Category Archives: Writing

The Love-Hate Chronicles Part 1: An Introduction

Dear Reader,

At the end of 2014, WordPress sent me a rather pointed e-mail: “Hi Nuara, remember me? I’m your website. I miss you, and so do other people. Did you know that 970 people visited me in 2014, even though you didn’t publish anything new? They like what you have to say!”

Yes, I know it was a generic, mass-generated email. And I know that those 970 visitors may have just mistakenly stumbled upon my blog. And who knows whether they liked what I had to say or not.

But, still. Generic WordPress e-mail, you have a point. I should write more. I shall write more. Enter: 2015 and the Love-Hate Chronicles.

The Love-Hate Chronicles: an introduction

Many pages of mad rambles

Many pages of mad rambles

I kept journals throughout my childhood and much of my adolescent life. I wish I could say that all these musings were very profound and meaningful. But, they sort of read like this:

“Dear Diary,

Today is the first day of 1999! I am 10-years-old and have one 2-year-old brother. Today, I watched TV and played with my brother. It wasn’t a very exciting day. There’s only 365 days left to the Millennium!”

This:

“Dear Diary,

Since last year September we have had a temporary headteacher, Mrs. A*. She treats us like babies even though we are in year 6. I don’t like her.”

And this:

“Dear Diary,

Today was April Fools Day. I played some really funny jokes on people. My friend X* has a crush on a boy in our class called Y*. She says that she likes him 100%.”

*Names have been changed, of course. Although it would be cool to have a friend called X.

I was also fond of writing lists in these diaries. Specifically, Love and Hate lists. A neat line down the middle of the page, separating the things I adored from the things I detested.

“Love: My family, reading, chocolate.

Hate: Enemies, MATHS, assembly.”

I had a good laugh looking back at all of this. But it also made me think about the glorious simplicity of the world when I was a child. The black and white and 100 per cents. Love, hate and the strength of my convictions. You would have had a tough time convincing a 10-year-old me about any benefits of morning assembly. Well, in all fairness, 26-year-old me also struggles to find any love for the idea.

The world dictates that we are supposed to grow up, become more attune to the subtleties of the world, ditch the black and white shades for a more sophisticated grey.

But here’s the thing. Even as I began to stumble through the second decade of my existence, grey continued to allude me. I found myself being childishly stubborn on a number of things. Soup? I hate it! It’s like flavoured water. Stairs? Like I’m going to take the stairs! Yes, I will take the lift for one floor and I don’t care if you judge me.

Maybe I no longer wrote them up in journals, but my mind remained full of love/hate lists. Love: family, reading, chocolate. Hate: soup, stairs, pigeons. (At least one of the lists has changed).

However, recently, strange things have begun to happen. I had some soup…and I liked it. I’ve started jogging. I saw a pigeon and didn’t wish for its extinction (ok, I’m lying about this last one). Does this mean that I’m a grown up now? I’m not quite sure.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing my Love-Hate Chronicles. I will talk about things that I once hated that I have grown to love. Things that I continue to have a love-hate relationship with. And things that I will always love, eternally (a quick glance at my previous posts might give you an indication of the one thing I will never give up, ever).

Stay tuned :).

P.S. As part of a writing challenge with my weird and greedy friend over at Noodle and Egg, I was supposed to incorporate some assonance in this post. I shoulda, woulda, coulda but sort of failed.

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Day 3: In Which We Meet The Evil Fat Tramp of Scowdown Valley

Day 3 of my writing challenge. Read the efforts of Day 1 and Day 2 first, so that this part makes sense!

The Evil Fat Tramp of Scowdown Valley was keen to drop the “Fat” from her title. She had engaged the services of a local dietician and put herself through a rather gruelling exercise regime. However, she had an insatiable sweet tooth, and one trip past the candy store was enough to send her back to square one (or to be more accurate, up to square let’s-not-name-the-figure).

From a very young age, she had always been in the shadow of her taller, thinner and infinitely-more-skilled-at-the-art-of-evil sister – The Old Hag from Glargistan. Their’s was a tale of sibling rivalry in its most one-sided form; there was never any real competition between the two. The Old Hag was unbeatable in all senses.

The fact that King Pompotti had summoned her and not her sister, was a source of great joy (and although she would never admit it – even greater surprise) for the Evil Fat Tramp. She had donned her foulest, evil-est looking cape (which was, unfortunately getting a bit stretched around the waist) and hurried off to the Pompotti Castle.

King Pompotti was in a terrible rage when the Evil Fat Tramp arrived. Very Influential People become Very Agitated when things they need to get done, are not getting done.

“I need you to curse that wretched girl!” He shouted, as soon as the Evil Fat Tramp entered his room.

“Of course, your majesty.” The Evil Fat Tramp gave a gracious low bow, which didn’t really manage to be very gracious at all. Furthermore, her overstretched cape chose that very moment to give up on her, and tore with a very loud, echoing rip.

King Pompotti sneered in disgust. “Please, maintain some decorum. I knew your sister would have been a better choice.”

“Your majesty, I assure you that anything my sister can do, I can do better!”

King Pompotti snorted. “How about fifty sit-ups?”

The comment, the Evil Fat Tramp felt, was rather uncalled for. She tried to brush it off as she pointed out, “Well, you must have chosen me for a reason, your majesty!”

“Yes. The reason being that your sister is foolishly infatuated with the parents of that wretched Princess Sweetheart. I trust you have no similar disease of the heart?”

The Evil Fat Tramp shook her head vigorously. “Most certainly not, your majesty! What would you like me to do?”

“I need you to teach their foul-mouthed offspring a lesson. Curse her like you’ve never cursed anyone before!”

“Of course, your majesty!” The Evil Fat Tramp chose not to disclose the fact that she had actually never cursed anyone before. Curses were a Big Deal in the world of evil, and all things that were a Big Deal got offered to her sister instead. The Evil Fat Tramp had only ever received requests for minor hexes and the like, jobs that her dearest sister deemed to be too menial.

But she could do this, she was sure of it. This was her one big chance to prove her evil-ness to the world, and she was determined not to mess it up. It was time to brush the dust off her copy of ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Curses’.

(That the book was written by her sister was a fact that the Evil Fat Tramp tried to forget. She had even tried to burn her sister’s name off the cover, numerous times. However, it would always re-appear five minutes later. Damn her sister and her superior skills.)

If the Evil Fat Tramp had her way, Princess Sweetheart’s life was about to become very difficult, indeed…

To Be Continued…

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Day 2: In Which the Princess Insults an Influential Baby

Day 2 of my writing challenge. Read the efforts of Day 1 here.

There were many things that irritated Princess Sweetheart. Birdsong in the mornings. Too much syrup on her pancakes. Her stupid, stupid name. But none of these things irritated her quite so much as babies did. Silly, gurgling, what-on-earth-is-all-the-fuss-about babies. Smelly, crying, pooping babies. Seriously, she could never understand why most human beings within a five foot radius of a screeching infant suddenly seemed to drop twenty IQ points.

“Listen! She’s saying Mama!”

Princess Sweetheart stared down at the fat baby that was being shoved towards her arms. “Really?” She raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t hear Mama.”

“Wait, she’ll say it again, won’t you Mama? Mami-mama-googoo-baby, yes you will!” The baby’s mother proceeded to gargle in a language that sounded pretty repugnant to Princess Sweetheart’s ears. In the midst of this, the baby did blurt something out.

“I think I heard it this time.”

“Isn’t it just adorable? Mama.”

“I heard mammoth.”

“Excuse-me?”

“Mammoth. As in huge, humongous. Maybe he’s noticed that you haven’t managed to shift your baby weight.”

Her eyes flared viciously. “I’ve lost six pounds this week! AND SHE’S A GIRL!”

Princess Sweetheart shrugged. “Easy mistake. Babies all look the same, anyway.” She peered down at the tubby infant. “Although, your kid does have an unusually large nose. What did the doctor say about that?”

The exchange that followed must be censored, dear reader. Let’s just say the mother was not at all pleased that her darling baby was being insulted in such a blunt fashion. And Princess Sweetheart was never one to shy away from a heated argument. Things got pretty nasty, very quickly.

As unpleasant as all of this was, it might not have been all that catastrophic in usual circumstances. However, the circumstances were not at all usual. Princess Sweetheart had not just insulted any ordinary baby. She had insulted a VIB (Very Influential Baby). The baby in question was the child of King Pompotti, who was the most influential and important King in all the lands far, far away. As he was so influential and important, people actually saw very little of him – influential and important equals busy, busy. In fact, he was so busy that he had never actually met the King and Queen of Pleasantville. His secretary had always handled all the necessary correspondence.

The invitation that landed Princess Sweetheart in King Pompotti’s castle was actually in the name of her parents. Unfortunately, since they had both come down with the flu and were unable to attend the festivities, they sent their daughter as their representative.

Big mistake.

(To the credit of the King and Queen of Pleasantville, along with their daughter, they had also sent thirty bunches of flowers, five baskets full of the Queen’s scones and the most charming and endearing ‘sorry we couldn’t make it’ note. Unbeknownst to them, Princess Sweetheart had chucked out the flowers since the smell made her nauseous, ate the scones because the journey made her hungry and threw out the note just for the sheer hell of it.)

King Pompotti had not yet had the chance to be enchanted by the niceness of Princess Sweetheart’s parents. However, one thing was for certain – Princess Sweetheart had enraged him (dear reader, here’s a free tip: don’t insult babies in front of their parents – it will never lead to Good Things).

Princess Sweetheart was promptly kicked out of the castle, which was no bad thing in her view, since the entire household of Pompotti seemed like dreadful bores. Little did she know, no more than five minutes after she had left the premises, another person had been summoned to the castle by the King’s orders…

The Evil Fat Tramp of Scowdown Valley…

To Be Continued

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Day 1: In Which the Princess has no USP

Day 1 of my writing challenge. I spent far more time thinking about what I wanted to write than actually writing. The ideas that I mulled the most over all got thrown in the bin. The story below marks the beginning of an entirely random and unplanned adventure. Enjoy :).

The King and Queen of Pleasantville were the nicest, sweetest couple in all the lands far, far away. They were never at war with neighbouring kingdoms, since no-one had the heart to argue with folk who were so polite (and the Queen’s delightful scones were an instant pacifier for even the meanest souls). Their citizens were equally cheerful, since the generosity of their rulers knew no limits (four day weekends and free healthcare, to name a few perks). And ever since the King sent him a giant fire-resistant patchwork blanket for his birthday, the Evil Dragon of Garswick Mountains stopped using his fire-breathing for destruction and became the local co-ordinator for bonfire nights and barbecues instead.

However, amidst all the sunshine and laughter, all was not well. The King and Queen had a big problem. Their daughter, Princess Sweetheart, was without a USP (Unique Selling Point). Now, it is a truth universally acknowledged in all the lands far, far away that all eligible princes in possession of dashing smiles must be in want of a princess with a USP. Rapunzel had her golden locks, Sleeping Beauty was immune to alarm clocks and Princess Luna of the neighbouring kingdom of Lipton had a singing voice like the bark of a wolf.

How does one come to develop a USP? Simple – you need to make someone very evil, very angry. Tick off a bitter old witch – and bam! She’ll curse your dear princess behind. Annoy an evil stepmother – and score! That poisoned orange juice at brunch will enchant you away to a solitary tower somewhere in a land ever further, further away.

Without a USP, princes do not come-a-calling. Fact.

The King and Queen of Pleasantville simply found themselves unable to make anyone angry. All villains and witches directed their evil plans towards other kingdoms, and saved all their good, poison-free apples for their visits to Pleasantville (especially the Old Hag from Glargistan, who was an avid farmer in her spare time).

The years passed, and Princess Sweetheart edged ever closer to her thirtieth birthday, still without a USP to her name. The King and Queen became ever more anxious that their sweet, beloved daughter was to remain a lonesome spinster for life.

But here’s the dealio, dear reader: Princess Sweetheart was not ‘sweet’ at all. In fact, she was perfectly horrid. Her parents were blindly oblivious to this; in their eyes she was the sweetest of darlings. And since they were the nicest folks that ever were, nobody had the heart to break it to them that they had given birth to a certified meanie. Grumpy, scowling and deeply anti-social; Princess Sweetheart was the antithesis of her name. Many a villain found themselves tempted to curse her after making her acquaintance, but the sweet nature of her parents had somehow managed to shield her from evil throughout her life. As much as she was nasty, their niceness just always seemed to balance it all out.

However, Princess Sweetheart’s luck (of lack of, depending on your perspective) was about to run out. The fateful month of her thirtieth birthday is where our story really begins…

To Be Continued…

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Just shut up and write

There’s a recurring internal monologue that I’ve been having with myself recently. Every now and then, I lament at my lack of creative output and then find my mind conjuring up the excuse that I’m just too busy to find time to be creative. In truth, it’s a pretty shoddy excuse. If I accumulate my minutes of procrastination throughout the day, the end figure is embarrassingly hefty. If I wanted, I could easily take thirty minutes out of that time and spend it writing.

So why don’t I? The truth is less flattering than the shoddy excuse: I’ve become lazy and I give up too quickly. Five minutes staring at the blinking cursor on my screen is enough to make me click on my browser and internet-procrastinate for a while instead. Ten minutes later, the focus is lost and the motivation is gone. Blargh.

So, I have decided to set myself a challenge for the following week. I’m going to spend 30 minutes writing every day, for the next seven days. I’ll post the results on the blog (be kind, don’t laugh, *insert disclaimers of being rusty/out of practice/not too great here*) to be gawked at by the interweb and the one or two kindly folk who take a minute or two to peruse my rambles.

Go me! Self high-five!

Ok, a self-high five is, in effect, a solitary clap – which is a bit lonesome and sad. So I’ll stick with a Happy Face.

:)

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In absence of creativity, recycle

Something I found whilst flicking through my old collection of (mostly very angsty) poetry.

 

*

 

Disobedient flutter.

Treacherous, impatient,

wretched thing.

You flitter, I stutter

to hold you in.

Whisper wickedly

beneath my skin –

telltale rhymes

as you tumble through

my uneasy pulse

(imbued with your

restless rhythm)

chasing after that

rushing frisson.

 

April 2009, on a rather grey Friday

 

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