Frida Kahlo & The Survivors of Symphysiotomy

Symphy- whatnow? I hear you say!

Some of you may have not heard of Frida Kahlow.

All of you will wonder why I’m putting the two together.

The following link will explain the latter – Beware some graphic descriptions http://uk.news.yahoo.com/just-27-butchered-symphysiotomy-survivors-own-words-175701507.html#TTnHMvm

This link will explain Frida Kahlow a little better http://www.fridakahlo.com/

What you may not know is that one of the handrails on the trolley-bus Frida was riding when the crash happened, ended up exiting her groin.

In 2010-2011, Pascale Petit (http://www.pascalepetit.co.uk) published her fifth collection “What the Water Gave Me – poems after Frida Kahlow,” Poems inspired by Kahlow’s paintings (Petit is a visual artist by background), and often written in Kahlow’s voice – or something similar.

I saw Petit at the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2012, reading from the collection, and explaining some of Kahlow’s background. (It is also the first time I have ever been star-struck. A geeky way I know, but I stood there, having my copy signed and grinning like a loon! That is another story though)

In the collection is a poem called “Remembrance of an Open Wound,” the full poem can and should be read in “What the Water Gave Me” which also gives context, but this poem immediately came to mind when I read about the Symphysiotomy Survivors. Here is a small excerpt:

Neither of us knows
when the petrol tank will explode.
You say I’ve decorated my house
to recreate the accident –
my skeleton wired with fireworks,
my menagerie flinging air about.
…It’s time to pull the handrail out.
I didn’t expect love to feel like this –
you holding me down with your knee,
wrenching the steel rod from my charred body
quickly, kindly, setting me free.
(Pascale Petit, 2010)

 

Hopefully, out of all this will come good, and changes will happen to women’s health across the world.

 

 

Not quite MIA

Hi all,

I thought I’d stop by to ensure you don’t think I’ve gone Missing In Action!

The start of 2014 has just not started out as writing-friendly as I’d hoped. This is mainly down to tiredness and jewellery making. As in, I get home from work, make some jewellery and therefore, I’m too tired to even think about writing.

I realised that, actually, this may be a good thing at the moment.

I was becoming more stressed about NOT writing, it was causing me to not-write even more. So I stopped stressing, and stopped writing for a bit.

I’ve put pen to paper once or twice, nothing full or exactly polished, but it’s words and a semblance of poetry.

Maybe a little later in the year…

Watch this space!

 

Flash fiction – Running

Camel Lairds Sunset

Camel Lairds Sunset

Scroll to the bottom for a little insight into this story

Running

Georgia stopped, leaning on the railings as she caught her breath. The river was eerily calm this evening. She’d never seen the water so still. She ripped the ear-buds from her ears and looked around. No one. Not a sound.

She could scream here. Shred her lungs, her vocal cords and ultimately that small ball of stress that had built up inside her chest. She wouldn’t though. That was what kept her ticking. Kept the joints oiled, ready for action. Ready for anything.

Anything.

She wasn’t ready when the car was hit by the 4×4 on the motorway.

Wasn’t ready to hear when surgeons said her legs had to be amputated.

Wasn’t ready for the long and painful recovery and rehabilitation.

Never ready when the phantom legs decide to flee and leave her behind, trying to catch up in her wheelchair, new and clumsy, running (at least in her imagination) those familiar five miles she used to take beside the river.

For now, she knew she had to realise that her legs were now metal wheels, her running trainers now fitted securely onto her prosthetic legs at home.

Georgia pushed the ear-buds back into her ears. Checking her music player and changing the song to a harsh, loud rock anthem, she turned around and pushed herself as hard as she could back towards home.

 

This story really only came to me as I looked out of the window at my place of work. The picture above is generally identical to the picture. The water has been as still as a mirror. I saw one or two people walk past it. The addition of the twist at the end about the wheelchair was purely accidental. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I come across all sorts of people in my job who have varying degrees of disability and lack of movement for one reason or another. Most people I do come into contact with, are going through a variation of grief when it comes to their illness or disability. Denial is a dangerous thing. It is worse for the onlookers. This is inspired by over 5 years of experience and people-observation.

Picture it & write – the long stretch

Here’s a late entry to last week’s picture it and write over on Ermilia http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/

And Here is the picture prompt

creative-writing-exercise

For more information about this picture and the week’s prompt, pop over to http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/picture-it-write-15/

 

The Long Stretch

As soon as my leg had healed after the accident, my friends and family told me to “get back on the bike” or I “never would again and regret it.” Nothing I’d not told myself, like. I knew that never going my usual route to work again (I like the scenic route) would cause all sorts of regrets.

So I got back on my new bike (the old one had an imprint of my leg in the back wheel) and took a leisurely ride down the ever familiar road. That’s when it happened.

My panic attack. The world began to spin. My heart raced and I thought I would hyperventilate. I knew I was veering all over the road – just like the car that hit me, despite me riding off the road to get out of its way – I quickly got off the bike and began walking slowly towards the area I was knocked over. The attack didn’t ease much – the road simply warped and stretched forever in front of me.

back and blogging

Its been about three weeks (or there abouts) since I last posted anything. I have been running up the wall with all sorts of things. A family wedding and a family 21st birthday party within a week of each other hasn’t helped with blogging time, plus, I have been busy with my other creative self and have been making jewellery and beading goodies (see more at beadsbymel.blogspot.co.uk).

I know it’s a few days late, but I want to add my little tribute/obituary to the late great Seamus Heaney. He was one of my great 20th century poet-heroes ever since I read his poetry in school at sixteen. “Half-term break” being one of my favourite poems. The world is a quieter place now, but is a richer place from his influence. I have found a rather fitting tribute sonnet over on Roy Marshall’s (poet) blog, http://roymarshall.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/a-sonnet-for-seamus-heaney/

And to the best British satirist-broadcaster-journalist-reporter of over 60 years, David Frost who died Saturday 31st August http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408548/Sir-David-Frost-dies-TV-giant-party-host-supreme-thoroughly-good-egg.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490 He did so much, he became a tour-de-force in the media world – most famously bringing Richard Nixon to a rather candid confession on the Watergate Scandal years after he was ousted. So, Sir David Frost who helped to launch (wider known) careers of the likes of Ronnie’s Corbet & Barker and John Cleese to name a few through his satirical sketch show, The Frost Report, all I can say is, Goodbye, Goodnight, RIP.

Picture it and write – memory

A Couple of weeks ago, Ermilia put this picture up for Picture it and Write

by DiggieVitt on Flickr

For more information on this picture and the prompt, please see  http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/__picture-it-write-62/

and here is my contribution for this

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Memory

He kept running.

 Somehow he had to get the crows away from his sister. The crows had stolen his memories – and most of hers. But there were two memories she kept deep within her.

 He had to make sure they were kept safe.

 One was of their mother; who she was, where she was.

 The other was of his wife and child.

 

Picture it and write – Shipwrecked

Here is this weeks prompt for the regular Picture it and write over on Ermilia

tumblr_mrleeqyeU41qzwhyzo1_500

For more information on this image and prompt, see http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/__picture-it-write-63/

And here is my contribution:

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Cerri had been swimming for hours – or was it days – since the shipwreck. A few hours ago she had managed – somehow – to wrap herself in a rope that was attached to a floating piece of old fishing boat that she had come across.

 

After swimming for a few hours she pulled herself onto that bit of boat to rest.

 

She had fallen asleep.

 

Waking, she found herself on dry land. She was face down on a beach. But how? The boat fragment had now disappeared. She didn’t care how. The rope remained around her wrists and arms. She wasn’t going anywhere. She was safe. She could rest again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Drop the Donkey–Is Perfectionism Killing Your Career?

If you want to know why I’ve chosen to reblog this, please see my post https://poeticalpoet.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/im-back-and-fully-writerly-revived/ Thanks

Kristen Lamb's Blog

All of us want to do a good job. We want to put our best foot forward. We all say that we want feedback and critique, but deep down, if we are real honest, we want people to love everything we say and do. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. We can’t please everyone, and it is easy to fall into a people-pleasing trap that will steal our passion, our art, and our very identity.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again with writers. They rework and rework and rework the first chapter of their novel, trying to make it “perfect”—which is actually code for “making everyone happy.” Here is the thing. Not gonna happen. Ever.

One person will say our book is too wordy. Another wants more description. We add more description and then another person is slashing through, slaughtering every adjective and metaphor.

Lessons from Aesop

I find…

View original post 1,092 more words

Take Your Career to the Next Level–Getting Pruned

If you want to know why I’ve chosen to reblog this article, please see my post https://poeticalpoet.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/im-back-and-fully-writerly-revived/ Thanks

Kristen Lamb's Blog

I’d like to blame it all on Jay’s roast, but having time away, true downtime, allowed me to do some thinking (which is generally dangerous and has a wide blast radius). For any of you who’ve done any yard work, you know that for a vine to bear fruit, for a rose bush to produce more flowers, for a tree to grow taller, it needs to be pruned.

One of the key ways we grow in our careers (or even as people) is to be pruned. Pruning hurts. It sucks. It takes away all the pretty fluff we thought was “progress” and renders us naked and vulnerable. After pruning, we might not look like a lot to others, but inside and beneath, great things are happening. Our roots (commitment) dig deeper so we can stand taller.

The first step to being pruned is honestly and critically looking at where…

View original post 1,248 more words

I’m back – and fully writerly revived

Its amazing what a few days away can do for you, and what catching up on 6 weeks of blog-reading can do too!

I’m going to be re-blogging a couple of articles that caught my eye, from Kristin Lamb (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com). I thought I would share here, why I am doing so.

Article: Take Your Career to the Next Level–Getting Pruned http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/take-your-career-to-the-next-level-getting-pruned/

It’s probably a couple of years ago when I last discussed pruning in my writing, and my poetry. It’s still something I struggle to do, as I never feel I am pruning enough. Kristin’s insights and advice in this blog-post does well to help with this process.

Article:  Learning to Drop the Donkey–Is Perfectionism Killing Your Career? http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/learning-to-drop-the-donkey-is-perfectionism-killing-your-career-2/

In my mind this is a great follow on article, despite it being written earlier than the pruning article. If you remember my article about the disappearing floor, and the struggle to get rid of that novella that never seemed to get very far even after 14000 words, you’ll understand why I like this article.

I am also reminded of a phrase used in the UK “Why don’t you just drop the DEAD donkey?” This is (as far as I’m aware) directly from a British comedy series called “Drop The Dead Donkey” which was based in and around the office of a small-channel TV news station and the not-so-great journalists who worked there. It was a team made up of dysfunctional, unambitious, often lazy people who would try anything to look good. One episode I remember is when one of the journo’s Damien, has made a report from some “war-torn” town. He interviews an older lady, who speaks no English. The final report is aired – with subtitles translating the “hardship and heartbreak” of her living in this town. The cleaner then comes in and translates it properly for the rest of the team – it turns out that the lady has been paid to come on camera! It is somewhere in the You Tube archives of channel 4 on demand. I’ve tried to search for it, but there was a lot of the show made.

Anyway, so why this slightly random link to a TV show? I realised whilst reading Kristin’s column that sometimes we as writers are the dead donkey to our writing. This could be for a number of reasons. For me, and for many years, it was a lack of self belief and confidence. I never expected my work to be read, or to be good enough to be read – and guess what? I delivered just that.

The dead donkey is, in some respects, the perpetual lie that has been told to us over and over again, either by ourselves, or by others, or both, that we begin to believe, and the fruits we produce is a direct result from this. Hence a need to be pruned. Prune out that old wood that hasn’t produced any edible fruit in years. Take out the trusses of tomatoes that are the smallest to enable all the nutrients to go to the bigger, stronger tomatoes (we’re growing tomatoes in the garden – can’t you tell?). What’s your dead donkey? What needs pruning in your writing life?