Awkward Baby Making

How I was made is definitely awkward for all involved to think about.
How I was made is definitely awkward for all involved to think about.

Be fore warned of the following: language and awkwardness.

There are few things more awkward in the world than having a guy come over to your house and wank into a cup.

One of those things is talking about how you’re trying to find a guy to come over to your house and wank into cup.

(I really enjoying saying that to people by the way, so expect me to repeat it some more in the course of this education post about sperm donation).

Okay so, this is how it goes. We left our houses, we met, we returned home, fell in love, got married and now we want kids. Which is all very normal. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re both a bit odd and social recluses and medicated up to the gills (well, I am, my wife isn’t), we are all very normal. We work, we watch films, we eat food and have cats.

And we want kids.

All very normal.

Except the bit where I trawl the internet for a guy to come wank into a cup in my spare room.

(By cup, I don’t mean like a teacup, or one of my mugs, I mean, like a specimen jar but that’s not nearly as funny is it?)

Okay, so my major flaw in life apparently is my lack of sperm. And if I could produce sperm I would be some sort of medical miracle and there must be some money in that. But being a regular bisexual in a same sex marriage doesn’t make me much money in a freak show (maybe when I grow my purple goatee?).

The NHS does not pay for this sort of thing. In fact, even when you’re infertile, getting IVF, IUI, or any sort of help is a bit hit or miss. And I live in rural Wales where basic care can be a bit hit and miss. We have to have six attempts privately before before they will help. It’s just not going to happen. To do this privately – and I mean at a clinic – it costs over a grand. And I need that money to you know, pay my wife’s visa fees and rent and eat and bills and it just seems like a lot of money for something that has such a small chance of working.

Two websites for private sperm donation.
Two websites for private sperm donation.

So we’re looking for donors online. It’s a bigger risk for a bigger reward – the chance of it working is actually pretty high so we just need to find a guy to come over and wank into a cup.

Easy right?

Not so much. Found a guy, he’s moving to America. Found a guy and got a donation, wife had an accident, now he’s unreliable. So now I’m trawling websites looking for guys to…well you get the point. And now facebook too. Cause facebook has loads of groups for donors. I didn’t want to use facebook at first cause it’s my actual face and name (well, no it’s not but close) but then, it’s locked up tighter than a locksmiths (I’m sure there’s a dirty version of that saying) and well, I really want kids.

I ask a lot of questions. Obvious ones. Personal ones. I want to know everything. From whether they drive (I live in the middle of no where – it’s an important question) to whether there is any diabetes in the family (cause there’s bloody loads in mine and my wife’s). I know all the legal stuff. I know all the medical stuff. I know everything.

I know all the terms too. Those are my favourite part of this process, the little codes littered across the the websites and forums. AI, NI, PI, PI+ – Artificial, Natural, Partial and Partial Plus. PI+ confused me a little, but as it turns out, it’s PI but with a bit of help.

This is literally what we use. This exact jar.
This is literally what we use. This exact jar.

We are looking for AI only: Artificial Insemination. So basically, some man sauce (my GP’s exact word) in a jar and a syringe. And you can work out the rest from there really. Oh and we use lube too, but not the regular kind, but the kind that doesn’t hard sperm, so we use Pre-Seed but there is one called Conceive Plus too. the idea is that they aid the sperm rather than become a barrier to them or harm them.

I know, I know. Now try explaining that to anyone, in real life, ever.

Yeah. Blogging is easy. Trying to avoid the questions my mother-in-law has, not so much. My own parents have no questions. It’s great and I know it’s not they’re not interested but I do not that sort of relationship with my father (it’s strained), and my mother tries not to get too involved because she doesn’t want the extra stress. Also, she already has adorable grandchildren. My mother in law in dying to have grandchildren. She wants to know more about the guy we chose than we do – and I already ask a lot of questions.

But then, I get the feeling she wants to the ideal – you know, tall and handsome (which is subjective) and smart and so on but I just want healthy. We are not the ideal. We are podgey and a little nuts and I truly believe that shaping a child, a person, is as much about the environment as it is about genetics.

And so, I just need some genetics in a cup as a starting point and I can create a tiny little Kate Ellen, and it will be wonderful.

And awkward.

Aren’t you glad you read this? Don’t feel awkward and uncomfortable now?

More Information

Illnesses and Work – Does Not Compute

Yawning cat represents my yawning self.
Yawning cat represents my yawning self.

I’m trying to reconcile this feeling I have where I need to work, because the government won’t support me and being at home all the time is no good for my mental health (or physical health probably) but where working isn’t exactly conducive to my illnesses either. Most places of work have strict polices in place when it comes to sick leave and none of them are actually any good if you have any long-term illnesses.

I have a couple. Mental and physical. I am also still working on getting my immune system back up to scratch. Last winter I lost my voice three times alone.

I’ve missed a few days of work. Too many and I got in trouble and I would’ve been okay if it had just been those times I lost my voice but I also suffer from anxiety and depression – diagnosed and crippling. And I suffer from semi-regular bouts of Dysmenorrhea. Not every month, but most months and it’s getting worse or something else is happening that’s affecting my stomach. Three times now I’ve fainted after being in pain, dizzy and sick (to the point of throwing up but I’ve often thrown up). After a while it goes from being a bad period to being a serious problem that I’m still trying to figure out with my doctor. Oh and occasionally I get migraines – maybe every few months.

None of this really meshes with a working lifestyle because even if I am never sick because of the anxiety and depression (which is actually quite rare) and am only sick during every other period (which is becoming the norm unfortunately), this is still too many sick days or absences.

I don’t want to be sick. I don’t stay home when I should be at work. I want to work, actually. But I don’t want to lose my job because I have some chronic health problems.

I don’t really know what to do about it cause it’s gonna be really hard to change the way companies deal with chronic illness and unless the government change the way they deal with ESA and other benefits – and I can handle being at home more often – I can’t just not work. I make very little money as it is (it’s minimum wage remember not living wage) and if I want a family (and I really, really do) then I can’t just not work.

I don’t know. Is it just me? Sometimes it feels like I’m making something out of nothing, but then I feel bad because I can’t work because I passed out on a bus from period pain.

On top of this there is the fact that sometimes I physically cannot work.

I pushed myself too hard last week. Worked six days, but not full days, actually when I added it up it came to 35 hours. Not even full time. I still spent most of Sunday asleep (slept in til 12, had a three hour nap later on) and watched rugby. I still woke up at 8am Monday morning feeling physically sick at the idea of going to work and got up at half eleven still feeling like I could sleep for another day. I turned down overtime tomorrow because I just can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get up – either because of the anxiety, the depression, both, the period pain or all three. Not turning up for overtime is the same as not turning for regularly scheduled work.

I feel like no one cares sometimes.

I know people do. My wife. My mother. My friends. But at the same time I feel like can’t keep up with their expectations or the expectations of my boss.

I pushed myself too hard last week and not I’m paying for it and I feel like I should be able to work a 35 hour week, like everyone else who works full time. Like the people I work with.

I can’t but I need too.

I need to work full time so I can afford to actually live a decent life. So I can afford to take care of kids, so my wife can get her British driving license. So I don;t have to scrounge for money when something goes wrong, or the next time I have to pay the government an extortionate amount of money to keep my wife in the country.

I used to work full time.

I used to work full time and have worse mental health problems and a worse immune system. By the time I left my job I was working for six months stretches and then taking up to six weeks off sick. I was also overdosing and generally abusing my medication, self harming most days at work and was completely miserable.

Now I’m happy but I’m still struggling with this aspect of my life. A work balance that won’t make me sick but will pay my bills.

Though I suppose most people are.

I’m not saying I’m special, or that I suffer more than anyone else in my situation but today, today I am struggling with this.

I Write Fanfiction (and I’m not ashamed of if) – Part One

My account.
My account.

I write a ton of fanfiction. I’ve probably written more fanfiction than I have of anything else. I’ve been writing fanfiction since I was 15. I will always write fanfiction. I am not ashamed of any of this.

And I shouldn’t be.

My reasons for writing fanfiction are my own, yes, but I will lay them out of you anyway, cause I’m awesome like that. I read an interesting blog on Worship The Fandom, about how the #askELJAMES twitter fiasco showed that people still think of fanfiction as inferior, rubbish, not real writing or literature, and so on and so. You know what I say to that?


Have you tried writing fanfiction? It’s actually harder than you might think to be a good fanfic writer. Fanfic writing is the same as any writing. It’s really easy to be a bad writer, regardless of the genre or even the medium. It’s hard to be good at fanfiction. The rewards (comments, reviews, kudos) are instantaneous, but so are the criticisms and flames. And the hardest bit about writing fanfic is writing characters that aren’t your own. Take it from someone who’s done both.

It’s easier perhaps, to write your own character convincingly, because you know that character, you created it and you know how they will react because you decide how they will react, you have decided every facet of their character from whether they like to cheese on their burgers to how they will get if the cat decides to steal the cheese after their wife forgets to put it back in the fridge after dinner the night before (this may have happened last night but isn’t related).

To write a good fanfiction – or hell average fanfiction – you need to try and figure out how to write a character who is not your own. You have to try and figure out what a character would do or say, given the background information of the film, book or TV show you’re borrowing them from. You have to try and figure out how they would react to their cat stealing their block of cheese. Just because your hot and cool air force colonel would totally brush it off does not mean Samantha Carter from SG-1 would (though, she probably would be more interested in where the hell the cat came from cause she gave hers away to an alien in Season one).

I think she'd be cool with the whole cat stealing the cheese thing.
I think she’d be cool with the whole cat stealing the cheese thing.

Dialogue is tricky too cause you can decide how your character talks and pick an accent and speech pattern from the start and run with it. But everything about the character has already been decided for you and you have to work with that. Anything else is out of character and frankly a bit shit.

Fanfiction can be a difficult as any other sort of writing because of these restraints already put on you as a writer. What makes it a bit easier is that the world building is already done for you, the characters are already created, so you have a bit of a leg up. All you need to do is write what ever you want to write and write the characters properly.

Like any aspect of writing, fanfiction is under your control. You can decide to take it seriously, put work into it, write over 100,000 words with perfect grammar or 500 words of sex with typos and bad spelling. Or visa versa. Original work is not perfect and is not immune to typos, bad spelling and grammar issues. Original published work comes with editing though, and editors weed out the problems like that and weed out the issues with plot and characters and world building. That’s what they’re there for but that doesn’t mean authors are infallible it just means they get their work corrected before it gets read.

That’s the big difference between fanfiction and original published work. That line of editing. Most fanfiction isn’t edited or beta read. The ones that are are done by friends, online and offline, who do it as a favour, or cause they want to.

The mail online is less bad journalism and more right wing news porn...
The mail online is less bad journalism and more right wing news porn. But my mum says the gardening section is brilliant.

Bad writing is the same regardless of the genre and medium. If you don’t put any effort in, you shouldn’t get anything out of it, but with everything in life that isn’t strictly true. Such as bad journalism is read and watched by people who don’t realise it’s bad journalism,  bad fanfiction is read by people who don’t always realise it’s badly written. I always skip the badly written stuff, no matter how hot it promises to be because I can’t read it. I know what good writing it – I have read enough news, books and fanfiction over the years to recognise it. I have been taught to recognise it too. In school, at home…I’m lucky like that.

But like the bad journalism, and the awful books you hate, like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, people will read it and enjoy it and nothing will dissuade them from. Even if it’s badly written and an advocate of abusive relationships. That’s okay though, we have a tendency to group together with like minded people (in my case people who write fanfiction well and rally against 50 Shades for reasons that have nothing to do with it being crap fanfiction in disguise).

Yes, there are a lot of problems with EL James work that actually have nothing to do with it being fanfiction and everything to do with it being badly written. That should be the focus, not the genre or form of the work. And hopefully, most people see it that way and the people that think themselves above fanfic writers, because they write ‘real’ fiction are few and far between and actually sad people. I believe in freedom of choice. Anyone who derides your choice to read or write fanfcition is encroaching on your freedoms. I am happy for you to read 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not going to stop you. I just want you to be aware of a few things too.

Years of typing up fanfiction has done wonders to my typing speed if nothing else.
Years of typing up fanfiction has done wonders to my typing speed if nothing else.

In this, we come out the bigger people, we the many, the geeky, the fanfic writers. We come out the better people. We don’t delude ourselves in thinking we are better than anyone. Mostly we just want to write our favourite characters doing stuff the TV shows won’t show us. Usually LGBT relationships and sex.

Fanfiction has it’s problems, I’m not denying that – though a lot of those problems are within the individual fandoms and are pandemic to pretty much every facet of life – that problem being people are jerks. A lot of these problems can be found within any medium, within any community of fans. Within any group of people. People are jerks. Not all of them, but enough of them.

Fanfiction is not the same are original work, no, and it’s probably not going to make you any money. Hell, if you are trying to make money, writing is not the way to go about it – ask any writer. Ask any poet. But I think, if you’re writing to make money, you’re writing for the wrong reasons.

It’s up to you though.

Next time I’ll talk about why I write fanfiction, why I read it, and why that will never change.

Coming Off My Medication: Tegretol

"VariousPills" by MorgueFile
“VariousPills” by MorgueFile

So I decided last week to come off my medication.

And I don’t mean – screw it, I’ll stop taking it – I mean coming off it slowly, bit by bit because I don’t need it any more.

At least I don’t think I need it any more.

First I’m stopping the Tegretol – going down from 800mg to 600mg for a month.

I’ve been taking Tegretol for at least eight years.  I can’t quite remember when, and I don’t have any documentation for that point. And by documentation I mean a blog post or something on my livejournal stating when I started. And the electronic records my doctor had access to during my appointment didn’t go back that far. But it’s at least eight years. 2007 is the first mention of it.


I started Tegretol because I couldn’t deal with my anger. I didn’t necessarily have mood swings but I couldn’t control nor deal with my anger. It was a big part of the reason why I self harmed. I got angry, I didn’t know how to deal with it, I cut myself. And therapy wasn’t coming but medication was easy so, I got more meds on top of my Seroxat and well, it just became part of the the routine.

I don’t know if it worked.

I really couldn’t say for sure. It didn’t make a big enough difference to stop me self harming, but then, by time I’d been self harming for that long it was as much about the depression and self-loathing as it was about the anger. So maybe it helped the anger, I can’t really remember. But that didn’t really make a difference overall because I still tried to kill myself a couple of times after starting it, and in the end therapy was what really made the difference, changing my life entirely.

But I’ve never stopped taking my medication. It took so long to accept the fact that I had to take it, and longer to accept that I might have to take it for the rest of my life. And now I’m at this point where several things have occurred.

One. I am not the person I was when I started taking my medication. I’ve completely changed my life and my way of thinking, as well as my way of dealing with my depression and anxiety. That has been pretty clear over the past few years, but the last month really showed me that – it’s been tough, with my wife being off work and still ill after the accident, and money being tight and a few other stresses my depression and anxiety has been pretty bad this month. I even thought about self harming.

I didn’t though and I went to work and managed and the month has passed and things will hopefully be better next month. I am able to deal with the crap that comes my way now.

Two. In the future, if I want to have a baby myself (carry it myself) then I can’t be taking this much medication. In terms of Tegretol my dose is pretty normal as a mood stabilisers but I’m maxed out on my Seroxat and it would not be good to be pregnant and on that much medication.

Three. Working for a pharmacy has been a bit of an eye-opener. Especially when it comes to to sheer amount of medication wasted and the amount of money that is being wasted by people getting free prescriptions for things like paracetamol that costs 25p for 16 tablets, but took up ten to fifteen minutes of a doctors time that they didn’t need, as well as the money it cost to pay for the paracetamol and all the delivery costs and so on. So taking medication I do not necessarily need because I’ve been taking it so long and because I know the withdrawals suck (at least from the Seroxat), just seems like a waste of money month after month. I’m costing the NHS almost thirty quid a month in those tablets alone – not counting the money spent on the receptionist sorting the prescription out, the doctor signing, the delivery costs to the pharmacy…

So, I decided, I made my appointment to see my GP.

He actually said to cut it in half but I’m scared. It’s been a long time and I don’t want things to wrong. And it’s winter and what if I actually need the Tegretol?? So I have a box of 200mg, to go with a fresh box of 400mg and I’m cutting down.

Starting tonight.

Wish me luck.

Watch The World Burn

Week six prompt
Week six prompt

The city burned easier than anyone expected.

One the farm on the very edge of the outskirts, Andrew climbed out of the skylight in his room, clambering up the tiles to sit next to the chimney, feeling the lingering warmth from the families fire through the brick. From his vantage point he could see for miles.

From his vantage point he could see the smoke and flames from the city.

Not clearly, he couldn’t see the people screaming, the cars crashing but it was enough. He could see the flames licking the edges of the sky, the smoke filling the clouds, the moon becoming grey and dusty.

It was the end the television was saying and he could hear the shouting and panic from his parent’s television set as they watched the chaos inside the house. Andrew didn’t really understand what was going on – his little sister had gone back to sleep, his older brother was watching with his parents.

His mother was crying.

Andrew didn’t feel well.

It was bubbling up inside him, the tightness in his chest and the shaking inside his stomach. Moving up and spreading through him, over his skin and into his bones. He wouldn’t cry, but he was struggling to breathe as the feeling started to squeeze him. He grasped the chimney breast as the flames spread over the city.

He had friends in the city, his school was probably already ashes. His cousins, his grandmother…

Where were they? Had his uncle gotten to home in time – dinner hadn’t been too long, they had all gone to bed on time. Headlights were everywhere, shining in all directions on the edges of the built up city. People escaping, getting out.

The window opened again and Christopher climbed out, throwing a blanket out first. He sat next to Andrew, pulling the blanket around him, before sitting down next to him. He was so much taller, the boy noticed, Andrew had never felt so short. And even when Christopher reminded him he was five years older and only a foot taller, he didn’t feel much better.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” he whispered. “Why is the city on fire?”

“They dropped bombs,” he sad, “Nuclear on the capital, but normal bombs on the cities.”


“Not sure. Capans? Lucan. Iris.”

They were all names to Andrew, things he’d heard about in passing on the television, in bits of conversation between various adults. He didn’t push for further explanation though, he didn’t think it would his fear.

“Are we going to die?” he asked.

Christopher put an arm around him, pulling him close.

“Nah,” he said, “we’ll be okay.”

“Sure?” Andrew asked.

“Yeah,” Christopher smiled at him but Andrew could tell it was forced. He could always tell when they were just trying to make him feel better. “Don’t stay out here too long,” he said, “Promise?”

Andrew nodded, smiling weakly back at his brother. The older boy patted him on the back before getting back up to climb through the window. Andrew turned his gaze back on the burning city, curling up deeper in the thick blanket. He would stay for a little longer, if only to see if the flames ever went out.


Week six, only vaguely related to the others – I see it as an prologue – Perhaps Etta’s great grandfather.

52 Weeks of Fiction // My WDC portfolio

Poem: Broken Little Bluebell

Bluebells at Turnerhall Growing by the steps down to the River Dee.
Bluebells at Turnerhall Growing by the steps down to the River Dee.
Tick tock tick
broken little bluebell
lying at the
bottom of the stairwell.

Stems are cracked
and leaves are torn
broken little bluebell
oh the bruises you adorn.

Time passes slowly
not to be found
broken little bluebell
don’t make a sound.

Plucked from existence
and dropped into the den
broken little bluebell
pick yourself up again.

Steal yourself for more
repeats around the clock
broken little bluebell
tock tick tock.


Kara and Etta: Time To Fly

Week 5 prompt - by Sabine Mondestin.
Week 5 prompt – by Sabine Mondestin.


Etta nodded, grinning at her from her seat on the floor. She flipped open the book resting in her lap, settling her crossed legs closer to her body. Kara grumbled something and sat down opposite her, pushing aside one of Etta’s books, and her own shoes. She mirrored Etta’s position and waited for her to say something.

“Are you sure?” she asked, when her friend didn’t continue to say any more.


Etta flipped through the book, finding the marked page.

“Remember the tail?” Kara said.

Etta laughed.

“I still say it suited you, but don’t worry Kar, this is a spell meant for other people. It’s been modified from the original and tested and approved and stuff.”


“By the council of magi.”

Etta lifted the book up and flashed the cover at her. Kara caught the word ‘approved‘ but nothing else, just a blur of cover. She grinned again, and waved her hands around, laughing when Kara squeezed her eyes shut.

“I’m not ready yet!” she cried and Etta laughed.

“Neither am I!” she said, pulling Kara’s hand into hers. “I won’t hurt you Kara, trust me.”

She squeezed her hand and smiled, softer this time.

“If you want I can do the spell on me first. It’s almost exactly the same.”


“A couple of words are different. There’s a couple of extra words.”

“Just a few words,” Kara said.


Etta pressed down the pages of the book – the pages were still bright white, but the corner well creased, as were many pothers. To Kara it looked like her friend had marked almost every other page or so. Perhaps she had.

“Fine, let’s do it.”

Etta squealed, clapping and Kara smiled.

“Don’t make me regret this,” she said with a chuckle.

“I promise, it’ll be fine,” she said, “nothing like the tail.”

“Will I be able to fly?”

Etta paused, looking over her book, finger on the page as she traced over the words.

“Not at first. Takes practice.”

“Have you given yourself wings before?” she asked.

“Yeah. They weren’t very big though,” she shrugged. “Got bigger the second time. It’s a work in progress.” She looked back up from the book at Kara. “Any more questions?”

“Are you sure about this?”

“Yes. Are you? I mean, you don’t have to,” Etta said voice lower this time. “I mean, I know you wanted to help but really if you don’t want to.”

Kara smiled.

“I want to help,” she said, smiling. “And who else are you going to practice on? Your mum and dad? Mooch?”

Both women looked across the room at the black and white cat curled up on the arm chair. With her head tucked into her body, he was perfectly circular – it was quite impressive for a cat his size. Kara reached over to pet, Mooch giving a confused mew but not moving. They both laughed.

“Can you imagine giving that cat wings?”

“They would have to be really big if he want to get any lift,” Etta said, “and he still wouldn’t catch anything.”

Kara chuckled.

“So that means I’ll have need big wings too,” she said.

“Shut up, you’re barely even podgy,” Etta said, “Now, sit still and let me do this spell.”

Kara grumbled but did as her friend asked, sitting perfectly still, back straight, legs crossed. She could feel pins and needles starting in her left foot, but ignored it, letting it spread and Etta started to mutter quietly to herself. Kara watched her, sucking in a harsh breath. She was tempted to close her eyes, could feel her lips drooping but forced herself to watch her friend, watch every movement of her lips. She couldn’t catch any words, just the hiss of an s here and there.

She felt a tingling start at the base of her skull, dull at first working it’s way down her spine until it was hot and bright. She gasped, falling forward and half expected Etta to stop but she didn’t, not even when Kara cried out as she felt pushing at her shoulder blades.

Pushing out.

Pushing hard.

She went to scream but it stopped, the pressure subsided and she was able to sit up straight. Her back felt heavy, and she almost toppled backwards. Etta had stopped mumbling and was looking up again, smiling at her. Kara wasn’t sure what to do, but turned her head to see two bright white wings behind her.

“Oh my…”

“It worked!” Etta cried. “They’re awesome. Next time I’ll have to try a colour.”

“These are amazing,” Kara said scrambling to her feet. She shrugged her shoulders struggling a little to do so now. “Wow.”

“They definitely suit you.”

“More than the tail?”

“Yeah, though, with the tail it would be awesome.”

Kara frowned at her but Etta continued to smile.

“How long will they stay?” she asked, shrugging again, trying to get used to the weight. She reached behind her to tug at the bottom feathers. They were velvet as she ran her fingers over them before pulling them around her. “I mean…they’re beautiful.”

“Try and flap them.”

She was trying, unfortunately and managed to shrug once more but couldn’t do more than that.


“Maybe I can’t. I mean, I’m not a mage.”

“It takes time,” Etta said, flipping through a few more pages in her book. This spell is only for non-mages, it’s made for you. You will be able to fly eventually.”

“This is so much better than the tail,” Kara said with a another exaggerated shrug.

“When we both learn to use them we can go out flying together.”

“I’d like that.”

“First I need wings too.”

“Can you perform spells on yourself?” Kara asked, fingers still fiddling with the tips of her wings. “I thought it wasn’t allowed.”

“Not yet, not ’til I finish college,” Etta said, with a frown and folded arms.

“Then you better get studying. So we can both have wings,” she said with a smile.

“Fine, let me get rid of the wings and we’ll try another spell.”

Kara looked up at her, then pulled her wings around her body once more, covering her body with the soft white feathers.

“Maybe I can keep them? For a little while longer?”

Etta smiled.


Kara beamed and dropped back down on the floor opposite Etta, wings fanning back out once more, a bright white circle around her. She shrugged again, feeling the wings move for the frst time, almost jumping back to her feet with a cry.

“See, you’re getting it already.”

She nodded, gleeful.

“Try something else, let’s see what else you can do.”

Etta laughed at that, and turned to a new chapter in book.



Week five. A little late. Long week. Image owned by Sabine Mondestin

I Won’t Be Watching Your Death

From [Link]
From [Link] – The victims of the filmed Virginia shooting last week.
Right now on Facebook, news websites and well, the internet as a whole, several disturbing things are going around. Nothing unusual I suppose; the internet is full of horrible stuff. People are horrible. But with facebook, and autoplay on websites, we’re being exposed to the horrors of reality more often and more easily than ever.

I’m talking about the video of the recently filmed shooting in Virginia (no video) and the images of the dead children lying in the surf (no link for obvious reasons).

Not that we should be avoiding it, or ignoring it, but the way we expose ourselves to the horrors of reality are no longer under our control. We are being forced to look at things we are already aware of. We are aware of these things without seeing them. Without watching the videos, seeing the images.

I can read news, I know what is happening. I have seen pictures and watched news that does not involve me seeing dead children and the last moment of a person’s life.

The Sun newspaper the day about the shooting.
The Sun newspaper the day about the shooting.

Let me just clarify something: I do believe in free speech. I believe that the media has the right to post pictures and videos of these tragedies. Whether they are right to do it is another matter and a debate for another day. My problem is whether we get a choice. These are not pictures for the front page. These newspapers are sitting no shelves all over the world in easy access. We should have the choice to buy them and turn the page to see the pictures, or to skip over them entirely. It is not a video to be on auto-play on websites. We should be able to read the story without having to watch it unfold before we can hit the pause button. These are not pictures for you to share on facebook. We should have the choice to find out about the deaths of these poor children without being forced to see them before we are ready. If we are ever ready.

The media, people in general, have the freedom to print and post these pictures and videos. I should have the choice to avoid them if I want. That choice is taken away from me if the photos are on my facebook feed, the front page of every nearly newspaper I encounter in my local shop. If the video starts playing as soon as a website loads.

Yes, I can keep scrolling through my facebook feed, turn away from the newspaper stand, pause the video but the damage has already been done.

I haven’t watched the Virginia TV shooting, but I did see the pictures of the drowned children. It took a little while to process what I was seeing before I scrolled down, kept scrolling and now they’ve disappeared into the bowels of my facebook feed hopefully never to be seen again.

Aylan Kurdi - the little boy who's all over the news right now.
Aylan Kurdi – the little boy who’s all over the news right now.

A fundamental part of our souls are affected by everything we see.  A part of me will never be the same again. It’s the same for everything thing I am exposed to, good or bad – sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. It chips away at the very core of our being and there is only so much we can take as human beings – with the consciousness we have, before it’s too much. Some people have a harder constitution than others, some people can take more of a beating, more chips at the soul than others. We should at least get the choice to choose what we let affect us, because who’s to say that wasn’t going to be the last straw for me.

Who has seen those pictures and said enough? Done something foolish, irrational, life-changing. Something terrible.

There will only be so much as a society we can take too. Bit by bit we come closer to breaking point and it scares me. We expose ourselves to so much horror already without having more forced upon ourselves. The world is both horrible and wonderful, but every day it’s a fight for the balance to shift one way or another. How long before everything wonderful falls away and we’re only left we the last moments of a woman’s life recorded for all to see, and the bodies of the next generation already rotting in the sea.

Weekly Fiction: Over and Over

Kara had dreamt of the little girl before. Always running away, running away from her, hair as dark as her own, skin as pale. She often wondered if she was just dreaming of herself. The hair was certainly the same, past her shoulders and a little out of control. Even the way it swished and swayed in the wind was the same. Her hair was still like that sometimes. In the dream the little girl was running away from her, sometimes in the city, sometimes through the forest path. Little feet crunching over gravel and kicking little stones up as she went.

She carried a lantern that was always lit, the sun shined but the little flame flickered all the while.

She never turned around, never turned to look at Kara. She just kept going towards a bright red door at the end of the path, light spilling out from the gaps beneath the door bright even in the daylight.

The girl never reached the door.

Never reached the door.


Always running, skip, skip, run, skip.

Kara never questioned it. Was just an observer to this all. She woke and forgot about it until the next time.

Now it seemed to go on forever. Running and running. Just watching the little girl in the red polka dots. Skirts swinging back and forth, back and forth, over and over. She never reached the door and the forest floor never changing under her little feet even as the gravel path was kicked aside under the white soles of her shoes.

It never ended.

Never ended.



She woke up covered in sweat again, eyes barely opening but mind coming back. Every muscle weighed too much, pulling at the tendons, the joints when she tried. She could wiggle her toes, her fingers, her eyebrows – but nothing else. She couldn’t scream, couldn’t speak, couldn’t call out for help.

No one came.

No one turned on a light, opened the curtains, lifted the thick quilt from her sweltering body.

No one came.

No one.


Week Four of the 52 Week Fiction Image Blog Contest. 

Prompt is here.  Portfolio is here.

Poem: Space

She is counterpoint to my supernova,Supernova_Companion_Star
I am a brilliant point of light
burnt out before my time
and she is the only thing
I am holding onto
as I blaze through existence.
She is my solar system.
briefly I outshine her
mere moments pass
but she is my gravity and harmony
and I deny her nothing.
She leads and I follow,
through every hindrance
as through every asteroid field
were made of pebbles
to be pushed aside as we sail on
and I suffer less as she carries me forward
through stardust and nebulas
home and back again, a galaxy of wonder
under our countenance
two little gems in the middle of
this superficial extent.