Celebrating Mary Shelley’s Birth Date, August 30, 1797
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos …” Mary Shelley
Every year, the most ardent Mary Shelley fans remember this author on August 30. Frankenstein is still one of the most popular and enduring novels since its publication in 1818. We spend time reading her short stories and browsing her biographies, maybe discovering a new fact about her life and writing.
Did you know Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare? In the preface of the third edition of the novel, Mary says that Frankenstein came to her in a dream. During a sleepless night in her dark room, behind closed shutters “with the moonlight struggling to get through … I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts…
My father and one of my closest friends recently passed away within five days of each other. In fact, Helen died on the afternoon of Dad’s funeral. It was too much loss. It was too painful. It was definitely too soon and too final. And “upside down” is exactly how I felt then and still feel now.
As always, my feelings have turned into poetry.
I wrote this poem on the morning of Helen’s funeral. It was impossible to contemplate one without revisiting the other in my mind.
History is full of amazing achievements and world-changing events. It is also full of amazing women who accomplished incredible things, made discoveries and inventions that had significant impacts on the world as they knew it but also on the future, and did it all despite being suppressed — and sometimes oppressed— by social structures that gave the power, property and privileges to men.
Don’t get me wrong — I like men as much as the next girl, but it’s fair to say they’ve held the lions share of the power, wealth and privilege in times past. That’s why I have particular respect and admiration for those women who had the temerity and confidence do do their thing regardless of what men, and many other women, thought.
Today, I want to encourage everyone to celebrate International Women’s Day by considering everything they have been taught or given by women – not just historical figures but, more personally, their mothers, aunts, teachers, carers, family members… and the list is endless.
Women have spoken into our lives and invested in us individually in countless ways. Whether personally or professionally, casually or consistently, they all deserve our recognition and thanks.
While we should be doing that every day, International Women’s Day gives us an excellent reminder to make a special effort to thank and acknowledge the women who have got us where we are today.
Sure, there is still progress to be made and true equality to be achieved. But we’d be a whole lot further behind if it were not for those women who have gone before us and set alight the lamps that have shown us the way.
Why We Should All Celebrate International Women’s Day #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistory #IWD2020
All writers get the same advice. Read the great writers; study the great works. Learn how seasoned, professional, and successful authors get the job done. All true, but I maintain that it’s also crucial for writers to read crap to learn what not to do.
Today I was browsing in a bookstore when a guy nearby did the most romantic thing I’ve witnessed in quite some time.
He took out his phone, made a call and said, “Hi sweet, I’m just at the bookstore… do you need anything?”
I was overcome with “all the feelings” and I’m sure I had a goofy smile all over my face, despite the realisation that my dream man was a complete stranger and in a relationship with someone for whom he is willing to buy books.
And they say romance is dead. What I saw and heard today proves otherwise.
Last week, as my friends and I were sitting in a shopping centre food court, I watched a young boy carefully picki his nose, eating the booger, and follow it with a chicken nugget. He did this at least three times,
At a table nearby, another young boy watched too, with disbelief and horror written all across his face.
The scene amused me, and I filed a mental note about it. Did the second boy never pick his nose, I wondered, or was he just appalled by the thought of eating it?
As I was driving home, a story came to me.
It seems fitting that it is a macabre story, given that it is October and Halloween will soon be upon us.
However, when I went looking for a copyright free image of a kid with their finger up their nose, I couldn’t find a single one. You would think that with the world-wide resources of the internet at our fingertips, things like that wouldn’t be so hard to find. There were stock images available, but I generally refuse to use those because, like all Indie authors, I’m on a budget and that seems like a luxury to me.
One Facebook post later, my cousin came to the rescue. Her young son was only too happy to stick his finger up his nose for the camera, and now he’s my little hero. He loves creepy stories, so I’ve promised to write one for him. I just have to wait for a little more strange inspiration to come my way.
I hope you enjoy The Final Blow.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to pick your nose?”
Sam sighed. All he wanted to do was dislodge those crusty bits that stabbed the inside of his nostrils every time she made him blow into a tissue, and remained there stubbornly regardless of his efforts with the tissue. Those things hurt, and they didn’t let go on their own.The best way to remove them was gently, with his favourite finger, and then flick them into the bin.
She should just be thankful he never wanted to eat it. He didn’t understand how other kids could. Just the other day when they had gone out for lunch he had watched another boy in the restaurant eating his booger off his finger before picking up a chicken nugget and eating that. He shuddered at the thought.
I have always credited The Addams Family and The Munsters with feeding, if not inspiring, my early love of the Gothic and the macabre, but I never really thought about how much Scooby Doo fit that same genre in so many ways until I read this great article on CrimeReads.
I was certainly watching those things on TV before I was reading anything Gothic. I think my first Gothic read was Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ when I was maybe 9 or 10.
Scooby Doo was always one of the cartoons I enjoyed, and I still say “Rut Roh!” in my Scooby voice when I have a feeling things are about to go badly.
I guess it’s fair to say that some of the TV I watched definitely did normalise the Gothic for me during my childhood, and opened me up to the darker side of storytelling.
I hope you find this article as interesting and enlightening as I did.
I really appreciate the small, simple things in life that let me know I’m appreciated: a smile, a hug, an encouraging text message or a silly SnapChat. It changes my day knowing that someone cares enough about me to share those things with me.
I was reminded again by Karen Nimmo’s blog post on Nerdome how important that is. In this world where some people will sell you just as quickly as looking at you, or push you under the bus if it means they’ll achieve their goals faster, there are some people who have no positive interactions with other people all day.
My smile might be the only one they see. My words of encouragement might be the only ones they hear. My random act of kindness might be the only light in a dark day.
Because I know what dark days are like, I understand the privilege — and the responsibility — of being able to change that for someone else.
It doesn’t have to cost anything at all. It isn’t an obligation.
It does require us to take our focus off ourselves for a few seconds and give something intangible, yet priceless, to another person.
I hope that my words here, and those of Karen Nimmo, encourage you to seek to make a difference in someone else’s day today. You never know – you might just make your own at the same time.
hink of the last time someone did something nice for you.
Not something big; just a small act of kindness — bought you a coffee or a treat, did a household chore for you before you’ve asked, asked how your weekend was (and genuinely listened to the answer).
Recall for a minute how that made you feel. Good, right? It’s not so much the act that creates the warmth; it’s that they were thinking of you, that they found the time and means to appreciate you, to ease your load or make you smile.
The world can be a dog-eat-dog place; often, we find ourselves competing to get what we want and need. But trampling over others for our own agendas doesn’t make us feel good. Quite the opposite, actually.
One of the best ways to boost happiness is to do something for someone else. Their…