The Beginning of the Notebook Chronicles

Ok, so I bought a notebook recently that says “I’M NOT HERE RIGHT NOW” on the front. I liked it because often when I am writing I am not here. My mind has taken me far away. I’m now writing a series of little bits and pieces in it based on the question “if I’m not here right now, then where am I?”
This is the first piece…

The Petal and the River Python

Today, I am not here. I am not me. I am a tiny furry creature clinging to the dip and sway of a magnolia branch. But I am not unsafe. Far from it, in fact. I believe that the breeze is merely trying to run its fingers through my spring-touched coat. It isn’t like its malicious cousin, the winter wind, that tore through my bones and shook them until all the heat fell out. Today I am a little mouse and I am on an adventure, my whiskers a-quiver  At the end of the branch I pull the largest petal from its place, all white and soft and blushed with pink. I place it over my back and, just briefly, I am a tortoise.

I wouldn’t fool anyone though; I skitter back towards the stoic mass of the trunk as swift as a hare and weave my way down and to the ground. Today I am going on a boating trip. I place my pink and white coracle on the water, holding it steady. As the ripples rise and fall, the white of the petal is almost lost in the white of the clouds. In the same instant it is borne aloft by shadow, like the moon in the summer nights.

I climb aboard, carefully tucking my tail under me. I remembered the day my father and I had caught a fish as I had trailed it, absent-mindedly, through the cool blue. Of course, the water isn’t just blue. It’s a mix of lights and darks. Greens, greys, browns. Across the surface the exalting colours of the sunrise shimmer across the surface, forming shards as the water is puckered by the touch of the wind. Pink, red, orange; magenta, crimson, tangerine. A dash of violet.

The body of the river pulls past the reeds and gritty banks, off towards the sea. I push off from the bank and join the flow, drifting; fancying myself to be riding a litter on the back of an iridescent yet watery python as it bears me towards its mouth, and beyond.

Advertisements

Me & Tea, Tea & I

“If you could pick any object in this room to represent you, what would it be and why?” (Context: Mock job interview)

“I would pick the cup of tea, because I am good at diffusing tension and bring a new lease of life to every situation.”

20130517-162647.jpg

I was told that my response was “very poetic and original”, so I thought I would share it with anyone who might listen… read… whatever. Who knows, maybe you are looking for a job and need clever responses to those bastardly curve ball questions that interviewers sometimes throw at you!

I would write more but I am thoroughly out of energy having been through an 8 hour workshop about presentation and interviewing skills today. Intern life – it’s not for the faint-hearted!

 

The Old Lady/Gentlemen Motivation Tool

Recently I have become involved with a lot of extra-opus activities… I just generated that phrase in Google Translate. I was aiming for something like “extra-curricular” but referring to outside-of-work activities. I’m sure there will be a couple of language buffs wincing because Google Translate either gets it right or it gets it very, very wrong!

Anyway, my rash of extra-orpus activities arose because recently I’ve been asking myself this question:

“When I am an old lady, what sort of story do I want to be telling my fellow golden oldies?”

As a result, I started doing a lot of things that I kept wanting to do but never actually bothered with. I’m now a member of the Green Party, I volunteer at a local theatre and homeless centre, I bought that painting I’ve been staring at in my favourite café for months, and last night I went to my first ballet class in 4 years. I am not trying to brag, but to me it is a dramatic change because for the past four years I have done nothing but work and study and occasionally visit a museum.

There are lots of reasons why I did these things but all 3 of them underwent the Old Lady Motivation Tool in order to come to fruition. I realised that, when I am old, I want to be the feisty one that badgers everyone to take to their zimmer frames and get down to the polling station. I would want to have that painting in my room so that, when people ask about it, I can say “ah, yes, that! I bought it from a café back in 2013 when I was writing my first novel. Such fond memories, they made the most amazing chai lattes and meringues!” I also want to be telling people that I danced until my joints got to old to handle it, not that I quit at 18 to go to uni and remembered it as a pipe-dream thereafter.

It applies to some of my recent life choices too. I will be a fully qualified EFL teacher in a month’s time and the second I get my certificate I will be applying for work overseas. Why? Well, first, the job prospects for a recent graduate are pretty terrible in Britain. I admit it, a large part of my motivation for doing this is the fact that I am constantly flirting with the bread line. But more importantly, I don’t want to be telling my aging friends that I played it safe, that I stayed on my island, chained to a desk job for security but never having enough money or enough time to visit a place and truly get to know it. In my experience, a week in a place is  fantastical blur, almost like a literal pipe-dream; a whiz of colour and then you’re back at your desk wondering what on Earth just happened to you. I started looking for a way to get paid for living in places that interest me, and that way out is teaching abroad.

So! If you’re looking at a situation, wondering whether or not you should do it, ask yourself what kind of stories you want to be telling when age has turned you prune-like. More often than not it will make you choose the more interesting and adventurous option. Have fun!

Flash Fiction #1 – The Crisis Speech

“Gentlemen, it would appear we have a crisis on our hands. We are at once inert and tempestuous; a most acidic combination.

Our passion broils within the leathery casement of our chests; strapped down hard with sinew and with bone. Some say that yin and yang must exist together, but what happens when one is out of balance with the other? What happens when that white-hot leviathan in the dark depths of our being begins to rail against its restraints? What should we do when the leather starts to hiss away to paper? How long can one resist its might and keep silent in the eyes of a grey world that never ends.

Gentlemen, these are hard times. We are all, here, afflicted… I know your hearts. If we are to take one more breath at resting pace, then we are to perish. It is time for us to leave… Leave, lest we forget the days when our pulses knew more than this slow, steady throb of the apathetic drums. Those drums inspire nothing; they cannot ruffle the dust-touched feathers of our souls. If we leave,we may run, run and fill up our lungs with air and wipe them clean. We we hold tornadoes in our chests not these last dregs of air; lonely old men wandering in once vibrant and lofty halls long emptied. If we leave, we will have time. Time, that we might gather our voices together in one and wield them against this cold, unfeeling, drudgery-filled husk of a city and bring it back to life.

We are pilgrims, my good friends, seeking the Holy Grail of a better time. On our journey we must go, with the hope of one day saving those we have left behind.”

© Lizzie Fraser, 2013, all rights reserved.

Hellos and Fisheyes

Hello!

Very briefly, I shall say this because I have an idea that I am desperate to impart! I’m Lizzie, and this is my new blog that will feature my musings, some flash fiction and general (and hopefully interesting) ramblings about the world as I go from office-bound graduate intern to uber-traveller and novel writer. It’s going to be a fun ride, I hope you like turbulence!

Anyway, to the case in hand! I wish to share with you why I like fisheye lens photography!

I am not a professional photographer. This pains me because, like many people, I have at least one moment every day where I see something that tickles my retinas in a way that demands to be captured. I wish to point a camera at this aesthetically pleasing object and permanently preserve it and impart it’s awesomeness to other people. Some of these things are strange, like a broken paving slab, but that doesn’t matter because I am convinced someone else out there will appreciate it also and by finding my photograph we may become life long friends.

Like the majority of people who go forth with this noble intention, what I tend to capture doesn’t really come close to the incredible image I had in my mind. If it does, it is entirely by accident. And that is where the greatness of the fisheye lens steps in to help. With a fisheye lens, you never set out to capture something the exact way it was; you try to capture it in a totally crazy new way that could never have existed otherwise. It’s got a whole new perspective! It’s like a nutty best friend that you went on holiday with who says “hey! Remember when we went there and saw this?” and you look at that bubble-shaped image on the shiny photographic paper and go “yeah! My god, that was brilliant!”

So there you have it! Buy a fisheye and you won’t regret it.