Month: February 2017

Giggle Quadrille for dVerse

A study in squares
Four by four
They go
Ho ho ho ho
Books on a frosty morn
As I proceed to my pond
Scribbles over the aircon
It looks a bit forlorn
Ho ho ho ho
The tiny legs made
Me giggle though

 

This is a Quadrille written for the dVerse poetry prompt. A Quadrille is a poem of 44 words (not counting the title) and this week’s prompt was to write one that included the word ‘giggle’. Right after I read the prompt, I happened to look back on the four photos I took today, which were, randomly, all squares. 4×4 and 44 lines – it seemed too perfect!

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Magic

Zan Zig performing with rabbit and roses, including hat trick and levitation. 1899 advertising poster for the magician (who seems to have left no other trace behind) . Copyrighted by The Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati & New York. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zan_Zig_performing_with_rabbit_and_roses,_magician_poster,_1899.jpg

Zan Zig performing with rabbit and roses, including hat trick and levitation. 1899 advertising poster for the magician (who seems to have left no other trace behind) . Copyrighted by The Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati & New York. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zan_Zig_performing_with_rabbit_and_roses,_magician_poster,_1899.jpg

 

I haven’t changed my habits
Merely shuffled them around
Dealt myself a new hand
From the same pack

Pick two cards
Don’t show me which two
Are they…
Alcoholism and nail biting?
Yes!
How did she do that?

Ok, next
Give me your watch
Don’t worry, you’ll get it back at the end of the show
See how the time tick, tick ticks away
When you’re
Checking social media in bed?
Bingo!

I will now saw this lady in half
Because she’s not always ‘present’ and mindful!
This half – the parent. That half – the worker.
And that’s it folks, I can see you’re astounded
By this completely ordinary woman performing two diametrically opposite roles
But I’m afraid
A magician never reveals her secrets

For my next trick. Handkerchiefs! How many can I pull from my sleeve?
One – grocery shopping.
Two – cleaning the oven.
Three – the park.
Four – can there be more?
Five – how is she be so busy?
Six – oh, oh stop you’re making me dizzy.

Abracadabra one two three

Boom

Magic me.

Lueg die Werkstatt

It’s now been a few weeks “full time” (which means approx 1.5 days / 12 hours per week) into my Writing Thing. I have created my own home-based Werkstatt (workshop) – a space to write. And despite the to-be-expected wobbles and mini crises of confidence, things are going pretty well.

I’ve been bashing out lots of poems and submitting them to various journals and also trying my hand at some short-story writing. I think short stories are the hardest so far for me, compared to poems and even the novel. Although it still feels like early days on the novel.

Anyway, I just had my short story “Mark’s Funeral” published at http://www.quailbellmagazine.com/the-unreal/fiction-marks-funeral-by-claire-doble

Yay!

Hopefully more good news to come in the following weeks and months. Watch this space / Lueg die Werkstatt!

Notes on a suspected suicide

Photo: Greg Ortega @https://unsplash.com/@antisocia1

I am an arrogant twit

But I know that woman was in a bad place

I knew

and I stepped back

Because I didn’t want to be drawn into… something

Self-preservation

Or cruelty

I guess we’ll never know

But she’s gone now and I could have-

oh

I am an arrogant twit.

 

(*I since found out she had a heart condition but that doesn’t make it any better or worse)

Spoken Word collaboration

Image: Riccardo Annandale @ https://unsplash.com/@pavement_special

Pic by Riccardo Annandale @ https://unsplash.com/@pavement_special

Well this is exciting. My first spoken-word-poetry collaboration!

I came across Kate Duff’s poems through the blogosphere a while ago and they really resonated with me. I approached her about doing a reading of one of them and she was kind enough (and brave enough!) to say yes.

I enjoyed reading someone else’s work and -ahem- it may have even provoked me to try a bit harder and do a few more takes than my usual slapdashian approach!

I’m really pleased with this one. Have a listen (it runs for about 1.5 minutes). And throw some blog-love towards Kate over at https://athousandbitsofpaper.com/  Thanks Kate!

 

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/thinking-by-kate-duff-read-by-claire-doble

Link to original poem: https://athousandbitsofpaper.com/2016/12/01/thinking/

#26Cantons52Weeks Jura

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Canton: Jura

Destination: Porrentruy / Jurassica

Interesting thing: Jura is the most recently created Swiss canton – joining the federation in 1979 – and is where the word Jurassic comes from

 

With its pretty, rolling fields flanked by roundish mountains, Jura has quite a different ‘feel’ to many of the other cantons I’ve been/seen so far in Switzerland. Which is kind of insane, considering it’s such a tiny country, but quite understandable given the fact of: mountains, mountains everywhere. But it was not always so. Back in the Jurassic era, this part of the world was all steamy swamplands, roamed but dinosaurs large and small. The clue is in the name – Jura / Jurassic. So we thought we’d go see some dinos when we visited Jura canton this weekend.

The Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses, Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. This created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, and many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests. On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone.  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic

The dinos, and in fact almost any sign of life, proved rather difficult to find though! We’d inadvertently visited during the local holiday period of Semaine Blanche – White Week – and on a Sunday, so there was a total of one boulangerie, one restaurant and a few bars open in the town of Porrentruy (to be fair, not much is open in Switzerland on Sundays as a rule but you do usually get a few more cafes etc.) Anyway, the sun was shining and there wasn’t much “Blanche” (snow) in town so we had a pleasant wander through Porrentruy. And an unexpectedly good lunch at L’Inter. (Hmm, #26Cantons52weeks is fast becoming #26lunches – I need to start #26typesofexercise!)

After our meal, we went to try to find the dinosaur footprints at the Jurassica Diotec. Both the Satnav and Google maps took us to a local tech park area and told us we were in the right place but we circled around a bunch of very closed-up looking buildings and could not see a hint of dinosaurs. There was no signage, nothing.

Luckily, Himself managed to flag down a local who was strolling by the river who told us they were “three buildings across”. We went there and, tucked away in a courtyard behind the engineering school – Success! Pretty awesome. On the way out we saw a tiny sign pointing to where we’d been but without some serious persistence, it would have been missed entirely. There’s heaps more Jurassic Jura to see nearby, including a whole Dinosaur Theme Trail you can hike – once again, we might have to come back for a more extensive visit to this fascinating canton with our little dino-lovers.

Motherf*cking February

Photo: Marco Ceschi via https://unsplash.com/@spantax

Photo: Marco Ceschi via https://unsplash.com/@spantax

A little something for everyone this week. Here’s a short spoken-word piece

 

Every mother looks tired today

Or perhaps it’s the harsh light of Monday

As she sat with a baby in a sling

With the sun on her face

I could see the exhaustion

of the night before

And I also saw

Those dedicated mums meeting their friends

In cafes for lunch

Trying not to be in the way

Trying to get their two year olds to eat something

It’s not even much fun

But better than not having gone

What a mess they make

And I think maybe I’ll just get a job

And outsource all my childcare from now on

Every mother looks tired today

Motherfucking February

 

Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/motherfcking-february

Appenzell #26Cantons52Weeks

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Canton: Appenzell Innerrhoden / Appenzell Ausserrhoden

Destination: Hoher Kasten “The Top of Appenzell”

Crazy thing: The canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden was the last jurisdiction in Europe to grant women the vote – in 1991. Yes, that is only 26 years ago. What the… ?

 

We visited the Appenzell yesterday. I say “The Appenzell” because there’s actually two “half-cantons” that make up Appenzellerland in tourist terms – Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden (the split happened back in 1525 due to religion: Catholic / Protestant). Well, I’m going to claim both since we drove through Inner and Ausser before catching a cable car to the “Top of Appenzell”, where we had views over the two half-cantons and beyond — all the way to Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein and France (on a clear day).

We picked a rather windy Sunday for our trip, which meant a slightly hairy gondola ride up to Hoher Kasten for lunch at the revolving restaurant. The cable car had actually been closed due to high winds the previous day so we weren’t even sure if we’d get up there! Luckily it was running and there wasn’t too much rocking and rolling except right at the end as we ascended up the almost sheer rockface to the cable car station.

It was a rather grey winter’s day so we visibility wasn’t the best ever, but we could see all the way to Lake Constance and various other vistas. Added bonus was that, due to the inclement weather, it wasn’t at all crowded and we had a prime window-seat for our meal in the revolving restaurant – which was super-cool (the food wasn’t half bad either).

On the way home we stopped at a farm vending machine for some apfelsaft and raclette cheese. I am fascinated by these things.

Farm vending machine at St Gallenkapel

Farm vending machine at St Gallenkapel

Short entry this time – not much more to say, really!

Us and Them

horses

We’re the ones here now

it’s us. that’s it

on the spot

in the place

my face

and yours

just a set of real people

all with our own lives

loves

pains and joy

so why

do we feel so afraid

of Them

that They’ll come

and

take it all away

 

This blog has felt a bit neglected lately. The weather has been too snowy for canton visits and I’ve been trying to keep my poetry aside to submit to various journals and stuff. I’ve also been doing the first edits on my novel and writing some short stories and trying to get some other people’s stories together for an anthology (phew!). I think I’m procrastinating a bit, but I’m also enjoying myself… mostly!

This morning I saw a repellent poster from a local extreme-right political group that was scare-mongering about women in burquas. It didn’t even have an organisation name on it, but I know who put it up. What’s the German for Stop Punishing Women just because you’re a Fucking Coward? This country is so small, it sometimes feels like you know everyone. It seems barmy that people still feel so afraid of women looking different that they’d seek to ban it. I don’t know. I’m probably not making much sense. I got really angry.