughs instead of song.

Dancing.

Two arms, two souls, two hearts, connected.

Hugging.

They meet, they stay, meant to be this way.

Kissing. Sleeping.