Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting
April showers bring May flowers

Monday, 22 April 2019

⌗AtoZ challenge, April 22nd 2019, Letter S

Here is my contribution to the A to Z Challenge of April 2019.
This is the first time I am participating in this challenge, so we'll see if I have the stamina to complete the whole month !

I am also, very ambitiously, writing for the April NaNoWriMo ! So the challenge is
twofold !! But I'm behind in the NaNoWrite, 1500 words out of 10 000 because I'm concentrating on research and building bridges with my contacts.

Hang on to your horse and enjoy the ride. And good luck to all my fellow participants.

If you would like to more more about the A to Z challenge or join in the future go here

In keeping with John Holton's post, (our host today), I have no intention of stopping today, either the AtoZ challenge for 2019, nor blogging. I might not br blogging every day in May, because I will have have other work, and play to do, Tennis to watch ( the clay season: Vamos RAFA) !
I will still have the IWSG post every month on a Wednesday, the WEP-IWSG challenge every two months (I missed April and the Jewel Box !) and the FMF post every week on a Friday on this blog. Then I will be going back to that I have completely neglected this month ( Kevin has been sending me emails frequently ! ). In the future, I have not decided if I will be posting more frequently or not, neither which day I favour. "Tears on a Tuesday, that won't do.." as Postman Pat says. That's an Idea !

S is for Snow

Burst out of the door, all excited about the funny fluffy Stuff which has Smothered everything outside during the night.
The lawn, the sidewalk, the street, the flower-beds, the tree stump, all were blanketed beneath the glistening white Snow.
White rubber boots, artificial fur fringed blue anorak, white rubber mittens, all so tight I could hardly move.
I'm a Space man setting out to discover a lost planet.
I slither down the steps but can't go any further.
Towering above me is a tenfoot wall of dark, white compact ice-cream.
One leg forward and it disappears in the freezing mush. The other leg too and I fall flat in the cushioning cold flakes.
And Scream.
When my mother retrieves me a few hours, no seconds in fact later, I've had my first taste of fresh snow : mouth, ears, hair, melting down my neck and rolling down through the crack between sleeve and glove into my open palms.

I wrote this little piece November 18th 2005 for my first writing workshop with Ione Harrison who had an MA in creative writing, had published a few short stories in magazines and was living in a village just outside Villefranche de Lauragais, about 50 km from Toulouse, with her husband and small children. She set up this workshop to earn a bit of money to supplement her husband's income as a self-employed building entrepreneur. They had decided to leave England and to move to France and this area because the prospects, climate and quality of life in this part of the world had attracted them.
We were only 4 in this writing workshop, including Ione. She charged us 5 euros a session and we met in her kitchen. My first session was on Monday 8th September 2005. Before I left to drive to the workshop, my mother had phoned to say that my father had died in the night between Saturday and Sunday 7th. Of course, she wanted me to come at once, as my older sister had been in the hospital treating depression since July. I booked my Tuesday morning flight to Paris and told her I had just signed up for a writing workshop that started that morning : no matter what I was going ! Except if one of my children or husband had been in dire need of me. I had been waiting too long to get my professional career as a writer going to miss out on this opportunity. It may seem callous of me but I had put the needs of my old family in perspective. After all I hadn't chosen them and their behaviour suggested that they hadn't chosen me either, at least not the me I was as opposed to the me they expected me to be.
For this piece of writing, the instructions were :
"Writing from memory: The means by which you remind yourself of the past are the same ones that any writer needs to use in order to create any kind of experience for their reader. You need to recreate exact colours and smells and textures. These sensual clues are what can take you back at any moment to a point in the past. The tiniest of things can re-evoke the biggest, most elaborate scene, for example finding a cat's eye marble ( Margaret Atwood) or dipping biscuits in tea ('la madeleine de' Marcel Proust). Your precise and detailed evocation of experience is how you make your stories seem like your reader's own memories" Ione Harrison.
The idea of writing with your 5 senses ( or with your 6th sense!), I learnt during my MA in Anglophone Literature and Civilisation at Toulouse University (2002-2006) and found again in  my Open University creative writing courses of 2007, 2008 and 2009, is called Synaesthesia.

I don't have any photographs from my New York childhood at hand (they are all in my mother's  house) but this memory is a picture in my mind. I have a photographic memory. My dreams are films with dialogues, not just words and thoughts. I remember the fright, the cold and the towering wall. It must have been at the beginning of 1967 when I was nearly two. " You can't possibly remember that ", I hear a voice...and yet it happened and I remember it !

SNOW by Angus and Julia Stone (brother and sister), September 2017  go here

Snowman in our garden, January 2013

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, one of my daughter's and my favourite winter stories  go here
Christmas present from my Auntie Ann to my youngest daughter.

Week One of Ione Harrison's Workshop (my handwritten notes), September 2005
Good thing I didn't miss it !

Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment and I will be sure to reply in full. Exchanges are what make the World go Round.
Grey here in Toulouse this morning, rained in the night. Southerly wind bringing sand from the Sahara. Sun glowing through now, still no hint of blue sky. Sunny and hot in London on Easter weekend. Showers and cool again forecast for next weekend.
See you tomorrow for more adventures.