Flash Fiction | You Don’t Love Me

biscuit

 

For a moment my heart stops.

Ottie, I say, sitting down and offering you a biscuit. Some weak recompense for the toy you so want so badly but I have no money to buy. I love you so much I can barely think about how much I love you. When I do I have to sit down. [I sit down]. I have to stop everything, including breathing. I literally can’t do anything or think about anything else. Thinking how much I love you makes my heartache worse than any break-up and my feet numb as if I’ve run ten marathons. When I think how much I love you I worry about everything because anything could be something that impacts on your happiness. How much I love you makes me want to fix the world beyond any reasonable hope. It makes me want to banish the bad guys, save the good guys and protect every new born and promise them a happy, pain free, love filled life because every child reminds me of you.

I knew children before. I knew how they lived in the present, delighted in simple things, laughed like they meant it and how that laughter went on forever. I knew that they ran with a love of running I have long forgotten and how that ability to love without boundaries said everything anyone could ever say about what was good about living. I knew that children imagined the impossible and dreamed of beautiful things and that the monsters of their nightmares could always be slain.

I loved children before. But you’ve taught me more. You taught me children aren’t archetypes for adults to gaze on for their own consolation. You are noisy and challenging and subtle, surprising and free. You have not only transformed my life entirely but raised me to a new way of living I could never have imagined before you came into my life.

Ottie looked at me, slowly munching on the biscuit and thinking about what I’d said. I smiled, unexpectedly nervous, and waited. He pushed the last crumbs into his mouth and said, the small one is nice too. And it’s half the price.

Flash Fiction | To Die For

cropped-bw-selfie.jpg

You went too far this time. You took yourself to the edge and yes it was going to be an amazing shot. A 3,000 instant likes on Instagram shot. With who knows how many more as it went viral. Shared by friends of friends of friends. You with your hair blowing upwards like someone had turned you upside down. Floating upwards as warm winds from the thousand foot drop beneath buffeted the cool air higher up, carrying each strand on its turns. Silky corn locks in the performance of a lifetime. Your smile. Those eyes. Centre stage. Spot lit by canyon sunshine. The world your back drop, adjusted to fit the frame. This would be the one that would get you noticed above all the rest. The one that’d get you the following you deserved. I can see you stepping up and over the safety barrier. Anticipation of the soon to be experienced outpouring of praise drowning out any thought for what hazards the real world might have in store.

It was going to be the best shot ever. A selfie that now no one will ever see. Your camera phone smashed to pieces at the bottom of the ravine. It’s parts all mixed with yours. The sun sets and a shadow creeps over the rock. Far below I can see your SIM card twinkle. Your hair splayed out around it.

 

[replaces words with gestures]

SHOW DON’T TELL is a mantra we’ve all heard – or felt as it’s used as a stick to beat us about the head until our writing brains get the message. The point of the mantra is to remind us that a bald…

Source: [replaces words with gestures]

Inspired by the Internet#1

This evening I took a moment to revisit a favourite radio 4 series by researcher in all things digital Aleka Krotoski and found this [see below]. It’s sparking a blog post series that I am naming Inspired by the Internet and will consist in the sharing and archiving a collection of creative visual, written and audio work that has been inspired by our online lives. We’re only touching the tip of our creative responses to the multiple and nefarious ways that we are being shaped by our digital technology. No longer simply a tool to perform tasks, technology tells us something about our world as it is now.

We’d be fools not to listen hard.

[oh yes and I LOVE this poem.]

Poem Looked Up On Google Streetview by Ross Sutherland

http://bbc.in/1j3zC5u

And in a related article – a digital artists has noticed some curious anomolies in the steet view captured process. Google’s inner surrealist is out!

http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/strange-things-been-happening-beaches-7388436

Weird-Google-Maps-glitches

 

Blogs and Blurbs and Tweets: Oh my!

Source: Blogs and Blurbs and Tweets: Oh my!

For all you Academics out there. This post from Anglia Ruskin University’s Research Service Team has some really useful links on how to bump up your research profile and increase impact using social media.  I particularly like Pat Thomson’s piece in TES on the value of blogging to improve ‘your academic writing by allowing you to experiment with ‘voice’ and practice economical and approachable communication style.’ I really recognise this last part. I’ve been having a long slow conversation with my blog over 5 years now and it’s been an important tool in helping me shape my thoughts and how I want to communicate them. Particularly useful for Early Career Researchers like me – and a conversation that will continue…

Google Help: More Young People Watching YouTube than TV

 

It’s not entirely shocking news that children and young people spend more time online than watching TV nowadays.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35524429

What is interesting though is how hard it is to find out anything much about Googles online roadshow for safer interenet for primary schools [see end of article]. Apart from a skeletal outline of its top tips which you can read here:

https://www.google.co.uk/goodtoknow/web/roadshow/#tab=think-share

This must have taken an entry level employee 15 minutes max to knock up.

Google weak expression of digital conscience is being sold to us as digital citizenship education and we’re all being urged to take part –  but it’s hard to see what that really means here. For instance what else does the largest corporation on the internet plan to do? Are they going to come and deliver this roadshow? I guess not. Who needs too hey? It’s online! But my experience of teaching in HE for 10 years has taught me that just because its online doesn’t mean anyone gives a shit or that a student will actually read it. Nevermind take it in/understand it/feel its impact. People make an impact. I suspect the real task of impressing the importance of following Googles tips for a safer internet to already hugely overloaded children/YPs will be left to already hugely overloaded teachers. These children/YPs face a mass of unenviable interesting times as they move into adulthood and are forced to deal with the mess we’re leaving them – on so many levels it boggles. Perhaps Google could invest a little more back to the communities, present and future, that feed it. Give us all a real lesson in digital citizenship.  Or maybe they’d rather stick to doing what they know: investing their time and resources into serving themselves and shareholders, and exploiting even more of us for even more information to sell on for profit. Go Google digital citizenship.

 

 

 

Great Advice on PhD Supervisors

I have recently undergone a change of supervisory team because I have changed the focus of my creative writing PhD from writing a novel about the impact of social media and motherhood to one looking at the impact on young people of growing up online. This articlce by experience PhD supervisor and examiner Tara Brabazon has some really interesting things to say about the importance of getting your supersisory team right.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/10-truths-a-phd-supervisor-will-never-tell-you/2005513.article