The Darkest Corners of my Mind

crow (copy) (copy)

Art by Kath

My imagination gets the better of me WAY too often. All I need is a peculiar incident. A flash of imagery from every day life, or a stolen sentence from someone in the street. Yes I am an eavesdropper, so I warn you, I love to listen to snippets of conversations.

I am the people watcher, observing you for useful character traits. I cannot help it, nor stop what I do. Story ideas can come from everywhere and nowhere. One morning I drove by the bus stop in the holidays. A haunting vision of a red hooded coat which hung from a mailbox, flapping in the breeze. It was like someone was waving at me, as if to say help! I’m trapped. But no one could see this person, only me.

Have I captured your imagination? Yes? No? Maybe? Oh well I will get to the point.

This short story came from that one visual. I have decided to share this random writing prompt with you. It is from the shadows, the dark places in my mind. I read many Stephen King books as a young adult. When I met my husband he had shelves of Stephen King novels, which my sisters warned may not have been a good thing. It all worked out because on the other walls he had framed cartoons from my all-time favourite cartoonist, Gary Larson. A fine balance indeed. (oh how I love his cows.)

Enjoy this short story and I must thank Yolanda for encouraging me to share this piece, I do love this community. Please stop by her blog and say hello. Her recent blog post inspired me to share. http://ygmcadam.wordpress.com

The Red Coat

It was now or never she thought, stepping out from behind the bushes she hurled the rock. She missed, even under the light of a full moon her aim was off. A loud screech from the creature as it turned to inspect where the noise came from. She hid in the scrub and held her breath. She felt safer in the shadows yet her heart pounded in her chest as she watched the large bird pecking at something or someone.

“Come on Freda you can do this” She whispered to herself.

Something bad had happened here, she could smell the decay of rotting flesh. A swarm of blow flies buzzed in a frenzied dance, another sign that something was dead. She hated blow flies and had never seen them in such numbers, especially at night-time.

“One last try.”

Picking up a large branch she moved forward, wild-eyed and waving the heavy log above her small frame.

“Get away!” She screamed. Yellow eyes flashed at her. The crow flapped it’s strong wings and let out an ear-splitting cry, before swooping, it then vanished into the woods. Freda dropped the branch, taking small cautious steps towards the figure slumped near the fence post. How long had this body been here? Her faced crumpled at the thought of what she would see, she hoped it would not be too gruesome. Her torch was small and did not give off much light.

She had seen dead animals on the farm before, but a human body was something different.

“What the? Ha ha ha ha!” The laugh did not sound like her own, it echoed through the trees and disappeared with the wind.

‘It’s just a coat!”

A red padded coat with a fur-trimmed hood, flapped in the breeze. She fell to the ground in relief and giggled. Freda thought about all the times her mother had said her imagination would get her into trouble one day.

“Thank you, but the crow meant no harm, he is my friend.” Said a soft voice.

Freda pushed herself backwards along the ground, her legs floundering in the dust.

“Please don’t leave me here.” A small girl with raven hair and large blue eyes peered back at her. She wore an empty expression on her pale face. Freda swallowed hard, the moon now trapped behind the swift moving clouds, brought an eerie darkness. She wanted to run and keep running. But something held her there. Her curiosity was stronger than her fears and her determination to prove she was not a weakling, even stronger.

“Then the rumours are true! You do exist?” Freda blurted out.

“Oh please, I beg of you, don’t leave me here like the others did. My mother will have dinner ready by now, I expect. I could ask what rumours you are referring to, but it is rude to gossip.”

Freda took solace in the fact the flies had vanished, there was nothing, no smell, only this strange girl tied to a fence post. The one all the boys in the village had told her about. She pinched her wrist, hoping to wake up and wished she had never promised them that she could find the ghost. Well she had found it and now she would find out the truth.

“I want to go home.” The girl started sobbing.

“You can’t.”

“Why?”

Because you, you’re dead.”

The girl moaned even louder.

“Who would do such a cruel thing?” Freda interrupted.

“Oh my best friends Jenni and Louise Parker, it was just a stupid game.” Said the ghost, wiping her face like a real live girl. “I don’t feel dead.”

“Thats absurd!” Said Freda feeling a tingle of fear wash through her belly.

“Why?”

“Because Louise Parker is my mother.”

The End

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Behind Closed Doors

xmas swallows (copy)

Art by Kath Unsworth

Winter is reluctant to leave. The days are warming up, yet I sit here shivering. I am eager to write but impatient for the kettle to boil. I Wrap my frozen arthritic fingers around a warm cup of tea and watch the steam rise. Looking out the kitchen window there is blue sky. The mountain in the distance wrapped in fog. Sunlight creeps through, the promise of a warm spring day. A pair of persistent swallows, tweet the best kind of twitter I know. They build their nest up high in the rafters and I take some photo’s.

I feel blessed in these minuscule moments. The swallows, a gift for this week. Sometimes I wonder if that is all that drives me to create. The beauty of nature sings to me. It is not for money, nor fame that I do this. There is something which flows through me. I rarely plan my art. (unprofessional I know).

Until I joined the Tribe/Writers and started blogging, I worked behind closed doors. Not wanting to share my dreams with anybody, especially not in my community. I never told anyone about my picture book ideas or my art either.

My writing group meets once a month and the topic for this month was of course Behind closed doors. I sit and think about all the creative people I have met within the Tribe/writers and the online blogging community. I wonder where there inspiration springs from. I want you to know that I find it hard some days to create anything worth sharing.

Some of you make it look easy, some of you have stopped writing and creating and I miss you. Some are content to keep plodding along like me, learning as they write. For those of you who have stopped writing, remember there is only one you. One unique voice with something to say. Don’t give up on your dreams, just keep believing in your path. It’s now or never. There is no right time, there is only today. Somewhere in this world someone needs to hear what you have to say, your art and your words matter.

Most of you live in far off lands. Thanks to all your positive feedback my art found its way through the door and out the other side. Something I never planned at the start of this year. My writing has taken a few sideways steps. I admit the writing still has a long way to go.

I remember a quote from Stephen King’s book On Writing.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

I love this quote.

What is the point of creating anything if you are afraid to share it. How will it and you grow, if you keep your craft or passions hidden?

The swallows are making a racket. Yesterday their nest fell from the rafters, dollops of mud splattered all over the deck. I can only imagine they are arguing about where the nest should go now? (first timers). I know one thing, they will never give up and I am in awe of their drive to finish.

Each morning they chirp away sitting on my Xmas lights. The nest looks stronger today and I cannot wait to see those little babies.

I hope where ever you are, you are opening those doors and sharing your dreams with the world. Like the swallows, never give up and remember hard work pays off in the end. I will try to work like these birds, building the solid foundations for my dreams, piece by piece from the ground up. I will reach high and touch the stars, but if I don’t make it, at least I will know what it feels like to try.

And if I have not inspired you today I am still feeling good because by sharing my work I have inspired one creative soul, my daughter. She came to me after working behind closed doors in her favourite spot (the caravan) and shared her drawing with me.

willows birds (copy)

Art by Willow Unsworth

Have a wonderful creative day and share what ever you are working on.

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Colour Me Happy

bird is the word (copy)

Art by Kath Unsworth

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

Pablo Picasso

I love that quote.

A few days glamping it up in a safari tent (a posh tent on floor boards with beds included) with the family. It has refreshed my tired old bones. It is safe to say I am looking forward to the school holidays now. I am also itching to get back into my projects. I missed my online connections when we were away, we had zero reception or wi-fi out there on the river. Yet it was wonderful to just shut down and soak up life.

My husband thankfully took his camera and captured many birds in the soft afternoon light. I must say if it wasn’t for his photo’s I would not have much to draw. Completely inspired I am, by him. To be honest his work is unique. He has an eye for fine detail and captures the beauty in everyday life. We are the perfect team. Please check out Pete’s site, he does not sell them, (I have tried to encourage it) he just likes to share. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harvestmoon/567005890010077

Soon my work will go into a local art/craft shop gallery in the nearest town. Did I ever think I would be selling my art this year? No, but somehow the journey of wanting to draw has led me here.

I am ready to remove the daily dust from my soul, like Pablo Picasso and thrive.

May your September be painted in shades of happy spring colours or deep autumn hues and you find yourself doing what you love. For that is where we find true happiness.

 

 

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ODE to a BRITISH BEE

British bee (copy)

British Bee I Love Thee

Once I met a British Bee.

It was the finest thing I ever did see.

Most Bee’s I’d met liked fizzy pop.

They buzzed around and would never stop.

This one for sure, is British you see.

Because he landed on my cup of tea.

Sorry about that, my poetry is lacking in so many ways and it is not what you would really call an Ode, but hey, it sounded like a good title.

A bit of fun, is all.

Recently I asked an online blogging friend to send me a picture she had taken in her garden. I had offered to do a drawing because the photo’s she captures are all things nature. Beautiful minuscule moments from her part of the world. Christine lives far away in England. My daughter and I would talk about our British Bee as I sketched away and sing a silly song.

Oh British Bee, Oh British Bee I wonder if you’d like a cup of tea?

Now Christine writes poetry, not cheesy stuff like mine. Good poetry and she also takes amazing photos from her garden. Christine played her part in re-naming my picture book to (Sugar and Spice) and so a random act of art was my way of saying THANK YOU Christine.

Please visit her world and say hello from me. http://journeyintopoetry.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/safe/ this is one of my favourite poems from Christine.

Once you visit, you will connect with a special woman. I am in awe of her courage and gorgeous words.

To Christine, your bee will be coming to you soon xxx. I hope he puts some sunshine in your day, especially when you are having a challenging one. Know that I think you are an amazing person and I am glad we connected across the sea.

Good day to you all, Random Acts of Art may return another day, depending on who or what inspires the artist in me next.

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Doggone! Who Wants to Be Fifty

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Sandy our Work Dog by Peter Unsworth

It is without effort I am ageing.

I do not have to lift a finger. The mirror cannot hide another crease emerging, amidst a plethora of cracks and burrows. Crows feet, ugh, who needs them? I ask you, who wants to turn fifty?

I have to smile and say I like my wrinkles, its cool AT MY AGE to love my wrinkles. My age by the way is a milestone, some say. I will be fifty in October. My son told me my life is half over. I am glad he thinks I will make it to a hundred. Maybe by then they will have a perfect remedy to slap on those wrinkles.

I’m like every other human who is ageing. I have to ask the obvious question? Where did time go? I remember looking at forty-something women. I would smile and think I had plenty of time before gravity caught up with me. I was far too confident that I would never, ever look old and crabby. Life is cruel isn’t it? I’m crabby alright, due to the onset of menopause but I will spare you those details.

I wish I could milk the excess energy from my children and sell it to every middle-aged mum who feels like me.

I would age gracefully. I told myself as youngster. I would have no children, I promised those around me. Children make you old, I had heard from some unreliable source. I actually know children keep you young. But they do suck the marrow from your bones so to speak, hence the onset of osteoporosis. Hopefully I will skip that condition. Although the aching joints could be a sign of arthritis, oh the joys.

I want to wake in the morning full of energy. I want act like I am a kid again without complaining about aching body parts. I wish I could do all the things my children do and not feel washed up afterwards. I try to and that’s the main thing.

I guess I should be thankful that my life is not calculated in dog years, Poor Sandy (above) is catching up fast.

I guess I should be thankful for how old I am this year. I will celebrate with friends and family and a good bottle of bubbly. I am still here, wrinkled and worn but I can laugh about how silly life is. We live the best way we know how and that’s worth raising my glass to. Here’s to another year and many more to come. I want to reach fifty and sixty and onwards. After all, I still have another fifty years to look forward too. As more and more humans hit the one hundred mark my son just might be right.

me

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NEVER STOP LEARNING

butterfly (copy)

Please join me over at Joanne Guidoccio’s wonderful inspirational site today as I share my emerging second act. Please say hello and leave a comment.

http://joanneguidoccio.com/2014/08/08/never-stop-learning/

Today is my one hundredth post and I feel blessed to have met all the wonderful creative and inspiring people in this community. Thank you.

 

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The Golden Hour

Art work by Kath Unsworth

Art work by Kath Unsworth

When a new day begins, we rarely know what it will bring.

I hear you say….
It brings another day of work or monotonous domestics. Maybe, I know we need the regular routine and the mundane things to survive.

May I be so bold and ask, what you actually do for YOU?
Can or do you find a balance between the stuff we need to do and the stuff

We really need to do?

How many times did you make big plans to do something for you? Time evaporates as quickly as the secret stash of chocolate in my cupboard?  Or it did, until I told myself one golden hour a day is mine.

Nobody else can touch me in that hour. I have this belief that we must share our gifts with the world. When we delve into our passions, it shines through in all areas of our lives.

For a long time I have not worked, yes a stay-at-home-mum and proud of it! I have been there for my children in every way for their primary school years and enjoyed watching them grow, learn and evolve. Not everyone has this luxury. I feel blessed that we were able to keep afloat with only one wage coming in. I now need to work. Maybe not so much for the money, we lead a simple life (money comes and money goes, we always have just enough). For me and my sanity its time to go back to work.

Something started to happen after I gave myself that golden hour, I began creating art more often. I was a happier human being, mum and wife.

The golden hour has stretched into two, maybe three hours some days. My family sees and likes the art I create. They urge me to do MORE and know now, it is part of who I am.

I never could imagine this simple ritual, permission to take one hour a day for myself could be that empowering.

Find your passion follow your happiness. It will lead you back to you.  I look forward to selling my art to the world. Don’t worry, I am not selling my art here, it will always be my place to inspire others to create. There will be a link to my Etsy shop one day. It all takes time.

Time is golden. Imagine if someone offered to sell you a bag of time. What would you do with it? Would you stop and smell the roses? Would you sit and spend time with loved ones? Or work on that dream project you have always wanted to do?

There is no way to get time back.

So stop, breathe and give thanks for your gifts and life. Listen to your heart and inner voice. The creative energy is there. I am discovering that the things around me are all I need to inspire the artist.

The topic for Illustration Friday was GOLDEN. I love the word and used it to describe my hour of art and I hope you enjoy what an hour can create too. The picture above is my interpretation of golden. The Eastern Spinebill has splashes of golden feathers. They are beautiful to watch if you’re quick enough to spot them. Birds seem to find me and inspire me to draw, it is my passion.

Please share what a golden hour would mean for you? I look forward to seeing how different we all are.

And that’s what I love most about this crazy world we live in.

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