Monday, 27 June 2016

Flash: Sharing Sweets

He was never quite sure about his school friends. Sure, they had great fun; sang and played football together, and properly looked out for each other. But, no question, they were different from him and he always felt a little removed and actually a bit superior. He was quite sure he was cleverer than them, even though several of them beat him in class tests, most were better at football and pretty much all of them were better singers.
They also spoke funny. But they were kind and they picked him up when he scraped his knees and also everyone shared their sweets with each other.
However he could never quite shake off the knowledge that some of them had definitely come to play at his more than they had invited him to theirs. And a couple of them, he noted, never had their own sweets to share with the group. And all their pack lunches were weird.
He just wasn’t sure. In the playground, in front of them all he decided to flip a coin; Heads he’d leave, Tails he’d stay. He threw the coin up as high as he could. It seemed to hang in the air a while before it came crashing onto the tarmac by his feet. He bent down.
His friends regarded him seriously.
‘I’m not in your gang anymore,’ he told them.
They shrugged their shoulders, turned their backs on him and went back to their game.
He went to the other side of the playground, whistling tunelessly and tried to play football on his own, It was a lot less fun and also very lonely.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sciatica: Trying to Kick Yer

I’m still struggling with sitting but I can now walk without a stick and put weight back on the offending limb. It is conscious-making pain. I’ve never even considered the nerves running though my legs. I didn’t even know what a piriformis was.

   Initially I fashioned a stick out of the hoover tube, but R drew the line at going outside like this, so bought me a walking stick. This was interesting. As I struggled along I suddenly saw loads of people with sticks. If I hadn’t been in so much pain I would have high-fived them.

   Now I can do stairs and walking. I still can’t imagine running, jumping climbing trees. I am slow. And I’m not a slow person; I’m a fast walker usually, late, urgent, whizzy. But alas, no longer. Now, I don’t so much saunter, nor do I plod; I have that special deliberate walk of the very elderly. Everything is considered, measured. Small steps. Sometimes I feel like I’m not moving, that’s how slow I’m going. I have promised myself never to be impatient behind a Slowy again.

   I am blessed with a wonderfully kind spouse. I have been a hideosity; huffed and sighed and sworn, shrieked and moaned. I wouldn’t want to live with me at the moment.

   I am stretching, the NHS way. Oh yes, I now know where my piriformis is. When I first saw these stretches I laughed at the possibility of ever doing them. Since my meds have kicked in I’ve been performing them slavishly, twice a day, and following my father’s advice, hanging off our chin-up bar. I did at first also poo-poo this as too athletic but apparently his doctor told him to hang from a tree branch and he tells me he was cured within two hours. (This may mean he hung from a tree branch for two whole hours!)

   On day four I went for a sports massage with the magical Elisa. The usual five minute jog to her house took me thirty minutes. The massage was great, painful in a positive way and I am gradually improving. Advice to self: whenever I see a suitable tree branch I will hang off it and I promise to keep my piriformis stretchy.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Opportunity: Short Stories Needed for Lipreading Project

Fancy doing something useful with one of your stories to help people learn to lipread? Why not write a story for the Lipreading Project. Successful stories will be read aloud on a free website, as a teaching aid for people learning to lipread.
   I have submitted and really enjoyed the challenge of writing outside of my comfort genre and my linguistic territory. No fantasy, no made up words, good grammar; it needs to be easy to follow, so just a tight dramatic story. We all have creative crutches and it was healthy for me to cut down my tricksy word play and magical-realism. Good to not rely on a flying baby or a talking dog too.
   I initially thought I’d dust off an old story to submit, but even when I think I’m original my stories have recurring fantastical elements, although I’m happy to say I’ve finally got over my dragon addiction. It was also a relief to be writing something other than my novel, which continues to slowly spew in random episodes and that I know I’ve got to re-impose coherence onto, when I can bear to. Short stories are instant gratification but often don’t see the light of day so this is a way of hopefully getting one out there, in a really valuable way.
  Click here for the project’s remit and how to apply. It lays out the benefits better than I can, plus the terms and conditions and submission form. Please help make learning to lipread more fun with a gripping tale. Go on, send something off!