drawnonwords - A Writers Tale

My own views, posts, musings, stories and the odd picture for all to enjoy and let others know.

Category: poetry

Rivers of Time

Hello Dear Reader

Rivers of Time

I decided to write a short story based on the premise that time is like a river. We all have our own river, some feed into others and grow stronger, some merely cross paths. A simple idea and one that I am sure is not unknown. What if that river is linked to time itself and we keep appearing in differing points?  Add to that some rivers keep crossing certain paths carrying our souls, joining in moments of time.

Many people do believe we have been here more than once, not able to remember our past lives. There are guides, spirits some call them, who influence our lives in many ways. Some, straight-forward, some the hand of fate we may never know why.

Hence I have written this piece, combining poems, flash fiction, and a short story, Rivers of Time.

Enjoy.

Rivers of Time

Time flows for all,

Never sleeps or stops.

Time flows like a river,

Never knowing its true course.

Time flows with a passion,

Never caring for those it touches.

Time flows as a force,

Never binding as it goes.

Time flows for all,

Never knowing fates hand.

Time flows without care,

As it wanders many paths.

 

Rivers of Time: Beginning?

It is understood by many, that time flows in one direction, always forward. Some believe we only appear once each stream forming the rivers of time. Others believe we exist as numerous streams at differing points throughout time. Appearing by chance, never remembering our past lives, loves, mistakes or heroic acts.

Some cultures worship the river of time, as it meanders. We appear randomly time and time again, occasionally seeing glimpses of our pasts in dreams or nightmares. There are those that hold we each have a soul mate. One whom we share much more than just a physical connection.

Time and Fate: companions in our journeys. Fate may alter time or so it seems. Offering different paths, a chance of happiness or the misery of despair. Chance can be hidden or we can be blind to what is there. We can never stand still despite our best efforts as time rolls onwards.

Two souls wandering, their paths crossing through time. Briefly, they touched as knight and princess bound over the centuries to meet again. Fate playing its hand, like ripples in the river, forcing the soul along an unknown path.

The destiny of each soul, woven into the rivers of time.

Rivers of Time: The Old Woman

Curiosity: they say it killed the cat. However, he was still curious. It had been twenty years since he first saw her, his life touched in ways he never imagined. Standing outside the shop, crystals and rocks catching the mid-day sun, he closed his eyes.

After all those years, the memory was still vivid. Exploring the town, he came across the shop, almost tucked out of sight. He stopped to admire the crystals and gemstones, something of a passion. As he looked into the window, he felt someone was watching. Glancing around he saw no-one. His friends would be on the beach or the other side of town. There was a familiar sound. He looked down to see a black cat in the doorway.

It mewed at him, the hypnotic call drawing him closer. Green eyes locked with his, a compelling need to move forward. The cat suddenly moved into the shop as he bent to stroke it. There was a brief moment of darkness as he followed.

“She will always do that.” He looked up to see an elderly woman. There was a sparkle in her green eyes, something that made him stare for a moment. The cat must have moved further into the shop as he could not see her.

“Forgive my curiosity, I did not mean to stare.” Her eyes were as green as the cats.

“You are looking for a gift, for your soul mate.” It was not a question but a statement.

“I was thinking of a gift, yes. But I don’t have a soul mate. Your shop caught my eye. Crystals have always held a fascination for me.” He felt a cold shiver down his back, under examination not just from the old woman. Without realising, he had stepped closer to where she was.

“The right crystal is important if you believe. They can heal your spirit, guide your journey and show you, true love.” Her voice was calming, the sales pitch inviting.

“How would I know which crystal is right for me? How do you know about my soul mate?” He was humouring her, a traveller to part with his cash.

“You have to open your mind. Believe in what you wish for rather than your cynical thoughts.” She reached out and held his right hand in hers. The move was sudden. He felt trapped unable to move.

“Your Grandfather tried to tell you before his death, the story was true.” She kept her eyes on his, unnerving him.

His mind drifted to his Grandfather, a story he told him. It was a lucky guess by her, the sales pitch was good. He kept quiet.

“You don’t believe that one can see your past or your future?” It was as if the shop did not exist for a moment. He began to remember the story he was told.

“You never truly believed what he said, how at a young age you were saved. How you were close to death. Rushed to the hospital, operated on, the real reason for the mark on your neck.” His mind was racing, this was not right. How could she know? It must still be a lucky guess. He refused to answer, to be drawn in. Something was not right. It had to be a set-up. One of his friends had put her up to this. She must have seen his neck and the small mark where he had supposedly been operated on.

“You refuse to believe, even now. Yes, I can see your mark, it could be a guess. How many know of the doctor that never lived?” A chill ran through him. He had never told his friends of the story. He had always believed his Grandfather was kidding. Even days before his death, he told the same story. He just smiled to appease, not wanting to upset him.

“He told you of your guardian angel and your beast, ones that have been with you since birth.” Her voice was mesmerising, he was trying to understand her words.

“I have never told anyone of that story. How could you know?” His mind went over the words of his Grandfather. “What or who are my guardian angel and beast?”

“They guide you, watch over you. At times, they will interfere as yours has over the years.” She seemed to look over his right shoulder.

“Your inner beast is a dragon. You understand the mythical beast don’t you.” It was becoming uncomfortable for him, he felt heat and sweat, it must be a light. This was all a trick to make him believe.

“Yes. I mean, I there is a curiosity about such beasts. What could they be like if they existed?”  He was struggling now to keep control. He had more than passing interest in dragons, he felt foolish saying to others but not her.

“Now you understand why you are drawn to the dragon. Mine is a cat, as you saw.” A smile crossed her face. “They guided you here. Now, your wish is to find your soul mate. She is waiting for you.”

He was sweating now, heart racing as his mind flashed imagines of a woman.

“I don’t know what you mean. I have not come to find you or my soul mate. I had no idea.” He felt faint.

“It is time for you to glimpse your future. Follow me.” The old woman tugged his hand and he followed.

He fought the feelings inside himself. He had thought of his future, someone to share his life but this was beyond all he knew. He was supposed to be relaxing, escaping all the pressures of life.

He lost track of time as she talked to him. Knights, dragons, spirits, worlds gone and worlds to come. Throughout she told of his soul mate. They had met before on different plains the old woman said. He found it hard to believe that he had a past life. The more she spoke the more he was drawn into this strange world. He felt drowning in a sea of riddles. His soul mate was something of a dream as she described her to him. He would know when he saw her? Raven. Her hair, the bird or name? His mind filled with images, his head fit to burst. Then it was over.

His eyes opened, the memory still fresh. He had visited every year since, always a little nervous of what the old woman might reveal. He had learned more of his past life: how he met his princess while he was a knight. He had doubts, times he thought she was just telling him what he wanted to hear. Yet he knew she was right. The years had passed without that feeling.

One summers day it happened: he saw her. Raven hair, soft smile, flowing dress as she walked towards him. A sudden glow inside him unlike any before. Somehow he managed to greet her. It took time, he was not the most patient of men. He had found his love through the river of time. The old woman said he would but it would be a troubled start. That was over six months ago. Now he needed her wisdom again and what the future held. He opened his palm to show his stone as the familiar sound greeted him. The soft meow made him smile.

“Hello, old friend.” He stepped inside.

 

Rivers of Fate

Fate is a universe of uncertainties,

Throwing unknowns into the rivers of time,

Changing paths without thought.

Fate is all-seeing, all-knowing,

It depends on nothing,

Offers paths without boundaries.

Fate is cruel, harshly uncaring,

Changing the rivers of time,

Offering paths that lead to darkness.

 

Rivers of Time: Forgiven Knight

He looked out at the sunset. Despite the heat, he was cold inside. He held the flower, a simple blue beauty, its life so short. It was her’s, one she enjoyed. A faint memory surfaced, in a sea of blue, the pure white of her dress. Her smile welcoming the knight home, helping to shed the cares around him. A single touch sparked the fire within, the two dragon stones calling to each other, bonding again.

He looked down at his stone. It was dying, lost without its twin, the spark needed yet so far away. A sigh escaped his lips, it was deep and sad beyond what he thought. Something nudged him. Scales rubbed against right hand. Looking into the eyes of his dragon, a silent bond between the pair. They both understood each other’s loss. Both felt alone now in a strange way, both still trying to reach out.

He looked again at the bright blue flower. There was her scent captured in the bud, held for as long as he could remember. There was still the faint light of hope, he knew that he had to believe it. To complete his quest, to find his one, he had to truly believe. He rose from his knee, his armour battered a little more.

He looked out at the shattered landscape and placed his right hand against the dragon. Out there they would find her, rescue her and ultimately ask her forgiveness. He placed the blue flower inside his armour, climbed on the dragons back. He heard her cry inside his heart, always watch over me.

 

River of Time: The End?

At the end of time, on the river sits a rowing boat. It waits for the knight and princess. A fixed point never to be changed by fate. The final moment for the two souls that will last a lifetime.

Time waits patiently as the river slows around it. The calm water, no longer touched by fate or chance, slowly fades to grey. Bright sparks, echoes from the past, approach the simple boat. The knight and princess, joined once more, as the boat send ripples through time.

Each ripple an act of fate guiding the souls to journeys end.

Is the end of time the beginning of the story?

Writing Weekend Part 2

Hello Dear Reader

Writing Weekend Part 2

Hopefully, you will have read Part 1, it makes sense of course in case there is some startling revelation of catastrophic news. Rest assured, there is nothing but reading Part 1 helps. I may never know if you have but it’s a comfort to think you will have.

Writing festivals are often packed as you only have a few days to work with. For me, it was only two days sadly. It’s never two days as well you know since people won’t be awake all night. Maybe one festival they will. Having completed the workshop, it was time to prepare for two interview sessions, the first with Mark Gatiss. A brief lunch, walk around and then of to the York opera house, a traditional old theater in the heart of the town.

It would be impossible to cover everything that was mentioned in the talks. I doubt I could transcribe it all and there would be a flatness in just reading the words. Understanding what interests a writer and how they write helps others see what they can do to further their own writing. Most writers I have discovered, seem to write from an early age, I did myself making up simple stories. Sometimes it starts with reading a favourite subject that makes one think.

League of a Gentleman

The event was well attended by fans from across the spectrum. I was very aware of the work Mark Gatiss had been involved with, but for me, it was discovering why or what he liked about writing that was interesting.  To open the talk, they played a sketch from League of Gentleman. A very deadpan Mark Gatiss in the role of a cave guide. This is dark comedy at its best, written perfectly and delivered in that droll, uninterested style. To write that and both produce laughs and not laugh is very difficult. You can’t help but laugh as it is just the polar opposite of slapstick. That was the gift of this writing, to write so bleak, it is seriously funny.

Carry on enjoying

Horror and ghost stories both film and television seemed the background for Mark Gatiss and one film, in particular, stood out for me, Carry on Screaming. This is my favourite Carry On film, I know it so well. Why? For me, it is one of the best-scripted films, well acted, a good cast including Harry H Corbett who stepped in for Sid James at the last moment. It is a huge nod to Hammer but most of all had two Doctor Who elements. A mention by name and of course Jon Pertwee.

It is clear that writing is very time-consuming. Many people never see the whole writing process, from an idea through to the completed work. Part of the talk touched on that process given that one idea alone had taken two years. Of course, Mark Gatiss was not just working on one project at a time. There was the assumption given the body of work completed that anything would be taken up. It is not always the case even for someone like Mark Gatiss. That was quite interesting as it shows all writers have the same problems.

 

One other passion of his, are ghost stories. I myself I have written a couple. To bring the right amount of horror, scare the reader or viewer just enough takes a fine balance. Building up those dark feelings, as you are drawn in, then the shock. The shock does not need to be harsh. Mark Gatiss has a real understanding of this, in what he has produced. He also laments the lack of this on television these days. Children are no longer properly scared, adults don’t always see good horror. As for mine, now I know I need to both finish them and write more. I might even be able to turn them into scripts. After his talk, I like many others had the chance for an autograph and a brief chat. Mark was genuinely interested in people and I was able to tell my Jon Pertwee story to him.

Around another world

So talk one completed, booked signed photography snapped. A chance to grab a bite to eat and ready for the third event. Again, an interview this time with Micheal Palin. Now I am a Monty Python fan. I know the Parrot sketch. I can sing (badly) a number of their songs. What I was looking for here was why and again what drove Micheal Palin to write. It was really simple. Just like Mark Gatiss, the drive to write came from a shared love of words. The chance to put his sketches on in a university environment gave the opportunity to test the waters, so to speak. He certainly found his dead parrot and more than a number of naughty Brian’s.

The other element here was his diary. You might think this is an odd source of information but if you really think about it, a diary is sometimes shorthand for ideas. Micheal Palin started his diary to remember events, ideas and was what you could consider the blog of its time. It has not gone out of fashion, just replaced by technology. It is something all writers I suspect should carry to hand. It does not need to be a diary in that traditional sense but a notebook or series of them.

The talk centered on a few points in Micheal Palin’s career, notably the Life of Brian, Ripping Yarns, Time Bandits, and his travel series. In each one, the love of writing was intricately involved. There was also one other interest to me briefly mentioned, Jabberwocky. That is one of those long complex poems, where some words are nonsense. I would have liked a little more about how that was constructed from poem to script.

To be able to tell a story well requires an understanding of characters, plot, surrounds and all. One might think there was no ‘plot’ in Around the World in 80 Days for example. However, the plot was very clear, reproduce the travel of a fictional character from a book. Now although there was a book, this was no fictional trip so that itself created other issues. How to write about 5 days sitting on a sailboat, make it interesting, exciting and yet not repeat the same lines, is difficult. While there was the time to write, maybe there was also the time to catch up?

 

Again the talk finished all too soon and there was the chance to get an autograph. I purchased a copy of poems by Micheal Palin to study. As I have been told, you have to read to be able to write. With the second book signed, it signaled the end of a very productive day. It gave me many ideas to work on, the thought that you can write what ever you wish and that the only thing stopping writing is yourself.

Having completed the second of these blogs it just shows what writing can do. I have three more poems to complete, a short story to edit and my sci-fi novel to re-edit (again). I also want to combine my love of photography with poems and short stories to produce another book. All can be done, but all would have to compete in this growing ocean of literature.

The York Literature festival was brief for me but very enjoyable. I would do the same again given the opportunity. I do have one more writing event to try, that of a weekend retreat, where all you do is write. Maybe that’s my next step? With my camera of course. Thank you all involved making my brief visit a joy.

Tagline: ‘Carry on Doctor, Who needs to get Around the World’

 

Writing Weekend Part 1

Hello Dear Reader

Writing Weekend Part 1

In the past, I have attempted to visit writing festivals. There has been some success, to be honest. Some of them in St Ives, Cornwall during September holidays. That is a difficult venue now due to various things. I did visit Hay-on-Wye festival, however, that was more a literary weekend rather than writing. Many festivals take place when time is short or the best parts are during a week when hotel prices are high.

Having spent many a time in St Ives, I sort of knew what I wanted from these. Really I need a writing weekend to finally prove I can write. Well, I can write as I published a book. What I want to prove to myself is that I can write both poetry and fiction. I have been successful to a degree, having both a poem and short story published by Keele Creative Writing. Yet I want to push myself.

Entering the unknown

This past weekend I managed (with great help), to get a place on a poetry workshop at York’s Literature festival. This for me was both very exciting and rather special, as added to the workshop was two talks, one by Mark Gatiss and one by Michael Palin. Two people whom I knew as both performers and writers.

York itself is a wonderful place to visit, it has history and atmosphere that can make a writer think. There is a rich vein of architecture, surrounded by ancient Roman walls. Yet there is the odd flashes of modern just peaking here and there. Very much like St Ives.

First stop for the weekend was York’s Art gallery, another old imposing building. This poetry workshop was entitled ‘Bodies and Flesh‘. Now, straight away you have to look at the title and step back. You can fall into the trap of wondering what or which way it might go, but for me, it was the chance to be guided by a poetry author.

I had no idea what to expect, which in itself is good. I was not concerned about meeting new people, I do that all the time. I was mindful that my work might not be as good but this was a chance to learn. So of I went into the unknown.

There were 10 others on the course and the lecturer. We all introduced ourselves, each of us a little shy I felt as we all wanted to learn. Having self-published I was conscious not to ‘boast, it did not feel right. The lecturer, Christy Ducker, was a published poet and took us through what the workshop was intended to cover. Reading a few poems, making notes, writing a couple drafts and visiting the art gallery for inspiration.

Shaking out the gray mist.

I re-learnt something valuable within the first 10 minutes. I have been told it or read it before, it made sense… again. The first task was to shift that gray mist that often clouds the mind, obscuring the wordsmith. A simple three-minute exercise writing the following;

‘My body is…’ and then you add a few words about your body.

Its simple effective and should be likened to a warm-up before any sort of training. You should always warm-up, no athlete would just start running. It was difficult at first but quickly became easier as I let my mind go. The fog lifted nicely.

We read a couple of poems, the subject being bodies and flesh you can guess the various ones we concentrated on. The first poem was this one.

Mirror

Standing dripping wet, water from the shower running down.

I gaze at myself in the mirror.

It feels like years since I last explored like this.

It’s my body, I should know it better than the water.

The mirror distaste the real truth, my skin appears faded after youth.

I watch a droplet find its own path down my thigh.

Should it swerve like that avoiding a pothole?

My back seems shaped yet oddly poised, pulled around muscles tense.

Water stops collecting in odd places, should that really be like that?

An interesting start if not a stark view from the poet of their own body.

Wandering a Gallery

After a couple more poems and stretching the mind, it was time for our first venture out of the classroom. I was completely unprepared for this, not in the sense of notebook, pens etc but it was for me a really interesting and fresh idea. The plan was to go into the gallery and study a few pictures. The exhibition, of course, was on bodies and flesh, all fitting into place now. Oddly wandering the gallery was a woman in her pjs, quoting poetry. I was glad that was not part of the workshop, I had not brought any.

We had to pick a picture and write about it from the subject’s viewpoint, not the artist. It fitted the poem we had just read. I decided after a wander to pick a painting called ‘The Wrestlers’ by William Etty. It took me a few minutes to consider what I might write about. They do say inspiration finds a way and as I wrote down a few words it hit me. What if the picture, of two men, one white, one black fighting, was a snapshot of real chess pieces? I realised this was my view into my poem. For me the two ‘bodies’ had been forced to fight, maybe daily, maybe weekly, whatever for the whim of their owners. Hence the outline of my poem formed.

Bits of bodies

I was enjoying this now, as the workshop was challenging my thoughts, making me see some things differently. It was also very engaging to the point that time passed quicker than I would have liked. Another couple of readings and then back to the gallery to look at more art. A poem about what I might see in a mirror was written, followed by the final task. This one was based around being out of control of your own body. I chose the subject of archery and how I can be used to show the execution of a shot. It is still to be finished mine but it worked.

Final Thoughts

So the workshop ended and I was both happy at what I had learned and achieved, yet wished it was an all day event. It certainly has helped me think about different styles, ideas and how to reuse pictures etc. It also helped in a project I am working on, combining poems to pictures I have taken or will take. It was rewarding for me to see that I could put my mind to new ideas and explore different strands of poetry. Clearly, the three need working on. The draft of Mirror is a good start and I do like how the poems began. There is always more to do, but looking at others work it shows me poetry is such a vast amazing field.

Tagline: ‘Bodies are poems, it’s just finding the right words’

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