Dare To Dream

Write a 20-line poem where every line begins with the first letter of your first name. The only rule is that it can’t be about you.

*****
Dark, the night the womb releases

Disaster, thy name will be

Devastation, bound forever

Dawn, concealing that which others

Dare to dream

Drifting, the remnants of the world

Diminish, a flickering candle

Damned hope, a burden

Defiant, until the end they fight for

Death or life

Deceit, lies in the hearts of men

Descendants, carrying hate

Duty, without knowledge

Decisions, with no understanding

Doorways locked forever

Delicate, the chance to survive

Decadent, the world will be or

Destroyed, consumed by fire

Dry, down to the last

Drop of dew

Creation in Vein

Red lips, slender waist, ebony hair

All that she is, I desire.

By my side, her body like the sunset

Sinking into linen sheets.

A world I cannot penetrate

As tangible as dreams

 

In the haze of reality, I was drawn

Her form filling me with Carnal lust

Envisioning her body entwined with my own

Yet with the clarity of time

Such instinctive raptor, transformed

Physical longing, now an eternal passion

 

With strength I do not fully understand,

I draw my gaze from her unreadable face

Her exposed flesh a testament to our act of love

I cannot help but admire her insubstantial frame

Which somehow carries her exceptional essence

My view is filled by the crimson of her lips

 

Those lips which last rested upon my wrist

Stained by the sanguine liquid which failed

In giving her eternity, to which now I am doomed

Already I am as I was, perfect at least in form

Her perfection unspoiled by death

She has been taken

 

The blood, the blood which promised infinity

Leaves me incomplete

I am cursed with a future which is absolute

Human life seeks companionship,

But now I know my own life is a solitary one

And so to her, with whom my life I can no longer share

 

Adieu.

 

Luca – Part 1

It started with a text, “got work for you, call me asap” texts like this weren’t unusual by any means, but the last time I had answered one, I’d flown to Paris. When I arrived at the studio Adam was working in just three days before, I was told that the shoot had been cancelled, and Adam had been flown back to the UK two days ago.

I’d literally dropped everything, even giving up another smaller project that would clash with this one, and reluctantly, paid for a flight. I paid for a one way ticket, on the promise that my return ticket would be paid for when the project was done; emptying my savings account getting there. It was an embarrassing 14 hour wait, before my parents could send me the money to come home. I hated having to borrow money from them, and hated even more that I hadn’t ever been able to pay it back.

I tried calling Adam as soon as I got home, but his number just went straight to voicemail. It had been almost eight months since I last heard from him.

Adam and I grew up together, we lived on the same street. As kids, we played together, acting out scenes from our favourite tv shows. Movies were a big part of our lives and from a young age, we dreamed about making our own. We did most things together, we managed to get a paper route at the same news agent, and delivered papers to the houses we had once played in front of. We kept the job only long enough to buy a tiny, handheld camera we were able to use to create our own movies. I usually opted to stay behind the camera, while Adam would cavort in front of it, much the same way as when we were young.

After school came university, both studying at the same campus, with Adam graduating a year ahead of me. Upon graduating myself, Adam was working with a small production company, and had managed to line a job up for me. Working together, made us both work harder, earning a good reputation as we went. This kept both of us working constantly for a couple of years. We started branching out eventually, each finding our own projects, in our own chosen specialties. But still, we threw work to one another when we could, if we could.

I learned about a month after I got back from Paris, that Adam had been offered a full time post with an American production company. He’d left without telling anyone, just packed up and went, it was his mother who finally thought to get in touch with me. He was erratic like that, but he was good fun, spontaneous and impulsive. He had never been able to sit still, always moving from one place to the other, crashing on couches, sleeping in spare rooms. He bounced from project to project, and had worked with some of the bigger companies in the industry along the way.

I wasn’t a great traveller, so I didn’t take as many jobs out with the city, but I did earn enough to make the repayments on a flat, which I’d bought and remodelled with the help of my father. I took jobs with small production teams when I could get them; but when I couldn’t find work, I ran open mike nights in some of the local bars.

I had chosen not to respond to Adam’s first text, but he kept trying all day, making me turn my phone off completely. I didn’t turn it on again until I arrived home, only giving in, as I checked to find out if my partner had called. Adam had called me three times in the last hour alone, a fact that both worried and irked me. I stood scowling at the screen, my finger hovering over his name, before tapping the home button. I opened messages, opting for a text as I knew if I spoke to him, I’d end up saying yes. I have to admit, I knew that getting in touch, even if it was to tell him to fuck off, would just make him all the more persistent.

I didn’t hear from him again at all during the late afternoon, or into the early evening. After dinner my partner called, I told her about Adam’s weird behaviour, she wanted me to call him, just to make sure he was okay. I still felt bitter, and knowing that he was back in the UK and hadn’t gotten in touch until now didn’t help, but I told her I’d sleep on it. She was coming through in the evening tomorrow, to come hang out with me while I was working, something we did fairly often as we both got to drink for free, as long as they were soft drinks. We agreed to meet in George Square and make our way to the bar from there.

I played video games until midnight, then decided to turn in for the night, I was hoping to get up early to go to the gym, as this usually meant I’d do something with my day other than sitting around in my underwear, playing video games and drinking coffee until I had to get to work. Working evenings often made me run the risk of my days being much more unproductive.

I placed my phone on the nightstand as I always did, before heading to the bathroom, to get ready for bed. I stripped out of the clothes I was wearing, balling them up and throwing them into the corner, at the foot of an already full laundry hamper. I couldn’t help smirking as I could already hear my partner’s voice in my head, chastising me playfully for letting my laundry get so ‘out of hand’. I’d have to remember to do at least one load of laundry in the morning before heading to the gym. I dragged a toothbrush over my teeth, noticing bristles coming loose as I did so, it badly needed replacing. I was more than ready for bed, so I was irked when I saw the text notification glowing on the screen as I walked into my room. I didn’t have to check to know that it was Adam, it read,

“I need to talk to you. Now.”

I stood, looking at my phone and shivered slightly, not that it was cold, but the way that text was written. There was nothing playful about it, it was so… not Adam. I shrugged the feeling off, and put it down to the fact that I was still standing naked in the middle of a dark room, staring at the now black screen on my phone. I lay down, and turned my face to the ceiling, once again deciding to ignore him, to make him wait.

Adam had other plans, he began calling me, I stared intently at the ceiling as the phone vibrated and glowed inches from my face. It rang once. Twice. On the third call, I snatched the phone up before aggressively answering, “What?”

“Luca, why the fuck has it taken you all day to get back to me?”

His indignant tone did nothing for my already black mood towards him, I audibly spluttered and was just about to launch into a tirade of shit about his attitude, when he cut me off,

“Luca, I’m sorry. I really am. But, I need you, I’m in over my head in a project that… I can’t talk about this on the phone Luca, I need you to come to London. I need your help.”

There was something about that desperate tone in his voice that I had never heard before, it turned my blood to ice. I wanted nothing to do with anything that could make Adam sound that way, never the less, I could hear my voice say the words,

“When do you need me to leave?”

He uttered only one word, before hanging up,

“Now.”

NaNoWriMo 2016: The Wolf Mother’s Child

Pre-November: 

Monday, 24th October 2016 – 13:24

Having signed up for NaNoWriMo again for the third time, I am hoping to avoid the pitfalls of my previous attempts, and have started planning my 2016 attempt.

I have chosen the novel that I would like to work on, and have just finished prepping a spreadsheet with my estimates and minimum writing limits to try to help me better track the attempt, but to really break it down, and make it seem more manageable.

In the past I have tried to blame my unfinished attempts on being “too busy” I realise this time, however, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, that it is not about being busy, so much as it is about making time for something which until now has not been a priority.

I desire very much to write more often, even at some point for a living, if not exclusively, then at least in part. However, until now, writing hasn’t ever even become a true hobby for me, because I haven’t ever turned it into a daily practice. Completing a project is my only goal this year, regardless of quality, it’s about pushing myself to complete a project start to finish and in so doing, developing the way I write. After a month of writing daily, developing idea’s, and watching the project develop, I hope to change the way I write, and ultimately hope to change my life.

NaNoWriMo 2016 -Saturday, 5th November 2016 – 09:24

Some times we learn lessons the first time we become aware of them, other times we are forced to repeat the same mistakes until we are given or become aware of the resources we require to truly learn something.

Last night was a night of many lessons, most of them are now lost in the haze of having drank three glasses of prossecco in quick succession, after spending the evening nursing reasonable and regular levels of gin.

Regardless of how reasonable the gin was, I had eaten very little yesterday and the result was inevitable, but thankfully I waited until I got home until that inevitability surfaced. Bleh.

That however comes from another lesson I learned a while ago. If you drink too much too fast, your body might just disagree with your judgement, and in that time, better out than in is a good lesson to learn as you save your body a night of processing alcohol to a silly extreme.

I’m not a big drinker, and it’s because I’m not very good at it. When I was younger I used to think that I was great at it, because I could drink in stupid volumes and still get home at the end of the night. But at some point, after being the one that everyone shakes their heads at, as you lie weeping in the corner (no really, that was a thing) you realise that alcohol to any level of excess impairs not only your rational (what’s that? You need me to help you drink two full bottles of prossecco between 4 before we leave in five minutes. Well, why wouldn’t that be a good idea!) but it turns me into a version of myself I really don’t like.

It emphasises all of my most negative qualities, and for some reason turns me into a weepy version of Liberace, actually that one isn’t negative it’s just plain funny. But, I’m often left with the hangover of regret the next day, which is normally worse than the headache or wobbly tummy that the actual hangover has to offer.

I don’t have any regrets from last night however, well not having dinner was a big one, but I got through the evening while still staying very true to myself. I did however think it was a good idea to update my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, which I got wrong by a factor of 10. It would seem for the best part of the evening, I had alluded to having written 7840 words that day, when in fact it was actually 784. I have since rectified this and had to admit defeat and go back to having only managed to write 1998 words so far, however, today as with all others is a brand new day. The mantra, “today is the first day of the rest of your life” is strong today, and it is the mantra with which I will face my first full day of writing.

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Tuesday, 1st November 2016

Good intentions are, unfortunately, not all that is needed to achieve your goals. Life is about hard work, and commitment to going on with things, it is about having the drive to challenge that which does not work, and work hard to overcoming that which challenges you.

Waking up on the first morning of NaNoWriMo 2016 with Gravel Lung (the monicker I have given to the sensation of a second day chest infection settling into my lungs) was not the start I would have chosen. Yet, my day started, regardless of how prepared I was for it, so I had no choice but to get on with it.

After waking at 6am and writing my first 78 words, I then had to support my brother with his morning routine before, getting ready for work. Most of my days start this way, and though I was trying to mentally prepare myself the night before, I woke drained with little energy to spare.

Before I had time to hit the keyboard again I was behind my desk at work, sipping on herbal tea, as I do constantly when I am ill. My colleagues harangued me from the moment I got in the door until the moment they got there way, and I left at lunch time, but rather than rush home to write. I made it home only to spend the latter part of the afternoon, and the majority of the evening sleeping.

I don’t feel better yet, but as is always the way when you sleep all day, I am now wide awake, if not still quite distracted by an incessant cough and a mopey demeanour. However, I am going to channel this into writing; first for a blog post, to mark the start of my NaNoWriMo journey and then I will return to today’s project.

I did manage to use my confidence for the day in one, unexpected way. I asked someone on a date, that they did not reply, and enough time has gone by that they are unlikely to do so is besides the point. Life is not about waiting for opportunity, create it, and seize every chance you can. Don’t leave questions unasked, don’t leave lessons unlearned, don’t repress your feelings and hope that they will work themselves out. Do, and be happy doing. Live, and be happy living.

To anyone else starting a NaNoWriMo challenge today, I wish you the best of luck. May this be your year if you haven’t already completed a project, and if you have, good luck anyway. The next 29 days are about creation, and perseverance, but to those who see it through the end result will be something amazing.

Day 1: 78/50’000 words written, 49’922 words to go

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Thursday, 27th October 2016 – 09:33

I start work in 27 minutes, so blogging really shouldn’t be my top priority right now. However after falling asleep thinking about work, and waking up thinking about it, I needed to do something which didn’t involve thinking about how much work there is to do. The past few weeks at work have been an emotional spiral of ups and downs, due to a not unexpected restructure. The suddenness of it however, gave me little time to think about what I wanted vocationally so I still find myself questioning the decision I have made even though I do feel happier than I have in months, knowing that change is imminent.

I wait now only for someone to take over my current role, before I get to sink my teeth into a new challenge, albeit in slightly less work hours, but my hope is that with a new target, with set parameters and goals, I will be more likely to apply the same way of working too my own life.

As with all new things, as soon as I know they will be happening, I want them straight away, and mentally I check out from whatever my current focus is and start dreaming about what is coming next.

November 2016 is going to be an interesting and busy time for me, and hopefully it will also be successful.

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Wednesday, 26th October – 10:34

When I first started ‘Forever Distracted by Life’ I knew that I wouldn’t get into the habit of regular posting straight away, while I had a few really big idea’s as to how the blog would ultimately look, I also knew that I wasn’t ready to start the project properly, I just didn’t have the right mind set yet.

Which is why the name suited me perfectly, it was an outlet for an infrequent writer, with a desire but a misplaced inclination. I channel myself into whatever I am doing fully, but I am also very flighty, so I often start things and then walk away when my interests inevitably change.

NaNoWriMo isn’t just an opportunity for me to become a better writer, but it is a chance for me to start and finish a project, and celebrate the little victories along the way.

Usually when I post something, it is something that I have given a lot of thought, and have drafted two or three times. But in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, my posts for the next month will be posted as I write them, and will be written much more like entries in my personal log, than my previous posts. (My personal log is effectively a diary, but after years of watching Star Trek, keeping a ‘Personal Log’ is much cooler sounding than keeping a ‘diary’.)

I write for myself, that has always been my way. While my writing will always be for me, I hope that by sharing I can show that anyone can do anything they truly want to do. You don’t have to be the best at something to do it, you just have to have a passion in your heart to do something you love and a belief and understanding that you will get better every time you do that something. Compete with no-one other than yourself, and become the best version of yourself that you can be.

The Original Short Story (Where It All Began)

The following post,  is the original short story which I wrote as part of a creative writing task in High School, while the story has progressed to a stage quite far removed from this original story it is the foundations from which all other works over the past few years have grown.

This is the first piece of creative writing I have shared on here, however over the next few months my hope is to continue posting short stories I have been working on as well as personal reflective pieces from the blog itself. Thank you to all those who have followed so far, and I am grateful to all those who have gotten in touch so far.

The site will continue to develop over the coming weeks as I learn how to properly use WordPress, thank you for your support and your ongoing patience with an infrequent blogger.

Enjoy.

Night

Shafts of light pierced the abrupt darkness that enveloped the grounds of the Manor. Ambiguous shapes flitted through the moonbeams. Their emerald irises gleamed in the reflection of the silent sphere in the sky.

Alexander could only just make out the gate at the bottom of the garden. It blew open with a large crash that echoed unexpectedly in the silence of the empty grounds. The leaves did not crunch as he stepped into the garden, consumed by shadows, padding forth with caution like a skulking dog. Squinting in the cold, eerie light, the Manor dominated his peripheral view, dwarfing him as Goliath before David. There was no sound. Shadows flickered. The moon smiled. Taking light steps he ventured nearer and nearer, and stopped as he reached the dilapidated old building. Alexander could now see that slats, which from years of neglect were cracked and had several spars missing, covered all of the windows. The vines on the grey walls strangled the very life from the Manor. Light steps led towards the main entrance, and as he progressed he saw the aged oak door swing back and forth, the hinges torn at the top corner. Adjacent to this violent entrance, an eight-pointed star glistened against the drab, stone wall, surrounded by words which meant nothing to Alexander. Touching the peculiar design and others on the wall, when Alexander pushed forth the door, he was not aware that his hand was caressed with the velvety darkness of fresh blood.

Admitting Alexander over its threshold, the shadows of the Manor swallowed his very essence. Standing silently in the corner stood a grandfather clock; which even after years of disrepair still commanded its dignity with a majestic air. Moonlight penetrated the gaps in the shutters, and fell upon the pools of blood, which lay at the foot of the ancient maple staircase. Ascending the stairs, he watched, as they grew larger, twisting into beautiful scarlet rosettes. Like a shroud, fear draped over him. Each step was layered with years of dust and as he rose he blessed each silent step. No longer did the blood lie upon the floor, replaced instead by a smear in the dust which led to a solitary door at the end of the corridor. He approached the door and listened intently. There was no sound within this room.

Nerves shot through him, and each breath was short and sharp as his hand stretched out towards the brass handle. An almost inaudible creak reached his ears, he was sure it had come from the confines of this room. Pulling out his gun, he kicked the door open, but could see nothing. Emptiness and a permanent shadow filled every corner of this room. The dead air chilled him and the only light able to defile this absolutely darkened tomb fell upon an archaic ledger lying upon a solitary table. Gun lowered, he approached the table, and he cast his eye inquisitively over the cover. The gold lettering had come off the leather bound tome in most places, but looking closer at them, he could see that they were written in the same unknown language, which he had seen as he had entered this very building. Looking through it Alexander was fascinated to see that it was empty; all except for the middle pages, which had drawn on them a large eight pointed star.

The drawing seemed to glow in the unnatural moonlight as he turned to leave. The cold was relentless. Without warning he fell to the floor, the gun flying from his hand and ricocheting against an invisible wall. A large shapeless entity lay upon the floor; this was the cause of his crash to the ground. He stood and once more walked over to the window. Placing his hands upon the shutters he pulled with all his might. The old wood protested pitifully before finally succumbing to the harsh light, which lay readily behind it; as it fell to the floor the light flooded into the room like warriors hastening to the empty spaces in a battlefield.

Alexander turned and for the first time since he had crossed the very threshold gave an audible gasp. Lying face down upon the floor, a body was draped in an ornate emerald cloak. Inching forward he lowered himself towards the ground, level with this unknown body. He placed his fingers on the victim’s neck, trying to find a pulse. The skin abhorred him in its fetid frozen attitude. But something was not right; the body looked somehow different. Healthy. At peace. Alexander was dimly aware of the fluttering against the window and strange shadows danced upon the carved stone floor. And there they were: Two holes, round and true piercing the skin of this stranger, the life-force drained yet lending a strangely erotic and sensual fullness to the curve of the neck. Alexander was at once repulsed and intrigued.

The shutters rattled, though there was no wind. The moon shone and the puncture marks of the corpse penetrated ominously like the piercing eyes of the soul-less dead.

When the door silently closed behind him, Alexander knew he had finally found what he was looking for.

What is Phoenix?

About ten years ago I was but a fifteen-year-old high school student. I was by no means the best student in the world, or for that matter the hardest working. But I tried, when I felt like it.

One area I always tried in was creative writing, from a young age I found myself obsessed with reading, and by extension writing. I had a pretty good upbringing, but for one reason or another I never quite got on with many other young people. I did of course have some friends, but as is the case with most school friends, they were built on superficial foundations, which crumbled when tested to any degree. Reading for me, was a form of escapism, one that I reveled in, as depending on the book I was reading at the time, I could be anywhere or find out anything. I love science fiction and fantasy books as a genre, but often found myself getting too attached to the characters, I would be heartbroken when I finished a book as it meant I no longer had time to spend with those characters.

And then I started writing, mostly I would write short stories which were parodies or extensions of books or TV shows I liked, in essence fan fiction, but as I was quite young I was not yet familiar with the fan fiction forums which comprise many domains within cyberspace. It wasn’t until I was in high school that my family got the first Internet accessible computer in our house; thus any extended adventures which the characters I had come to know and love had become limited only to my imagination. I recall many an hour after primary school, devoted to the adventures of a young Pokémon trainer from Fallin but these stories alas do not seem to have survived the test of time. Perhaps though, that’s for the best.

For a long time that is all writing was to me, an extra episode of a show I liked or a secret lost chapter of a book which I had enjoyed reading, most of the things I wrote were unfortunately never even kept. However, the purpose of the stories I wrote was to entertain me, and so they fulfilled their purpose and gave me a life long passion for storytelling.

I digress however; back to fifteen-year-old Darren and his favorite original short story. I wrote a short story as part of a writing task for my fourth year English portfolio and for years it sat in a folder in my bedroom, and then by absolute coincidence an American woman, who also happened to be an author moved into my house (a story I promise to tell you one day, but it deserves a post of it’s own). Within no time at all she had become a friend, a confidante, and an inspiration. I read some of her work, and was hooked, I realized quite early after I met her, that writing wasn’t just something, which I could do to entertain myself; I could actually begin to tell a story. The story I had then was just one short story which I was proud of, but she read it critically, and the feedback she gave me filled me with such confidence, that I felt I could do anything.

I began to plan how the story could develop and how I could go on to tell it.

Five years later, I am still getting ready to tell my story, but it is not quite the same story as the one I started with. It has grown and become it‘s own universe, populated with characters I know better than myself. It has grown and evolved and while some aspects of the original short story are still present, the world that has developed from it has far surpassed what I ever hoped it could. The main story is still in development, and due to time restrictions because of my job and study obligations I haven’t been able to write as often as I would like to over the years, but now I reach a time in my life where I can afford to readdress what is important to me. Everyone has to start somewhere and for me, today is the beginning of the rest of my life.

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