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.

Ticking Down

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Her eyes were constantly watching the numbers on the clock change. Time was passing so slowly and she felt so bored. Today was the perfect day to sit and write. She was home alone until her parents arrived back and she wasn’t at her actual job till tomorrow afternoon. She had also done all her Christmas shopping and more beside.

Listening to the pounding tones of some classic rock music, she tried to focus on the blank page before her. Well, it wasn’t really blank because it was her blog and there were tool bars down one side and also the internet tool bar at the top of the screen. She pulled a face and flicked through the other tabs she had open. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon before going back to WordPress where the empty page sat still waiting for her words.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard and she tried to think of anything to write. Nothing came into her head, it was like all the characters and settings had packed up and left. Pulling a face, she looked out of the window next to her. She had left a gap in the heavy curtains to let the natural light in, not that there was lot of it.

The early December day was cloudy and dull. The sky threatened rain or worse snow. Most of the frost had now vanished, but some of the cars still had a dusting on their metal bodies. It looked cold and she wasn’t in the mood to put on a load of layers and go for a walk.

Her eyes looked back at the computer monitor clock. It had only gone up by a few minutes. Sighing, she give up and decided to walk away. Nothing else could be done. Stopping the music, she took off her headphones and got up. Walking into the living room, she saw the family’s old dog curled in his bed. Leaving him to sleep, because he was becoming more and more grumpy about being woken up for no real reason, she turned on the TV.

Really, she should grab one the writing books that lined the bookcase next to her computer or  go upstairs to her room and pick a new book to start reading. Instead, she flicked through the TV channels and settled down to watch some daytime TV, which was a dull as the day outside.

Nominated For The Real Neat Blog Award

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Hi everyone,

It’s been awhile since we last had a non-fiction post! But I just picked up a message about being given this award and I wanted to announce it. A big thank you to Amelia over at http://www.youcanalwaysstartnow.com for nominating me.

Rules;

1. Post the Award logo and answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
2. Thank the person who nominated you in your post and link to their blog.
3. Nominate and link to some bloggers you’d like to see respond.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer & let them know they are nominated in a comment on their blog.

The seven questions I have to answer are;

What are you currently reading?

The Beast by J .R. Ward. I’m going to finish it tonight though and then I’m going to start Prince Lestat and Atlantis by Anne Rice. So looking forward to that!

What book(s) or courses are on your 2017 list to take?

I’m going to do a first level degree in blogging and a level 2 teaching assistant course. I brought them off Groupon a few months ago and as of yet haven’t gotten around to taking them! I also want to look at doing a Youth Worker course again and now maybe an admin or business one too. I’ve a massive book list, but I want to read The True Blood series next year now.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?

I want to go to Texas USA. I’ve no idea why I feel so drawn to Texas, but I just do.

What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

Don’t listen to the year 4 teacher who told you to give up writing stories because you weren’t good enough!

How/why did you get into blogging?

As a piece of homework at uni. It was to set up a blog and write a few posts, but I got addicted. Now, I’ve like 3 blogs!

What is your favorite decorating accessory?

Yankee Candles – you can’t go wrong with them really as they look nice even when they are not lit. If that doesn’t count then I’m going with fresh flowers.

What are your favorite Instagram accounts right now?

I’ve Instagram, I think, maybe…but I don’t use it much. So I don’t know.

 

The seven questions I’m going to ask are;

  1. What are you looking forward to most about 2017?
  2. Have you ever written a story about a pet you owed/owe?
  3. What’s your favorite thing to pin on Pinterest?
  4. Have you done all your Christmas present shopping yet?
  5. What book/s are you most looking forward to being published in 2017?
  6. Have you ever knitted something?
  7. What was the last thing you brought on Amazon?

 

I’m going to nominate;

https://scvincent.com/

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/

https://rumpydog.com/

Done!

Here are some links to where you can also follow me if you want to;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thestoryfiles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ironmaidenfan9

Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/user?u=327832

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=208056472&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/hails9/

Blogger: http://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

WordPress: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ and

https://negativitybreakout.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7400715-hayley-hardman

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HayleyHardman

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/thestoryfilesblog

Also, I know there something up with the display bar on the right side, but I can’t figure out how to fix that. Might have to take it all down and re-put it up when I have the time.

Thanks so much for reading my stories, liking them, leaving comments and following this blog. I’ve 363 followers and even though it’s a push I’d love to hit 400 by the end of the year. So please share my blog and spread the word.

Tomorrow sees the start of December and Christmas/winter themed short stories. I can’t believe another year is almost over! That means I’ve been writing this blog for three years now. I still have plans to put together short stories collections for kindle

Also, if you’d like to submit a short story please do. I’m looking to really get some for next year now. The guidelines are here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

Once again thanks to Amelia for giving me this award, see you all tomorrow!

Hayley.

Journals (Part 5)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

We got lucky on the next day as it being Sunday, both Ty and Darla decided to go around to friends for the afternoon. With Freddie watching cartoons and playing with his toys, Dan and I read through gran’s journals. Dan choose to start the year before I was born and I re-read my birth year one.

Close reading as much as I could, the detail gran had gone into about things amazed me. Not only did she written about what she had done during the day and what my mum and then I had done, she also wrote about what the neighbors and her friends had been up to. Also, about UK and world events. On 27th February, gran wrote about a rail workers and civil servant strike, 3rd March: IRA bombing London, 17th March: the opening of the new London bridge, 21 March: the flooding of a coal mine in West Yorkshire.

‘Didn’t you say that your gran had suspected one of your mum’s teachers of being your father?’ Dan broke in with sometime later.

I turned and looked up at him on the sofa. He was laying down, the journal open in both hands, his eyes on me over the top of the book. I was sat crossed legged on the floor, back to the sofa, just little way down from him. The journal before me resting against the edge of the coffee table, which was littered with drinks, snacks, the other journals and a couple of Freddie’s toys.

‘I believe so…’ I trailed, trying hard to think.

‘She writes here,’ Dan said then began reading from the diary, ‘Mary seems infatuated with her new history teacher, Mr Bradwell. When I asked her about him, she said he was twenty-four, just graduated university and taking over from Mrs Green who’s taking early retirement due to illness. Mary has never shown so much interested in history before! I hope to meet this Mr. Bradwell at parents evening in a few months time. Perhaps then though Mary will have lost interested in him.’

Mr Bradwell?’ I questioned, ‘I’ve seen that name a few times. I thought it was just a neighbor or a friend though. And I don’t remember gran stating his name when she listed my potential fathers.’

‘Did she write anyone’s name?’ Dan asked.

I thought for a moment, ‘I don’t remember. But it’s in here somewhere.’

‘Would you though?’ Dan mused, ‘if you were writing a list of men which accused them of getting your sixteen year old daughter pregnant would you put their names down? Okay, so the chances of someone reading your personal diary are slim, but it still could happen….Then she’d have been in trouble and the rumors would have further spread.’

I felt a shiver go through me as he said the first part of that. I saw Darla in my mind’s eye. How would I feel if my fifteen year old daughter got pregnant? Especially, if I suspected a new teacher at her school? I’d be a terrible mother. And yes, the times were different now, but still teenage sex and pregnancy happened. I felt an odd sense of history repeating and I sat for a few moments reflecting on this. Dan calling my name repeatedly snapped me out of it.

‘Maya? What’s wrong?’

‘I was thinking about how history repeats itself,’ I replied slowly.

‘Huh?’

I glanced at Freddie, he was still engrossed by the bright cartoon characters. I moved around, so I lent my side against the sofa and could hold hands with my husband.

‘I really hope Darla doesn’t make the same mistake my mum did. I’d hate for her to get pregnant so young.’

Dan breathed deeply and slipped the journal to the floor. He took my hands, lent over and kissed my forehead. Dropping his lips further down, I raised my head so our lips could brush.

‘It won’t happen,’ he breathed, ‘we’ve raised her better. She’s a sensible girl. Mature for her age and she’s seen how hard bringing up a baby is.’

He glanced at Freddie whilst I nodded.

‘Why don’t you talk to her about this, later? It’ll help set your mind at rest,’ he added.

‘I should.’

He kissed me again. Pressing harder this time. I let everything slip away and I got lost in the feel and taste of him. When the tip of his tongue teased my lips apart, I open my mouth and let him in. Dan pulled me into a tighter hug, one of his hands held my head and the other slipped down my back as I moved into a kneeling position to reach him better. I wrapped my arms around his neck, angling him down to me better.

Freddie laughing loudly ended the kiss.

I looked over my shoulder and saw him standing next to the TV, hands pressed to the screen. Rolling my eyes, I got up and went to him. I scooped him up with lots of loud kisses and tickles.

‘I got you, Freddie!’ I declared.

He burst into more laughter. I swung him up then around a few times.

‘I think it’s nap time,’ I said afterwards.

‘No, mummy!’ he shouted, pressing his hands to my cheeks.

‘Yes!’

I blew a raspberry with my tongue and set him off giggling. Then I bundled him upstairs and into his bedroom. Surprisingly, it didn’t take him long to settle down. I turned on the nightlight which also played soft music. I read him a book and tugged him in. Watching him dozing and falling asleep for a few moments, I felt a burst of love and pride. Freddie had been my miracle baby.

For five years after Ty had been born, Dan and I had tried for another baby. Then we gave up. We were a happy family and complete. I didn’t feel the need for another child. However, in the spring of 2012 I thought I had cancer. It was a strange moment and connected to my gran’s scare. Luckily, she never had it and it was a bad chest infection. I though was declared pregnant.

Coming home from that appointment, I was debating, just like my mother and gran had when they had found out, if I should get an abortion or put the baby up for adoption. I was thirty-nine, a still okay age for a third dose of motherhood and the gap between Ty and Freddie was only nine years. Dan and I talked for months about it, but in the end I decided to keep Freddie and I knew the second I held him in my arms it had been the right choice.

Coming back, I patted Freddie’s arm and left him sleeping. Downstairs, Dan had changed the TV to the Formula 1 Grand Prix and was watching it. The diary still abandoned on the floor.

‘He’s sleeping,’ I announced.

‘Good. I was getting bored of Dora,’ Dan replied.

‘Really?’ I broke into laughter, ‘I thought you had a crush on her?’

‘No!’

Dan gripped me as I bent to pick up the diary. I wiggled against him as we tumbled back on the sofa.

‘I joked one time!’ he added.

Twisting out of his hold and back on my feet, I put the diary on the table.

‘And I just can’t let it go,’ I finished, ‘did you find anything else?’

‘No. I stopped reading.’

I sighed and sank down onto the sofa.

‘Your gran was a great writer,’ Dan added.

‘I’m starting to realise. But it’s not getting us anywhere!’

‘I’ve had another idea…’

‘Oh?’

‘Next weekend, we’ll get the kids to help us and we’ll scan the journals into computers. Then we can search keywords. That’ll speed everything up. Okay, it might take awhile to scan all the pages, but it’d be good to preserve your gran’s writing anyway,’ Dan explained.

I looked at him, ‘you really think that could work?’

‘Yes. My computer and Darla’s both have printers that can scan. And we can easily buy a scanner to hook up to your or Ty’s laptop. Then we can get the computers to find words like your name or your mum’s name or missing or whatever. Then we can just read those sections and we should pick up more information,’ Dan informed me.

I nodded, ‘that might be good…’

‘Then we could pass the diaries on to some history buffs.’

‘Or the police,’ I added.

‘Yep.’

‘I love it!’

I threw my arms around him, hugging him tightly. Dan laughed then kissed me. I pressed my lips harder against his and moaned aloud. Dan arranged us, so that I was laying on top of him and was comfortable underneath. The kissing continued, our lips and tongues dancing together. Then Dan slipped his hands into my cotton pants and under my underwear. He squeezed my bum, gently at first then harder. He rolled his hips against mine, bouncing us gently.

I ended the kiss and dragged in deep breaths. I felt torn for a few seconds as really we should get back to reading or starting on Dan’s idea. But these moments were getting harder to sneak in with two teenagers in the house. I almost voice my thoughts, but then Dan was shifting me off him and rolling us over.

Dan pulled down my pants and underwear. I reached to undo his trousers and he helped me whilst we carried on kissing. I felt his hands on my breasts. Then he’s fingers were sliding under my top and bra. I gasped and moaned against his mouth as contact was made.

He mumbled, ‘God, I love you,’ in my ear.

I tried to say it back, but the words were lost in another moan as I felt his hardness in-between my legs. He pushed into me and though I tried to keep quiet, I couldn’t help it and an ‘oh’ sound come out very loudly. I wrapped my arms and legs around his body, as Dan pressed his hands to a space just above my shoulders. He moved slowly at first, kissing me often then he picked up the pace and sent us both over the edge.

After we curled up together and watched the ending of the Grand Prix.

To Be Continued…

Travel Book

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I want to take you away with me. Not just in your imagination but in your heart and soul too. I want to take you to lands that don’t existed and perhaps they never did and lands that will existed in the future, but even your children will never know them. There’s no need to be afraid or to pack your suitcases, in fact all you need is a comfy seat and some light.

I want you to meet people who have never been and yet always have been. They will tell you stories you won’t believe and take you on adventures which will always stay with you. I want you to feel every emotion to the core of your being and know that your tears are not wasted. For each bout of sadness keeps our heroes and heroine live for longer.

I want you to remember that even as you close the covers, the end doesn’t happen. You can visit these places and those people as many times as you like. For they are always going to be with us because they and their stories have been immortalized.

So what are you wanting for? Go and pick up a book right now and travel where ever it takes you too.

September

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Standing before the window, it looked more like a summer’s day then an autumn one. I rubbed the satin curtain against my fingers, enjoying the feel of it whilst my mind became fully awake. Even though the window was open, I could hear birds singing and the gentle lapping of the lake. I could see the wooden rowing from here too and it stirred memories inside me of all those summers spent on bodies of water with my father, brothers, uncles, grandfather and friends.

I strange deja vu came over me and I saw a tall man with three boys gathering around the boat and preparing her to sail. One of the boys turned back and waved at me. Only it wasn’t me, because I had become my mother and I was actually that little boy. I waved then realized there was no one out there, it had just been a memory.

Dropping the curtain, I walked to my study and stood at the door. My life was piled into that room. My old computer, the first and only typewriter I’d owned, all of my books, though those that I had written had a special bookcase to themselves. My wooden toy sailing boat in a glass case was on the window sill.

My fingers curled around the door frame.

‘Not today,’ I muttered and turned away from my work.

I went to the front door and out into the morning. The sun was bright and warm, making the trees dapple shadows on the ground. I went to the edge of the lake and looked at the boat gently rocking there. Memories swelled within me and I thought about my parents like I hadn’t do for years.

I got into the boat and rowed into the middle of the lake. There I become a child again, living summers that felt like they could go on forever.