Monday, February 28, 2011

28th February ~ a small stone

another grey Monday
one too many
the aptness of
cake for breakfast

such perfect sponge
my mouth as well be
falling back into bed

I made red velvet cupcakes with chocolate frosting for Paul's birthday.  Totally vegan of course.  And it gives me hope.  Because it was, in my humble opinion, the best cake I've ever made. 

This morning I am bleary eyed from lack of sleep and Jake is fast recovering from his bug and is banging blocks on the table demanding my attention.  It's not quite working so now he's crying.  I don't know how much cake will be left by the end of the day.

Draw every day ~ February 28th

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 22nd

February 22nd ~ a small stone

Jake pulls cds out and pushes them back in
slide-click, slide-click
stops at Daniel Johnston (Fear Yourself)
takes it off the shelf, opens it
a smiling skull on red
"Happy there," Jake says
flips it closed
a photo of Daniel asleep in a chair
"Not happy there"
Open, giggle
Flip, pause
Open, giggle
Daniel's dishevilled hair
his ample belly
his sleeping face
shut, click.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19th ~ a small stone

on the train to Brighton
for Claire’s birthday
champagne in plastic flutes
veggie sausage rolls
a toast, a song
and within 20 minutes
“clitoris”, “hairy nipples”, “tits”, “smeg”, “arse”

Sarah says, “I do not shave my armpits, I do not shave my legs”
“Is that a poem?”
someone interjects
sparking several compositions
about shaving
and sheds

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 16th ~ a small stone

A chorus of birds accompany a whiny saw solo reaching a crescendo. Outdoor DIY, a magpie with a branch in its beak, one tree sprouting dark red foliage on an avenue of bare ones. The coming of spring is ever more convincing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 15th

15th February ~ a small stone, and a few words on flashing


Sheathed green spears
tightly embraced buds
the promise of unfurling
into butter-yellow spring.


The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that my posts are becoming shorter.  This is due to three things:

1) It's getting harder and harder to beat the toddler off the computer with a stick / promises of chocolate or even crisps.

2) I've started flashing.  Mainly between Sunday & Tuesday, but I find it's spilling into other days too, when I do practice flashing in preparation for the weekly parade.  It's okay, I've joined a great support group.  But it's taking up a lot of my time. 

3) I'm still doing the shitload of projects I impulsively signed up for way back when...the fiction project, drawing every day, stoning, shredding.  When will I learn?

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14th ~ a small stone

Frying garlic, an alarm goes off in the street.  For a moment I think the garlic is shrieking, like lobsters in boiling water. 


The drawing I did today is appalling.  So I'm not posting it.  Suffice it to say, my mind was elsewhere.  In bed probably, where I should be now.  Night night.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 13th ~ a small stone

Skyping Mum & Dad, we hear a wwhhhomp-wwhhhomp-wwhhhomp on the line. It repeats at regular intervals. My father says its construction work but it sounds closer, like it’s coming from one of us ~ the sound of a heartbeat through a monitor.


Draw every day ~ February 13th

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 12th

12th February ~ a small stone (in 100 words)

Making Jake’s jam toast, I notice a thicker blob being flattened by the knife.
I don’t look closely but file it away as a piece of strawberry.
When I hand Jake his plate, he inspects it and points ~
“What’s this Mummy, don’t like it.”
It’s just part of the jam Jake.
He looks at it again and hands me the plate.
“Don’t like it.”
Ok, I’ll take it off for you.

As I pick it off, I see it is the starry cap from the bottom of
the stem, darkened from green to black, looking like
a squished bug.

Draw every day ~ February 11th

I felt too cruddy to draw yesterday, so this was drawn today instead.  The control freak in me won out yet again in the need to label it as yesterday's, so there wouldn't be any gaps.  It's okay, I'm already in therapy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11th ~ a stone

such relief, the sound of tiny snoring


And that's all I want to say today.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Draw every day ~ Feb 10th

10th February ~ ug!!!

aches and hot flushes
but I still have to be a Mum
(for at least half a day)
a mug of fevergrass tea
holds all my hopes

walking home in the rain
I wonder how it is possible
to be frustrated and enchanted in equal measure
by a small boy stopping to jump in every puddle
and pick up every stick and throw it in the stream
of water running along the sides of the road into the gutters
and running sticks along railings
oblivious to the wet in his shoes, socks, hair
and to his sick and tired Mummy
shouting “Come on Jake” a little too much

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

9th February ~ ooooh, a stone!

Listening to Mozart's minuet, symphony no. 39 in e-flat.  Goosebumps from my toes to my ears, knowing that Thomas Hardy heard this too, the very same notes.  Time travel on sound waves.

Draw every day ~ February 9th

If I wanted to pretend that I was a serious artist, I could say that I left the object unshaded because I was making a deliberate statement about the ethereal nature of childhood.  (It's Jake's toothbrush).  But the truth is, I'm tired today and I was too lazy. 

9th February ~ a stone or not a stone (100 word question)

I’ve tried but it’s not happening today.  The eggshells in the bowl are just eggshells, holding nothing of my anticipation of buttery toast dipped in runny yolk, and the blue sky is just blue sky, indifferent to my dismay at another wall of grey this morning and my surprise when I looked up and it had changed.  Maybe this is a stone, a fully engaged moment where I feel my inability to engage.  Or maybe the engaging today is painful.  The flu-ey cold ache in my body dominates all.  It wants to drag me to bed and keep me there.

Draw every day ~ February 8th

I actually drew this today, but I'm anal, and because I missed a drawing yesterday, I felt the need to catch up and do two today and assign one of them to yesterday.  Welcome to my carefully categorised world.  I'm tired, and I think it shows in the drawing.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

February 8th ~ a small stone (and 100 word diary)

Jake watches his shadow punch the air, carefree
delighted with himself, he turns to me with his mouth open
spilling out laughter


It's been a day of mixed blessings.  Gorgeous light, first sunny day since Thursday and I really wanted to take Jake out.  But we have both been tired-cranky-brittle and I haven't had the patience to be understanding about his toddlerdom, his frustrated hitting, his sudden loud crying when he doesn't get what he wants.  Although his naps are rare these days, he really needed one today.  After an hour and a half of cajoling / shouting / negotiating / persuading, he succumbed while I held him on my lap, his head falling onto my shoulder.  Finally too tired to resist.

Draw every day ~ February 7th

Monday, February 07, 2011

February 7th ~ small stones

A jewelled cross lies on the blue painted gate of the Baptist Church. It catches the light and sparkles. Someone has found it and placed it there to be rediscovered.

Jake looks up and stops. Big houses!! I follow his gaze and see a tuft of grass sprouting in a rain gutter. Against the blue sky, a floating island.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 6th

Spot the mistake.  What happens when you don't pay attention.

6th February ~ 150 word diary made of stones

The first crocuses! Delicate purple petals shiver in the wind. I see them and squeak.

Eating my soft-shell crab maki rolls, I glance at the nature film being shown on a screen above our table. A scene of herons shifts to a mass of emperor penguins. I dip my maki roll into my soy sauce and wasabi and take a bite, looking up to see a fluffy grey penguin chick being pecked by a huge gull. The camera zooms in on the gull’s bloodied face and then to Momma Penguin lifting her beak to the sky. Even though the sound is muted, I can hear her keening.

At the Imperial War Museum, away from textbooks and movies and the Queen’s grave face on Remembrance Day, the carved metal and striped fabric becomes real. Even in polished, framed boxes, every medal becomes a story, the wounded skin of a person’s heart.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 5th

5th February ~ 100ish word diary made of stones

There is no sky today, only cloud and dark grey light.
Although I know it isn’t pressing down, a part of me disagrees.

A small dog lies on green matting under a market stall. 
He trembles and the noises around us suddenly seem louder.

After yoga, such a tangible sense of space in my body
that I visualise it in a diagram, somewhere between the heart and lungs.

I forgot about the bubble wrap under the book on the floor.
Stepping on it lets off a noise like scatter-gun farts.
This time it makes me laugh.
Maybe because I feel lighter.

As I spread Marmite on Ryvita, I remember
kissing Jake's plump cheek, the taste of wet tear and peanut butter.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 4th

My viewpoint: Hmmmm, my efforts at shading are not working very well, maybe I should leave these drawings unshaded.

Jake's viewpoint: Are you drawing fork Mummy?  Well done! (with applause)

There isn't much that feels better than that. :-)

4th February ~ a small stone (and some other stuff)

our silver birch tree has had a trim
I watched in anxiety as her witch’s hair was shorn
wanting to tidy a stray branch left straggling
wondering why I should feel bare

Today Jake and I watched a young man in a turquoise hard hat scale the silver birch trees on our street in order to give them trims. He had a rope and pulley system and special boots and his chain saw was hoisted up to him on a separate rope by his colleague. It was strange to see so much equipment used to scale a relatively skinny tree.

Last night on Human Planet, I watched in awe as a rainforest tribesman scaled a 100-ft tree to retrieve honey from hundreds of angry bees. He climbed up with his bare feet, using a single rope and a machete. He said, “When climbing big trees, you have to empty your heart of fear. If you have fear you will fall. Many good friends have fallen.” We also saw a group of children no older than 7 or 8 years old hunt enormous tarantulas and then cook them over an open fire as a snack.  What's normal depends entirely on what you are used to.


No shred today, did 40 minutes of yoga instead.  After the "Shanti practice", I added a core practice to my routine cos Jake was happily watching trains on you tube.  Thus ensued 7 minutes of the most hilarious attempts at "situ-ups" I've ever done.  Shiva Rea made them look graceful. I giggled through much of it, but definitely felt it.  I'm surprised at my response to all the ab work I've done this week.  I used to hate and dread it and always struggled through it, but this week I've enjoyed every single crunch - athletic or yogic, thrown at me. 
(100 word diary)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 3rd

And here's my hunk of bread that looks like a brain. 

I now wish I hadn't coloured it in.  The tonal values are all wrong.  I wonder if it would've looked less brainy if I'd left it unshaded.

3rd February ~ small stones (my 1000th post!!)

long shadow of a lamp post
poised to take a photo
clouds erase my picture

thin shadows of reeds
reflect on water mirroring the sky but
a discarded can of Tennants spoils my poetic vision

A tall brown boxer walks by
Jake says, “Sad that doggy”
and turns his lips down in a perfect imitation

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Draw every day ~ February 2nd

I was about to fill in some shadows so the leaf looks more like it does, but a certain little person saw it, said, "Oh look a leaf!" grabbed it and took it off somewhere.

2nd February ~ small stones

new shoots push through the earth
even under cloudy skies

broken glass from a mirror
leaves the shape of a gull’s head

a crow perches on the tail feathers
of a brass rooster weather vane


After a month of writing stones, I think I am just starting to understand what a small stone is.  Each time I compose one, I wonder if I'm "getting it right."  I've been very focussed on what I see, but have also been wondering if observation is more than that, some place between seeing and knowing.

Draw every day ~ February 1st

So the project I mentioned that I'm doing for February is drawing every day.  It grew out of my experience of writing stones and a desire to draw more.  The idea is to draw something ordinary that I see each day.  It is not about making beautiful or fancy creations.  I want to keep the drawings simple, to use minimal colour and to focus on what I see.  Because that process of seeing is meditative in the way that writing stones is and has been meditative, eye-opening, a way of being present and awake to the world. 

I will be using ink so that I can't rub out any mistakes.  Because the mistakes are part of the process, and the drawing will be a record of how I saw in that moment.

1st February ~ since I can't seem to stop writing stones...

...I'll continue to post them.  Here are some from today.

Jake's hair in morning light
neither my colour nor Paul's
green slashes on our hands and feet
aftermath of toddler creativity
one focussed boy
bright smears of paint
beautiful mess

The last stone was preceeded by Jake telling me to "go check something on 'puter Mummy ok?"  Since he's been so clingy (stalkerish) lately, I knew he was planning something "naughty" but I decided to let him have his space.  He was painting and I went and enjoyed an unexpected few moments of being on the computer without being harangued.  After 5 minutes of absolute silence from him, I heard the steady sound of water dripping onto the carpet.  So I went to have a look.

His paint pens were bobbing upside down in his water cup, which was now overflowing with blue water and was trickling over the rim, over his (gorgeously bright) painting (see photo below) and onto the carpet.  His hands were holding sodden tissues stained red.  He looked up at me with a big cheesey grin then went back to what he was doing.  I mopped up the puddles on the carpet, wiped away the excess water on the table then let him carry on.  He was just so happy, I didn't want to stop him.