Happy 3rd Anniversary to The Story Files!

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Hi everyone,

WordPress has just told me that today is The Story Files’ 3rd anniversary even though I started writing this blog in the middle of 2014. I don’t know how the dates and times work out, I’ve a disability in maths. I’m also dyslexic, so how I ended up with a love of reading and writing, I’ll never know, but I’m thankful for it.

Writing stories has been my escape and stress relief since I was a child, despite the challenges I’ve had with letters, words and grammar! I’ve always found that novels- the ones I read and the ones I write, were there for me when no one else really was. Luckily, things are different for me today but I still finding writing good for dealing with my problems.

I started writing this blog soon after a graduated from a Masters degree in Creative Writing. I had serious depression and was feeling at a lost as to what to do with my life. In doing this blog, I forced myself to write a story a day, thus giving me an active thing to do each day no matter what. This and also rediscovering a love for crafts, helped me get over the depression.

Now though, I’m in the habit of writing stories for this blog. I enjoy it and I know for an hour or so each day I can escape into writing. if I can’t make time for it, I work it into whatever I’m doing during the day; I’ll write at lunch and my breaks, sometimes even when I’m meant to be working! Sometimes though, I don’t write a story everyday because I might be away for a weekend etc and it’s good at that time to give my mind a small break. In that case, I’ll write the number of stories needed on other days and that helped to mix things up for me and allows the creativity to grew further.

Originally, I started this blog to give myself some space. I didn’t care who read it or liked or commented because that wasn’t important to me. Over the years, that has changed and now I love feedback in anyway. It’s important to help my writing improve and I feel so happy every time someone lets me know they’ve liked a story and or they take the time to comment to tell me so.

I don’t know what the future is for this blog or my stories. I hope to continue as long as possible. Perhaps, one day I’ll make an anthology, or work on some stories to publish or maybe even write another novel – been awhile since my last one! Whatever happens, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who follows, likes, comments and shares my blog. I appreciate you all so much and you help inspire me to keep writing.

If you’d like to know more about me and also read the book reviews I write please check out my other blog; https://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you again!

Hayley.

 

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Dear Diary #36

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Dear Diary,

I’ve lost the inspiration and motivation again. It’s like there’s a light bulb above my head that burns bright for a few days then dims and dims till it goes out. Turning it back on is so hard. And I swear each time it takes longer and gets more difficult.

I know what people say; ‘you shouldn’t wait for inspiration,’ ‘find your own motivation,’ ‘just keep going and working through no matter what you feel that day.’

But they are not me.

Someone of them are more successful and they use that to conquer the bad days. Others, have to do it because otherwise they won’t survive so they can’t give up. The rest are chasing their dream, the knowledge of one day getting there seeing them through.

I’m in between all of that; successful but not, surviving just, wanting the dream but also boarder line living it.

Everyday I see people moving on with their lives; getting married, having kids, getting a house, getting a better job, a new car, holidays and celebrations. Getting divorced, losing everything, maybe living on the streets for awhile but then rising back up like a phoenix and going through it all again.

Whilst, I feel trapped. I’m living through the characters I write about, seeing the world and problems through them, feeling their emotions. Some say that’s living better then anyone else, for why would you actually want to go through that?

You know what I call it? Fake living.

I can go to the park and watch the children playing and the parents talking and instead of thinking about my own life, I’m thinking about theirs’. What would happen if a child went suddenly missing? Or if that mum told that mum that she had slept with her husband? Why is that dad alone this afternoon? Is the man with the cap covering his face and trying to look normal really up to something bad?

Those thoughts can’t be helped. I try to stop the flow, to think of things I believe normal people think about; have a left the stove on? When are my library books due back? What happened to that girl I swapped numbers with at the bar last weekend? My life would be easier if that was the only stuff in my head.

I don’t know what to do about this lack of motivation again. I should maybe take a holiday, go some place new. Meet some new people too. Have a life again. It’s all well and good to live in your own fantasy world all the time, but sooner or later, you realise that it’s just not the real world no matter how hard you try.

 

Room 109

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The hotel staff knew him like they knew the numbers on a clock which was very useful because he was always on time. He arrived without flash, in comfy clothes and carrying a small black suitcase. To anyone else he looked like a tourist, but the check in desk girls knew him not to be.

He said his name quietly and he would check in. With his card, he would take the lift up to his room and he would roll his suitcase down the carpet corridor and to the door. There, he let himself in and the door shut firmly behind him with the please do not disturb sign swinging.

He would be seen frequently around the hotel; in the restaurant, in the bar, in the lounge and lobby. Sometimes he would be typing away on a laptop, other times writing in a notebook and whilst he eat; reading a book, always alone. No one seemed really interested him in, a quick glance then on to what they were doing.

His stay could last a few days or a week, sometimes though it would be more than that; two or three weeks, a month or two. It just depend on what he needed. Then he would tidy his room and check out. Often looking more cheerful then he came in.

Months later in the post, the hotel always received a copy of his new novel.

Peace #writephoto

I had been wandering around for a few weeks looking for a quiet spot where I’d be undisturbed to finish editing my latest novel. All my normal places; my study, my bedroom, the library, the park, the coffee shops and pubs I haunted, hadn’t allowed me to complete my work.

It wasn’t lack of motivation, determination or inspiration that was stopping me, it was more the background distractions. So, I had come out here to the middle of the woods to find the peace I needed. It was a bright hot day, unusual English summer time weather but also a week day so most people were trapped in work and school.

It had been awhile since I had last strolled or ran through the woods, so I was surprised to come across the wooden sculpture of a bed. It was made out of thick, but smoothed down tree trunk cut in half with a smaller part of the trunk shaped into a pillow.

I sat down, thinking it would be too hard to sit for long, but actually it was quite comfy. Settling back against the pillow, I set up myself to work and some good hours later I had finished editing my novel and was napping in the dappled shade.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/06/thursday-photo-prompt-peace-writephoto/ with thanks)

Dead Line

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The house phone rang and because I was hard at work editing my magazine, I picked it up on auto.

‘Hello?’ I spoke.

‘Good afternoon, Mrs Guilding,’ an man with a heavy Indian accent spoke.

I frowned into the phone. A cold caller for sure. I carried on typing away, too busy to stop.

The voice continued speaking without seeming to pause for breath, ‘my name is Kevin and I am calling you from the Peoples’ Life Survey. May I ask you some household questions? It’ll only take a few minutes of your time.’

‘Sorry, I’m not interested…’ I cut in.

‘Please, Mrs. I shall make it as quick as possible,’ Kevin voice’s rushed.

I sighed. I didn’t have time for this. I went to say goodbye and hang up the phone but Kevin bet me to speaking.

‘Don’t worry!’ he said.

Then the line went dead.

Puzzled, I took my phone from my ear before pressing it back again. The dial tone beeped like a steady heartbeat. I hit the end call button and placed the phone down. I could get on with my editing again.

A strange feeling crept over me. My mind began turning over those words and making them into some sinister.

I stopped working and got up. I had been sat for about four hours. Now, my body became awake. I had to use the bathroom and get a drink, maybe some food. Walking past the window, I peered out through the blinds. Everything looked normal out there. I walked out of the study, went to the bathroom then the kitchen.

Whilst I was making coffee and a sandwich, the phone rang again.

Ah! Kevin. We must have just got cut off. There’s nothing weird going on.

I picked up the kitchen phone, fully expecting to hear his voice again. Instead all I got was a beeping sound followed by white noise.

I checked the phone out, wondering if it was something wrong with my line. Placing the phone back, I picked it up again. The dial tone was just as steady as before. Shrugging, I finished making my late lunch and went into the conservatory to eat it.

The glass room was warm and comforting. The pale walls and wicker furniture give it a summer feel though looking outside the weather had decided to rain today. Settling into the sofa, I listened to the wind and rain outside, relaxing into the silence.

The phone rang. I had sandwich in my mouth. Swallowing, I got up and answered the phone.

‘Hello?’ I spoke.

The line was fuzzy was static.

A voice broke through, ‘Kevin…The Peoples’ Life Survey…I ask you question?’

‘I’m sorry. The line is really bad,’ I responded.

‘Make it quick, yes,’ Kevin shouted.

‘No. Bye.’

I hung up the phone.

When I had finished lunch, I sat for a few more minutes and watched the rain fall. Kevin was still on my mind. What was that all about? I glanced at the phone. Willing it to ring, so I could asked him.

The phone stayed silent for the rest of the day.

Writer Struggles

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I can no longer feel it in my heart and soul. Where once I had energy and passion there is only a dry husk. I feel there is nothing left inside of me to write about. Every place I look for motivation I find none.

Sitting at the bus stop or lingering in a closing cafe, I listen and watch the people just like I have done for years. My mind draws no pictures around them. They are normal people with normal lives. Not fantasy heroes or Victorian heroines ready for adventures.

Searching in the library, I find books on writing, but I’ve read them all before. I look for more, anything that draws my attention, anything that might get the gears working in my head again. I leave with my arms full of books and spend all day and night reading, but it doesn’t solve my problem.

I go to the doctor and tell him the voices have stopped talking in my head. He smiles and says but isn’t that what everyone wants? What’s the problem? I shout back, but I’m a writer and my life depends on those voices! He shrugs, tells me to eat healthier, have a holiday, and take up a new hobby.

At home I lay in bed, watching spider shadows across the ceiling. I think about what if I’d not been born me. What if I’d been born someone else? Like my doctor or the old lady who always gets the same bus as me. What if I was leading a totally different life right now?

Would I miss writing? Would I even know I had a gift?

I once had a gift.

Now there’s only empty space inside of my head with cotton candy clouds floating by. I wonder if Heaven is like this?

In the morning, I get up and pack a suitcase and rucksack. Of my writing suppliers, I take only an old comforting notebook and a favorite pen. I go to the train station, choose the next train to the furthest away place and buy a one way ticket.

Hopefully inspiration will be waiting at the end of the line.

The Wall

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I was typing away that night as normal then the next second nothing. My fingers stopped moving, my mind shut down and I slowly slipped from my chair. I remember that, but only because I saw it like I was watching it happen to someone else.

I was sat on the floor for a long time, staring but not seeing, not thinking anything, just like a robot that had been turned off. I must have lay down at some point and shut my eyes because when I woke the night had passed and sunlight was coming in through the small Tutor windows.

My back and limbs were stiff from laying on the four hundred year old floor. I got up feeling numb tingles throughout my body, I stretched and wondered what had happened. Had I fallen asleep working again? That wasn’t uncommon.

Getting up, on unsteady legs and went to my desk. There was still a piece of paper in the type writer. Not like me at all. I sat down and looked at it but I couldn’t read the writing. It was like it was in another language. I pulled the paper out and looked at it harder, but I still couldn’t read it.

I turned to the last full page I had wrote and scanned through it. Once again though, I had the same problem. I couldn’t understand the words! Placing the paper down, I got up again and hobbled from the room. I went downstairs and into the bathroom.

After that and having something to eat in the kitchen. I took a walk in my garden then in the village. All the houses here dated from Tutor times and in the late spring sun shine they looked like zebras on a grassy plain.

I went back home and sat at my desk again. The words on the page made more sense. I tried to carry on were I’d left off, but nothing happened. No words formed in my head and my fingers didn’t move on the keys.

Something was wrong.

I shut my eyes and thought about my novel. I called the characters out and pictured the plot I was weaving, but nothing came.

I opened my eyes again and realised I had hit the wall.

 

1,000 Posts Reached!

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Hi everyone!

I just wanted to share my good news that I’ve reached a 1,000 posts on this blog!

Actually, I hit that number a few days but I’ve been super busy and not had time to write this post!

This should mean that I’ve written 1,000 short stories but due to some of the stories being divided into parts and my two or three novellas I’ve not reached that target it. I’m still aiming for that, even though I’m currently working on a new novella!

Lately, I’ve been thinking of changing my posting schedule and going from a story a day to a story every other day, or just two-four etc a week. This is because I now have a full time job and two part time jobs, so actually finding the time to write a story a day has become more a challenge.

My plan is to keep it up for as long as possible. I enjoy writing and I started this blog to get myself back into writing stories and to have a routine. I’ve come along way in both my writing, job and life since I started this blog 3 years ago.

Hopefully, I can make it continue somehow.

Thank you all so much for your support,

Hayley

Post It Note #31

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He found a yellow post it note stuck to floor. Thinking it had just fallen off his desk, he picked it up and placed it next to his laptop. Then he saw something written on the other side, bleeding though. Turning the note over, he read an idea for a story which he had no memory of writing down.

Monday Depression

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Harley didn’t feel like getting up this morning but she had done so anyway. Dragging herself out of her cosy warm bed, she headed straight for the bathroom, her stomach growling like an angry bear. Sitting down on the loo, she wondered how many times she had got up in the night to come into here driven by an IBS flare up as punishment of eating too much ice cream. She counted to four before the ringing of the house phone interrupted.

I’m not going to get it. It’s only going to be a cold caller, she thought.

Trying to ignore it, Harley yawed and wondered if she could go back to bed even though it was three minutes past eleven am.

A little dog’s yowling broke though her thoughts and with a growl, she sorted herself out and went to answer the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve left my library books on the seventeen bus,’ an elderly man’s voice spoke out.

Harley rolled her eyes before answering, ‘I’m sorry but it’s not. You have the wrong number.’

‘There were five books,’ the man continued, ‘The Queen’s Slave, Goldfish Keeping For All, Weave Looming And You, -‘

‘I’m sorry but-‘ Harley tried to cut in but the man carried on speaking over her.

London Werewolves and Whenever The Rain Falls Think Of Me,’ the man concluded.

‘What?’

‘They were in a bag for life. You know, the yellow ones with orange elephants on?’

‘This isn’t the bus station!’ Harley shouted, ‘you have the wrong number!’

‘Oh. I’m sorry….Do you know the right number?’ the man asked.

‘No. I don’t,’ Harley snapped and hung up.

Placing the phone down, she wondered what was going on with the crossed over numbers. A cold wet nose and a small licking tongue touched her bare toes and Harley jumped with a cry. She looked down and saw the tiny Yorkshire terrier give a startled yip and jumped back too.

‘Sorry, Yogi,’ Harley spoke and scooped the dog up, ‘just some people…’

Carrying the Yorkie upstairs, Harley set him down on her single bed then went to her wardrobe. Just as she had selected her clothes for the day; old blue jeans, black long sleeved top with a painted wolf angel on it, her Five Finger Death Punch hoodie and boot slippers, the phone rang again. Tutting, she left it to ring until Yogi pulled his head up and let out a mournful yowl.

Racing downstairs, Harley snatched the phone up again.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve lost my library books,’ the same man’s voice from before came though the phone.

‘You have the wrong number again,’ Harley said.

‘Oh…’

‘I’m sorry but I really can’t help you. Try ringing a different number,’ she added then hung up.

Heading up to her room, she finished off getting dressed then picked up Yogi again. The tiny dog had been making a nest in her bedding. Going downstairs, Harley set him down on his own bed and went into the kitchen. There was a large puddle of water on the floor with a white scum on top of it.

‘Yogi! Did you do this?’ Harley called, ‘bad dog!’

Grabbing a tea towel, she began to mop the floor. Then though she noticed the far spread of the puddle because it filled the square space between the fridge-freezer, dishwasher, sink of the narrow kitchen. Also it was very close to Yogi’s bowls.

Puzzling and no longer thinking the dog had done this, Harley inspected the fridge-freezer, sink and dishwasher. Everything seemed okay. She went upstairs and got an old towel from the cupboard. Setting it on the floor, she saw drips coming out of the corner of the dishwasher.

‘Great,’ she mumbled then added, ‘I’m sorry Yogi. It wasn’t you!’

Getting up, she went to find the dog but the phone rang. Throwing her hands up, Harley went to answer it.

‘Hello?’

‘Hello dear. My husband his left some books on the bus. I was wondering if you could help us?’ an elderly woman’s voice asked.

Harley sighed deeply and brushed her hair back, ‘I’m sorry,’ she said trying to stay calm, ‘but this isn’t the bus station. You have the wrong number. This is a private house.’

‘Ah, I’m terribly sorry about that. Goodbye,’ the old woman said.

The phone clicked and Harley hung it up again. Going into the living room, she give some reassurance to Yogi then went into the kitchen and made some toast with jam on. Sitting down, she watched some TV, channel flicking between a house D.I.Y show and a famous courtroom drama. Though she had to get up a couple of times to use the bathroom.

Taking her breakfast things into the kitchen, Harley noticed that the dishwasher was leaking badly. The towel she had set down had a large half circle ring across it. Opening the door and breaking off the washing cycle, she looked inside and move a few plates and pans around. Dirty water fell out of the corner like a small waterfall.

Closing the door again, she waited as the dishwasher started again. However, water still dripped from the corner.

‘Dad will have to fix that,’ Harley spoke.

Leaving it and going to her computer, she pressed the on button and also turned the monitor on. Whilst she waited, she looked at a calendar on her desk. Under today, she had written; write chapter 23. working at shop- 5-11pm. 

Harley’s face fell, she had forgotten she was working. She doubled checked on the calendar in her phone and confirmed it. Sighing, she noticed the computer was done loading and clicked open the draft of her novel. She had barely started reading the last few pages when the phone rang.

‘I’m not answer it!’ she called.

Yogi began howling in the living room.

‘I mean it,’ she growled.

Letting the phone ring off and Yogi’s long yowling faded away, Harley got back to her novel. She reached the last page with writing on it and tapped down to the blank one underneath. Looking at the page, she tried hard to think.

The phone rang.

‘Seriously!’ she cried.

Harley got up and answered the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? My parents have lost some books,’a young man’s voice asked.

‘No. It’s not and I don’t know why they keep ringing my phone number,’ Harley moaned.

‘I’m sorry. There must be a problem with the line. It’s fine. I’ll go down to the bus station and sorted it. Thanks, bye.’

Harley set the phone down and rubbed her eyes.

‘That’s it! I’m going back to bed!’ Harley declared.