Have a read of my piece of short fiction, Wilting Lily, over on Alliterati magazine’s site. It is centred around a strained mother/daughter relationship and is the first bit of writing I have ever had published! There are lots of other wonderful pieces of art in the magazine that are definitely worth checking out too. The magazine’a tag line is: The best fresh talent in art + literature.
Here is my write up on the page:
Emma Swan is a 19 year old student of English literature and Creative writing. She comes from a working class family in the North east of England and strives to write fiction which captures the heart and soul in seemingly desperate situations. Finding beauty in the mundane and diamonds in the rough as she goes.
Okay so I want to start by saying that I am so glad this issue is getting a lot of media coverage recently. The brave souls who are valiantly retelling stories they’d probably rather forget, for the sake of helping others is inspiring.
Finally, FINALLY the issue is being taken seriously and there have been some massive steps forward in tackling the issue:
- It is now against the law, and a sentancable offense to abuse your partner (emotionally, physically, financially).
- Police are trained to notice signs of abuse and we no longer think we should “mind your own, it’s a domestic.”
- People are talking about the issue more and more, making those suffering feel less (in some cases) scared to seek help.
- Soaps are covering abuse in all it’s forms and from men and women.
This is all a wonderful and yes a big step forward. However, I have also noticed some things that may not be helping to liberate victims:
- I recently noticed on a school newsletter there was info on the school councillor and then a disclaimer that if the child mentions domestic violence of any sort, they would liaslize with the local police.
- Talking therapies have to ask wether patients are suffering any abuse, as if so they would have to refer them to another service.
To me it appears that finding out if someone is in an abusive relationship has become another tick in a box. What if a child is petrefied of getting their parent locked up (as you can imagine they would be, conflicted, confused and scared) but seriously needs to talk? Is that not putting the child in another situation out of their control, pressuring them that if they want to chat about it, they’ll have to get the coppers in as well? What if someone doesn’t have the courage to go to the police yet, if they just need to talk about it, slowly realise their worth and leave on their own grounds?
I know abuse can be life threatening so I understand the reasons behind this new police forward motive, it’s just that I think it has the potential to put victims off coming forward more than anything else. If it comes to it, they’ll ring the police themselves, yet it is often the last thing they want to do (partners and sufferers may still have feelings for their partner and regardless of the abuse it is a hard thing to do, turning your partner in) so why cut off the life line of a CONFIDENTIAL ear in the form of councelling etc?
It doesn’t make it easier or safer for victims and crucially I don’t think the new motive is helping to get anyone out of their situation. In my eyes it protects the goverment, schools and councillors more than the victims. I would be very interested to know other peoples opinions. People who are being abused often feel like they have no control of their lives because of their partner, who is the goverment to further remove the liberty of the way they choose to deal with this unthinkable situation?
Location: Corbridge (North East)
Price: £4 (£3 consessions)
Open: Wednesday and Saturday
Worth a visit: Whey aye
I had never heard of this little sanctuary before it popped up on my daily groupon deals. I went with my sister, grandma and mother on sunny Saturday gone and completely fell in love with the zen vibe of the place.
On entry a whimsical looking lady appeared to give us a lamented guide and inform us that the next batch of tea was going to be brewed up soon! We meandered around the gardens, reading the charming plaques listing different plants, their uses and any folklore stories on them.
The plants themselves were magnificent, and it was enchanting learning all the different uses of herbs and shrubs which we so often take for granted. I certainly felt inspired to cultivate and use plants for all their goodness more: (Place lavender under your pillow for plenty of zzz’s and to add flavour to a bland fruit tea)! Adorning the magical walkways were beautiful ornaments of buddhas, deers and fairies which made it feel like we were walking in a little wonderland.
Some hilight’s were: laying on the camomile lawn and listening to nature, being big kids and playing a human sized game of snakes and ladders, banging the gong, the tree swing and sitting on the time on the sun dial. There was a children’s play area with giant chess, bouncy mushrooms and various toys which would keep children entertained for a while (and the big kids). Accessibility-wise the terrain is rather bumpy and the hill upto the garden quite steep, there are no stairs but some areas may be difficult to acsess for those with mobility problems.
I would recccomend taking a little picnic and sitting around the mind, spirit, soul lake. The garden is open on both a Wednesday and a Saturday and it is worth checking the website to find out about the various courses, classes and drop in’s they do. A visit to the shop which is brim full of useful herb concoctions and balms is sure to satisfy even the most reluctant shopper, as I think it is difficult not to be charmed by the fact the shop is not monitered and you have to pay via an honesty box.
One of my favourite parts of the garden was the spirit henge. Each was to signify a different belief/religion e.g. Christianity, wiccan, buddhist. It was created to illustrate how all can stand together in harmony. I think this sign of goodwill and togetherness sums up the whole garden for me. The place is a paradise with good intentions, to educate, not discriminate and to bring people together, and heal them, through the power of our beautiful little pals, PLANTS! 🌱
Sitting in my box room
Listening to the strokes and watching the moon
Wondering if you’re looking at it too.
(It takes time)
Love is like learning an instrument,
You have to practice or you will forget
And if you don’t pick me up tonight at 6, you might have to try extra hard next week.
(Time takes it.)
In today’s image focused world, it can be hard to see past the big, red, ‘Rudolf’s nose’ boil sprouting under your skin/ Perfect hour-glass women like sirens on the covers of glossy magazines flashing: ‘BUY ME NOT THE PACK OF CHOCCIE BUTTONS!’ and not to mention, picture perfect snaps people upload onto social networking sites, sepia-toned here, contrast-up there: making their lives seem like a Insta-dream!
Although these seem like silly light-hearted things, they can add up, making our bad day seem like the end of the world. It can truly be a recipe for disaster. Even though we don’t want to believe it, there is still a strong class divide in the country. Some kids just don’t get. Now imagine a child casually flicking through one of their school-mates pictures, seeing them on various holidays, new clothes every week, the latest gadgets. How is that going to make them feel? If their having a bad time at home, and they see happy family photos glooming over them, the pangs of jealousy are bound to well up. This is modern-day oppression, and it seems like there’s nothing we can do about it.
I can only say this: don’t believe everything you see. People are very deep things. No-one is likely to admit their having a bit of a crap time; no-one’s going to broadcast their sadness. When someone posts: ‘HAVING AN AMAZE TIME AT (wherever) WITH (whoever) (Insert smiley photograph)’ Why are they bothering to go onto their phone if they’re having such a great time? Those who are constantly posting what they’re doing/ where they’re going, pictures of meals they’re about to eat, are actually revealing a need for approval. In some cases it seems they need people to think their having a brilliant time, that for them social acceptance is everything! This is the reason I don’t have Facebook, I cannot stand this continuous self promotion. But unfortunately we all buy into it, no matter how opposed to it (cough cough) we pretend to be. I am guilty of the occasional drunk post. It really makes you wonder what cognitive process is going on in our heads if we seem to gravitate towards publicising our every move after a few bevvies.
But we need to try and remember that: in 10 years you won’t care, if:
- You looked crap on photos from nights out.
- If you had hairy underarms!
- How many likes your selfie got on instagram.
- If your hair was a little bit greasy towards the end of the week.
- If you had the latest IPhone.
- If your Facebook page made you look interesting.
- If you had Cara Deleveinge eyebrows.
- That you couldn’t afford what was in Topshop.
- If your flicks weren’t even.
- You won’t even care if your belly popped over your bikini in holiday snaps!
The only thing that will matter is that you had loads of fun, were true to yourself and made your family proud. Do something out of your comfort zone, volunteer and help others, these things will make you beautiful inside. I’m not saying it’s not nice to look nice (it can make you feel nice!), just that there are more important things, like love, laughter and friendship. The best advice I can give is to live for others, to do for others, and then you yourself will be happy!
PS. A great bit of advice that my dad often grounds me with when I talk of all the things I want to do, is: ‘Tell me when you’ve started it’. So here you go, start today: https://do-it.org/