BunnyKind is branching off!

To all of the lovely followers of BunnyKind — I have just created a blog devoted especially to my writing. I hope that you will be able to take a look at it and follow it if you wish! Please feel free to visit jadebartolf.wordpress.com sometime soon.

Thanks, Jade

My 500 words — Someone else’s story.

OK, so this really is a story. I couldn’t think of someone I know to write about. But, as I sit here in my lounge, there is a car parked under my window. It belongs to a young man who, every day, gets in his car and forgets to do something very important. Here’s my interpretation of what could happen to him one day.

 

Every morning, a young man would leave his home and travel by car to his work. He was only nineteen and had been working in an office for about a year. Only recently he’d passed his driving test, so, after purchasing a shiny new car, he was able to drive himself to work. No more buses for him. He was a confident driver, always offering friends a lift from place to place. But he did have a few bad habits that were working into his daily driving style. He had a heavy right foot, and had almost gone through a few speed cameras on roads he wasn’t familiar with. His dad had told him when he passed his test that he should treat every driver around him like they were an idiot. “You have to think for them, son. It’s a dangerous world out there — there are lots of irresponsible people driving around.” The young man, still with his test certificate on his lap, heeded his father’s words. But then… You get up late one morning. You might do 40mph in a 30mph, just to shave off a few minutes. Or you might leave the petrol station without putting on your seatbelt. “I’m only going down the road” You say. “I’ll be in the car less that ten minutes.”

One damp afternoon, the bright young man got a call from his girlfriend, asking if she could stay the night at his house. Mum and Dad agreed, and he left the house to pick her up. Jumping in his car, he wobbled the gear sick to make sure it wasn’t in gear, he turned the ignition key and he checked his right wing mirror. Yes, all the checks a good driver should carry out. He pulled out of his road and made the twenty minute journey to his girlfriend’s house. There was a little bit of dual carriageway to negotiate on the way, and feeling confident he put his foot down somewhat. It had started to drizzle and he switched on his lights and wipers. Turning off the dual carriageway, he was now coming to a country road. It was bendy, twisty and hilly, but he enjoyed the challenge. The rain was steadily getting heavier, and he turned his wipers up a notch. As he had only been wearing a t-shirt, he was starting to feel a bit chilly and looked down to turn his A/C up.

As he accelerated through the blind bend, he didn’t see what was about to happen. An elderly man was cycling slowly along the road. He had a hi-vis jacket on that the young man did not see. He had flashing lights that the young man did not see. Before the young, confident driver could react, a crunch and a heavy thud could be heard inside the car. A screeching of tyres, a smashing of glass, the hissing of steam and the dripping of bood.

It was a quiet road, so it took a good fifteen minutes before someone happened upon the scene. Though nothing had moved in all that time. Nobody was clock-watching. The elderly man, sprawled along the grassy verge, lay motionless. His hair, peppered with leaves from the tree above him. His chest rose and fell shallowly. This man was cycling home with the ingredients for tonight’s anniversary supper, a small posy of hand-picked wildflowers poking out of his bike bag. They would never make it onto the kitchen table now.

The young man sat still in his seat. Even if he’d wanted to, he couldn’t have seen what lay in front of his car. A huge spider-web of smashed glass circled the windscreen. A pinky-red colour quickly made its way down through each shard of the glassy web, sheidling the mess in front of him. He still had one hand on his gear stick, his lights were still on. From his head, blood dripped slowly but steadily onto the bridge of his nose. From there, it dropped onto his t-shirt and trickled into his lap. He had a new emptiness in his bright eyes.

And the scene soon became busy. Shouting, reassuring of a patient, the clack of trollies the sirens, and the cutting of metal could be heard. Drivers were diverted away from the incident and unwelcome Liason Officers were invited into two homes.

“I’m afraid he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.”

My 500 words — An important day in my life.

My 500 words — One important day in my life?

 

One of the most important days of my life was, as many people will tell you, is the day I got married. It was a very important day, because I finally got to marry my best friend, Ben. It was, however, the most stressful day I have ever endured. We decided that we would take advantage of the change in legislation that dictates the time of day you can marry. Our chosen time was 5:00pm on Saturday the 5th of October 2013. I can’t really remember waking up that morning, or really much of the entire day. I just get bits and pieces when I look at the photos. I just remember thinking that I was pretty much in charge of this whole thing — organising a large gathering of people into one place and then feeding and watering them. I had visions of my cake not turning up, the photographer being a fake and having no flowers. I really wouldn’t be so uptight about those sort of problems on a normal day, but on this day, obviously, nothing was allowed to wrong.

The first thing I can remember doing at my mum’s house was having my hair done in the dining room. My two best friends, also my bridesmaids, were well aware of my rising stress, and tried their best to keep me calm. I really wasn’t nervous about the getting married, I don’t think. It was just all the other stuff. Unneccessary stuff. If I’d had it my way (or our way), we would have had a quiet wedding, but being the only child and a daughter at that, I really had little choice in the matter. Family would spill in from around the country to wish us well. Which was lovely, I have to admit. I love to see my northern relatives as I grew up with them around me a fair amount.

So next, my photographer arrived to watch us all getting ready. This was, as I and my friends were expecting, very awkward. We sat in my old bedroom while a very nice, but middle-aged photographer sat and took pictures of us. “Pretend I’m not here” He said. It’s hard to ignore someone in a 6ft by 6ft square of space, let me tell you.

Rushing around, making sure everyone was dressed and ready, I gave myself very little time to actually get ready myself — I rushed to get into my dress and forgot to polish my nails. I even forgot to put on the silly garter I’d been given. Once I was dressed, I walked downstairs feeling hot and sweaty. I did not feel like a princess. I felt uncomfortable and exposed. My dad and I waited… and waited for the limo. I remember thinking that he’d got stuck in traffic and I was going to be late. And I hate being late. But he eventually turned up. We drove through Colochester to the Town Hall, where we were getting married. I got out and of course, everyone was staring at me. Inside, I got to speak to some family that had arrived and spent time waiting to be seen by the registrars.

Eventually, after going through the paperwork, my dad, bridesmaids and I made our way up to the room and I saw Ben waiting at the front. He looked so handsome in his suit and it made me feel so much better to see him again. I couldn’t tell you what our vows were — I have forgotten them. I worry that I should remember them, but I’m sure it’s not that much of a problem. But anyway, we got married. We made our way out of the town hall and got in the limo to go to our reception.

To some peoples’ dismay, we held a vegetarian buffet… But then they did get half an evening’s free bar, so there. The night flew by — Ben and I shared our first dance — Queen’s You’re My Best Friend (neither of us had ever danced together before, so you could imagine what that looked like). We were due to drive to Scotland on our honeymoon the next day, so we decided that we were leaving the party at midnight — dead on. We spent nearly an hour saying goodbye to our guests — and then we darted.

So what are my thoughts on my wedding day? Well, yes I enjoyed it. But I wasn’t over keen on my dress, my hair was a little bit too ‘wedding-y’ for my liking and I wasted £300.00 on a few bunches of flowers. I don’t think I’d do it again. Not the same way, anyway. I’d marry Ben every day, though. The best bit I think, is catching a glimpse of Ben’s wedding band when I’m not paying attention. He might be driving and I’ll look over and see his hand and think “Wow, we’re married. I’m married to this lovely man.” And that was definitely worth all the awkward photos, conversations and dancing.

My 500 Words — Freewriting

I downloaded OmmWriter (on the recommendation of Jeff)  this evening and upon opening it I just began writing. It’s quite a magical experience. I would definitely recommend it!

A bit of gooey free-writing for my 500 words today:

 

Do you ever listen to the rain? The sound of each drop hitting the glass on your window… It’s magical that you captured that tiny moment in time. I doubt anybody else heard that single drop — but you did. That drop splashed into ten tiny splashes that maybe someone else heard. And so the storm rages on. We are the tiny splashes that only a few hear. We are completely insignificant to almost all of the world. It only takes one person to hear us to make us feel alive. The wind can blow you in a million different directions and throw you into the path of someone who is meant to hear you. Do you believe in fate? I’m not sure if I do, but I’d like to. It would make life so much easier to think that we have absolutely no control over what we do. Somehow I doubt fate exists. We are told that we are what we make of ourselves. But isn’t that scary? We get only one go at it. What if we waste it? It’s easily done, isn’t it? You could spent a large chunk of your life with the wrong person, spend it doing the wrong job, live in the wrong place… The possibilities would send you into a downward spiral to somewhere you shouldn’t be. And we’re always told to wait for the right moment. Wait until you’ve saved enough money, wait until the summer, wait until you’ve slept on it. I’m still waiting to be in the right place. I was lucky not to have spent a large portion of my life with the wrong person. But I’m in the wrong place and doing the wrong job. Being wrong doesn’t feel right. But then… Am I in charge of my own life? Nothing so far has told me otherwise. No opportunities have landed in my lap. I am in charge and I must take the steps to make right what is wrong. The next question you ask is: How? Well, as far as I can tell, nobody knows. You just have to go and do it. Don’t wait for the right time. There is no right time. Time is time, and time will never change its course for you. The rain never waits for the right time. It always arrives at the wrong time. Just when you leave the house, just when you put the washing out, just when the river burst its banks and flooded your kitchen. We spend so much of our time trying to do the right thing at the right time that by the time our right time has come, we forget to do it. And so we coast on for a few more years crying in the dark, calling in sick, leaving the housework until tomorrow. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you! They exclaim. How do they know that? How long is your life going to be? Nobody knows how long they have here, so if you can do one thing with the time you’ve got, make sure someone hears what you’ve come to say.

My 500 Words — Early riser

Today’s goal was to get up early. Well, I sure did that. Up at six a.m, rain hammering against the windows, I dragged myself into work. Being a carer means I work shifts — I’m lucky that I only do it three times a week — I’m not so lucky (in my opinion) that those three days are 12-hour days. Never mind, the hours whiz by and before I know it, we’ve put everyone back in their beds and it’s time to clock off.

So I got up early. But I wasn’t able to crack out 500 words in the 20 minutes I had put aside to watch the news and eat my breakfast (A bowl of Sainbury’s “More fibre than fruit” fruit and fibre. I can’t complain — it is in the basics range). I think I’ll get up early tomorrow, though. But not to go to work! And thinking about it, my cats will get me up nice and early anyway because they must have their breakfast — NOW MAMA. NOW.

I like to get up early. Especially at this time of year, because you get to see the day arrive. A stripe of pink will hover on the horizon and it will drag itself across and over the house. A bloody marvellous sight. Every day that I see it I think to myself: “I’m going to get up early one day and do some wildlife spotting. Sit under a tree and really experience the dawn” and I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. In previous summers I have driven past hares in the fields, pheasants darting across the road and all sorts of mysterious creatures. It’s a lovely time of day.

On the other end of the scale, I often struggle to pry myself from beneath the covers of my warm, cosy bed before nine a.m. Feeling groggy, I totter over to the sofa, plonk myself down in front of BBC Breakfast and, more often that not, nod off again until 10. What a waste of a day! I hate it, but I love it. Again — I am an habitually lazy person. Damn it.

I’ll be honest — right now, I’m struggling for things to write about. I’ve spent my day at work, which nobody but my colleagues would find interesting enough to talk about… And I also had a pint of Aspall cider with dinner, so I’m feeling a little sleepy now. My husband, Ben has gone away for the night to a business trip, so that’s left me with lots of cats and lots of chocolate. And the movie The Human Stain. I’m not sure what to think of it. Nicole Kidman is playing a husky kind of woman and I’m not sure if it suits her. But then it is ten years old, so I’m sure she really wouldn’t give two flying fucks as to what I thought of her role in it. On a cheerier note, I did however watch an episode of It’ll Be Alright On The Night earlier. I haven’t watched that for many years and it was hilarious.

Well, hooray! I hear you exclaim. That’s my 500 words up. I’ve managed to jabber for 500 words. I’m sorry. Only another 28 days to go!

 

 

My 500 words — What do I want to accomplish?

OK, so this is part of my 500 word challenge, as you probably guessed. But it’s also a way of setting out my goals (as I’ve been advised to do by Jeff in his email). So what do I want to accomplish from this challenge?

Well, the biggest thing I want to do is to actually complete the damn challenge. I’m very lazy and don’t really care much for deadlines I set for myself. I usually get halfway through something, whilst doing really well at it, and then give up. Something gets in the way — I’ve been at work all day, I’ve got the ironing to do (even though that’s always at the bottom of the to-do list) or my best one: I’ve just got to have a sit-down for a while. Well no more, I say! Enough! I’ve just come home from a twelve-hour shift and forced myself to sit down and write this. I haven’t even eaten dinner yet. I hate being a lazy person and I constantly feel like a failure because I don’t have the drive to go out and do something with myself. I’m quite happy to be (as Ben calls it) a coaster. Coasters coast through life, drifting from one thing to another. That’s no good. Not for me, anyway.

So, what I’m basically saying is, I want to complete one thing. Because if I complete this one thing, maybe I can complete another thing. And then if I complete those, I can write the book that is crying to escape from my brain. So if I actually think about it… My goal is to write a book!

How do I do it then?

Erm… I’m not entirely sure. I have tried (as I said in my previous post) to get the words on paper many times, but  I mostly end up getting frustrated. I write one paragraph and then spent the rest of the time editing said paragraph. But My 500 Words is a pretty cool thing to do. It’s quite inspiring to write something as I noticed yesterday — I hadn’t written anything for a while. I had no ideas. Then I wrote my post and an idea popped into my brain about an hour later. It’s like it turned a light on in my head. Marvellous. And that’s what has kept me thinking about this post today. “If I just write a little bit, I might get some more cool ideas.”

I don’t think I’ll use this challenge to write my book, though. I’ll use it as a tool to get my brain into a more permanent “writing mode”. I think I’ll just see where it takes me. I’ll probably end up just writing my stream of conciousness (pretty much what I’m doing right now) and jabbering. Oh well. But then… I may inadvertently write the beginning of my book and it could be the light bulb moment I’ve been hoping for.

So anyway, cut the crap, Jade and just do it. It only takes half an hour of your day — you could do it while you have your sit-down. But turn off the telly and close that Twitter tab.

My 500 Words — My challenge!

Today I stumbled upon a blog by a chap named Jeff Goins. I can’t even remember how I came across his website, but lots of what he was writing about resonated with me. Talking about commitment problems (with writing!), sticking with your writing tasks… That sort of thing. That’s one of the main issues in my life. I will start a project with such vim and vigour — “I’m going to change the world with this idea” I say to myself. Over the course of that day I will have researched all avenues — how to do it, where to do it, what to buy, how to sell it… And then I realise I’ll have to actually DO something next. Then I let it fizzle out and find its way into the pile of forgotten dreams (Which is becoming very big!). My husband, Ben, says I’m whimsy. At first I thought it was cute. Then I thought that he’s got the wrong word for it. I’m not whimsy. I’m lazy. And I hate being lazy… But it’s what I’m good at. Now, I will say, (I think) I’m the total opposite at work. I spend twelve hours a day running around after elderly people. Trust me, it’s not a slow day. So maybe I feel that being lazy at home is well justified? Well, to a certain extent, yes. But I’ve just had three days off and I haven’t done a single thing with them. Unless you count keeping my cats company, in which case I have had a very busy three days. I have also gained a great amount of knowledge from the ID and CI channels as they are left on from the time BBC Breakfast finishes until Ben gets home and takes charge of the controller again.

But… I love to write. I seem to come back to it time and time again. Words can flow so easily from my fingertips and I don’t even have to think about what I’m writing sometimes. I remember the exact time I fell in love with writing. I was on holiday in Tunisia with my parents. A typical overweight, stroppy teenager, I didn’t want to bathe in the glorious heat or get accosted by one of the local men. I decided I would stay in the hotel while my mum and dad went out to buy a couple of Fez hats (it’s true, I remember. There’s even a photo somewhere). I was only fourteen at the time and I don’t know where it came from, but I suddenly had a great urge to write. Maybe it was being taken out of my usual surroundings that inspired me, but I will never forget that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I even remember that it was a love story (obviously) and I tried for many, many years to write that bloody story. I would sit on my bed listening to my Keane album over and over again, trying to get my teenage feelings onto paper. It never happened. I had all my inspirations, drafts etc in a yellow binder and for the life of me I can’t think where I hid it. It still bothers me, twelve years later.

So, from then I felt, as people say, I had a book in me. I don’t know what it is, who is in it or what. But it’s in my brain, and as every year goes by, it bubbles closer to the surface of my fingertips (Don’t worry, it’s not the love story). This writing exercise, My 500 Words (which, as you may notice, I have already surpassed) is a step towards this book in my brain. To train myself to write every day.

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!