Calling Mr. Sandman

She tossed and turned. Side. Back. Other side. Front. She mashed her pillow with her fist. Gripped her stuffed toy companion for comfort in the hope that it would help to settle her. Covers off. Covers on. Half off. Covers on with a leg dangling out the side. Leg quickly back in. Front. Side. Back. Other side. Back.

Her mind was racing. She had been exhausted when she came to bed. Her eyes had been drooping in front of the television, so when the programme had ended she had turned the set off and made her way to bed, making a visit to the bathroom to pee and brush her teeth beforehand. Her head hit the pillow, and instead of falling to sleep, apparently everything that had been quietly napping in the back of her head came crashing out and whizzed around, leaving her no respite.

Job application needed to be completed and handed in. The paperwork for her current job needed to be finished. She had a report to write for a meeting. What was the plan for work tomorrow? There were two groups to organise activities for. Her friend was coming to visit in a couple of months, the dates for that needed to be sorted so that the travel arrangements could be finalised. She was visiting a friend at the weekend. Her pay claims needed to be handed in by tomorrow and she’d forgotten to do them this evening. How was she affording everything she was planning to do this summer?

Thoughts crashed together and she was unable to focus on any one for more than a few moments before the next interrupted, followed by the next, jumping back and forth and round in circles. She tossed and turned, telling herself that she needed to sleep so that she could actually do things tomorrow and be productive so that all of these thoughts racing through her mind could be crossed off as a To Do list.

Checking her phone, she sighed in frustration as she realised that two hours had passed already. Sighing with frustration she hoped that it wouldn’t be too much longer before sleep took her over.

Come on Mr. Sandman,” she thought, “take me away.”

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Finding Inspiration

Sitting down to write, her head bursting with ideas, she felt sure that she was going to explode if she did not unload something onto her laptop. Hitting the power button, she was eager to get started. Opening a word document, her fingers hovered over the keys… and her head was suddenly empty. In the few short moments it had taken to “assume the writing position” all of her motivation and inspiration had disappeared. And yet the urge to write was still present. It’s just that now she had no idea what to write.

She spent a few minutes trying to recall some of the ideas which had filled her mind only moments before, but all to no avail. She racked her brain to see if inspiration would surface in some form, but it was not to be. Defeated and deflated, she turned to the internet. Surfing YouTube and Facebook, she thought perhaps later she could return to her original task. Hours later, she gave up for the day and went to bed. Perhaps tomorrow would bring better luck.

How do you find inspiration and motivation to write? How do you develop ideas into something you can make into a full, proper story rather than just a few lines? What things help when you’re feeling empty-headed?

Back of the Queue

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to starting (an activity, a hobby, or anything else, really)? Tell us about it — and tell us about what’s keeping you from doing it.


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Today is a Gift

It was bright and sunny outside. Scorching hot. A pleasant change from the overcast sky and lengthy showers of rain the area had been experiencing lately. Emily was trying hard to study for her upcoming exams, but it was not easy. The sun called to her. It was such a rare occurrence that she just could not let the opportunity go to waste. Telling herself she would work harder tomorrow to make up for it, and that a break would be good for her, she closed over the textbooks and went in search of her keys.

You only get one life,” she remarked aloud to herself, “might as well live it.”

Her mother would disagree of course. Studying was more important that sun bathing, otherwise what would your life amass to? Working a dead end job, made all the more hateful and depressing because you knew in yourself that you had the abilities to be so much more? It was her mother that had pushed Emily this far, to train to be a doctor. Her life was all mapped out for her. But just this once, she was going to live a little. Just as she reached the front door, her mobile phone sounded.

Justine, hi,” Emily answered. “Ha, I was just thinking the same thing. Sure, I’ll be there in 5 to pick you all up.” The day was coming together nicely. Her group of uni friends had apparently had the same thought and a barbecue was in arrangement. Studying could wait. Emily had a life to live. One final glance towards her abandoned desk and her attention was caught by one of her home-made posters hanging on the wall.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift – that’s why it’s called The Present

And what is a gift, if not to be enjoyed,” remarked Emily once again to herself, reaffirmed in her decision. With one last smile, she left to join her friends and make some memories.

Now? Later!

We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

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Hide and Seek

MUMMY!” he screamed, louder and more frantically as his fear and hysteria rose. “MUMMY!”

He ran, tears streaming down his face, nose running profusely and crying out all the time. He turned and circled, running this way and that, but it was no good. He was lost. He did not know where he was or where he should be going. This game of Hide-and-Seek Tig had gone horribly wrong.

His mother had tried to tell him. Had warned him not to run too far away when he was hiding. To stick to the trees by the clearing she was counting in. And for the first few times they played he had stuck to that agreement. But then he figured that it was a little too easy for his mum to catch him. That if he strayed just a little then maybe he could beat her. She would have to give up and he would win. But he had strayed too far. Something had spooked him and he had darted further into the trees. And now he was lost. Lost and afraid.

Despair began to overwhelm him. Fatigue took its toll as he cried and ran haphazardly. Finally he collapsed in a heap on the ground, exhausted. He had no more energy to run. Sobbing, his eyes closed tightly as he wished hard for his mum to find him, wherever she was. He would never disobey her again. He just wanted his mummy back.

Wrong Turns

When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.

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She looked out over the sea, and yearned for her husband. It had been such a long time since they had seen one another. Her friends did not seem to understand. She should have known better. She knew what she was getting herself into when she married someone in the forces. What else could she expect?

Yes, they were right. Yes, she knew what she had signed up for. But they forgot that it was not that simple. She had not chosen who she had fallen in love with. Knowing that the man she loved would periodically have to go off for months or sometimes even years at a time, with no guarantee he would return in the condition he left, did not make those months any easier to bear.

She kept herself busy. She tried not to dwell on how much her heart ached to hear his voice. To feel him embrace. A whisper in her ear telling her he loved her. She fought back the tears, and sometimes anger when her friends refused to understand. She coped.

Sighing, she tore herself away from the horizon she felt constantly pulled towards. She could not spend her life waiting, no matter how hard it was to turn her back on her vigil. He would be back. And she would still be waiting. It’s just that she would have her own life and stories to share with him when he returned. With the same determination she had to muster every day, she stepped away to get on with her share of their life together.

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125 Words – Shooting Star

Daniel was walking home with his mum. He was tired. It was past his bedtime and although he tried hard to deny it and be a “big boy”, he was fighting a loosing battle. Just then, his mum gasped and pointed, calling to him,

Daniel, look! Make a wish!”

A shooting star raced through the sky, blazing a trail of fire behind it. Daniel loved shooting stars. He closed his eyes and made the same wish he always did. He wanted a baby brother. His mum wanted a baby girl. His mum rubbed her expanding tummy as he opened his eyes. With a knowing look in her eye, Daniel’s mum spoke.

I wonder which one of us will get their wish,” she smiled.

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Wolfeton Falls Excerpt – Footsteps

 There was someone behind her. She was convinced of it now. She could hear footsteps. Muffled and indistinct. Like someone was trying to step on the pavement without being heard. Slow and silent yet quick enough to keep up with her. Whoever it was kicked an empty can or some other piece of trash. The footsteps stopped after a brief shuffle, confirming her worst fears. She was being followed for sure. Nicole knew that whoever it was had darted further into the shadows. Hidden further in case she had turned at the sound as she had done before. Whoever it was had moved away from what little light there was in the alley. Trying to avoid being seen. But Nicole did not turn. She could not bring herself to this time. She was too busy focusing on her breathing. Trying to keep it under control so she could hear whoever was behind her. Trying not to scream. Trying not to hold her breath for too long. And trying very hard not to run for her life. She wanted to bolt ahead. Make a dash for home. But she knew that if she did whoever was following her would know she had heard them. There would be a pursuit. Rather a treacherous one given the condition of the icy streets. Following that would no doubt be a fumbling of keys when she reached her home. Keys which, in her panicked haste, would not go into the lock of her front door. Whoever it was would catch up. Would catch her. So Nicole forced herself to keep her pace as calm and regulated as she could while she listened harder than ever.

It seemed that whoever it was had spooked themselves kicking over the empty tin can in the alley. Nicole could no longer hear anyone behind her. Although she still could not bring herself to look behind her just in case, she began to feel a little more at ease however she was still rather tense. She was focused on each step she made. Trying not to step on anything which would make a noise in case it masked a sound from behind her. Or in case she misplaced her footing altogether and stumbled or tripped, as the threat of ice was ever present. In the dim light, she powered on towards home as fast as she dared. Nicole knew she did not have much further to go before the alley opened out into a wider road. One with proper street-lights. And witnesses, should anything happen. She told herself not to think like that. Someone would see her. Hear something if something happened. Which she also tried to convince herself was not going to happen. As she approached the last half a dozen steps before the alley became the bright, well-lit street ahead she heard the footsteps behind her again. This time much louder. And faster. Much, much faster. Not worried about the noise. They were running. And running towards her. Nicole’s imagination kicked into overdrive.

She bolted forwards. If she could just make it to the road she just had to believe that someone would be passing despite the cold which drove everyone indoors. Someone else would be making their way home and see her. And if someone saw her then she would be safe.

Her heart pounded and the remaining four or five steps seemed to stretch forever as she felt a hand grab her shoulder. She could not help but scream. A primal scream, ripped from the depths of her very being, stopped short as a hand snapped over her mouth clamping it closed. Her legs turned weak with terror. The body behind her pressed close to her, the hand on her shoulder sliding across her body to the other side, further down her abdomen, holding her close, stopping her from moving forwards.

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