Tag Archives: Laura Besley

Flash Fortnightly #16

12 Jun

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.
 
I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 26th June 2013 with some more…
 
NB. If any of Laura’s readers find this particular story familiar, it is one Laura has already published on her blog. We’re glad she’s sharing it with us. 

___________________________

Down the Hill
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Mrs. Knox pushed the heavy wheelchair up the hill for the third time that day, then stopped, turned and released it. She pulled her gloves off both hands, finger by finger, cupped her hands in front of her mouth and blew. Mrs Knox’ hands hadn’t been warm for as long as she could remember.
>>>>
The wheelchair careened down the incline, gaining speed and she turned at the sound of the crash. She put her gloves back on and slowly stomped down to the heap of metal, under which was her husband.
>>>>
She passed the row of town houses she had seen every day for the last forty years, each with a different coloured front door. Marjorie lived at number 21 behind the green door, and Betty at number 35 behind the black door. She’d regretted painting it that colour because she had to wash it every day. Tom and Pippa had been living behind the red door, but moved away when their only son was killed in the Iraq War. Marjorie knew every member of every family that lived behind those coloured doors.
>>>>>
Pulling the wheelchair off him, her husband let out a groan. “Blimey Nora!” he said.
“Well, I do keep telling you,” she replied.
“But it’s so much fun!” He was sitting with a blanket over his thin legs. “And when you can’t feel anything anymore because your body has given up on you, it’s so nice to feel the wind in your face.”
Her lips turned up a little at the corners. “I suppose. Again?”
“Yes, please!”
~~~

Laura Besley

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

 

 

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Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #3 CJ Sullivan

10 Jun


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the third fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer CJ SULLIVAN who is taking Gail’s ‘middle’ and continuing the story however she likes….

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here and Gail’s ‘middle’ here.

_________________________________

Here’s CJ’s contribution:

>>

Chloe travelled the abandoned carnival grounds with tentative steps. With petite feet, she pranced around empty plastic bottles, untouched by time. She didn’t want to curse herself by making contact with the bottles. It was bad luck. Plastic-making was now forbidden; only reusing existing plastic was allowed. Plastic had been one of the reasons for the Great Exodus.

>>
Her daddy had told her many times the dangers of harming the world, from injuring trees to killing animals for sport, not to mention creating  waste. So much plastic garbage filled the land and oceans now that the growing number of humans had no choice but to escape to the stars. The small camps of people who stayed behind did the best they could to reuse what was there, to fix what had gone so wrong, but there was just so much of it.

>>
As she walked further into the carnival, Chloe’s eyes lit up. She imagined what this magical place might have been like with electricity coursing through it. Often she and her father came upon places that no longer functioned—places like this. Sometimes he would tell her how machinery used to work, and sometimes he would remain silent, almost sorrowful with his eyes so distant. During Daddy’s quiet moments, she didn’t want to make him angry with silly little girl questions. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t still curious.

>>

Passing the round ride with the tent and the horses, she traced the fancy painted word CAROUSEL on the side of it with her fingers. Dust collected on her hands, and she wiped it on her shoe. How did this ride used to work? She imagined the wooden and metal horses, their paint now chipped, had gone around in a circle. Yes, she could see the track just barely now under a film of dirt. How fast had the ride gone? Did the children laugh? Did they have a wonderful time in the Age of Electricity? Were the horses beautiful then, their paint vibrant and fresh?

>>
Then she heard it: a sigh.

>>
She jumped. Covering her mouth so as not to shout, she froze. Her heart pounded in her chest. The noise she’d heard—it had sounded almost human. Almost, but not quite. And it had come from behind the carousel, over there by the small building with the sign that said ARCADE.

>>
All but tip-toeing, she crept toward the building. A movement to her right made her jump again. Another rush of adrenaline coursed down her arms. Be brave, she thought. Be brave!

>>
She took one more step, and an ugly gray rat ran from beneath the carousel. Gross! 

>>>

Had it been the rat she’d heard before? She was sure it had been something else. Something that sounded like—

>>>
She heard it again: a humanoid sigh that carried a feminine tone, but underneath lay something metallic. It was coming from inside of the arcade; she was sure of it now. Carefully, she peered into the little building and gasped.

>>

On the floor beside one of the dusty, defunct games lay what looked like a woman. Only this woman, who was curled in the foetal position, wasn’t a real woman. She had her back to Chloe. Her head was missing a patch of hair. There, instead of a skull made of bone, were wires, flashing with  spurts of blue light, stretching across a plate of metal.

>>
She took another step closer and reached out her hand, readying herself to touch this strange robotic girl, to somehow rouse her from her slumber.

>>
“Chloe, wait!” her father cried from behind her.

 

Writer’s Biography

CJ is a native Texan who appreciates both the quiet simplicity of the state’s countryside and the exciting color of its major cities. When she’s not lost in the world of her angels (See her novel  Wing’s of the Divided), she reads every genre of literature, watches and re-watches cult classic movies and obsessively de-clutters and redecorates her house.  You can visit her blog to read book-related, personal and generally creative posts here:

http://cjsullivanauthor.blogspot.com/

You can also find CJ on Twitter: @cjsullivan53

 

>>>>>

CJ’s text was passed to potato AK Anderson on Friday. The next instalment of our short story will be on Monday 24th June. It will be great to see where AK goes with what CJ has just laid before us!

FYI: The writer’s are progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. The writers can take the story where ever they like.

>>>>

 

Flash Fortnightly #14

15 May

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 29th May with some more…

___________________________

Desire for Belonging

>>>

They’ll never love me as much as her. She’s far prettier to start with, cleverer too, and a faster swimmer with three gold medals in the under-12s competitions.

When I was fourteen they sat me down on the red sofa, the squidgy one that’s hard to get out of, and Mum held my right hand and Dad my left.
‘There’s something we need to tell you,’ Dad said.

Is Stacey okay?’ That was my first thought. That something had happened to my little sister.

Yes, she’s fine,’ Mum said, and squeezed my hand. ‘She’s playing at Penny’s.’ I don’t like Penny and have never understood why Stacey does.

Sweetheart,’ Dad said, ‘you know we love you and always will.’ Oh God, I thought, have I broken something?

Mum just sat there with tears trying to escape from her small red eyes.

Yes?’ Was that the right answer?

You’re adopted,’ Dad said quickly, then let out a sigh and looked at Mum. Then they both looked at me.

It was as if the world stopped spinning. I suddenly noticed the hideous flowery wallpaper and how old Mum and Dad (if I could still call them that) looked.

Oh,’ I said.

You must have lot of questions,’ Mum said finally.

And Stacey?’

No, Stacey’s not adopted. She’s ours.’

Laura Besley

>>>>

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

 

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Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #2 Gail Aldwin

13 May


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the second fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story this time featuring potato/writer GAIL ALDWIN who is taking Ben’s ‘beginning’ and continuing the story however she likes….. In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s great beginning here. Here’s Gail’s contribution: 

>

Sitting on the beach, the stones lumpy underneath her, Chloe took another lick of ice-cream. The Mr Whippy slid down her throat, cold enough to choke her. Dad pelted pebbles at the empty can. He said the first drink of the day always brought him luck. Clonk, clonk, clonk. Being patient wasn’t in Dad’s nature and Chloe realised she didn’t have long to finish the cornet. Twisting her tongue and swallowing focused her attention. When she was done, she rubbed the sticky remains from her fingers onto her jeans.

That’s my girl.’ Dad flung his arm around Chloe’s shoulders and gave her a shake so that her head flopped from side to side. She giggled, it was his way of being friendly. When the sun peeped around the clouds, Chloe enjoyed the warmth. It wasn’t often that Dad brought her to the beach. Sunday’s usually involved trailing after him as he did the round of pubs to see his mates. She got a packet of crisps at each place and by the end of the day, she’d tasted the whole range of flavours.

Can we go on the pier?’ She hoped to make the most of this good mood.

If you like. I’ll give you a ride on the dodgems.’

But I don’t want to go on that pier.’ Chloe remembered the last time. Dad had spun the wheel one-handed and driven the wrong way around the track. He’d collided with every other driver and Chloe was so jolted by the end, that her head ached and her legs wouldn’t work properly. ‘I want to go on the other one.’

No-one goes there. It’s all broken and it closed down years ago. Look at it, one big wave and the whole thing will go under.’

That means we should go now. I could find a gap in the fence. It’d be much more fun.’

Not likely.’ Dad took a second can from the pack and springing back the ring, it hissed. He took a few glugs then turned his face to the sun and he closed his eyes. ‘Think I’ll have a little nap.’ He flopped back onto the stones, and the beer spilt.

Chloe stared at the old pier, hunched above the waves and she listened to the rattle of her Dad’s breathing. It’d be hours before he was ready to move, so Chloe made a plan. Dad wouldn’t mind if she checked out the pier. He might even be pleased if she discovered a secret entrance. He couldn’t complain then. Not that he usually minded jumping over barriers. He did it often enough at the train station to avoid paying the fare. Turning Dad’s wrist, Chloe read the time on his watch. If she came back within the hour, he’d never know she’d been gone.

The stones crunched as she walked towards the promenade and she skipped along the path to the pier’s entrance. Squeezing between the struts of fencing, Chloe wiggled through to the other side. She took pigeon steps along the planks and headed for the first building. With the door swinging off its hinges, it gave a sort of welcome.

 
>>>

Writer’s Biography:

Gail Aldwin enjoys writing short fiction as relief from the slog of completing a novel. In What the Dickens? magazine, she has a regular column that answers writers’ questions. Thanks to a competition win, her collection of flash fiction titled Four Buses is available now. You can find Gail at http://gailaldwin.wordpress.com/ and @gailaldwin

>>

Gail's text was passed to aksania xenogrette on Friday. The next
 instalment of our short story will be on Monday 27th May. 
It will be exciting to see where aksania goes with what Gail has set up!
FYI. The writers are progressively taking up the structure of beginning,
 middle and end. The writers can take the story wherever they want. >>

Flash Fortnightly #13

1 May

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 15th May with some more…

___________________________

Pot of Gold

Sandra gingerly touched her heart-shaped face. It was dry, swollen, every shade of the rainbow. Taking a large wooden spoon from the ceramic pot on the kitchen counter, she started dishing up two plates of piping hot chilli with steamed white rice. On one she sprinkled salt and pepper, both for three seconds; she grated exactly 15 grams of mild cheddar cheese; and added one large tablespoon of sour cream. On the other she put no extras.

Tick tock

In the dining room, decorated ten years ago in floral cerise Laura Ashley wallpaper, Rex was waiting at the round oak table. He was reading today’s paper, which had lain untouched all day since it had been delivered by the Rogers’ boy at 8:15 a.m.

She placed the steaming food gently onto the placemats and sat down.
Rex folded the paper and put it down onto the table. ‘Bon appetite,’ he said.

Bon appetite,’ she replied, as she had done for twenty years.

He ate quickly; shovelling food in, chewing rapidly, eating hungrily like a man in the war, not the office worker he was. The last spoonful disappeared as quickly as the rest and Rex leaned back in his seat and wiped his mouth delicately with a napkin. ‘Good grub, Sandra.’

Tick tock tick tock

Rex started coughing. ‘Water. Get me some water, woman.’

She went to the kitchen and let the tap run for a minute, then filled a pint-sized glass. By the time she got back to the dining room Rex was foaming at the mouth and his arms were flailing about as if he was trying to catch the air around him.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock

Watching him breathe his last breath, Sandra felt a tear run down her cheek. She hastily brushed it away and snatched the paper from under his elbow. He slumped forward and his red bloated face landed in the empty bowl. ‘I’m going to read today’s paper, today, if that’s okay with you.’ Laughing bitterly, she quietly shut the dining room door behind her.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock

>>
Laura Besley

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

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Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #1: Ben Cooper

29 Apr


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Today’s first fortnightly instalment, features writer Ben Cooper.…who is starting the whole project off! 

>>

The robo-girl sat on the greyed splintered bones of the pier. Rivulet of rust stained her face ‘n sand had settled in her innards. Something in her stirred, something silently called, urged her forward. Time had sanded away her eyes, but her memory banks held. The carousel horses lay on their sides, but to her they still galloped ‘n happy music circled them. For the robo-girl he had been gone for a nano-second, she could still taste his warm lips, but paths bit into the ancient broadwalk from her feet. The sea had faded her color, but her metal ‘n Flesh held. She leaned against the remains of the Ferris wheels where a tree once stood ‘n sang. Keep it down the Raccoon growled from her nest in a seat. Why do you even bother a Squirrel chattered from a rooftop, she never listens. The robo-girl wandered away ‘n her holograms painted the sagging walls of the pavilion with life . Robo-hallucinations. A hundred years since a human voice heard. The robo-girl could hear him, “Step right up, knock down the bottles ‘n win a prize!” The bottles still stood ‘n he was a skeleton buried. The People of Blood, left long ago to spread the stars when their world held no more amusement for them, the fool stayed. That’s what they called Tom, but he was happy ‘n wasn’t alone, he had his girl ‘n a whole world to call his own. They were happy. The Robot-girl walked through the funhouse, through the shards ‘n sand her feet ground the mirrors into. Is she dreaming or is she remembering the Swift wondered. Is there a difference the Swallow cheeped from the rafters. Back when her memory banks were pristine, she smashed all the mirrors of the funhouse after he said goodbye to her with his last breath. With no updates for her head it was full of glitches ‘n bugs. She had forgotten he had left her ‘n she lost her name long ago. Her creaking limbs echoed through the cave that was the arcade, it once sung with pinball machines ‘n children’s shouting. Now the Rat children giggled at the silly clumsy creature crashing through their home. The Owl hooted them into silence ‘n bowed at the Robo-girl. Owl’s memory was long, but Owl Legend was even longer. She was the last half of The Lovers. The Robo-girl walked through the beginning patters of rain, through the softening mud. To her it was a fine summer’s day. She picked a non-existent flower ‘n breathed in deeply ‘n smiled. The Robo-girl gently swayed to music only she could hear, crashing through bramble up to a windmill to recharge. The Seagull cawed with laughter at the broken toy. The Dove squawked at him to shut it ‘n cooed with regret, she had lost her mate. Full the robot girl wandered back to her haunt ‘n the birds resumed their discussion of The Wind. Why doesn’t she leave for another world the Crow child wondered. The past has blinded her, she can’t see us the Crow said to her chick. When the People of Blood left ‘n flared across the universe like a virus, the world they left behind took wing.

 >>>>


Writer’s Biography:

Hi I’m Benjamin A. Cooper, okay at writing, terrible at writing bios ‘n very happy to be a part of this project.

>>B

Ben's text was passed to Gail yesterday. The next instalment of our 
short story will be on Monday 13th May. It will be exciting to see 
where Gail takes us! The writers are collectively and
progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. 
The writers can take the story wherever they want. 

>>

Flash Fortnightly #12

17 Apr

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura Besley

My name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 1st May with some more…

___________________________

My Wedding Day

By the time the alarm goes off at seven I’ve been awake long enough to watch the outside world turn from black, to red, to yellow, to light. I run my hand over my face, feeling the coarseness of my three-day old stubble. Despite the lack of sleep, I don’t feel tired. The mixture of adrenaline and nerves are pumping the blood quickly round my body, keeping my breaths short and shallow. Today is my wedding day.

In the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, I think about Lauren; how we met; our first date; our first anniversary; moving in together; the proposal. It all seems like a dream. Smiling, I finish making the tea, as my thoughts fill with images of her.

The doorbell goes at ten, as we’d arranged. I swing the door open, dressed in pressed suit trousers and a crisp white shirt. “Morning, mate!” I say.
“Morning, Jimbo,” Andy says, jumping on and off the front step. “How’s, uh, things?”
“Pretty good actually.”
“Good, mate.” He breathes out loudly. “That’s good to hear.”
He holds up a bottle of Glenfiddich. “Want one?”
“Why not?”

We sit in silence in my living room. I look at the dust-free television and the rows of dvds and books alphabetised on the shelves. Every room in the house is spotless. I didn’t want it to be in a mess. Not today.

The last drop of amber liquid runs quickly down my throat, settling into a warm pool in the pit of my stomach. I jump up. “Let’s go!”
“Okay, buddy, where to?”
I look at him; his short brown hair, piercing blue eyes that make him popular with women and his nails bitten to the quick. Almost twenty-five years we’ve been friends, since he moved in next door the week before we started primary school.
“Where to?” I ask. “Are you mad?”
A noise escapes his throat. “No more than usual. Ha!”
I smile briefly. “Your suit’s upstairs.”
“Okay,” he nods. “Won’t be long.”

I put on my jacket, despite the August heat, and look at myself in the full-length mirror in the hall. Lauren’s voice enters my head, whispering, but I cannot decipher her words.

Andy clatters down the stairs. “Bloody hot in this suit, but I’m ready.”

We get into Andy’s grey BMW. No need for the fuss of hiring cars. He pulls into the car park adjacent to the local church and silences the engine. For hours we sit there watching the sky turn from yellow, to red, to black.

Shall we…?” Andy asks.
“Go?” I say. “Yes. I just wanted to be sure she wouldn’t, you know…”
“Turn up. Yeah, I know, buddy.” He puts his hand on my shoulder. “I know.”

The engine starts with a low moan and he drives me home to my clean and tidy flat.

Laura Besley

The idea for this story is based on a real life situation. The person whose wedding day it should’ve been, was at work, and I thought what a tragic situation that was.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

>>>>

Flash Fortnightly #11

3 Apr

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura Besley

My name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 17th April 2013 with some more…

___________________________


Dreams

Samuel kept dreaming that she would leave him. Despite his nocturnal warnings, he was unprepared when he woke up one spring morning to find the space that she had occupied in his life for nearly forty years, empty.

Throughout his entire life Samuel had had strange dreams. Some were thrilling, others upsetting, but before he’d reached adulthood he realised they represented not only his day-time reality, but often his future too. He knew he was going to marry the butcher’s daughter, with the long wavy hair and eyes the colour of moss, before he even knew her name. Five years into their marriage he had struggled to convince her to keep trying after the second miscarriage, but he knew they would have two sons and a daughter, all as beautiful as their mother and as strong as the farm animals they kept.

His heart was beating as fast as a frightened animal the first time he awoke after the dream about her leaving. He quickly rolled over and stroked her pale face. She woke up and his coal-coloured eyes pleaded to hers. ‘Don’t leave me,’ he whispered.
‘Of course I won’t,’ she said, her green eyes now faded.

But the eyes lied.

In the depths of winter that same year, she returned as if she’d never been away. He walked back in from the stables to find her sitting on a kitchen chair, life-like. ‘Darling,’ he found himself saying, ‘I’ve missed you.’
‘And I you,’ she replied.
‘Don’t leave me again.’
‘No, I’ll wait right here for you.’

Laura Besley

I wrote this piece a long time ago, on 29th June 2012 to be precise. Sometimes when I look back over old pieces I’m unsatisfied and know that they will never see the light of day. Other times I can be pleasantly surprised by what I find in my archives. I hope you enjoy this piece.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

Bunny Hops: ArtiPeeps Update

1 Apr

Hurry

>

It’s been a little while since I’ve given everybody an update of what’s afoot with ArtiPeeps, so I’m taking this Easter Monday as a cue to do so. I am trying to embody all the energy of the hare above at the moment but not the speed- slow and steady is what I’m aiming for; trying to build something solid and meaningful in the long term. All of what you’ll find below is part of that trajectory.

Today is the launch of the new ArtiPeeps logo that you’ll see to the right at the top of the sidebar. It has been designed by artist and illustrator Gary Caldwell and Gary and I have been working on it for a number of months. The logo’s aim is to embody all that ArtiPeeps stands for in a clear and precise way and to communicate the notion of collaboration visually. There is also an explicit nod to another one of ArtiPeeps’ concerns -well-being. We’re going to use the logo on all our official documentation and business cards etc. It will also be the logo I use for my various social media profiles. It’s one of the stages in our professionalisation, so it feels good, and Gary has been a great collaborator. Artipeeps likes Gary.

In terms of present and future collaborations our Transformations Poetry Project is going on a pace. It’s our 3rd month in and the quality of the poems has been extraordinary. Long may it continue!  You can find all the poems here, here, here & here. My aim is to also bring in artists into this project to contribute one painting, illustrating one book. We have two artists so far. If you are an artist and would like to get involved with this please do contact me. The poems and art will form an exhibition/collaboration next year and this will, in real terms, move the virtual collaboration into something concrete and tangible (which is an important intent); foregrounding all the creatives involved. The exhibition which hopefully will also include the poets involved will take place in Kings Lynn late next year; I will be crowdfunding for this exhibition starting in July (that’s the plan).

Our mental health ‘Recovery Project’ is also well under way- 3 artist (Ray Bentley, Jeremy Moseley, Hugo Smith); 3 poets: (Carol Robson, John Mansell and Rebecca Audra Smith) 1 audio visual artist, (Shaun Blezard) working on the theme of recovery *. You can find full details of the project here just last week the 3 poems were passed to the artists. Indeed, the first section of our piece ‘despair’ is already complete as is the soundscape for the whole piece written by Shaun . The artwork combined with the poetty will be ready by the end of April and then it will be a matter of combining all three sections into a whole of some sort in May and releasing it to the world. It’s an extremely affecting and powerful piece we’re creating, I can feel that already. We’re getting a mental health charity involved with us and I’m working towards placing the piece in some way within psychiatric hospitals and/or like-minded organisations.

In relation to the well-being aspect of ArtiPeeps, it is also my intention to create a sister site (ArtiPeeps Well-being) that is dedicated to supporting creative minds. The two sites will be interlinked, but there will be a very clear psychological imperative to the sister site using art, literature and poetry therapeutically and creating links with similar groups and organisations such as Space2Create (with whom we’ll be forging a firm link shortly).

We also have our first prose collaboration Hot Potato kicking off in the middle of April, where 8 prose writers (Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, aksania xenogrette ,  CJ Sullivan, AK AndersonLaura Besley, Gwendolyn S, Natalie Beech (over a period of 16 weeks, will be writing one short story sequentially). It’s going to be good. We’ve got great potatoes!! 

We have also found another visitor peep/artist in residence Kelly Occhiuzzo who will be with us for the month of May co-ordinating and taking part in a 4 artist project she has developed in which 4 separate new pieces of art will be created over the period of a month. We’re in the process of firming everything up at the moment. We’re so glad to have her with us!

My focus is still firmly fixed on building as many individual and group opportunities into ArtiPeeps as possible, and the well-being sister site will be developed steadily alongside everything as best I can. I have to admit that balancing the running of ArtiPeeps with actually doing what I need to do to develop it is difficult. Finding the time to do business plans, make connections etc. At present I am in the process of trying to find not only someone to help me with all the day-to-day computer work but also someone who can help me with the budgeting of my 5 year business plan which will act as the foundation of ArtiPeeps’ business equity and project crowdfunding plans. I am approaching CamCreative in relation to this….

In terms of individual opportunities, ‘Weekend Showcase’ is running smoothly every Friday with a new creative featured each week. Every creative showcased is then offered the option of taking up ‘FreeSpace’ (3 separate slots which can be taken up in a cluster or spread across months for mini-projects or for further platforming). James Knight has already done so and Koos Kleven (cartoonist) is also taking up this offer as has poet Oregon McClure. I am also starting up another mini-opportunity called ‘FullSpread’ which will offer creatives: a showcase, ‘FreeSpace’ and a guest blog. This could work particularly well for groups and organisations that want to not only communicate what they do but also want to foreground individuals and projects. We are in fact in the process of offering this to Space2Create.

In terms of features our usual ones,Frenzy’s Flash Feature’ (Greg Mackie), ‘Flash Fortnightly’ and ‘Classic Friday’ ( Nisha Moodley) are going strong, and we have now introduced a new monthly ‘writerly’ feature ‘The Tiniest of Things’ with poet Tiffany Coffman.

Last week ArtiPeeps was nominated by Ant DiMartino for the ‘Very Inspring Blogger Award’ which caused me a bit of concern because it’s not me that does all the writing and the contributing it’s you. As I said to Ant I’m thinking hard how best to handle this and I will only proceed if I can foreground creatives from within ArtiPeeps and its environs… and they might not want to participate…so we”ll see.

As you can see there’s a lot going on; things shaping and shifting in every direction. It’s all really exciting but there’s such a lot to do so it’s about being slow and steady whilst embodying boundng hare-like energy that moves us consistently forward. It’s a matter of stepping forward each day and leaning into every opportunity I can to develop ArtiPeeps and all those who sail in her.

I thank every single contributor and supporter of ArtiPeeps. You are growing ArtiPeeps by your sheer presence and that is an amazing gift, and if you want to get involved just contact me!

Nicky 

>>

* “Recovery is being able to live a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by each person, in the presence or absence of symptoms. It is about having control over and input into your own life. Each individual’s recovery, like his or her experience of the mental health problems or illness, is a unique and deeply personal process.” Scottish Recovery Network 2009

Recovery is not about ‘getting rid of problems’. It is about seeing people beyond their problems – their abilities, possibilities, interests, and dreams and recovering the social roles and relationships that give life value and meaning”Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins, 2002

Flash Fortnightly #10

20 Mar

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly! 

Laura Besley

My name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 3rd April 2013 with some more…

___________________________

Letters from the Past

She still had his letters; all 46 of them, in date order, bound by a purple and white ribbon. Nineteen were on lined white paper, ripped out of a school notebook. Fifteen of them were on various newspaper cuttings, comic strips or magazine photos. But her favourites were the twelve in blue envelopes; stationary he’d snuck out of his grandma’s desk.

The summer of 1994 was the hottest on record to date and Sebastian, then known as Seb and now referred to again as Sebastian, had a paper round that took him past Libby’s house on the Peppermill estate. Her bedroom window, he discovered, was the one directly above the tall front door. They took GCSE Art together, but whereas he sat close to the front, alone, she sat at the back giggling and chatting to her friends.

Alright?’ he mumbled, recognising the girl in the matching blue and grey uniform.
She glanced up from the magazine open on her lap. ‘Alright. What are you here for?’
‘Check-up. You?’
‘Waiting for my mum. She’s having a filling.’
‘Yikes.’
She smiled, closed the magazine and tossed it back onto the table to join the other three-month old editions. ‘Have you finished your assignment for Mr Harrison yet?’
The redness grew like ivy up his neck, over his chin and spread across his cheeks. ‘Nah, haven’t started it yet.’
‘You have, I can tell.’ She poked him in the ribs with her elbow. ‘Bet it’s going to be ace.’
He looked at the ground. ‘What d’you mean?’
‘Your artwork is always brilliant. I wish I could draw like you.’
He clamped a hand over his mouth, but his grin escaped. ‘Cheers.’
**
Hidden in her en suite bathroom, Libby perched on the edge of the cream coloured bath and unfolded the snoopy cartoon strip, which had been the first thing to arrive on the fifteenth of May. It had been sellotaped together with about half a metre of tape and her name had been printed on the front in capital letters. She had known immediately who it was from, but despite her sister’s endless questioning and teasing, her lips had remained firmly sealed.

A tear fell onto the paper. She wiped it away quickly before it made the ink run, like the previous tears had done. In a box with the letters she also kept many of Seb’s recent cartoons, from the Guardian and the Times, as well as clippings about his recent art exhibitions and the opening of his gallery in Covent Garden.

 Libby!’ her husband called out. ‘What are you doing?’

 Hastily she splashed some cold water on her red and swollen face, shoved everything back in the box and tucked it into the top of the airing cupboard.

 Nothing.’ She stared at herself for a long time in the bathroom mirror. ‘Nothing,’ she whispered.
**
Sebastian Davis, renowned artist and cartoonist, never thought about Libby Birch, neé Darlington.

Laura Besley

To be honest I don’t really know where the idea of this story came from. I do have a lot of letters, which I’ve loved receiving over the years I’ve lived abroad, and would never dream of throwing them away.

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and WritingOr you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

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