Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Short and Sweet Story

Just stumbled across more of my creative writing for uni that I thought I would share. I think it is pretty evident that I live with my head in the clouds and certainly do read too much chick lit and watch too many chick flicks! I think I wrote this back in 2010! It’s pure cheese!

Sweet Nothings

Dear James

I don’t know where to start. I’m writing this letter because it’s easier to put down in words how I really feel. I know you say I can always tell you anything, but this way you’ll have to listen to me from beginning to end without interrupting me, sweet talking me and moving on to another subject without actually helping me with what my original problem was. I know you don’t mean to do that and you think everything is ok after we’ve talked, but most of the time it’s not.

I love you. Maybe I should have started the letter with that, but honestly I do love you and the past three and a half years have been good. Now, you’re probably thinking if they have been good, why on earth have I run away.

Please don’t be angry with me. I was just in our bedroom sorting out clothes for the wash. I saw you had a pile of worn clothes you hadn’t put away, so I went to check they were all clean. Most of the clothes stunk of smoke. I expect from Rich’s house, when will that man pack the cigarettes in! Anyway, I went to empty the pockets of your navy blue jacket, the one with the massive hole in the lining from when the dog decided to drag it off the radiator and, well, I found something.

It’s beautiful! I had no idea you were thinking of...! We’ve never really discussed it. I don’t know when you were thinking of, you know...but...I don’t think I can. Sorry. I love you, I do, I just never thought I would be in a relationship like ours.

We are good together, rarely argue, have a laugh, but you’re more like my best friend and not prince in shining armour. Do you understand? We enjoy each other’s company, yet there is no spark anymore. I really am so sorry.

I feel like I’m being too vague and I bet you are confused and hurt right now. I’ll try and explain properly. When I was a teenager, I always thought I would marry someone who was tall, dark and handsome. Yes, I know that’s a typical teenage view and you scored one out of three at least (handsome, with your powder blue eyes and that smile that gives you dimples to die for!). I suppose there is nothing wrong with being five foot eight, although I do feel silly when I wear heels, and I think the whole dark thing is neither here nor there. I mean you can’t help turning into a lobster after five minutes in the sun!

But seriously, I don’t think you show me much affection these days. I look at other couples and sigh, as he goes to wipe something off of her face, they walk down the street hand in hand or you hear him saying how beautiful she is. Maybe I watch too many chick flicks and read too much romantic fiction, but there are just so many little things I wish we shared.

It would be great to get a sweet text now and then, just to say “I love you”, instead of you’ll be home late from work, or to cuddle up at night instead of you complaining how hot you are and rolling over; to go for a stroll on the beach without needing to be anywhere other than with each other; to be surprised once in a while with flowers; to take the dog for a walk together; to have a song; to share a slow dance. Just to be that couple that other people look at and wish they were like us.

Am I being silly? I want you, but I want all of the little things too. Oh I’m so confused .

I’ll be at my Mum’s.

All my love

Tess x

The reader of the letter folded it in four, let out a deep sigh, ran their fingers through their thick blonde hair and flopped back in the sofa. It was fast approaching night fall and the wind whistled, howled and whined down the chimney on what was an unusually cold day in July. James Mansell was twenty-six years old and ran his own web designing business with his best friend from school, Richard Wise. Since it was just the two of them, he often worked late to meet deadlines and keep his clients happy. Today was no exception, and to avoid having to go in over the weekend, he hadn’t left the office until 8pm. When he got home he was looking forward to ordering a takeaway and settling down for an early night after a hectic week. So, when he arrived home to a blacked out house, Tess’s car not in the drive, the dog barking madly and an envelope stuck to the fridge door with his name on it, he was bewildered.
He read the letter over and over again, trying to comprehend every single word before giving up and admitting defeat. He never realised that they had relationship problems. Tess said [for] herself they were like best friends! And as for the ring, how on earth was he going to explain that it wasn’t for her. He sniggered to himself that it was a good job she wasn’t ready for marriage, as he wasn’t either, but his smile soon turned sour when he realised he might have lost her forever.
James’s stomach growled fiercely, which caused him to glance at the clock on the wall. It was just after midnight [already]. He had been lost in thought for hours, trying to figure out how to resolve this mess. He concluded that it was far too late to call Tess now, so grabbed a microwave meal before heading to bed. He couldn’t sleep well, tossing and turning and wishing that the empty space next to him was filled by his gorgeous, curvy, soft-skinned “Tessy Bear”.
The sunlight peeped through a gap in the curtain about 6am and James decided to get up and get dressed. He pulled out a crisp white shirt, a blue tie that matched his eyes, a blazer and smart trousers. He scarcely dressed this smartly even for work. After waking up it took him a while to shake off his tiredness, but once he had showered he picked up speed and raced to get out of the door.
The silver BMW of James Mansell screeched down the road heading at rapid speed towards the town. An hour or so later it was seen surging in the direction of Honeycone Beach. At approximately 8.30am Tess Thompson’s mobile began to ring.
‘Hello?’ she said in a sleepy tone.
‘Tessy, listen, I don’t want to get married either!’ came the voice of James in a rushed, happy tone.
‘James? But...’ said Tess.
‘Ssssh, I was looking after the ring for Rich, he didn’t want me to tell anyone he was going to propose to Wendy. Forget about that anyway, meet me by the flags at Honeycone Beach in 10 minutes.’
‘James...what’s going on? I don’t want that stroll now!’ Tess said in more of an alert, but confused tone.
‘Never mind that, just meet me.’ James hung up the phone laughing.

Tess was left holding the phone to her ear, feeling baffled and unsure . He had obviously received her letter, but why did she need to go to the beach so urgently and why did he sound so cheerful. She paused and then thought about the ring. She smacked her hand to her mouth in shock, as it registered that she wasn’t going to be proposed to. Feeling slightly angry, but still bewildered, she made her way to Honey Cone Beach to meet James.

James waited nervously, checking his watch constantly and shuffled from one foot to the other. The wind was still strong and the waves crashed against the sand violently. The flags of every colour of the rainbow also rattled vigorously above his head. Twenty-five minutes had passed since the phone call and there was still no sign of Tess. James rubbed his eyes wearily and thought he would give it five more minutes .
Just when James was about to call it a day, a distant figure emerged at the top of the steps leading down to the beach. The figure paused, scanning the scene, before proceeding to jog down the steps. James watched the figure growing bigger, clearer and more beautiful with every stride. A broad smile filled his face, as he began striding towards his lover. He swept her off of her feet and spun her around, as she squealed with delight and the wind made her long brown hair wisp all over her face. James delicately placed Tess on a blanket, presented her with a single red rose, popped open a bottle of champagne and whispered in her ear.
‘I love you, Miss Thompson’. Tess giggled like a child and before she could respond, James leaned forward and gave her a kiss that took the words right out of her mouth.

Word Count: 1517

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

2013 Athletics Season - On Your Marks, Set, Gooooooooooooo

They say 13 is unlucky for some and for someone who has an aversion to odd numbers, I would tend to agree. However, in 2013 I am hoping that 13 defies its superstition and proves to be a magical number after all. My athletics target for this year is not to go to the IPC World Championships or qualify for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, although both would be amazing, my aim is to simply run 100m in 13 point something seconds.

I am an athlete who at the end of the 2012 season managed to gain a legal PB of 14.61. Sceptics would say to knock over half a second off of your time is a tall order in sprinting terms, only they don’t know about the training I have been putting in. This has been the first year ever where I have had an uninterrupted winter with the same guide runner. I made the difficult decision to leave my training group in the summer, in order to get one to one coaching. This can be very isolating and heavy going at times, with your every step being analysed. I also discovered the trauma of throwing up during training sessions, where you push your body to the limit and beyond. I am not saying I have trained to my maximum yet, but if I fail to achieve my single goal this year, then I think I would begin to question my entire athletics ambitions. Only I know I won’t need to worry about doing that, I am that confident!

I am not set up to race yet, my gym sessions haven’t changed and I have only done a handful of block sessions. Nevertheless, I got itchy feet after seeing most people began their season in the first week of April. I decided I had nothing to lose and chose to run at my local open at the last minute. This was on Sunday and the day was full of drama.

I realised on the way to the track that I had forgotten my blocks, a bad start, but not too disastrous, as most meets supply a limited amount. Then I got a text from my guide runner saying he was going to be late, as an accident on the motorway meant the motorway had been closed, but he would get there as soon as he could. There was some redemption when I went to register, finding out that the 100m races were actually starting half an hour later than I thought. My guide arrived, we had a slow long warm-up, somehow misjudging the time however and not getting the chance to do a few block starts before they started to announce the races. Usually, at this open meet, I find myself in one of the first five heats running with the little kids, as races are graded on personal best performances. This time I wasn’t. This was no big deal, just made me think that lots of new people had taken up athletics, as a result of London 2012. Races six, seven and eight past and still my number hadn’t been called. We knew there was a problem at this point, as in the eighth race, the T11 British and European number one, my biggest rival had for whatever reason decided to come down to my local open, even though she lives nowhere near me and of course she is faster than me, so I should have been in an earlier race. My guide questions the announcer, my number isn’t on the list. He goes up to registration and it turns out that even though my number was 270, they had written it as 210 on the start list and I should have been in heat seven. It further turned out that three others from my old training group had been missed out too, so they put on an extra race for us.

During all of this, I was trying to stay as calm as possible. Before a race you have the opportunity to test out your blocks and I chuckled to myself inside, as I nearly face planted the track when I was trying mine out. I thought today is what it is, I have nothing to lose, lots of things are going wrong, but what can you do. Being in lanes one and two, I knew I would be able to hear where people were in the race, as my guide runs on my left, so everyone was to my right.

I got a poor start, I knew this would happen though, as it had been happening in training, so I knew what to do. I got up to speed as fast as I could, focussing on trying to overtake my guide, which is actually impossible, as he is much faster than me, but helps me to accelerate. My body felt so tight and I knew I wasn’t striding out effectively and yet I could also feel that it was a close race, so did not dare to adjust my running style. I made the best of what I was doing at the time. I crossed the line in second place and beat athletes who had better PBs than me, which I knew instantly was a positive result. My guide raced me to the line, knowing he had to pull back, but left it late as possible in order to get the best time out of me. The track official strode over, warned that it was close, but I did just cross the line first.

It was a bit of a shock then when I went to get my result and it said disqualified next to my number! I forgot things weren’t going my way that day! I went into to see the photo finish official who highlighted that my guide crossed the line first by 0.02secs ahead of me. He was able to tell me my time though, which was 14.22 with an illegal following wind of 4.3, so despite it being a PB it can’t really count for anything. I relayed how the track judge said it was ok, but accepted the disqualification. A little while later, I went back in and asked if they could verify the result anyway since the first official said it was fine and it turned out that they had already undisqualified me because of that reason! So my result stands!

To my further amazement, I found out that the British and European No.1 had also run 14.22 only she had a legal wind, so her result is effectively better than mine. Nevertheless, to run exactly the same time as her on our first race out, at the same track, within a few minutes of each other is some major achievement for me. Things are looking good! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.

My favourite song at the moment is On My Way by Charlie Brown. Listen to the lyrics!

Might not be on top of the world, but hey, I’m on my way...

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Poetic View

I have just remembered that I never posted the poetry I submitted as part of my final assessment for my Creative Writing module with the OU last year. I scored dreadfully, I have no idea why because personally I believe they aren’t too bad! They are about being visually impaired, the first takes a light-hearted approach, whilst the second portrays the darker side of being blind. Enjoy!

Mind’s Eye

I’d love to see your face again -
Your spots and wrinkles too,
To handwrite with a pen,
Or draw an entire zoo.

I think I would find it strange,
Taking in all the views,
I wonder if everything’s changed?
I really don’t have a clue!

Oh it would be nice to sit in bed,
And read a paperback book,
The Braille ones are as heavy as lead,
And where to store them, I’m stuck!

In my world everything speaks,
I’ve got gadgets and gizmos galore,
So being blind isn’t that bleak,
Honest, the deals not that raw.

I don’t have to see the gory things,
Like spiders, blood and sick,
There’s no pressure for me to spread my wings,
Or do anything real quick.

It would be amazing to see once more,
Even just for a day,
But I appreciate having seen before,
And I’m happy either way!

Line Count: 24


Placed in the corner of a room,
They always think I need to be sitting down,
It’s my eyes that don’t work,
Not my legs I rage inside!

They all break into epic laughter,
At what I have no idea,
Invisible in the corner,
Unable to share in the joy.

I want to get up and go,
Go home or mix in the crowd,
But I’m too scared to move from the corner,
Because I can’t see what’s around.

The music begins to boom,
My ears are now blinded too,
Feeling more trapped in the corner,
I long for a knight in shining armour.

A muffled voice calls my name,
Relief, as I’m not forgotten after all,
I start a conversation,
But it turns out I’m just talking to the corner.

Line Count: 20
Total Line Count: 44