Dare to Dream

those_who_dont_believe_in_magic_will_never_find_it-_-roald_dahl

September 13th

“Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything. Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it.” 

– James and the Giant Peach

On this day in 1916, one of the greatest story tellers of all time graced our planet with his boundless creativity and originality. His untethered imagination would eventually give birth to some of the most read children’s literature in our history, and even now, long after his death in 1990 – Roald Dahl’s books continue to fright and delight millions of children and adults across the globe.

Therefore, it seems appropriate to dedicate this day to dreaming.

Everybody has a dream, whether that dream is to grow your own potatoes, to become a Doctor in your field, or to ambitiously skydive across the Grande Canyon; whatever your wish, it began as a dream. And your dreams, however great or small, can be fulfilled. Dreams are possible.

‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe – it can achieve.’

– Napoleon Hill.

Thanks to Mr Dahl’s stories, a childhood dream was ignited within me. That dream has continued to dazzle and delight my existence, whether realized or not. The simple act of dreaming brings with it so much joy and pleasure, that it’s as though that dream is already fulfilled. And that is how we must dream, with such passion and clarity that it’s as if the experience were already ours.

Millions of children across the globe have delighted in Dahl’s, sometimes dark, yet mostly humorous and imaginative tales, and it is to his books that I owe my dreams of one day becoming an author.

Whether you enjoy Roald Dahl’s stories or not, we cannot deny that his books have graced the shelves of many, and will for many years to come.

Dreams are timeless. Dreams are possible. Today – dare to dream.

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Broken Promise

Writing 101, Day 4: A story in a single image

girl in woods

Here I stand as I have stood each day
since you were stolen.
And I would have you by my side should my promise
have not been broken.

My promise to Mother to keep you safe and
Never leave your side.
I told you I was collecting conkers, please forgive me
for that day, I lied.

‘Wait here!’ I said, ‘It’s denser there, not
safe for you to come.’
And off I ran to meet a boy, my
promise was undone.

Your large anxious, quizzical eyes
watched as I did part.
Clutching Bunny, your final wave engraved with
daggers on my heart.

Ten minutes I was gone for but that
time was all it took,
For you to wander some with Bunny, for you to
fall into the brook.

Rows of trees in which we played; leaves
lifted by our laughter.
Now stand before me like forgotten graves and will
Forever after.

The Red Jumper

Day Nine: Point of View
Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

parcel

We are strolling through Stamford Park. The late September sun dares to linger despite the brisk breeze biting at our interlocked fingers – summer has reached an end. The park is empty, save for an elderly lady up ahead, who sits on a bench busying her hands with something in her lap. She is swathed in layers of fabric, and as she lifts a hand to tame her silver hair, I see that she is wearing fingerless gloves. She is prepared for the British weather. I need to take a leaf from her book. She busies herself in her pursuit again.

As we approach, Jenny is struggling to tell me something. “I was hoping to wait until after your birthday – but it’s been playing on my mind…and well – I guess it will only be temporary but…“ The sun pierces through an opening in the shifting clouds, bathing the old woman in a bright iridescent light – and then I see it. And in that moment my heart stops. In the distance: “…I’m moving to Brisbane.” Jenny’s words evaporate. My breathing narrows. Is my mind playing tricks on me again? My head spins and I can feel myself slipping…falling…
“Steven? Steven?!”

***

I can’t believe I’m telling him this two weeks before his birthday. Birthdays have always been painful… and here I am, burdening him even more. I turn to Steven. He has aged at an alarming rate in the three years since I’ve known him. The deep lines around his eyes trace a tale of ceaseless searching – always searching. Those eyes, though tired, are still as piercingly grey as the day we first met. My heart dances a merry beat at the memory – his pearly grey eyes, his accent. I remember feeling jittery and nervous as I took his order – a black coffee, no sugar. He’d jump each time the door opened, as though he was expecting someone he knew to walk in at any moment. I thought he’d been stood up and could tell he was new to the place, so I plucked up the courage to strike up a conversation. I’ve been besotted ever since. And now I’m leaving him. Two weeks before his birthday… I need to get this over with…

“I’m moving to Brisbane…” I say, and it’s as though I have punched Steven in the chest. He stops abruptly, his face turning pallid and ashen, his breathing shallow. Dammit – I should have waited until after his birthday. I didn’t think he’d react this badly. He looks like he might fall at any moment so I sit him on a mound of grass. Is he…crying? Oh gosh he’s crying. 

“Steven? Steven?! I’m so sorry – it’s not permanent…it’s only for a few months….” But he doesn’t seem to hear. His glazed eyes are looking through me. I turn to see if anyone is watching. An old woman sits on a bench knitting a red sweater and she looks over at us. I smile at her apologetically. She returns the smile, a look of concern in her silvery-grey eyes. She’s probably wondering why I’ve made my boyfriend cry… Her smile fades, and then she catches herself, busying her hands with her knitting again.

***

The temperature has dropped somewhat. But I don’t mind. It’s peaceful where I sit, despite the cold. I must finish this before the sun goes down. I’ll need to send it tomorrow – I imagine it’ll take two weeks before it arrives… I shouldn’t worry – they’ll only send it back again. They always do.

I see a couple approaching, walking hand in hand. The young woman has long, sun blushed hair and freckles. He’s rugged-looking, but handsome. In fact, he’s probably about the same age as my son. I wonder if he has a girlfriend…maybe even a wife? He’ll be thirty-six in two weeks – I could even be a grandmother. But I’ll never know that. That was always the deal…that’s why they keep returning my jumpers each year. One day, maybe they wont…

From the corner of my eye, I notice the couple have stopped walking – there appears to be a small dilemma. He’s silently crying, a look of sorrow on his face as she tries to console him. Maybe she has just broken up with him..? Poor soul – he looks so sad. For a moment I am struck – struck by his silver eyes. My son had beautiful eyes too – eyes that I will never see again. I was naïve to think I’d ever find him in Ohio. Ohio is a big place and so far away. But that was always the deal. They take care of my son, give him a new home far far away, and if anything was ever questioned…I died when he was three. My stomach knots. He looks so…lost. I realise I am staring and the lady looks embarrassed. I continue with my knitting. I must finish this jumper and mail it tomorrow…

Just one more day…

Day Seven: Give and Take
Today’s Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

sun

She smiles, awakening to the soft gentle hues of first morning light. Her face is bathed in a welcoming glow and the warmth on her skin signals a new day. Thank goodness. Another day. Thank you…

He coughs jarringly – a gravelly sound that rolls deep in his chest like a cement mixer. The sun perforates the blinds and he winces, his retinas contracting in the light. He yanks the pillow over his head. I should have bought black out curtains.

She lays still for a moment, captured by the cadence of birds singing their soft song outside her window. How did she miss this before? Before… She dismisses the thought in the same way that she dismisses the distant drum drum drum of the builders at work. I am so grateful to be here. God I’m going to miss him – my baby. 

Somewhere, unnoticed, birds are singing – drowned out by the mechanical da da da da da of the builders jack hammer which pounds the pavement below and penetrates his half medicated sleep. He groans. Please! …If only I didn’t have to take Dylan to school. Why does she insist on me having him on a school night? ‘It’s important he feels that Dad can take care of these things too.’ Yeah right. You mean you want to lay in with him again.  

She reaches for her glass of water and her medication. It feels peculiar to know that these pink pills keep her alive. Keep her here – with her son. She rolls the smooth, colour coated tablet between her thumb and finger, and a voice whispers: They won’t work forever you know…She places it on her tongue and swallows. Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of Jacob’s feet, patting up the hallway. Her heart leaps as the door bursts open and she is greeted by the smiling face of her baby boy. God I love him so much.  

He reaches for the packet of Pall Mall on his bedside table, lights one and inhales deeply. A fresh wave of coughing explodes in his chest, eventually dissolving to a breathless wheezing. A silent voice whispers: Those things are going to kill you, y’know. “Let them.” He mumbles out loud. He sighs at the sound of Dylan’s small voice on the other side of the locked door. “Daddy? …Daddy? …Will we be late for school again?” He takes another long hard pull of his cigarette, takes hold of his half empty bottle of beer and washes down a combination of Doxepine and Prozac. “Go back to bed!”