A Pledge

Hi everyone,

Back again for another blog.  Today I bring you a new poem and a bit about what I’ve been doing towards my storywriting goal (and I do say a bit as it’s work in progress).  An exciting time for my writing!

So I thought, after so long I’d better write another poem and after considerable thought the idea came to me to extend a small rhyme I’d written about a little birthday present I had bought myself.  My new running shoes.  It’s not the shoes themselves that I’m writing about but what they represent. A new start.  The first step to hopefully a more healthier and fitter me.   Here are my new running shoes, funded by birthday money from my lovely in-laws.

IMG_1373I posted this picture to facebook on Saturday with a mini rhyme to say thank you for the money and to show them and others what I had bought.  I don’t make a habit of thanking people via social media but it seemed fitting in this case.   While I was settling little Sam last night I came up with an extension to the little rhyme I’d written, detailing my goal in full. Honestly, I owe half of my poetry repetoire, if not more, to my youngest son’s bedtime settling time.  It must be the quiet, calming atmosphere that just allows me to relax and unwind and play with some ideas. I love doing this without the pressure of putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard, as is more often the case.

So I will let my poem explain my pledge:

It was my birthday earlier in the week
And amongst all my wonderful treats
My lovely in-laws for my special day
Kindly sent some money my way
And rather than sweeties and chocolate bics
I spent it on something that will keep me fit
These new running shoes are a symbol of how
I’m going to stop being a lazy fat cow
I once said to a friend “I don’t do running”
I have since tried and the results have been stunning
But like an alcoholic returning to the source
I’ve always gone back to eating like a horse
I’ve been using my babies as an excuse
But it’s really not their fault my clothes don’t feel loose
The sweets and chocolate are my downfall
Or anything containing any sugar at all
But now I’m gaining back control
And going with the feelings in my soul
I may never be a perfect size ten
But I’d quite like to be slim again
It won’t be all misery and starvation
The key is everything in moderation
So with the help of these running shoes and self discipline too
I’ll become the slim person that you once knew

Jen Elvy

And just like that, my drive begins.  I must admit, although the run didn’t happen tonight because of the rain, things are starting to shift already.  I’m resisting sweet things more than usual and it’s come so suddenly.  Like I’ve gone from no will power to a considerable amount.  Usually when I diet it is when the results are showing that my willpower improves or when I up the excercise but I’m finding myself able to resist sweet things more often. In fact it’s a case that I don’t fancy them so resisting is easy.   Take this afternoon for example.   I visited the bakery near where I was working and usually, along with the savoury, I would almost always pick out a cake.  In fact it was a compulsion.  Must Have Cake!!!! But today? Not one part of me, wanted a cake.  It was freaky.  Like someone had flicked a switch inside me.  A positive sign but rather unsettling! Long may it continue!

I hope you enjoy the poem. I liked how the ideas and rhyme flowed.   And some of you might identify with the ideas.  The eternal struggle of dieting.  Hoping to succeeed this time. I have done it a few times now and I can do it again.  I will keep you posted.

In other news… I haven’t had a chance to write any more  children’s stories but I have been gathering inspiration and ideas.  My Pinterest “children’s writing” board is gathering momentum (flilling with pictures of fairy gardens and pretty inspirational pictures that are getting me fired up to write more. I just love Pinterest.  I also have a board of children’s books that I want to read as research and I have a couple of other children’s chapter books on loan from the library.  Maybe I will raid my collection at my mum’s house another time.  Not to mention charity shops and Baggins, a local second hand bookshop.  And I’m keeping an eye out in schools that I’m working in and will be noting down some titles of books that might prove helpful!

Watching Ben and Holly with the boys has also been a good source of inspiration! And lots of fun! And a welcome break from our friend Peppa Pig!

I will keep you posted on all fronts and will be posting some Father’s Day poems in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and see you soon,

Jen xx

A New Direction

Hi all,

Work has been mad and I’ve been tired but I’ve started working on some Father’s day material and other bits.   However, today I am sharing something slightly different.

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared a job on facebook that had been advertised by Twinkl, a resource website for teachers.  The site has been widely used by schools at which I’ve worked and they were advertising for content writers, in particualar writers who could write stories for ages 3-8.

I did consider it for a while but quickly dismissed it on the grounds that, although I’ve said ‘never say never’ when it comes to writing for children, it just hasn’t been high on the agenda.  I thanked my friend kindly for thinking of me and moved on.

But then something happened……

For the past few months I’ve been teaching and supporting Year 2 ( 6-7 year olds), helping to prepare them for their SATs. (statutory assesssments for the end of their age phase)   One morning, while helping the children write stories and having read a longer story by one particular member of the class, who had put together his own book,  I had a little spark of inspiration.  I wanted to write stories for these children. I wanted to inspire them to write, provide a role model for their own story writing as well as encouraging them to read for their own enjoyment.  Could I write for children? I thought.  I hadn’t really attempted any children’s fiction.  When I used to write stories it was for teens or adults and I’d never really had the desire to reach the children’s market.  Until then….

Since then I’ve started to research the children’s market and read some stories aimed at children about 6 or 7, maybe a bit older.  Some of these are stories the children have been reading to me!  It wasn’t until a few evenings ago that I actually went for it and wrote a children’s story.  I knew I wanted my stories to have an element of adventure and fantasy.   Having been inspired by a nature trail I went on with my mum and the boys,  I have latched onto the idea of elves and fairies.

The idea actually struck me when I was putting Sam to bed.  I knew I wanted part of the story to be set in Benidorm as I loved the setting and wanted to write about it again but I also knew that the character was going to be transported to another world.  Then, just like with my poems, the story started to form in my head. So when I got downstairs I got it all down.

Having written it, I left it for a couple of days before I edited. When I read it back, I was quite pleased with it for a first story and particularly liked the fantasy parts.  It probably still needs a lot of work but in the interest of putting it out there, I shared it with some lovely friends on a facebook group I am in.  They are a wonderfully supportive bunch of mums who have children the same age as my eldest (and some have older or younger children)  They are also all teachers so I thought they would be a fab first audience.  I got some great feedback and it has given me the encouragement I need to share it on this blog.

So, dear readers, I give you my first children’s story, yet to be titled:

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in Benidorm.   The palm trees were waving in the summer breeze and children splashed in the hotel swimming pool.  Everyone was in high spirits.  Everyone, it seemed, except for Charlie.  Charlie was annoyed.  Charlie was frustrated.  Whatever he did he always seemed to get in trouble, “Calm down Charlie,” they would say. “Don’t do that to your brother! ” “Stop throwing your ball in the pool Charlie!”     And yet his brother, his little nine month old brother, Ted, could do no wrong.  He was floating adorably around on his baby float,  mum and dad smiling fondly and spinning him around.  He was getting admiring looks from other people in the hotel. 

But look at him, Charlie thought, gazing at his brother He is quite a cutie.  Charlie decided to join his brother, so with an almighty splash he jumped into the toddler pool. 

But all he got was his mum’s sigh. “Charlie! No!” You are getting water in your brother’s eyes! Do you want to blind him?” Jeez, thought Charlie, I only wanted to play with him! And what’s this about blinding him? That will never happen!  His parents were too much sometimes. 

With a scowl, he emerged from the toddler pool and turned to the bigger pool.  it looked so appealing right now, the blue water shimmering in the sunshine.  He took a deep breath and jumped in there instead. 

But then something unusual happened….

Instead of the cool water of the swimming pool, his legs made contact with much warmer water.  Not hot, just warmer than the pool should be. He felt a force pulling him under water, but instead of panic, he felt very calm. Not just because he knew he could swim under water but also because the force wasn’t a rush but rather a calm gentle flow.   

Charlie emerged from the water but he wasn’t in the hotel pool anymore.  He appeared to be in the middle of a lake.  A very calm, blue lake.  There were lily pads close to the bank of the water and he could see frogs hopping from one to the other.   

How did I get here? Charlie thought? What is happening?

He heard a tiny voice “Swim over here young man”   

Where was it coming from? Charlie spun around in the water and he couldn’t believe his eyes. There on the lily pad sat a tiny man with white hair and a white beard. 

“Come over here, child” the voice said again.  It did appear to be coming from this tiny being.

Slowly, Charlie swam towards him.   He wasn’t afraid, but slightly wary. 

“Hello young man,” said the tiny man,  ‘My name is Cedric and I am be your elf guardian” 

Elf guardian?  What on earth is going on?  thought Charlie.  But he said nothing and let the man go on,

“I”ve been sent here by chief Elf to bring you a special message but I cannot talk to you when you are so much bigger than me.  So I am going to give you a little drink and you will shrink to my size”

“Huh?” was all Charlie could say.

“You mustn’t worry, young one” Cedric said.  “You will grow back all too soon and return to your family but first you must hear this message” ‘

“O.,,kay…” Charlie said, slowly. 

“We will begin instantly, we have no time to waste, your parents will be worried.”

“That’s a lie,” said Charlie. “They are too busy with Ted to care where I am” 

Charlie expected, almost hoped, that Cedric would tell him this was nonsense and of course his parents cared, but Cedric simply nodded sympathetically.

“Sit down, Charlie,”

“Wait, how do you know my name?”

“Never mind that, Sit down on the bank. Relax”   Charlie did as he was told and was handed a tiny cup that suddenly grew to normal size when he took it. 

“Wow!” gasped Charlie “How did you do that?”   Cedric winked and motioned for Charlie to take a sip and as he did, sure enough, Charlie shrunk to the same size, or maybe a bit smaller than Cedric and found himself sitting on a lily pad beside him. 

“Perfect,” said Cedric, “Now lets get on,  Do you recognise this baby?”  And before Charlie could ask “What baby?” an image of a baby appeared in the clear blue lake.  It was so clear and Charlie did recognise the baby, at least he thought he did. 

“It’s my brother”  he told Cedric. Rather embarrassingly, tears sprang to his eyes. He quickly wiped them away.  Cedric shook his head.

“No, Charlie,” he said. “that’s you,”

“But it looks like..”   Cedric smiled

“Exactly like your brother! two peas in a pod. Now look at this one”   Charlie was about to ask  this little elf man why he thought he and his brother were peas but now was not the time.  He saw another image in the lake.  It was his mum and dad.  And a baby again. Was it Ted or him? he wasn’t sure.  But then he looked closer and realised that, yes, the baby was him.  They were on holiday somewhere sunny on a beach..  His mum and dad looked a bit different. Younger maybe? But they looked happy. Very happy. They were hugging him. They looked like they really loved him.  That was then, Charlie thought. They didn’t love him now.   Charlie began to cry.   

“Dear, dear child”  Cedric said, handing him a little handkerchief “What on earth is the matter?”

“My mummy and daddy loved me then,” he explained.  He had no idea why he was suddenly  calling them mummy and daddy again. They’d been mum and dad since he’d turned six. 

“But that is simply not true!” said the kind little elf.  “When you were a baby they used to protect you from harm just as they try to protect your little brother. And you see they still do protect you.  But in a different way. They know that you are older now.  You still need protecting, don’t you. But not in the same way as little Ted.  Look at how much you can do now”  Charlie thought about this.

“i can run really fast, I can jump really high and I can swim on my own. I had lessons and everything”   Cedric smiled and nodded.

‘That’s right, Charlie,” he said “but your brother can’t do these things, he can’t even walk yet, can he?”

“He’s only a baby,” Charlie said, protectively.

“Exactly” Cedric said, “So you see, your parents do love you. They just know they need to guide Ted a little bit more at this stage.  And they know what a big boy you are. But you still have so much to learn, dear boy and that is what they are trying to do. Guide you in the right way in life”

Charlie nodded, slowiy beginning to understand.

“I’m missing my parents,”  he said “I must get back, they might tell me off for being away so long”

“They will not know that you have gone, Charlie. but that is because no time has passed in the real world.  When you go back you will have only just jumped into the pool.’

“Wow,” said Charlie once again. 

“Now I will give you your drink and you can grow back and swim back to the centre of the lake and then soon you will find yourself back with your family, enjoying your holiday.  Charlie sipped the drink that he was given and just as Cedric said, he grew back to his normal size. 

“Awesome!” he gasped. “thanks!”  Cedric smiled and waved to Charlie.  Charlie waved back and swam to the centre of the lake.   He bobbed his head under water and once again felt the gentle flow and then he was back in Benidorm, emerging from the water.   He caught his mum’s eye. She smiled

“Wow! What a jump Charlie!” she said.  Charlie grinned from ear to ear. He swam over to the toddler pool and climbed in, approaching his mum, giving her the biggest cuddle.   His mum kissed him on the head.  He released his mum and gently ruffled his brother’s blonde hair.

“I love my brother’ he said.

Jen Elvy

So there you have it.   Please let me know what you think. I hope you like it.  I will write many more, I’m sure. This is just the start.

I liked writing about a problem to which a child can relate and adding a fantasy element and I’m wondering whether to continue with a similar formula or set my stories entirely in a fantasy world.

Maybe I’ll do a bit of both but what I do know is I’ve gone fairyland mad and I’ve got a new board on Pinterest with some beautiful photos to inspire me.    I will also take some photos when out and about of scenes and landscapes that inspire me.

I want to continue with my poems and maybe write a rhyming story one day but for now, I’m all fired up to write children’s fiction too and I hope you will join me on my journey.

I leave you with this photo I took on our nature trail that was a great source of inspiration for this story and hopefully subsequent stories.

FullSizeRender

Until next time

Jen xx

Time Flies

Yes it certainly does and it seems that it’s been a while since I posted last.  I think I need some kind of routine to this so at least once a week I will try and sit down and write something, even if it’s just writing practice to begin with.   I haven’t come up with anything whilst out and about so I think I should commit to setting some time aside.  That is a work in progress.

I will begin by saying a big THANK YOU.  As some of you know, I now have a facebook page as I thought it might be nice to showcase some of my work on social media.  I have been flattered by the response so far so thank you to everyone who has liked my page.  Your support means so much! xxx Also, last night I published my latest poem on my page and it’s had an amazing response so thank you so much if you liked, commented or shared.  It means so much.  I’m just so glad that you enjoyed the poem.

I will share the poem with you here and tell you a bit about the writing process and how it came about.  I will round up with some tips/advice for fellow writers.

So without further ado, here is the poem:

Time Flies 

Sometimes I sit and
Just watch you play
Knowing you won’t be
So little one day.

I take in your face
And your wispy blonde hair,
Your little button nose
And your blue eyed stare

One day your face will change
You’ll lose your baby ways
Chatter will turn to word
And word will turn to phrase

I can’t wait to watch you
Learn more and more through play
And I really want to hear
What you have to say

But I want to live in the moment
I want this phase to last
Why must time
Always go by so fast?

Jen Elvy

 

I hope you enjoyed the poem and I’m sure many of you can relate.   It’s that conflict between wanting to just freeze time and keep them little but also knowing that you can’t wait to see them change and grow. And maybe there’s a little phase that you secretly want to hurry along, like the suffering of teething, that stage where you have to follow them around everywhere because you never know what they are going to get up to next.   I remember being in the park with the boys after school, before Sam could walk and I said to some of the mums “It will be lovely when Sam can walk around so he can enjoy the park more.”  He used to crawl around the park and I’d be constantly fearful of children treading on his fingers or reluctant to let him crawl if the ground was wet.  Then he learned to walk and now he’s an established walker.  I was right. He can enjoy the park and wander around happily.  However we are now on the following closely on his tail” phase where he’s everywhere and into everything. I love to see my baby explore, I really do.  I just sometimes wish he’d explore in a more cautious way! But of course, I know that’s impossible and for now I am happy to follow my little cannonball, make sure he doesn’t get in any scrapes and keep him out of harms way.   I am treasuring this phase because in no time he will be as old as Kyle and I will find it hard to imagine him being so little, just as I do with Kyle now.  (We have our home videos though, which are lovely)

But my main point is that half of me is like ooh I can’t wait til he can talk, walk without the buggy, sense dangers ahead of him, etc but the other half just wants to keep him this size forever.  With each stage, will come new challenges and I know we have lots to look forward to but at the same time, oooh my baby won’t be my baby for much longer.  Am I ready?

So those strong emotions, I knew I could use for a poem. I was searching around for a subject matter and then, like a bulb lighting up in my head, I was like, hello? You know this nostalgia vs anticipation feeling you have? Go with it! It’s good.  I finally had time the other night to sit and read some poetry and then try and write something too.  I read poetry about toddlers and I think the poems I read really set the scene for the poem above. They were all on the “I won’t always be this small,” theme so it was perfect.

I started by writing the first verse, which was more or less the first verse you see in the poem, give or take a couple of words.  Then the rest of the verses that I wrote were actually not my best work.   They didn’t match up to the powerful message in the first verse.  I realised this especially after a day or two, after I’d left them and then come back. A fresh pair of eyes is vital sometimes.

When I reviewed my writing, I found that I loved the first verse so I kept it, and started the other verses again.  The poem didn’t come too easily as I wanted to strike the right tone.   I’m quite proud of the second verse as description is not usually my forte, but I followed the old saying, keep it simple! And I think it works quite well, don’t you?

Unlike some of the other poems I have written, I actually spent quite a lot of time deliberating over different rhymes because nothing seemed to sound the way I wanted it to, but I persevered and in the end, I got there.  I had a poem I was happy with.   I had a rough idea of the struture and that came quite naturally.  I knew what I wanted to say. I just needed to find the right way to convey the message and find the right rhymes that didn’t sound forced.

But as I say, I’m pleased with the end result and I’m so glad so many of you enjoyed it too.

My  tips for fellow writers that emerge directly from this poem are:

  • Persevere – keep going, don’t give up.  If necessary leave the poem overnight and see how you feel in the morning but keep at it and don’t give up.
  • If you have an idea, just go for it. Just write.  You can change what you write later. Edit, polish, whatever. Just make a start and you will hopefully find that the words start to flow.
  • If not happy, don’t be afraid to start from scratch.  I have said this in previous blog posts.  Please don’t delete the original work as it could form the basis for the edited version but if things aren’t flowing start again from the point at which you thought it was working.
  • Take a break and then come back A fresh pair of eyes can be very positive and if you feel things aren’t going right or you simply feel you might have a first draft but it needs a bit of work, feel free to stop, take a break and review it when you come back.  But the important thing is MAKE SURE YOU COME BACK! (refer to first tip)

Thats about all from me tonight, except to say that if you would like to read some of my work before it is published on here and (and some that may not be) and keep up to date with goings on, feel free to like my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Jens-Poems-219679815178017/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Hope the above link works, if not I will amend. The title of the page is simply “Jen’s Poems”

Thank you all again for your continued support.

Jen xx

 

All Things Bright and Benidorm

Hi all,

Just back from a lovely family holiday in Benidorm, Spain.  Have you been there? Its fab! It’s got this amazing home away from home quality.  We went when our eldest was a baby but this time we were a family of four. Going back with two children to revisit old memories and make some more was brilliant and I was quite emotional at times as it all seemed so surreal.  Coincidentally  we stayed at the same hotel as last time. It is now under new management and it’s had a refurb and we agreed it has changed for the better.

I could do a whole new blog post about the holiday but my post today will focus on the holiday from a writer’s point of view.  I have suffered from writers block in the past but being on holiday in a new environment, surrounded by palm trees, sandy beaches and the like, never fails to inspire me. It’s hard to explain but it inspries me even if I can’t quite put it into words.   The new thing this time was that I am writing poetry on a kind of regular basis so I had a way I know I could put my inspiration across.

One problem though, description isn’t exactly my forte so place poems pose a bit of a problem. But I’m encouraged by the fact that I can try and always edit and improve later.  With this first poem, I feel I am just getting started with writing about Benidorm.  I fell in love with the place even more the second time around and with this poem I feel like I was just scratching the surface. I was pleased wiht the outcome and that I managed to write a poem about a place I loved.

I will first share the poem and then tell you how it came together.

 

How nice it is to be back in Benidorm
Where the beaches are sandy and the weather is warm
The sun always shines and the palm trees
Gently dance in the summer breeze
The high rise blocks stand tall and proud
The sky is clear, there’s no sign of a cloud
Through the streets we love to explore
Bars and pubs and shops and more
And at the end of the day, with aching feet
It’s great to be back in our hotel suite
Looking over the balcony at the amazing view
Waiting for tomorrow and adventures new

Jen Elvy

More often than not, I start my poems with the first line and work my way down to the close. This time it was a bit different. The last few lines actually came to me first.  To begin with I had the word treat to rhyme with suite but when we had a particularly long walk one evening, I changed it to aching feet.  I love exploring new places and having an evening walk to work off holiday food sins, so believe me it was a satisfying ache.  It was, however, very satisfying to sit down and relax afterwards. From being back at the hotel suite, it felt natural to lead on to talking about the view from the balcony, which was breathtaking. Then from view, I got new adventures, or “adventures new” to close the poem. It seemed a fitting close point to talk about being back at base at the end of the day, looking out over the city, anticipating the next day’s adventures.

So I had the end, now to work out how to start.  I came up with the first few lines during a walk back from a sea life park, Mundomar, in the blazing heat. I love composing poems in my head whilst walking along.  It seems less pressure than writing them straight down on paper or on the screen.  I can juggle words around in my head as much as I want, in a relaxed state of mind.  My editing head is on but my critique head is not in action.  On the walk I got as far as the line “The sky is clear, there’s no sign of a cloud”   I’m sure Benidorm has it’s overcast days but at the time of composition, there was a lovely clear blue sky.   It was now a case of connecting the first lines with the closing section I’d already composed.  I could have written so much more but in the end I only needed a couple of lines that covered the exploration aspect before going on to the closing two couplets.   I am pleased with the outcome and it shows that you can start a poem at any point. Just because you have the first couple of lines, does that mean that it has to be the opening of your poem?  Not necessarily. In the case of this poem, the closing lines that I composed first were always going to be closing lines and it happened that the poem came to me in this order.   With other poems, this might not be so clear cut but that doesn’t mean that you can’t play around with the poem a bit, adding lines at the start or in the middle, or changing the order of the lines.  Maybe this is something I can look into in future poems.

As I said, I could write so much more about Benidorm but I hope you enjoyed my first attempt to capture the city in poetry.

Thank you for reading,

Jen xx

 

FAO Neighbours Fans

Hi everyone,

Today I try something new and put out something not about my life but about the life of certain Australian soap characters.  After getting a bit soppy today, I chose them as subjects in hope of sharing my work with fans of the show.  It may fall flat, It may be ignored but it’s my work and I wanted to put it out there.

I actually didn’t expect today’s little session to end in producing a poem so it was a pleasant surprise.   As I said in my previous post, I want to continue to collect new rhymes but write poems off the cuff, which I did today and it worked.  I started by reading some poetry online and collecting some rhyming pairs.  For each pair I collected, I added one more.  This served as a confidence boost. I’ve still got it! And collecting just two rhyming words can start off a string.

The next thing I did was think about something that had got me a bit emotional today.   It was an episode of my favourite soap, Neighbours.  If you don’t watch it, then maybe the details and background will probably sound cheesy but credit to the writers and the actors, they really brought it to life and performances were amazing.

Here is my poem:

An Ode To Toadie and Sonya

A  couple together through thick and thin
A misunderstanding, a cardinal sin
A man in despair chooses his past
But desperately wants his marriage to last 
A surrogate baby so tragically lost 
She wanted to help, whatever the cost 
The ultimate price was a union so strong
A selfless act was to be their swan song

Jen  Elvy

 

I was surprised how quickly and smoothly this came together.  The only bit I struggled with slightly was the close of the poem but changing a rhyme sorted that out.

The poem deals with the issues involved in the break up of a seemingly solid couple and I hope fans of the show can appreciate it as it will be lost on anyone who doesn’t watch it, perhaps.  If that is you then all I can say is I’ll be back soon with some more poetry on a different subject.

Thank you for reading and letting me air this poem.  It’s all about putting it out there.

Jen xxx

 

Mother’s Day

Hi everyone,

I wrote a poem today.  A year ago that wouldn’t have been very big news. In fact you probably would have said to me, “So, what’s new?” as back then I was knocking out at least two poems a week, sometimes closer to one a day.  However as I’ve mentioned ideas and poems aren’t exactly coming thick and fast lately so today was an achievement.

I used the “Just write” approach today, which worked well.  As the name suggests it simply involves just writng and seeing what I produce.   Before I started writing I had a read of some of my own work, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages.  It was very encouraging and reminded me what I could write when I had the time or was in the right mood.   At first, though, nothing new came. Or should I say, the desire didn’t come.  Considering how productive I have been in the past, this made me sad. It made me feel like I was going to start my dry spell all over again, but what was the point in forcing it?

But wait, it was worth continuing.  In the end, I just opened a document, with a topic in mind and started to compose a poem.  Of course, today being Mother’s day, I wanted to write a Mother’s day poem so off I went.  And as it happened it flowed quite nicely.  At the end, I felt that it was good but, whilst it was general and not personal to me, it felt a bit too general and didn’t feel like it would touch a deep emotion.  Mind you, not every poem has to do this, I guess, so with that in mind, I sent it to my husband to see what he thought.

Encouraged by his positive response, (What would I do without you, babe?) I have decided to share it, so here it is:

Mother’s Day

Wishing a happy Mother’s Day
To mothers everywhere
You do so much to show
That you love and you care

When we are feeling low
You are a listening ear
A shoulder to cry on
A voice to calm our fear

You have wiped our noses
Picked us up when we fell down
And cringed when we have thrown
A tantrum while in town

And if you’ve grown your angel’s wings
And you are no longer here
We remember you so fondly
Although we shed a tear

It may be that your children
Are now fully grown
And now have children
Of their very own

Wherever you are, mothers
Know that you are treasured
And that your greatness
Can simply not be measured

Jen Elvy

Reading it again, I’m pleased with the way it turned out and I only hope, despite my busier schedule, I can get into a bit of a flow with my writing again.

One thing that has frustrated me lately is my apparent inability to write from prepared notes and practice sessions.   A while back, I collected some rhyming words, first from memory and then adding words I found on Rhymezone, which is an online rhyming aid I occasionally use (but only when the word fits)  From these lists I wanted to produce some rhyming couplets or maybe a whole poem, but to my frustration, when I actually sat down to do this, it didn’t happen that way.  I produced a few lines but nothing I felt was good enough or that really sparked anything.   I discovered today that I’m better off writing my poems straight off, working out rhymes as I go along.  This is probably because of the nature of what I write. My poems start with a feeling or an idea and to have too many notes and plans just doesn’t seem to work for me.

Having said that, I do think that my notes and rhyming practice sessions do have a place in my work.   But how can I use them without stifling my creativity?

  1.  Continue to collect rhyming words and lines but keep this seperate from my poetry sessions.  Hopefully any words that I collect can work their way into my subconscience and find their way into my work.
  2. Have notes in front of me when writing but only for reference.  Refer to them if I get stuck on a rhyme or in case one of the lines I write comes in handy.  I can even keep a record of rhymes I use in each poem and expand my list further during another session.

Think I can do a bit of both techniques so all is not lost.  I’m hoping this little epiphany tonight will help me to chill out with my writing and hopefully I’ll have another blog post for you before too long.

See you soon and if you are a mum, I hope you have had a fabulous Mothers day.  This post is for you.  Thinking also of those whose Mums have grown angel wings and are no longer with us. I send you a big hug and remind you that your mum is still with you every day.  I dedicate this post to you too and I’m sorry if it has been upsetting to read.

Lots of love

Jen xxx

 

Rhyming and Toddler Bedtime

Hi all,

Been a busy month.  And a tiring one with the youngest settling into his new bed and still being wakeful at night at times.  Plus been busy at work the last couple of weeks. Every time I intend to write this blog I end up asleep on the sofa before even making a start! So a very tired working mummy this month.

I have written the odd bit now and then so still active.  I will later share with you a little rhyme I wrote about the frustrations of toddler bedtime.   But first I want to talk to you about one of the main reasons I write poetry.

It’s a rhyming thing.

As you all know, I do love to rhyme.  I wrote about this in my last post and I have no idea if I’m repeating myself  so apologies if I am but this time I intend to go into it in more depth.

The fact is rhyme is all around us.  In songs, adverts, poems…. the list goes on.  Rhymes add colour to our hectic lives.  And a certain order too. They are memorable, which is why they are so widely used.  The first songs we learn as infants are nursery rhymes and then we learn songs and hymns at school, which are also based around rhyme to make them memorable.  And then there’s children’s literature.  As children we loved a story written in rhyme, often with a repetitive line/verse.  The following two spring to mind

Run run as fast as you can 

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.

(The Gingerbread Man)

Little pig, little pig let me come in. 

No by the hairs on my chinny chin chin

I will not let you in ….

(The Three Little Pigs)

The list goes on and this generation is no different.  In fact I still read my children the books containing these rhymes.   And now there are new ones too.  You will find delightful rhymes in “The Aliens Love Underpants” series, amongst many others.  One of my favourites and one very special to me is When the world was waiting for you” by Gillian Sheilds.   This was read aloud on Cbeebies when Kyle, our eldest, was a baby and it moved me to tears as it rang so true.  It speaks about the anticipation of a birth of a new baby and the delight as a baby is born into a family.   Although the illustrations show a family of rabbits, Gillian Sheilds captures the occasion beautifully.  I love reading it to the boys.

And then we come to one of my favourite children’s authors. Julia Donaldson. What can I say? the woman is a genius! I love her work. From her little lift the flap series containing books such as Postman Bear and Fox in Socks, to books such as Monkey Puzzle, Room on the Broom and of course,The Gruffalo.   I have written the odd narrative poem but I don’t think I could get anywhere near the pure genuis of the Julia Donaldson books.  To think of a children’s story is one skill but to bring rhyme to life as she does… I don’t think I could do it! I’m not saying I won’t give it a try one day but I’ll never compete with Julia Donaldson.

I would also like to share with you another artist from a different genre whose rhyming I admire.   My husband says he believes I could write a song for him one day and that is something I would love to do aswell.  Poetry and song writing go hand in hand and so this rhyming artist is none other than Robbie Williams.  When I first started writing poetry I looked to him for inspiration.  It was only recently that I was thinking about his most famous song Angels and how he used rhyme in the first verse. He focuses a lot on one sound:

Do they know the places where we go when we’r e grey and old?

Cause I have been told

That salvation let’s their wings unfold

In this section he uses 3 rhyming words : old/told/unfold  as well as two other rhyming words that sound similar to the above rhymes know/go.  I love the way he groups these together.   It really gets the song into the memory, into the subconscience. He also does it with the subsequent lines too:

So when I’m lying in my bed,

Thoughts running through my head

And I feel that love is dead

I’m loving Angels instead

Thats right, four of them!  These techniques coupled with other factors make this song still one of his best ones to date.  I just over played it a bit at uni so I don’t listen to it much anymore.   It was only when I was running the lyrics through my head, as I often do to get inspiration that this song really struck me.

So there you have it. A little bit about who inspires me to keep on rhyming.  I’ve also discovered the power of slant rhymes, in other words near rhymes as opposed to perfect rhymes, which can work so well.  Particularly in songs when you haven’t really got time to think “that doesn’t rhyme properly” You just register the key sounds eg arms/stars  gone/long.  I will be trying some of these out in future work.

I will leave you with my own poem.  Again, the work of a disasterous bedtime:

Why is it that bedtime is sometimes such a breeze?
But other times it can have you crumbling to your knees?
Sometimes it’s filled with promise and hope
But other times you just can’t cope!
Why can’t it just be black and white?
Instead of making you feel you’re doing nothing right?
It just goes to show that putting a toddler to bed
Can really and truly mess with your head!

Jen Elvy

Amazing how the words flow when you really have something to say.  It’s the other times when I want to write poetry and nothing is coming to mind that I find frustrating.

I close this by thanking all those who have inspired me, including fellow blogger Dawn, who writes Rhyming with Wine. I love her work as it always inspires me.

And of course all those who are reading this.

Love to all.

Back soon

Jen xx