Finally at Fifty! 2013 365 Challenge #50

Humpty Dumpty basking in the sun in our garden

Humpty Dumpty basking in the sun in our garden

I can’t believe I have reached day fifty of my 365 challenge. There were days I didn’t think I’d get through the first month. Now I’m 42,000 words and fifty days in.

I am beginning to see a pattern between my mood and the posts, with the daily installments getting darker and duller recently as the cold/cough/flu thing that’s been dragging me down continues. I’m finally starting to feel better today – the sun has shone since Friday, I’ve had some time home alone and it feels like Winter might finally be on its way out.

Definitely time for a more light-hearted post. If I can remember how! Back in the beginning I wrote a post about Writing Funny and I haven’t found any more answers since then.

Tthe sun is shining outside the window, hurrah!

The sun is shining outside the window, hurrah!

My main question is why people like the posts they do: is it because of the Claire installment or my daily diary/diatribe?

My last post was reblogged (thank you allaboutmanners) and I wouldn’t have said either section was particularly entertaining. I guess it’s like the whole head-shot debacle (see previous post). We will never know what it is others see in us/our photos/our writing and it will always be something different to what we see ourselves.

I guess the trick is either not to care or to find Beta readers (or life’s equivalent) who share our world view! Thankfully my husband is mine. He wrote me a gorgeous email to pick me up from my head-shot funk. And he has rooted for Claire since the beginning (largely because he fancies her). He’s a few posts behind though, since started his job searching in earnest. Maybe that’s why I wonder what it is people are drawn to when they follow WriterMummy.

All Seeing Eye by Freeforms: Ideas for the Dragon Wraiths Cover

All Seeing Eye by Freeforms: Ideas for the Dragon Wraiths Cover

The flipside to reaching Day Fifty is that I’m ready for a new challenge. I have the attention span of a two-year-old and like to keep moving on. I don’t mean giving up the daily blog, I can’t do that. But I do need a new something.So I’m investigating trying to self-publish Dragon Wraiths. I’ve always dismissed the idea because the text relies on using several fonts and that isn’t very ebook friendly.

My challenge is to see if Smashwords will accept it as is and, if not, how it can be altered. Of course what I’ve actually done is spent the day looking at stock images of dragons for the front cover. You can take the girl out of marketing and design but you can’t take the need to create pretty pictures out of the girl! 🙂

Anyway, enough ramble. On to today’s post…


Claire swallowed a yawn and commanded her eyelids not to close. The words washed over her, refusing to enter either ears or brain. If the smiling volunteer in front of her had requested one single fact from the short video Claire would have had to admit defeat.

Besides, who cares? I learned enough about Ruskin at Uni to last a lifetime.

She glanced round at the other avid viewers wondering if they, too, were just waiting for the moving pictures to finish. Her fellow tourists included a retired couple and a gaggle of students with their Tutor.

 I wonder if they’re Art, Science or Architecture boffs? She looked at them with a mixture of sympathy and envy. As long as they’re not in front of me when it comes to queuing for coffee I don’t especially care.

Claire gazed surreptitiously out the window, not wanting to be berated for her lack of attention but in dire need of something to stave off sleep. The restless night, coupled with an early start, was taking its toll. Maybe this wasn’t such a smart plan. At least if I’d been dangling by a rope 18m up I’d be wide awake.

Her early-morning internet trawl for ideas had thrown up only three options: kayaking around Coniston, Go-Ape, and a wander through John Ruskin’s pad. She’d decided to risk a short kayak on the morrow, when the forecast was for warmer weather. Go-Ape had been immediately dismissed. I’ve done enough monkeying around for this week. Maybe I’ll swing by later in my Lakes tour. She sniggered at her own puns and then decided she should stop before she went completely bananas

At last the video ended. Claire was free to meander round the old house and lose herself in the splendour of an earlier era. A soporific calm descended as she settled into the slow tread of the gallery viewer. It reminded her of college field trips and lazy Sundays.

This isn’t particularly thrilling blog copy but who cares. I’ll write something lyrical about the view. She glanced out the window at the lake, pewter-dark beneath cloudy skies. Hmm maybe not. She smiled. Despite the overcast day she felt at peace.

“Claire? Claire Carleton?”

Her tranquillity was shattered by the screech of estuary vowels.

“ Blinkin ’ell it is you. What’re you doing up ’ere in the arse-end of nowhere?”

Claire turned, heat radiating from her face. Please, no. I’ll do anything. Let it not be her. She raised her eyes slowly, as if allowing the universe ample opportunity to correct this terrible mistake. Her gaze took in sensible black shoes, tights, black skirt, and her heart lurched optimistically. Cherie would never wear such normal attire. Her head lifted to face the owner of the dreaded voice and hope died. Grinning cheerfully from atop a steward’s shirt and jacket was the face she knew and loathed.

“Hello Cherie, how lovely to see you. I hardly expected to see anyone I knew working here in the back of beyond or however it was you so eloquently put it.”

“I’m just helping out me ma for a week, she was left stranded by one of her staff.”

“Your mother works here?”

Claire had never met Cherie’s mother and had always assumed they were cut from the same cloth.

“Yeah she came up ’ere when pop died, couldn’t wait to leave Essex. Always said she’d made a mistake marrying ’im.” Claire looked over her shoulder as Cherie’s strident voice echoed around the room.

“Is she here? Won’t she be upset to hear you talking about her?”

“Nah she’ll be in the office. Besides we’re always ribbing her for her la-di-da ways.”

 This from the girl who spent ten years at a public school and still can’t pronounce the letter H?

Cherie looked Claire up and down and her grin widened. “You’re looking a bit rough. Times ’ard is they?”

Claire gritted her teeth and then forced them to relax into a smile. “I’m on a special assignment for Coca Cola. I’m an Advertising Director.” She squared her shoulders before swearing silently. Damn, she did it again. How does she do that to me? She could see by Cherie’s sparkling eyes that the woman had achieved her intention of winding Claire up.

She hasn’t seen me for, what, a decade and her first aim is to antagonise me? Silly cow.

Unwelcome flashbacks from school filled the space between them. Claire looked around for a neutral topic, not wanting to get into a fight and ruin her serenity. Her eyes alighted on a poster with a Ruskin quote on it.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

The appropriateness of it made her laugh out loud, remembering her trudge across the snowy Pennines and the scramble through hail to reach the top of Skiddaw. No such thing as bad weather? Right.

“Still larfing at me then, Claire? You always did fink you were better than me; lording it over us when your folks are nah better than mine.”

Claire flushed with shock at the bitter words hurled from frost-pink lips that no longer smiled.

“Me laugh at you? I spent my whole school life trying to stay away from your vicious tongue. I’m surprised you can stand upright with that chip balanced on your shoulder. Not that it’s any business of yours but I was laughing at the Ruskin quote.” Claire indicated the poster to her right.

“Still trying to get one over on me aren’t yer? Laugh at this dry old trout’s stuff? Now I know yer talking bollocks. I’ve never read such a steamin’ pile of  poo in me life.” Cherie shook her head as if Claire’s words had merely confirmed her dislike. She threw one more spiked look at her erstwhile school companion and stomped from the room.

Claire stood motionless as the footsteps receded, unsure whether to laugh or weep. She became aware of shakes coursing through her body and a loud hammering in her chest. She nodded an apologetic farewell to Ruskin’s room and headed for the café.

I need caffeine.


One thought on “Finally at Fifty! 2013 365 Challenge #50

  1. Pingback: Lessons learned from one blogger’s 365-day novel writing challenge | onewildword

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