The Secret People

I’ve written a few poems today but it’s kind of in lieu of anything more meaty. I found some stuff in a notebook and it made me think about the whole process of where ideas come from. I’ve put a bit of that over at: http://viviennetuffnell.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/the-lost-hero/

But then words started spinning in my mind and the following was the result. I don’t tend to go for rhyming couplets but it just happened like that, so…

 

The Secret People

 

The Secret People are inside my head

The Secret People wait beside my bed

They wait until I fall asleep

Then climb right in and dig in deep

Their voices whisper the whole night long

They tell me stories, they’ll sing their song

Yet when I wake and open my eyes
Their tales are just elaborate lies

Sound and fury and nothing more

And yet they thrill me to the core

Inspiring me to write their words

Before they fly like frightened birds

The Secret People are inside my mind

But the Secret People are never kind

They’ll use me as their living tool

To write their stories and be their fool

Until one day I’ll wake and see

The Secret People have fled from me

A scrap of my life

Covent Garden April 09

 

A scrap of my life:

Perched on a kerbstone,

Sun hot on one side,

Shade and cool the other,

I watch as feet shod in rainbows

Glitter and catch the fleeing sun;

The endless to and fro

As people of all nations and ages

Stride or dawdle across pavements.

A busker sings Scarborough Fair

Making me feel old and young

In just one brief moment.

The sky: blue and cotton wool.

A breeze tickles my face

With stray hairs while

A sneeze lurks unfulfilled.

Smells of food and coffee

Soap, perfume and petrol

Drift like cunning ghosts

As waves of people wander past.

There’s a hum as if a hundred

Excited crickets all thrummed

And sang in unison:

Twenty languages in ten minutes.

Feet aching, I rest, create a space

Within the hubbub and bustle

Where I can be alone inside,

Enjoying the chance just to BE.

The sun warms the stones, tiny puddles

Shrink and vanish, their furtive gleams

Whispering out, leaving dust and debris

Where silver rain once lay.

Forty-five minutes remain.

Shall I stay or go?

Legs aching, I stay.

Old Cow

Old Cow

 

From town to town the old cow lows,

Foghorns mooing across the miles;

Unseen cattle calling their herd.

Thick fog wreaths shoreline and sea

Turning mundane matters into mystical,

Hiding dull drabness with veils of white

The mist burns off by mid afternoon

And the sun chases clouds away.

Now that the day is come clear,

Where do the fog-cows graze?

Lost and Found

Last week, I lost my wedding ring. It’s not my real wedding ring which is too small to wear when my joints swell up with the occasional bout of arthritis, but one my husband bought me on our 20th wedding anniversary. It was made of fairtrade silver from Bali and had a central band of Celtic knots that spins independently of the rest of the ring. I’ve had a lot of entertainment from that ring (I’m a simple soul, really)

I searched high and low and even ended up cleaning into corners that had been untouched for months. Not a sign. But I found: the dog’s tennis ball, a couple of errant tubs of lipbalm belonging to various members of the household, a pendant I had bought as a birthday present for someone and then lost (it was under my printer!) an assortment of other small things and a lot of dust bunnies. I even emptied bins and the hoover, and the recycling bin.

I came to the conclusion that the faeries had nicked it. I know how silly this sounds to people who don’t believe in faeries, but my experience is that there are beings who are very playful and sometimes very naughty who move items in some houses. I’m not actually disorganised as such and I’m not untidy, but there have been times when things of vital use have vanished utterly from where all can confirm they were put and despite frantic searching, of every possible corner, pocket, bag, box and shelf, the item is not there. I once had my car keys vanish when I needed them urgently and having turned out my pockets repeatedly and tear the house apart, I found them an hour later…IN THE POCKET I HAD TURNED INSIDE OUT, in front of witnesses. The same happened with the candlestick from Cluedo; it turned up in the murder envelope, which had previously been empty of all but the 3 cards.

The house we had in Darkest Norfolk was especially prone to this sort of episode; it affected guests and inhabitants alike. That house had darker secrets I may write about another time, but it’s not for today.

I can’t express my relief to find the ring again nor my amusement at the means of recovery.

I was getting dressed after my usual shower, and I went into my undies drawer for clean underpinnings, and as I pulled out a pair of knickers, the ring seemingly materialised from inside them.

Well, where else do you return a wedding ring? It seems the faeries have a naughty sense of humour !

A small but deep kind of magic

PICT0734

A very strange and magical thing has been happening today.

Something that baffles people even today as much as it must have baffled the ancients.

Bees arrived.

We set up our hive in the garden, not intending to leave it there, but because we’re incurable optimists, we added the tiny vial of bee pheromone. Nothing happened. We saw a bee or two have a little look and then vanish.

Then this morning one appeared that seemed to be taking a very keen interest and going inside. Later this afternoon, I was sitting in the garden and noticed not one but six or seven bees going in and out. Not daring to take the lid off, I fetched one of our stethoscopes (yes, we have about ten; it’s a long story) and listened at the side of the hive. Rising like the sound of distant chain saws came the noise of buzzing from deep within the cedarwood walls.

Bees have arrived. I’m not sure yet if they’ve come to rob the pristine frames of wax but I don’t think so.

Magic, old and deep as nature herself has happened. Yes, we helped it along maybe with the pheromones, but even so, no one is very sure how any of this works. As far as I am aware, there are no hives near us and yet, bees found this hive and moved in.

Amazing, isn’t it?

edited at 7pm.

Been out in my beesuit and found that I was mistaken and they haven’t yet moved in. But bees keep popping in and out and since my teacher tells me they don’t steal wax, I can only conclude that these are still scouts and they are still making up their(hive)mind whether this is the des.res. of their dreams.

Fingers crossed…..

The Healing Power of Writing

I’m sitting up here while a concoction of tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, spinach and quinoa bubbles away downstairs in the kitchen. The smell of garlic, paprika and herbs de Provence rises steadily, reminding me of my tendency to mix and match things even in my culinary experiments as well as my literary ones. I’m going out a bit later for my beekeeping course and we need to eat early as we need to be at the Bee Centre at seven tonight.

I realised something rather profound today. Well, profound for me at any rate. When I sat down to write Seminar yesterday I set out to simply record what had happened, to get it down in black and white so I could look at it objectively and get over it. It didn’t happen. As I said somewhere in the comments, I got as far as the giggling of goblins and then the piece took a life of its own and took me with it. It was a great ride, too!

I certainly don’t claim it as great literature, but I will claim it as healing literature for me. I let something happen; I relinquished control and let a different side of me work. The side of me that is lighter hearted, mischevious and slightly childish needed to appear to save the very adult me from swallowing myself up in wails of “It’s not fair!” and my inevitable retreat into my default setting of mildly suicidal depression. I found I could laugh at the situation and take it a lot less seriously than I had before. I could see things for what they were. Oh, I believe in faeries and goblins and all that stuff, by the way but the ones we have to fear the most are the ones who have become semi-human, like the ones in Seminar. You can’t spot them for what they are unless you are trained to see it.

It’s also reminded me that I have a gift with words. I’d got a bit lost about that, really. I’d forgotten that I could write, just like that, at the drop of the proverbial hat and LET IT JUST COME. You see, the chief goblin had stolen my gift for a while. She made me believe, subconsciously at any rate, that to write you have to plan and edit and agonise and nit-pick and fiddle endlessly to be a writer.

Bollocks! To be a writer, you just need to write. To be a singer, you sing, to be a dancer, you dance. To fly, the bird opens her wings and takes off. She doesn’t spend hours studying aero-dynamics and so on; she just flies.

To be a good writer, you have to write a lot. You serve an apprenticeship where you write rubbish, but you learn your trade and if you’re lucky you might get a mentor.  But to simply be a writer, good, bad, brilliant or indifferent, the only thing you  need to do is to write.

Writing a daft story about goblins healed something in me. I hope that healing extended a little to my readers too

Contact Points, a book plug

It’s taken me longer than I intended to write this post and for this I apologise.

I’m doing a little bit of a book plug, for a friend. It’s a very unusual little book in terms of its subject matter, and for that subject matter, it’s also unusual  because of it’s down to earth and non-sensational approach to an area that is hopelessly prone to drama and sensationalism.

Contact Points is a series of short essays about the communication of the dead with the living, and was written by Elaine Moss. You can read more about the book and why Elaine wrote it at    http://elainemoss.com/home.html

I’ve known Elaine for quite a long time, really, as the wife of a lecturer who taught my husband some branch of chemistry back in the dim and distant past when he was an undergraduate, but we didn’t meet up until some years later.

Now, part of the reason that my husband and I got to know John and Elaine Moss was because we were feeling increasingly isolated within the wider church, and especially in the Church of England, because of our interests in the paranormal aspects of spirituality. I’ve been a sort of visionary and mystic most of my life and like many before me, found it hard to fit in with a community that is, in essence, terrified of this sort of thing. We had a lovely long chat once day with Elaine and John and felt a lot better  to hear we were not freaks or apostates. 

It was a good many years later before I finally joined The Churches Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies and discovered that I was far from alone. You can find a link to their wesbite if you click on the useful links on Elaine’s website. It’s not kept as up-to-date as it ought to be but it’ll give you more information about them.

Elaine kindly sent me a copy of her book after I read it at my friend Kate’s. Kate has been helping Elaine edit and then market and distribute the book, and I found the book both intriguing and comforting. I dislike anything that hypes up the whole Ghost Whisperer kind of thing and Elaine’s book is delightfully understated and very English in many ways. When I first met Elaine she was working on breeding daffodils; I believe she now works on carnations! You can’t get more English than that!

If you do decide to buy a copy, I’d advise you to buy it direct from Elaine rather than Amazon if you can. This way she gets more money; Amazon don’t pay much! That said, Elaine isn’t terribly interested in making any money back, but Kate, who’s effectively her agent, is keen that the book reaches at many people at possible.

The book doesn’t give definitive answers, something I liked, and it raises a lot more questions too. Have a read through the website, and if it interests you, have a look at the CFPSS website too. It shows the churches in a very different light from the one you may be used to.