The Stranger in the Mirror

I take my clothes with me into the bathroom

so I can dress before seeing myself in the mirror

before looking at my breasts that weren’t good enough

I then ask myself, good enough for who?

At what point did I lose my opinion about my own body

and at that point did I lose ownership of my skin too

 

If I drop the towel to the floor and catch sight of my image

I place my hands on my breasts and I wonder

perhaps they aren’t too small

and only your hands too big

 

I run a finger beneath them,

ask myself, is this where the knife will cut

and then question my own eyes

is this really what you want?

What of you will it make better?

when did you lose sight of who you wanted to be

 

What of the women before you?

of all the writers who caused your chest to swell with pride

when they’re words told you,

you are good enough as you

 

What of the future?

should you become what they are now

to another

What will you tell the girl, that you see as beautiful

that you see is once as you were

 

How will you tell her

you are good enough as you

when you never felt good enough for anyone

and willingly changed to fit a perception of beauty

you never even believed to be true

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Kidnapping Death’s Daughter Art – Caleb

Hey friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything book related, but I’ll be sure to blog about that soon. Here he is though, finally! Meet Caleb! Probably one of my favourite characters in the book. He’s a bit of an adventurous one, so this mixed with also being kind-hearted sees him joining Robin to try and reunite him with his brother. He’s suffered his own losses, so knows what Robin must be experiencing.

Anyway, I must snush, as this is about the art! The brilliant artist is Shio who you can see more from here: http://www.artstation.com/shiofuu She’s amazing, so check her out!

I hope you like him!

Kidnapping Death's Daughter

If you’re unsure of where this character calls home, he is from my urban fantasy Kidnapping Death’s Daughter. Please find more information here: Buk Talk

And here be a synopsis:

Ever since Robin’s brother died, every morning has risen with a new question, all of them echoing the grandest and most desperate: Why?
Until the day after Peter’s funeral, when a librarian with an odd sense of humour, and an even odder creature for a pet, reaches out to Robin and whispers an irresistible opportunity.
“Death has a daughter, steal her.”
The questions have changed. Could this be a bargaining tool against Death? What will he say when Peter is returned to him?

How do you kidnap Death’s daughter…

His cousin Caleb is intrigued and eager to join his adventure, and if the next morning rises with too many questions, now, at least, they have a clue to find the answers.
They leave for an ancient city by dusk.

In York, cathedral spires claw at the moon, gargoyles peer down on cobbled streets from wooden beams, and the creatures of Yr Oerfa feel their skin prickle as they sense the change war brings. Amongst them, hunted by beings more dangerous than two mortal boys, Death’s daughter is writing her own story, and it, too, begins with loss.

Kidnap her? First they need to find her.

Thank you for having a look!

Arbie x

Ghost of Christmas Past

I know what you’re thinking. By George, Arbie, where do you come up with such original titles?! They just come to me, you know.

Hilarousnotly I had intended to write yesterday when it was not a Sunday so I’m sure I’d have felt rather bemused. But, Sunday always finds a way. Kinda like nature you know but with more of the elderly driving around. For some reason my phone was desperate to write Linda rather than kinda, and because I believe in divine intervention, it is through me the true god of Sunday has been revealed. Behold, Linda! A pensioner with a headscarf in a Mercedes.

But I’m here to break my silence on where I have been these past two months. I was kidnapped by a lemur.

It began as any lemur encounter begins, with tea and shortbread. It soon turned nasty however when it became clear that one lemur, we’ll call him Gerard (with a long rrrrraaaarrrdddd pronounced in a posh English accent (his real name wasn’t actually Gerard but I have to change it for legal reasons (What? Lemurs have lawyers. (Yeah, surprised me too.))))

Gerard didn’t like the cut of my jib, and so it went that one minute I was enjoying a good brew and the next I was being dragged by ringtails into a hidden area. Now you might imagine the secret garden, and that would have been very welcome, but I’m talking lemur barbarians here. What I would have given for a mystical grove with a swing and a wise unicorn to tell me of future omens. Well, the swing was some type of Transylvanian torture device and the unicorn was drunk and ignoring calls from his sponsor so all he could do was tell me about my past.

“You will be taken against your will…”
“You mean like this?”
“A creature unknown to you will lead you astray…”
“Like right now?”
“You will shuffle uncomfortably under the grip of…”
“Now you’re just describing what’s happening.”
“Yes, I can see into both the past and the present…”
“And the future?”
“It looks very grim for you indeed…”

At this, I saw that Gerard was looking suggestively towards what I can only describe as an iron maiden, but given it’s size it was for badly behaved (and incredibly tiny) feet. They tried though, I have to give them that. By no half measures either, when the foot wouldn’t fit the hand was tested and when the hand wouldn’t fit the damn thing was opened up and just pushed against my face a few times. I gave a couple of convincing ouches and they were satisfied.

20171224_163341.jpg
Proof of lemur kidnapping

The next month was a blur. I know I was fed daily on fruit and vegetables and that I learned to speak rumel, which is a guttural but beautiful language. I had a short romance despite being warned that he was a cad and a bounder. He was, and soon left me for another who had better access to the cantaloupes. It took 48 days to earn my freedom and whether it was lemurshock syndrome or having found myself while there (like all those people who take a gap year and come back as Jesus) I struggled to leave. My granted freedom soon became unwanted but beg as I might Gerard is a tough leader.

As I approached the passageway home my attention was drawn by gentle chanting:
“Rising up, back on the street…
did your time, took your chances…”

I turned to face the pungent odor of rum and well, more rum. The unicorn’s next words were masked by whooping lemurs, their tails swaying with the force of a thousand flung bananas (a phrase best heard in rumel – “yip tor ix anana”

“Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive…”

He swayed slightly. Then it struck me, something about the rhythm he was using, the words bringing back a familiar tune.

“Oh, wait, are you just singing-”
“Its the eye of the lemur
It’s the thrill of the fight-”
“Oh, yeah, okay you are. You’re just changing the words-”
“-up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night-”
“You’re oddly good at this-”
“It’s his karaoke song” a lemur to the left informed me, with urgency so he wouldn’t miss…
“-watching us all with the eyeeeeee
of the lemur!”

The finale sounded amidst cries of triumph and the same lemur to my left murmured, “You know what you need to do.”
“What? What do I need to do?”

The unicorn’s glowing red eyes (come to think of it, maybe he wasn’t a unicorn) fixed upon me.
“Dwell on your past, for it will determine your present.”
“Right, because you can’t tell me my future can you?”
“Your future will be lots of dwelling on your past and your present”
“Well ain’t that some fancy tricks”

Sharp canines, I mean, all it’s teeth looked like canines, grinned back at me. Broken, black and orange. Did I see a glint of gold?

I was home. The lemurs were gone. Gerard was gone. The unicorn that now retelling this I’m not sure ever was a unicorn was gone.

I was still here though.

It’s funny because we’re always told to let go of our past, but maybe the non-unicorn was right. The past should help guide our future, especially our dreams.

If the ghost of Christmas past were to visit me tonight he would take me back to a girl who wanted to be a cat when she grew up, but then a teenager who discovered books weren’t just to learn from or entertain – fiction could heal, and to a young woman who armed with a sock, a spider, death and all his homies decided maybe her parents were right, maybe being a writer was a path to wander down for a bit, because maybe along the way her characters could become a friend to those who need them the same way Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax became to her.

To all those who continue to write despite it all, just because you can, just because you need to, just because there’s a woman with a hammer threatening to break your toes if you don’t – here’s to you! Cheers!

To all those who think they don’t fit in the above category because they don’t write 500 words a day, you’re wrong, you do, you’re just a different kind of writer. I’m that kind of writer. So to you, to us! Cheers!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone, writers, readers, lemurs, and… come to think of it, maybe it was a minotaur.

Those with the Fear of Drowning

You see, I have these issues.

I know. I know we’ve been working hard.

Or well, I’ve been talking and then forgetting what I’ve said right after and you’ve been li… you have been listening, right?

Because, this is about that thing I told you.

Yeah… please keep your voice down. That thing.

Okay, good, good. We’re on the same page. Where else could we be?

Anyway, back to… back to that.

My fear of drowning.

I don’t think it’s so relevant anymore. No. Not because I’m okay now. Can you stop trying with the antidote and just enjoy the poison, for once?

Drowning, I was talking about drowning…

When my eyes are closed, I’m already there. Something has wrapped itself around me and my blood is freezing, its rivers twisting around my body and causing all my veins to become ice.

Yeah, I’m aware it’s December and cold, but look at me, so wrapped up. I should be warm.

But, the snow has settled inside and a ghost is screaming in its storm as though it is the one trapped with me and not I with it!

Perhaps it is not on the inside at all, perhaps its fingers sink through my flesh and wrap around my bones. A reminder of what I will one day be. Buried beneath earth but above another who once breathed as I do.

Cold.

A bit morbid! Sorry… it’s just, it’s just such a funny thing.

I spend so much time trembling yet I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong.

Something… is really wrong.

I mean obviously things aren’t quite right or you wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but…

Have you ever slept in a bed of lies?

Had a liar stroke your skin before they flay it with a tongue that would sooner be cut out than spill the truth.  And why spill the truth when your blood is so much more precious?

I believe if it could be a gemstone it would be the most coveted. Given on every engagement ring and set into all wedding bands. Would it not be sweeter to be betrayed by the one whose life you bore on your finger? For it is impossible to truly wear ones heart on a sleeve.

I ramble all the time. And I never seem to make much sense!

I don’t lose sight of my destination. There is just a constant fog in this place. And it is beautiful when it allows me to sit still and admire as it rises above the frost covered riverbanks and settles about church spires.

But, when I need to move on it conceals the path and petals of flowers close upon my approach. As though night… is stalking me.

But, I can see a light in the distance! And I believe it to be the sun, but then it dances in such a way I also believe it to be no more than a mischievous creature. A sprite with its lantern, luring me to a swamp where I will be stuck further still.

I speak of destinations as though I know how this story ends, but the chapters are pages strewn across the floor, that I suppose you are trying to piece together.

What an impossible task you have before you…

Yes, I said there was a church in that place. I’m not religious, but we all need a place of sanctuary and when the moon is all that lights the forest, even though it is of my own creation, I see shadows that even the wolves can’t protect me from.

But, if I can find my way to the sleeping stain glass windows and my hands are steady enough to bring thunder to the doors, I am granted entry.

No, no one else is inside. It is a sanctuary after all.

Ah, I thought you might ask about the rivers…

Only at my bravest do I look into their waters. I know how deceptively they can turn. Take their serenity from my view and in the place of aquatic weeds and childhood stepping stones come the faces of the lost.

I don’t know why they come to me in that place. Isn’t water said to hold the future?

They look through me and the fog and they look for the warmth of the sun as if it’s all they’ll ever seek! A desire for warmth. The weeds their shackles and stones their weights. They placed them there!

I know this because while I slept beside haunted waters in whispers they warned me.

But when I am awake, I have little choice, all I can do is stare into their eyes or their deathbed and I choose their eyes because the river is all too welcoming.

I wonder, if when Robert Frost said the woods are lovely, dark and deep, he thought of them as I do the river.

But we all have promises to keep, do we not?

Sorry, I feel I have become distracted again!

Have I told you… have I told you of those with the fear of drowning?

 

 

If you haven’t heard it yet, you can find the audio of this here!

 

This was written to be spoken so I’m sorry if it reads a little rough around the edges.

Thank you for reading!