Category Archives: Stories

Woven territories – la déroutante

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Woven territories #1 – Angela – Utrecht, Dutchland

It took her a little while to take me there.

It’s normal.

One does not take someone to a temple without any preparation, one takes some precautions, it is important to take our time, to prepare, to put on the proper attire – or to remove unnecessary peels -, to cross concentric circles with the slowness necessary to touch what is beautiful and sacred inside, as one would experience an initiation into something larger than oneself. It is a place that we find with caution, or that requires that we refer our attention to it. It is not a very small memory that she gives me, it is an important memory, a kind of gem in a case, and it requires attention, time, care, a particular temporality so that you can approach it and touch it, smell the scent that still exudes. One does not reach the heart of the sanctuary without deserving it. One passes through ante-rooms. We prepare, we prepare who we are to receive something important, even if – above all – we do not know exactly what it is.

United States ? Turkey ? Mountains, famous ruins, historic frescoes? – No. We need something stronger. And for it to be stronger, it has to be weaker. Something shared one day by a few young people on a beach whose name has been forgotten, in a country we ignore. Just a detail in the large canvas of memories printed in the Universe.

She took me to an almost mythical place – a place she has not located on any map. In what she tells me, this place no longer has a name, is no longer really precisely located. There is only her in this place, she and a few others who look like stars whose light still shines, even faintly, and whose glow is still pulsating – I observe an event passed by the telescope, I know that it has passed but it appears to me in the present, as we know of certain galaxies that they have gone out but that we still see shining, witnesses of the passage of time and of its course to us.

… It’s a group of friends on a beach, a falling night, sleeping bags under the stars, and then a midnight swim. A slightly chilly lover, the regret – searing, no doubt – of not really sharing the intensity of this moment in his company, and the water, however transparent, warm, almost electric, sparks between the fingers when they are spread on the surface, the arms which draw large liquid movements around the bodies, the laughter of friends in the water who respond to those of those who stayed on the sand.

My friends Isabelle Guérin, La Déroutante, started a new art project. She asked me for a memory. I wrote to her about a place and time I’ll always remember. Both for what was there, and what wasn’t there. Isabelle too my words in, and then wrote hers. She transformed my memory into a new possibility, where time and place don’t matter, but where feelings, dreams and desires do. Somehow, she turned my personal memory into something universal and timeless.

You can read the rest of her magic here.

 

My life as a cube

Get to know me
Right face – up
Left face – down
Up face – front
Down face – back
Front face – right
Back face – wrong

How will I know my pieces are in the right position?

Move my bottom face
rotate the centrepiece
continue these steps
in the correct position

Sequential moves must match the front
The face with the correct edge is the back face

Move clockwise
or counter-clockwise
Then determine
what to do

Conclusion
No matter how I twist
and turn
I can’t find my way
back to how I began

It’s National Poetry Writing Month again! Today’s suggested challenge was “to write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.”

I thank the website rubiks.com for their helpful words. Visit napowrimo.net to check out the full prompt, extra resources and links to the participants works.

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Measure once, cut twice (cut once version)

He’d never been good at counting. Numbers didn’t mean much to him. One was enough. More than one? An abstraction.

It wasn’t that he didn’t understand numbers, he did. He knew the eternal feeling of eight, the bridging qualities of two. He had mourned the loneliness of three for longer than he cared to remember. Secretly, he feared the sternness of seven. The number came too close to comfort. Why he couldn’t say. It just seemed hard-hearted. He longed for the safety of nine.

People thought him strange. He thought the same of them, so he never noticed. He had enough friends. There was the one who made sure that he ate enough. The one who helped him pay his bills. And the one who laughed with him until their belly hurt. They were one. They were all. They didn’t hurt him. They didn’t hurt themself.

He knew numbers had a life of their own. But as numerals, they were insufficiently factual to him. Until one day the number eight got to him. He could feel it in his bones. It hurt him. He asked a friend to come over and bring an axe.

As one, they said goodbye. He aimed, slowly, and then struck, sharply. But when he cut eight in two, he cut too much to the left. Instead of two perfect halves, he was left with a three, and more than one leftovers. His friend laughed until his belly hurt. He said goodbye, before the loneliness of three could hurt him. Once more, he moved on.

My batting practice for https://godoggocafe.com/2020/03/14/writers-workshop-i-week-2-batting-practice/ We were asked to remove 10% of words from our version. I went from 320 words to 264. My main character still thinks it’s too much. He would prefer just one.

The picture I’ve added to the story today comes from a book I’ve made with my mother. The Dutch e-book is live since today, the hard back edition and PDF have been out since the end of February. I’m happy to share with you that the English edition is almost finished. I can’t wait!

Raak

Measure twice, cut once

He’d never been good at counting. Numbers just didn’t mean much to him. One was enough. Always. More than one? An abstraction.

It wasn’t that he didn’t understand numbers, he did. He knew the eternal feeling of eight, the bridging qualities of two. He had mourned the loneliness of three for longer than he cared to remember. Once was enough. Keep moving on. Nothing to see here.

Secretly, he feared the sternness of seven. The number came too close to comfort. Why he couldn’t say. It just seemed hard-hearted. He simply longed for the safety of nine.

People thought him strange. He thought the same of them, so he never noticed. He had enough friends. There was the one who made sure that he ate enough. The one who helped him pay his bills. And the one who laughed with him until their belly hurt. They were one. They were all. They didn’t hurt him. They didn’t hurt themself. They kept moving.

He knew numbers had a life of their own. But as numerals, they were insufficiently factual to him. Until one day. One was enough. The number eight got too much for him. He could feel it in his bones. It hurt him. Eight was not moving on. It was trying to see.

He asked a friend to come over and bring an axe. They would put an end to eight. As one, they said goodbye. He aimed, slowly, and then struck, sharply. But when he cut eight in two, he cut too much to the left. Instead of two perfect halves, he was left with a three, and more than one leftovers. He cut again, but it didn’t make nine. There were too many numbers.

His friend laughed, until his belly hurt. He said goodbye, before the loneliness of three could hurt him. Once more, he moved on. More than that would be abstract.

 

This is my entry for WRITER’S WORKSHOP I, Week 1, The Fastball at the Go Dog Go Café, where writers gather. It’s my first time participating in a writing workshop, and I’m curious what I’ll learn!

Read a poem for me

“Read a poem for me”. That’s what Reuben Woolley wrote on Facebook when he knew he was going to get a liver transplant. Reuben is a poet and the creator of I am not a silent poet, a magazine for poetry and artwork protesting against abuse in any of its forms. He also started The curly mind, for linguistically innovative poetry.

On October 17th, his daughter wrote:

“He is in critical condition. The surgery on Monday night was long and really complicated. Then on Tuesday, they had to do a second surgery after which doctors were a bit more optimistic. He is still sedated and we’ve been warned that evolution is slow in this sort of cases. Thankfully, his vitals are getting a bit more stable and the doctors have been able to slowly decrese some of the drugs he’s getting. Yesterday they also removed the sedation but of course it will take a while until it wears off.”

We’ve sent him many well wishes through Facebook, and I remembered that he asked us to read a poem for him. So I’ve made this call on YouTube, to get the idea started. Please join in if you feel like supporting Reuben in this tough time.

Today, for #OctPoWriMo day 20, my entry is Reuben reading from his new book:

Our prompt today was mountains. I don’t know Reuben personally, but to me he seems a person that will move mountains if he can. To create a better world.

Reuben, we’re thinking of you! ❤

That’s me in the author list! I’m still undecided if I’ll buy the epub version, the PDF, or both 🙂

Congratulations David Ellis on creating this new poetry magazine. I’m happy and grateful to be part of the very first issue.

Hello there friends! I have very exciting news to share with you all. I am a Co-Founder of a positive poetry journal and my new poetry journal has released its debut issue, it is available to purchase now. In this issue are poems by Sandra Hurst, Suchot Sunday, Angela van Son, Antoinette Dickson, Paula Watts, […]

via Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal Magazine Have Released Their Inaugural Debut Issue – Issue 1 Now Available! — toofulltowrite (I’ve started so I’ll finish)

Seriously by Angela von Son

I don’t think I ever shared on my blog that I got published in Celebrate Change? Maybe I accidentally put it on my Procrastination Coach blog, I have clumsy days sometimes. I was really happy with it, and I do remember shouting it of the rooftops. Or the digital equivalent of that 😉

Celebrating Change

The sixth poem selected by our guest editor Jessie Joe Jacobs is about sexual abuse, and it’s like a punch to the gut…

Seriously

When I said
Make yourself at home
I didn’t mean
Do to my daughter
What you do to your wife

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A story untold

This is a story about what happened in my family, generations ago. The story has never been told, yet I know it happened. It’s been told in the things we don’t say. It’s been told by the things we don’t do. We hush – move on, nothing interesting going on here. And yet, there was…

I don’t know her age. The signs didn’t tell me. But she was a woman. She was beautiful. She was fertile. She was wise. She was helpful. They wanted her to say yes to everything. She didn’t. I guess that’s what got her killed. She said no to one who couldn’t bear it.

You’ll have to fill in the details yourself. Was she married? We don’t know. What did she dream of? No one knew. What was the sound of her laughter? I don’t know – but I do know she loved to laugh. She enjoyed life. She enjoyed company. She enjoyed learning new things. In the end, I think that’s what got her killed. She knew more than they could deal with.

They tried to cover it up, as justice. They tried to make it look like it was right. She was a witch, they said. She was a danger to the village, they claimed. But her family knew better. The only thing she did was say no to someone who couldn’t take it. So he made the claim. He wanted to destroy what he couldn’t have, and knew he couldn’t do it alone.

At first his words held no strength. People trusted their own judgement. They knew her laughter. The knew her beauty. They asked for her wisdom when they needed it. But sometimes she couldn’t help. The disappointed wondered if the rumours were true. They knew they were good people, who deserved good things. Maybe their disappointment was the work of the devil? Maybe there was no wisdom, only trickery? Maybe she wasn’t beautiful, and she just wore a mask.

I think she was married. She had a baby, for sure. Or was she taking care of an orphan? A boy who declared her to be his mother, because love is stronger than blood. Long before he knew her blood would be spilled, he knew he had her love. He felt it in his bones. He saw it in her eyes. He tasted it in the food she shared with him.

A boy, who witnessed the blood. Shed. Spilled. Congealed. He saw her throat, sliced open so she couldn’t speak. He saw the blood between her thighs. He heard the claim that it was self defence. A harmless man against a powerful woman. A Christian dagger against the hand of the devil. An act of justice to right an unnamed wrong. He saw. And he listened. And he took note. This would never happen again. He would be the keeper. He would pass the message along: stay safe, stay safe. So his children would be safe.

They were. He learned to fear for those he loved. He never told his story, but he worked hard to keep his loved ones safe. It was tough sometimes. There’d be contagious laughter in an unguarded moment. There’d be shared wisdom that could draw attention. And true beauty is hard to keep hidden. So he passed his fear along, to help them keep themselves safe. They did. They were. Safe. Their children too. And their children’s children. No one knew what happened.

His descendants stayed safe. They knew how to stay hidden, because something might be out there. They knew they should stay away from trouble, but never understood why. Though they’d never been told, they realised the dangers of beauty, of laughter, of wisdom, of being female and fertile.

Now here I am. Female. Fertile. Beautiful. Wise. Alive. I’m here now, to tell you this story, even though it happened centuries ago. I’ve received love in the form of fear. It couldn’t protect me. I’ve always protected myself. And I learned. There’s danger in silence. There are worries in absence. I will speak up. I’ll tell my truth. I’ll honour the ones who died. I’ll honour the ones who live. I WILL be safe. And I will love.