Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prompt #15: What is your biggest fear? Turn it into the villain in your next story, give it a name, draw a picture of it…what would it wear? What would its voice sound like?

Prickles is my villian. It represents pain, hence why I have made it all red and orange and spikes and claws and sharp teeth. It causes problems of pain wherever it goes and is the biggest thing I dislike in life. Sometimes its prickley, sometimes it stings or burns or just makes everything foggy and grey. Thats why I surrounded it by grey fog. It can shoot lightening bolts out of its fist. Its voice sounds like a mix of crunching gravel, squeaky hinges and dry leaves.

Prompt #14: Take a black and white photo of a “classic moment” in your life. 
Tess and I chilling out while on summer holiday with a good book.

I knows its probably not what was intended by the phrase 'classic moment' but I am taking it to mean typical. Finding me in a situation similar to this, where I am curled up somewhere with a book and an animal for company is a fairly common occurence. I love reading and I love animals.

 Prompt #13: Write a thank you letter to your Mother, or the most important woman in your life. 
Dear Mum

This is a late Mothers Day letter that took me far longer to get around to writing then it should. I know in our family we are practical people and that words and actions of love don’t seem to come easily, but I have to say there has NEVER been a single moment that I EVER felt unloved. There is so much you have done for me on so many levels, in big and small ways. It amazes me how you have looked after all my needs as well as the rest of the family and dealt with all the other things that have come long without throwing in the towel. For this and so many other reasons I want to thank you.

I love your courage and strength of spirit. You have dealt with sleepless nights, stress, worry, budgets, cooking, cleaning and a million other things with so much strength, grace and good humor that I feel no-one could ask for a better mother. I can’t imagine what you have been through every time you had to sleep by a hospital bed for my sake and had to be away from Rose and Dad. As well as all the tough decisions, compromises and sacrifices you have made. This is the example of strength and courage I seek to follow as I continue on my path of adulthood and independence.

I love your generous nature and how you have led your life in a way that has benefited so many others. All the sports groups, school trips and community groups you have contributed to so willingly and graciously to over the years. I feel as though you have not just been a mother to your own family but a mother to the community. In the way you have supported and strengthened groups and individuals to grow and thrive. It is also shown in your care for so many people, the way you have opened your arms to those people who have been part of our lives over the years. There has been many a friend who wished you were their mother or that they could adopt you as their mum. But I have to say I wouldn’t want to give you up, but perhaps we could share.

I love your sense of humor which has helped me through so much. I think it has gradually absorbed into me, as I hear myself breaking out jokes and quips in moments of stress just as you have done so many times. It has brought many a smile to my face hearing you break into song or whistling a tune as you work away at something. I love your voice and I don’t know whether you ever knew but I when I was little I would call you the Lark when you were singing around the house. I think this is part of why I love music so much and will happily sing along any chance I get. The moments I have watched you let loose and bust into song and dance with Rose at the drop of a hat was always hilarious and just another reason why you are the coolest mum ever.

I want to thank you with all that I am and will grow to be for all the love, care and time you have graced me with in life. I need you to remember that although I might not express my feelings very often that I am always grateful for everything that you have done (maybe not in that moment) and that I love you deeply.

Prompt #12: Pick your favorite poem and record yourself reciting it. 

I have never really been into poetry, although I love language and words. But this poem, Stil I Rise by Maya Angelou is so powerful that from the time I first read it it stuck with me. I really identify with the intention and feeling of her words. The way she refuses to accept limitation, oppression or discrimation is so uplifting. Her manner of 'sticking it to the man' and saying I will not accept being treated as anything less then the beautiful, sexy, unique individual that I am is what really speaks to me as the reader. I may not be from a culture or religion or racial group that has experienced and suffered from slavery or discrimation in the way that Maya was writing about, but I share her fighting spirit. I know what it is like to experience limitations and set-backs and to face the ignorance of strangers, but like Maya I have never accepted that such situations will alway exist. That is why I speak and write and live in a way that will hopefully help to change how things can be for others in similar life situations in the future.

Here are the words from Still I Rise;
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prompt #11- Make a creative art piece with a ticket stub based off of how the show made you FEEL.
 Those who know me well know that I am passionate about 2 things; music and people. That is why I adore Glee. I don't care if some people disagree or think I am too old for such a show, but I love what it represents and it makes me happy. 

It has so much popular music performed by some seriously talented young actors/performers. It has been so much fun watching how the characters each person plays has changed over the 3 seasons so far and as a result their music style has changed. This is why I really enjoyed the Glee Live Show at the movies. So much fun humming along and enjoying watching my favourite actors playing around and interacting with the crowd. Watching the show like this is the closest I would ever be able to get to seeing these people or the show as I cant travel to the USA because of my disability. Also the show of energy and enthusiasm that I get from just watching the performers and the audiences reaction is really uplifting.
I also appreciate hugely the effort, passion and commitment these actors have put into their roles. As a result people young and old who have felt like outsiders or struggled in some way because of their differences have been given a voice and outlet for their experiences and feelings. That is the other great thing about the movie is being able to see and hear how some others have had positive experiences as a result of the show, its music and characters.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Prompt #10: Take a photo of something that sparkles. (I encourage you to think outside the box here….)
 This is a photo of my parents, myself and my sister when I was 13 years old (so a while ago now) in the Port Hills overlooking Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. We spent a month caravan tripping around the whole South Island. It was one of the best experiences of my life and on this day it seems that the early autumn weather was perfect. My parents and sister had just been tandem parsailing out over that beautiful view in the background. So this is my 'sparkley' photo because of the weather, the memories and the time with my family.

Prompt # 9: And you thought fairies weren’t real __________ (finish the story.)

“And you thought fairies weren’t real?” said my little sister as she bounced on her bed excitedly, waving her arm enthusiastically in the direction of her window. I smiled from her doorway as I watched her bouncing. “What are you talking about?” I asked as I looked out the window. Rosie stopped bouncing but continued to wave her arms animated as she babbled about seeing fairies outside her window in the night. “They were so pretty when they were flying around and I saw them dancing around over by that pretty bush with the blue flowers, but all of a sudden they just disappeared”, she exclaimed starting to bounce again in her excitement. “Come on, I’ll show you, maybe they left something behind.” Jumping off the bed and dashing through the door dragging me with her.

Stepping out onto the grass I could feel the dampness and slight chill immediately which was reinforced by the tiny droplets of morning dew I could see sparkling in cobwebs and on leaf tips of plants all around us. It must have been a cold night for the fairies party last night” I said to Rosie, humoring her enthusiasm as she continued to pull me across the garden. She suddenly dropped down onto the grass a short distance from the bush she had pointed out earlier, searching around like a bloodhound. I watched Rosie carefully as she crawled around in the damp grass pointing out things I couldn’t really see. “Look” she said, pointing to a flattened area of grass, “that’s where I saw them dancing around. And look, here are the little mushrooms, they used them for seats.” I started shaking my head and getting ready to persuade her that we should go back inside, realizing we had both run outside in our pajamas and slippers. Something suddenly had caught my eye, a slight twinkling under one of the leaves, I peered closer, it definitely wasn’t just light reflecting off the dew. This was something giving off its own light. I crouched down next to Rosie as we looked at it together, both captivated by this beautiful little creation hanging from the leaf. It was the tiniest, most intricate lantern I had ever seen.

Rosie reached out and took it very gently between her fingers. Laying it on her palm it was about the size of a baby pea. “Maybe we should take it inside so no one else sees it” she whispered. “We can leave it out for the fairies tonight; I’m sure they will have missed it and come to get it.” Very carefully Rosie stood up, moving as though what she held in her hand could break at the slightest jolt, which I supposed was possible. I followed her quickly inside, realizing again how cold it was.

Returning to her room we quickly found a little box to hide it away in. “Remember, we don’t want mum or dad or anyone else to find out”, I stated seriously, “It could cause all sorts of problems so we have to be cautious today. You can’t go playing with it today or anything, it needs to stay in the box till tonight.” After that we both went off to warm up by the fire with warm drinks, while we waited for the rest of the family to wake.

Throughout the day I made all sorts of excuses to mum to be able to be around Rosie or to pass by her room. I told myself it was to make sure she didn’t take the fairy light out of its hiding place, but really it was the feeling of excitement of sharing a secret about something so magical. Later in the afternoon I was passing by her room and I felt myself being drawn to that little box we had hidden it in. I tiptoed into the room, looking around cautiously. I took down the box, opened it and looked again in wonder at this tiny glowing sphere. Suddenly Rosie came through the door and looked at me crossly. She stood with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face, looking like a miniature of mum before she would launch into a tirade. “What are you doing?” she hissed, “You told me not to play with it today. If I cant you definitely shouldn’t. You are supposed to be the big sister”. I looked down at the box, feeling guilty. I was starting to feel like the naughty child caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

“You’re right”, I said closing the box carefully I got up and tucked it back on the shelf in amongst all her other bits and pieces. We left the room and the rest of the afternoon passed with me being able to resist going back to look in the box. That night before bed I whispered to Rosie that I would come to her room at 10pm so we could sneak it out to the garden.

I lay in bed that night listening to the clock ticking through the quarter hour, half hour and hour chimes. It was just starting to get hard to keep my eyes open when I finally heard the 10 o’clock chime. I quickly shoved on some clothes over my pajamas and crept down to my little sister’s room. I knelt by her bed and gave her shoulder a gentle shake. She grumbled and turned over blinking at me sleepily. “Come on, do you want to return the fairies light or what?” She rubbed her eyes and sat up slowly before throwing back the covers. I noticed she was already wearing clothes. She grabbed her coat that was sitting on the chair and stuffed her feet into shoes. “Hurry up” she whispered as she picked up the box and headed out the door. ‘How had the tables turned again?’ I thought to myself, I shook my head, in disbelief as I hurried to catch up to Rosie as she disappeared down the dark hallway.

The click of the kitchen door lock sounded as though it echoed throughout the house, we held our breaths in panic. When there was no movement in the rest of the house we crept out and darted across the lawn, making our way to the bush by the faint glow of the moon. Rosie carefully put the box down on the ground and opened the lid before daintily picking up the tiny lantern and hanging it from a leaf. We both stepped back carefully and looked at the twinkling little orb for a moment, before I nudged my little sister and gestured back toward the house. We crept back into the house and retraced our steps to Rosie’s bedroom. Curling up together under the covers to warm up we both peeked out the window and saw the tiny pin prick of light standing out against the dark of the bush. We started a whispered conversation as we imagined what the fairies were really like, where they went when they weren’t partying in our garden and all sorts of other things. Eventually Rosie became quieter and less responsive and I realized she had fallen asleep. I decided I would keep watch and wake her if I saw anything.

All of a sudden I jerked awake. I blinked my eyes rapidly to try and clear them and looked out into the garden. I heard the noise that had woken me repeat again. It was the faintest tinkling of a bell. I squinted in the direction of the bush and realized the light was no longer there. I heard the tinkling again but more furious, so I slipped out of bed and hurried down the hall and fled across the lawn in my bare feet. I realized the box was still on the ground at the base of the bush, but it was no longer open. So I crouched down and gently opened the lid to reveal a tiny little person with wings. As soon as the lid was drawn right back the fairy zoomed up into my face and blew a handful of shimmer dust at me before zipping off into the dark. I rubbed my nose and sneezed when the fairy powder tickled as I tried to peer into the darkness where the fairy had gone. It obviously hadn’t hung around so I took the box back with me and went to bed thinking how there was no way now that I could tease my sister about believing in fairies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prompt #8: Describe in detail what your “Magick Room” looks like. What colors do you see? What’s the lighting like? How big is it? Who’s welcome in…. what does it smell like. DETAILS. 

 My magick room doesn't really have to be any particular place, but can be anywhere that has a set of particular qualities. These are usually warm sunshine with a gentle breeze, being surrounded with a variety of soft colours, having gentle music or the sound of running water like a fountain. This sort of space puts me in such a relaxed frame of mind that I can drift and come up with all sorts of ideas. Some of the places I have found spots like this have been gardens, public parks, churchyards, driving along long stretches of straight roads (as a passenger) where I am surrounded by greenery/bush/farmland and sunshine etc.
This picture is not of my house but it is somewhere I can imagine finding tranquility, inspiration and having a good time with companions if I invited them into the space.

The main place I find inspiration is my own living room on a sunny spring/autumn day, surrounded by my comfortable furniture and looking out to my garden where I can hear the birds singing. They provide a nice accompaniment to the soft music I always have in the background. The best time of year for me in this space is when I get visited by Tui's, fan-tails and wax-eyes (New Zealand native birds) and I hear their beautiful singing in trees and gardens nearby. Tui's are truly inspiring and thrilling to hear.

Prompt #7- Commit to learning something NEW today. Show us a photo of what you’ve decided to learn.
I want to work on my skills as a writer. In the last couple of months, after a particularly inspiring Charlie article I have decided to embrace my potential as a writer. I have begun practicing a few times a week and seizing inspirations when they strike.

Prompt #6- Write a short story about the time you got lost. 

My version of getting lost generally comes down to turning the opposite way to the direction I should be going in order to get where I need to/want to go. Often this has been coming out of elevators or turning down corridors. All these experiences have come to reflect times in my life where I have come to a crossroads of sorts or have had to decide which direction to take or which option to choose. Many times I have found these crossroads and have been frozen with indecision or worry, "what if its the wrong way?". But I have come to realize that you just need to take one path, being as prepared as you can be for the adventures ahead and if it doesn't work out then I carry on till the next turning and hopefully make a better choice of it.
I have learnt many things by taking life’s journey like this, I have met many interesting and wonderful people as well as some not so good experiences. But that is life and what makes it so rich. I need to remember this next time I feel fear creeping up on me and trying to stop me from moving forward.
Life is too short to live in fear of what’s around the next corner.

Prompt #5: Pen and Paper: Then I felt my cheeks turn rosy pink________ (finish the story.)
“Honestly, I can’t believe this situation is happening”, I thought to myself as I sat typing I my computer. I had spent the afternoon talking to various friends online when I noticed a certain guys name pop up on my friends list. This guy just happened to be someone I had fancied for a number of months without ever really doing anything about it. We started chatting about school and teachers and friends we had in common, the usual things that class mates talk about. I had not had the courage to try and get to know this guy in the past but had admired him from a distance. Today however I decided I needed to be brave, I don’t know if I hoped it would change anything or whether it might lighten the weight of my feelings. But I decided I needed to tell him my secret.

As much as nervousness can show in typed text I think it was on full display. But I finally blurted out “You know that unsigned note that was given to you…..it was from me…”, I could feel myself getting more anxious and embarrassed as I waited for the reply that seemed to take forever. Then his reply came, “Yeah I know. The person you asked to pass it to me told me who it was after I teased them and told them I thought it was a note they had written”. As I read his words I felt my cheeks turn rosy pink and my breath came out in a rush.

What a let down, after all that time and anxiety. I couldn’t tell whether I was more disappointed and embarrassed that I had confessed my feelings to someone who had already known or that I had felt so much for someone who without question had not recognized or returned my feelings…. As I sat at my computer some time later after ending one of the most embarrassing conversations I had had to date, I realized that I had achieved something. Finally I had been able to honestly put my feelings out to this guy and get an answer without being put off by all my usual insecurities and issues. It was a moment of growth and courage, although I could still feel the blush of embarrassment thinking about that confession I felt better for it.

Prompt #4: Sing along to your favorite song on YouTube. Bonus: Learn how to play AND sing it. Share your YouTube links below!

I am sadly not brave enough or well prepared enough to post a recording of myself singing for the world to see, but I will say that the song I would choose would be Christina Perri's- A Thousand Years.
Here are links to some covers of this song I like a lot:

As far as things go this song brings me so much emotion and hope. It has a connection with a story I read a while back that had me in a puddle of tears as the characters dealt with love, loss, destiny and eternity. It was everything a hopeless romantic could hope for and all those feelings get brought back when I hear this song. By the way the story I am talking about is NOT Twilight or part of the Twilight series

Prompt #3: Recreate a scene from a fairy tale, using any materials you can find. Take a photo and share below with #ccprompt3.

 One of the seven dwarves from Snow White catching up on some reading before bed

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prompt #2- Take a photo of where you are RIGHT this second. Except, shift your perspective, what do you see? Write your revelation in one sentence
 Dinner time from my cats perspective - I had been watching her off and on for an hour while I worked and she was curled up in one spot looking toward her door. Then I realized it was her empty dish she was looking at, so I took pity on her and we both had dinner.

30 Day Challenge

I am flexing my creative muscles as part of this awesome web challenge. It seemed like a good place to start in an effort to expand my word-smith skills, which for so long I have denied. I shall do my best to complete all the challenges, especially the writing ones.So here we go.....
Prompt #1- Write your personal manifesto. This could be an essay, a sentence, a word… the beginning of your novel. Get creative. What are you about?

Connection, Courage, and Compassion are the three C’s I try to live by. These three all relate to each other and form the core of who I am. The central element of these is courage, which I think is the force or feeling which drives my compassion and ability to connect with people.

For me, life, or my life in particular is about connection. Being able to join hands with someone either in a physical or metaphorical sense is central to my life and the joy I experience on a day to day basis. I am not the most out-going person, not typically the life of the party, but give me someone or a group of people to chat with and I am content. Conversation and connection is associated with a sense of freedom for me. Being able to converse and share stories temporarily dissolves the limitations my disability creates. The experience of conversation and relationship building can overcome many of these obstacles, even if it is only temporary or within the space of my imagination.

I love sharing moments with people where a point of connection can be found or a shared experience can bring otherwise unrelated people together. Moments where people can smile and nod in acknowledgement of this new found common ground. The amazing thing about these experiences is how different they can be. Sometime you only meet someone for a moment and then they are gone or someone else who you meet and you are connected with for a lifetime. There are many ways that interactions and connections differ but I think they are all of value. It takes courage to go into new situations and to open myself up to people in the hopes of making these connections. I have always believed it takes as much courage to love as it does to accept someone’s love as it does to face down our worst nightmares. Being able to put aside that fear of possible hurt, betrayal or rejection is the only way I feel genuine connections can form. I remind myself daily to have courage in all aspects of my life as I seek to be genuine with people and myself.

Connection opens doors to new knowledge, experiences and relationships. Each time it’s like a mini adventure, wondering where it will take me and what will have come about by the end. It’s not just a chance for me to learn and experience but also a chance I have to share my story with others. This allows me to relive events and talk about the wild imaginings of my ambitions and dreams. It is these times of sharing and dreaming that encourages me to use my compassion to support and encourage others in their hopes and aspirations as often they do with me. I have also learned, sometimes the hard way that I need to be compassionate with myself as well. If I want to be genuine, compassionate and engage with others I need to be these things with myself, in order to maintain my emotional and mental health. For this reason I have just got my latest tattoo on my arm that I can look at and remind myself, COURAGE.

I am once again captured by the idea of overseas travel. It seems that my level of passion and excitement for travel is related to my mood/state of mind, which is in turn related to my engagement with my inner creator. Equally this could work in the opposite direction, I'm not really sure. But I know that right now things are starting to get their sparkle back.

 I have noticed that if I am working on a creative, stimulating project, then I invariably find myself thinking of far away places and ridiculous adventures. I am in the midst of the May 30 Day Creativity Challenge, the beginnings of which I have already posted. This has drawn out my inner creator and given me something to get excited about and turn over in my mind, which is what I enjoy best. To add to this pot of creative fireworks I am thinking of travelling to Aussie again, probably early next year if my vague imaginings can be marshalled into concrete plans.

I am not sure where to go, but am considering either Sydney or Melbourne to experience the music and art culture. This is all part of my creative drive and interest that has really come to light in the last year.

I have written in the past about the times I have been to Australia, visiting the Gold Coast, Surfers and down to Byron Bay in NSW. With this latest obsession with travel I was originally thinking of the USA. I wanted to get to the Coachella Festival in California where I wanted to enjoy the music and hopefully meet/see some celebrities next April. Then I had imagined going on to Vegas, Washington DC and New York.I also hoped to meet with some people at an organization called MDAUSA which provides information, support, research and equipment for people with Muscular Dystrophy. As always I look to the biggest, craziest ideas first because I figure if you're going to dream you may as well dream big.

Unfortunately looking at such goals with an objective eye I know this idea is not achievable because A) I am not a millionare or someone equally as wealthy B) My condition means I can't get insurance to travel in the USA C)  Teleportation machines or the Floo network havn't been invented to allow instant delivery which would be the only way I could get around the strain of 14 hours flight.

I am ok with accepting these practical limitations and it makes me more determined to have my fourth adventure in Australia. So I shall continue with my creativity, my big dreams and my optimistic determination and see how far it gets me.