Ancient Inspiration

Before I get to the main point of this post, I would like to take a moment to mention Windows 10. My laptop upgraded itself the other day. It’s all very well, I suppose – I have nothing to complain about. Unless, that is, you wish to count that I had only just got my head around Windows 8, and now I’m sure it will take me another century to work this one out too. One notable thing I must mention about Windows 10 is its sound. What pretty, delicate little noises it makes, no? Not like the earlier versions of Windows, like 95 and 98, which went DYOINK!! when you clicked on something sometimes. Remember that? And it usually gave you a heart attack, that strident noise. Goodness.

But this upgrade has caused me some grief in one respect: my phone input. I refuse to believe I am the only person who struggles connecting their mobile to their computer. With Windows 8, I had it sussed, all was well and life was splendid. Windows 10? I can’t. I don’t understand. It’s linked me to OneDrive and I cannot cope with such technological complexities. I am not good with technology, in case you hadn’t already gathered this, and, if I can’t cope with technology now, I dread to think what I’ll be like in ten, twenty, thirty years time. It took me about nine thousand years to get the photos from my phone to this WordPress post, with plentiful clawing at the face and near throwing-phone-and-or-laptop-out-of-window moments. But finally! Success.

Yet, one thing I found incredibly curious was how I rediscovered photos on my laptop which I KNOW I deleted aaaages ago. How on earth did Windows 10 bring them back…? Does Microsoft store all deleted stuff in some far-off, technological cavern to snoop on all your doings, or so they may haunt you with things you once believed to be gone for good? Hmm. Though, disconcerting as this thought may be, I did find it amusing trawling through old, once-deleted photos – namely the five hundred or so accidental photos I accidentally took with my temperamental laptop camera (I may be exaggerating just a smidge). Seriously though, how do you accidentally take so many photos? The stupid camera app thing on Windows 8 always got in my way, opening up in the middle of my work, and while my head was down or my eyes were elsewhere I heard a sly click; when I looked up, I saw my face looking back at me. Here are two examples:

WIN_20140214_095846 WIN_20140411_203740

I mean, there I was, minding my own business, TRYING to work, and my stupid camera takes a snap. I swear my laptop has a mind of its own. This is also quite a disconcerting thought. Sometimes, when I open up MS Word, the cursor does a mad jig across the page, or, when I’ve opened a large document (such as my manuscript), it scrolls endlessly down through the pages. Maybe it’s possessed. This is the only logical explanation, obviously. Although, I am pleased to say that accidental photos are a thing of the past, and it has been a long while since MS Word has had a funky jig. Mellowed with age, that’s what it is.

***

So, enough of Windows. In this post I thought I would write about writer inspiration (for myself, at any rate).

I am fortunate to live on the edge of Exmoor National Park, a beautiful landscape in the southwest of England. As a nature-lover, I can’t ask for much more. There are many beautiful walks and sights to see on Exmoor, all of which are no farther than a thirty minute drive away from me. The other day I visited a place called Tarr Steps. A slightly deceptive name on the face of it, for there are no steps at Tarr Steps – unless, that is, you associate the ‘steps’ with the physical stepping one does there. Tarr Steps is actually a Grade I listed (a very old protected structure of historical and architectural interest, for those not from England) clapper bridge, which is an ancient form of bridge usually built from stone found in UK moors and uplands across fords and rivers.

IMAG0228_1

There is some mystery surrounding Tarr Steps, since no one is quite sure how old the bridge actually is: it is believed to be a medieval construction, but that can range from anywhere between 500 – 1485 AD. The word clapper derives from the Old English wordcleaca’, which means “stepping-stones”, while the word tarr derives from the Celtic word ‘tochar’, which means “causeway”.

Causeway

noun

A raised road or track across low or wet ground

IMAG0232

The name “Tarr Steps” doesn’t seem so strange for this bridge now, does it? The causeway stepping-stones. But it is no wonder there is so much head-scratching about the age of Tarr Steps, since clapper bridges are constructions first recorded in the Middle Ages, yet its name, tarr, is of Celtic origin. It does annoy me when everyone associates the Celts to purely be the ancient folk of Ireland and Scotland, because, actually, the whole of Britain was once Celtic – the Celts were who dwelt on these lands in BC. There were three main groups of Celts across the northwest of Europe: the Gauls (France, Belgium, western Germany and northern Italy); the Gaels (Ireland and Scotland – Scotland was once called the Picts, I believe, but they merged with the Gaels); and the Britons (ENGLAND and Wales). So. There we go. It is only because invasions pushed the Celts up the country to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and also down to Cornwall. Due to the hundreds of invasions Britain suffered over the centuries – from the Vikings, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Jutes – this country is a total, total mishmash of ancient cultures and languages, and the invaders ended up merging with the native Celts and their culture, though the Celts were mostly to be found in the corners of the country, which is why the country of England ended up differing and evolving more and more from the Celts they once were. It is, therefore, only fair to say that England has Celtic blood. Always has, always will.

Moving on from that history lesson (sorry about that, I’m a bit of a history geek), I often believe that we folk of Britain have a slight advantage over most other countries of the world when it comes to writing inspiration – certainly fantasy writing, at any rate. Why do I say this? Well, of course, there are fantastic fantasy writers from all across the globe – and certainly from America/Canada, which are very young countries compared to the UK and Europe – but dare I say their fantastical inspiration comes from the parts of history their countries never got the chance to live, to experience? The knights, the castles, the cavalry and the kings; the rituals, the legends, the magic and the myth. Whether we appreciate it or not, we Britons are immersed and surrounded by such rich, deep history, and indeed, it is so second nature for us to see an ancient building, to hear an ancient story, that many of us do not stop to think about it. We absorb this history. It is a part of our blood.

J.R.R. Tolkien changed the face of fantasy forever. Lord of the Rings. He was British.

J.K. Rowling captured the hearts of the world. Harry Potter. She is British.

C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia. British.

Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland. British.

J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan. British.

Beatrix Potter. The Tales of Peter Rabbit. British.

Terry Pratchett. Discworld. British.

Roald Dahl. (Too many to list). British.

T.H. White. The Sword in the Stone. British.

Needless to say, the United Kingdom has a pretty hefty list of influential fantasy writers. As children, our historical school trips consist of adventures to castles and ruins, and we are never more than a stone’s throw away from some historical sight or structure. I grew up by castle ruins. I used to go there and hang out with my friends, sat amongst the cathedral ruins in the outer bailey, or walked the dog up there frequently. When I was a kid, I vividly remember going to a castle on a school trip (Warwick, I believe – an AMAZING castle. Go there. Instantly) and we had to dress according to the times at court, so we girls were royal ladies with hennin (those weird hats) or with medieval hairstyles, and the boys were jesters or knights or other royal court people.

Stuff like this

How I wish I had a photo of my old class, but alas. You can imagine how thrilled we were as children to dress up as medieval dames and knights, parading around the castle and its ground to see jousting knight re-enactments and dances and music. What a marvellous country this is.

Needless to say, every time I visit/see an ancient place in this country, my mind swells with imagination, and ideas and thoughts zoom about. It is a joy. There is such wonder in inspiration from history. Of course, some places come to life for you, as demonstrated in the video, and so your mind does not have such an opportunity to thrive; however, even with that you can daydream about a maiden’s story, or a knight’s adventure. Let your imagination flourish!

Tarr Steps was busy with people on the day I visited – families making the most of the elusive sun – but the bridge itself is nothing but that: a bridge. What imagination can come from an ancient stone bridge? So much!

IMAG0223

Ancient places are so special. What stories do these ancient stones have to tell? What sights have they seen throughout the ages, and who have they greeted? I was but one more footprint to add to its immense history, already gone and forgotten. In centuries to come, will another stand upon these stones and wonder who walked there before them? Maybe they will stand in the exact same place I did.

***

Wander through an ancient place and listen to the tales the stone tells you. Your mind will hear! Let the grass or trees or river whisper to your imagination, and you may find the greatest story yet to be told.

May your mind be free and your heart peaceful.

-JKM

The 777 Writing Challenge – Peek-a-boo, Book 2!

My blogging buddy, Michael Fedison, has been around since the very beginning of my blog, offering support and kindness and encouragement, all of which I am incredibly thankful for. Mike is the author of The Eye-Dancers, which is a fabulous sci-fi/fantasy story about friendship and all sorts – I highly recommend 🙂

Anyway, he tagged me in the 777 Writing Challenge a little while back. And here state the 777 Writing Challenge rules:

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

How wonderfully simple, no?

Needless to say, my current work-in-progress is Book 2 of the Ilimoskus story. Regular followers will know that I forever refer to it as ‘Book 2’, though this is not because it is untitled – in fact, I named all three books way back when, such was the extent of my planning – but rather I refer to it as such because I wish for its title to remain secret. “Keep it secret, keep it safe.” So much is revealed as the story unravels and I wish no part in accidentally letting something slip, and so, as an extreme caution, my lips have been bolted shut. The nearer completion it becomes, the more I shall tell. But, for now, I must keep everyone in cruel suspense 😉

A while back I was thinking about sketching another character within the story, with the intention to… perhaps… share it with the world. This character is new in Book 2; this character is insanely important. I believe I have once disclosed that there are many new characters in Book 2, and let me tell you that ‘many’ is no exaggeration. You see, Book 2 is a joy for me in a vast variety of ways, though one of the greatest joys is the, I’m sure, long-awaited inclusion of the other ilyorz (or elements, to those of you unfamiliar with the story). Times of Old is wholly set within the Flamikus (fire folk) world, yet Book 2 welcomes the arrival of the Aeriikus (air folk), Agwikus (water folk), and Humiit-kus (earth folk) with open arms. Due to the other ilyorz being in this book, there are many new characters to meet within these other elemental worlds, and in turn many new dynamics and interactions. I so rarely get excited, but the thought of eventually sharing Book 2 with the world makes me buzz! I cannot wait to see what people think of the other ilyorz, or how they react to some of the new characters! And I know there is a good handful of people out there waiting for Book 2, and they have been for far, far too long. Life has been a bit cruel to me these past two years, and so writing Book 2 has been the last thing on my mind… Though I must deeply thank all those patiently waiting, for their interest and love for the story has not waned despite the length of time. It is truly touching. Thank you. And the Ilimoskus thank you, too 🙂 They want their story told as much as I do!

*

So! When tagged for this challenge, I was curious to know where Page 7 landed within the story of Book 2, and, due to my bolted lips, I wondered whether this landing would tell of something I was not willing to share. This would have made things quite the pickle, I’m sure you’d agree. In reaching my Page 7, I discarded the boring title pages of the manuscript, so, technically, this isn’t actually from the true Page 7, but it is Page 7 if counting from the very beginning of the told story. If that makes any sense. I have said “Page 7” too much.

To my relief, Line 7 on the not-true-but-still-is-Page 7 could not have been better. Anyone would think this had been strategically planned, it is so perfect. For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS**, the story is split by being told between two perspectives: fantasy (the Ilimoskus world) and reality (the human world). There are, therefore, principal Ilimoskus characters and principal human characters. The last few chapters of Times of Old are set wholly with the Ilimoskus, and so there may be a few readers out there wondering whatever became of poor Elizabeth, for last we knew she was in a dreadful state. Well, my friends, these wonderings may cease at the beginning of Book 2, for the book begins with the human world. This Page 7 lands within the first chapter of Book 2 – a human chapter.

And now, here is the excerpt:

Anastasia was about to fire back, but then she noticed the horror on her sister’s face as she looked into the sky behind her. Confused, she turned to look too, but there was nothing to see. Walking the remainder of the way to reach Elizabeth, she critically said, “What are you gawping at?” once arriving in front of her.

Elizabeth’s eyes followed its trail of flight. It was another great yellow bird, exactly like the one she had seen that fateful afternoon. Although her heart once again spun into overdrive, the bird was merely gliding around in silence, yet the lack of its piercing noise made it far less daunting. “C-can… Can you not see it?” she asked faintly, pointing up at it. “How can you not see it?”

Dun-dun-duuunnnnnnn. Well, not really. If you have read the first book, you will understand the impact of that there excerpt. Though, if you read Times of Old‘s blurb, it is hardly a secret:

‘Throughout this ever-growing tension, Fii’dezrhu Reotum – a rebellious Flamikus – discovers a momentous secret he then acts upon by venturing to the forbidden human lands; while there, he inadvertently reveals the Ilimoskus’ existence to one young girl.’

All Sherlocks out there would likely have clicked that this ‘young girl’ is indeed Elizabeth 😉 Needless to say, this ‘great yellow bird’ is a creature within the Ilimoskus world (called an espi’motoff, for those of you who wish to know).

I’m not going to lie, I am now slightly stumped on what else to say about this. I shall thus embrace my bolted lips once more. Though, for all of those people out there waiting for Book 2, I will say that I am very nearly halfway through the story. It’s only taken me three years to get to this point, but, you know. Whatever. How it pays to dally with the snails! And with the snails I shall stay. It’s exciting, though. I’m excited. I love Book 2.

*

And so now I move on to tag other writers and their WIPs. I’m supposed to tag seven, though would you believe it would seem I hardly follow any writers who have a WIP… Unless I’m just blind and unobservant, of course – which I wouldn’t put past me. But anyway, I tag:

Valourborn

Like Star Filled Skies

Concerning Writing

They’re all great writers, do check them out 🙂

***

Thank you for reading! I always appreciate it. I hope that little excerpt was a tantalising insight. Please, try to remain seated throughout your hysteria. I know it’s difficult. Hopefully I will have some more news soon. Keep your eyes polished! (Not peeled. Who wants peeled eyes? Such grim imagery.)

Icktis que yer kard fait ya phyde urma, dear world.

“May the light from your heart always guide you”

***

** For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS, it is a deep, environmental fantasy story about a race of elemental beings (fire, earth, air, water) colliding with the world of humans. Please click on this link if you would like to discover more. **

Sketching with Sincerity

Salutations, all!

So.

My inspiration has been absent for months now, and recently life has been a trial, so I apologise about my lack of posts and thereof lack of creative posts. This is yet another not-very-creative post… I’m not really sure where to go.

‘He was endlessly spinning on the spot amidst the heart of thick smoke, and it stung his eyes so he could not see, losing all sense of purpose and direction, so even the smallest step forward was a blind one.’

A little quote from Book 2, there. That pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling for months – on a creative level, you understand. Yet again, progress on Book 2 has been unbearably slow, due to other life influences and my emotional state. Ughhhhhhhhh. This broken record will surely result in my insanity, I’m telling you.

Anyway…

Recently I’ve taken it upon myself to re-write some Ilimoskus songs from Book 1. Why I’m making more work for myself, I don’t know, but it feels right to do this. I’ve been sat at my piano losing the will to live, though, for making Kurpian rhyme is quite possibly one of the worst things on this earth. It is so difficult with all it’s stupid syntax and grammar rules. What idiot created such a moronic language? … 😉

With this new-found focus I have for my story this year, it is only natural I should link things back to it. Today is Prince Stevick’s birthday – all snow! – and as a little ‘gift’, if you will, I said I would draw him something for it. Ilimoskus-related, of course.

As occupies the vast majority of our conversations, a little while back we were talking about Countdown (what else, really?). Those of you not from the UK – and thus unfortunate enough not to know what Countdown is – it is a game show. Visit Stevick’s blog to see for yourselves. Now, Stevick is deeply in love with Susie Dent who is the lady behind Dictionary Corner on the programme, and he declared that she is more beautiful than the moon, which I found to be quite something, given how much Stevick loves the moon. And so, naturally, I thought about the Ilimoskus.

The Agwikus (water folk) are linked to the beautiful moon, and thus you will commonly see them out embracing the night-time, for this time resonates in their souls. And, the moon is linked to the sea and tides, and because the Agwikus dwell in the sea it is only natural they should have such a deep connection to the silver circle of the night’ – as the Ilimoskus refer to it in their tongue.

All this then made me think of something else Stevick and I once talked about. Yeeeeeaars ago, I once made a little personality quiz entitled ‘Which Ilyor Would You Be in?’ or, in English, ‘Which Element Dwells in Your Heart?’ I told him about this, and as a laugh I did this quiz with him last year. And which element was he? Water. The Agwikus.

Which takes me back to Susie Dent and Stevick’s declaration that she is more beautiful than the moon. “Darling Susie”, he said – a play on my ‘Darling Moon’ song and poem.

And so, behold the little sketch I did:

susie-niia

As you can see, here is Stevick the Agwikus hailing the Darling Susie Moon by the coast.

And he is proclaiming:

deckur

“Thial, Susie-niia! Thial, Oceaniia! Helchir’abeiim od amoat! Smiigok wri yer lu!”

“All hail Darling Susie! All hail the Darling Moon – the most beautiful of all! I so live for your words!”

Which Stevick does, you know. He lives for Susie Dent’s Origins of Words.

(I love the Kurpian word oceaniia. It reminds me of ‘oceanic’, and I love the sea. But, this Kurpian word actually means ‘the beloved moon’, or rather ‘darling moon’. And the sea and moon are linked anyway! It isn’t pronounced “ocean-ee-ah“, though, it’s, “oh-see-ah-nee-ah”. Which I think is quite fun to say, personally.)

junu

Jun umeraard-ite, Stevick!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

From Jenona,

x

***

On the subject of gifts, I would like to take this moment to thank my wonderful friend Alex for the gift she sent me at the beginning of the year. I truly love it.

alexnecklace

She sent me this necklace (ignore the little cross, that’s not part of it). That she made! Amazing. Touched beyond words that she did this for me. She said the green marble reminded her of nature, and that in turn reminded her of me, and the little acorn top came from an oak tree in her neighbourhood. Not only do I now wear a thoughtful gesture of kindness and friendship around my neck and close to my heart, but also a little part of Canada. ^^

Thank you so much, Alex!!

It blesses me, and may you be blessed in return.

***

Finally, I end with this:

I tried to draw Fii’dezrhu the other day and it nearly reduced me to tears because I cannot draw and I most certainly cannot draw those DARN Ilimoskus. Honestly. Why are they so against letting me draw them?! (or why am I so bad at drawing them…) But, here is the no-where-near-finished sketch I did of Rhu…

rhusketch

Ugh. Can you see those circles on his shoulder? That is the outline of little Flee. Now, I say ugh, but I don’t think this sketch was too bad. But then I made the mistake of using colour over it (because if I am drawing these Ilimoskus then I want their features to be fully appreciated!), and by doing this I completely ruined it. Sigh. So now I have to re-draw Fii’dezrhu. Every single time I use colour on a close-up sketch, I ruin it. I don’t know how I manage it. It’s quite a skill, if you ask me. Maybe I should keep the close-ups merely as pencil, and the distance sketches can be colour…

But, here’s something: a beautiful friend of mine contacted me the other day asking questions about the Ilimoskus. I rang him, wishing to get to the bottom of this sudden questioning, and it turns out he wants to create/draw the Ilimoskus on this photoshop program or something. He wants to bring them to life for me. I love that man, the beautiful soul he is. So, maybe someday I will be able to share his drawings with you. I’m sure they’ll be magnificent.

He’ll do them far more justice than I will trying to draw them, anyway o_O’

Visions Deep

For the past month or so, I’ve had a strange phenomenon occur within my life.

I am someone who very frequently has visions deep – by which I just mean very deep dreams (I use the term ‘visions deep’ in my poetry all the time, so if you ever see me use it, I’m talking about dreams 😉 ) – and I remember many of them well, often to my misfortune, for my visions deep are usually incredibly dark things… I normally have ‘nightmares’ so frequently that I don’t even regard them as nightmares anymore – they’re merely “bad dreams.” For example, one of my more recent bad dreams was about this man who murdered his girlfriend, and I saw him tie her to a chair and scrape the skin off her arm with a meat cleaver before hacking her arm off at the elbow. The screams still haunt me.

I would probably severely disturb most people if I told them about some of the other bad dreams I’ve had, and indeed, I shudder upon recalling them myself. That one I just mentioned is by far not the worst one I’ve ever had. Sometimes, the worst ones are not the ones with the most harrowing screams, but rather the ones that leave me feeling as though, in the waking world, there are still haunting eyes upon me. Somewhere.

Which is why, whenever I have a nice dream, it is such a special thing because they are so rare for me, and I end up remembering them in far greater detail than my vivid bad dreams. They are indeed like stumbling across a diamond after so many bitter-black coals, and I store each diamond beneath my pillow so I may remember that, every now and then, a precious jewel will reveal itself to me.

So, this strange phenomenon is that I have been having nice dreams. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I can’t specifically remember the last time I had a nasty one… But I just want you to understand how rare nice dreams are for me: the last time I had a nice dream was in 2012. 2012. Jeez. Someone gave me a white lily flower. That’s it. But it was just so… It made such an unbelievable impact on me.

Last night, my vision deep was so gorgeous, yet still I am convinced that no other dream will ever make a greater impact on me than my lily dream. Even so, last night’s dream was so beautiful that I simply had to write it down and share it. Which is what I am doing in this post.

***

I was stood upon a hill, gazing out across the endless moorland while the cool wind refreshed my soul. It was dusk, and I looked up into the sky to see its gorgeous colours of deep blues and pinks. And then I looked to the setting sun, a glorious red, falling beyond the horizon. But then I noticed that beside the sunset was the moonrise, the tip of a luminous silver crown ascending over the edge of the world. I felt my heart burst with a joy I am yet to know in my waking life, for I knew what was about to transpire: a rare glimpse of a dreamland transition between the day and the night. The red sun continued to set while the silver moon continued to rise, and I watched, anticipated, with bated breath, waiting for the moment. So it came when the sun and the moon aligned on horizon’s edge, and the brightest eruption of white light was cast across the sky and the hills, and then I looked back to the sky, and I gazed, wonderbound, as the dusky sky gradually unrolled, so delicately, to reveal the black silk of the night sky laced with a thousand gleaming crystal stars. And there I stood, basking in the moonlight which painted the moors in metallic precision, and the starlight stunned me, for so many stars there were in the sky it was as though I was falling through the centre of a galaxy.

***

You see, I am so in love with nature that it even comes to me in my visions deep. ^^

I find myself wondering why, at the moment, I seem to be having such inoffensive, and often pleasant, dreams, and I wonder how much longer they will last. But then, maybe I shouldn’t wonder; maybe I should just accept the nightly happenings and make the most of this stash of diamonds I have been handed on a golden tray. If there are enough diamonds on this tray to last for months on end, then great! If not, that’s okay too, for as I said: I store all my diamonds beneath my pillow, and I remember them with such fondness that no number of bitter-black coals could ever crush their memory.

Secrets from the Wondersong, and Dreamings of a Tree

Secrets from the Wondersong, and Dreamings of a Tree

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2014

sepiatreeeees

A little bird perched on a low branch hanging from a tree within a woodland, but this little bird sang no song and made no tweet; instead, she puffed a sigh, and so her wings drooped by her side.

The tree upon which this bird was perched opened his eyes, awoken by this sound. “My, my!” exclaimed the tree, “was that a sigh I heard? That is not the noise the world wishes to hear from a little bird.” He yawned away his drowsiness, shaking his leaves here and there, and gazed kindly at her. “Whatever is the matter, dear little one? If you so wish to tell, I shall listen to your every word till all your woe is gone.”

The bird forced a smile, as strong as she may, touched by the trees tender ways. “I didn’t mean to wake you, Mister Tree – you seemed to be dreaming merrily. I wonder, if you would, could you share your dream with me?” She bobbed her tail feathers, giddy at the mere thought.

“Hmm,” the tree pondered. “And wonder why a little bird may wish to know my dream.”

“Trees are ever so wise,” replied she. “Surely, through your dreams, you have a thing or two to teach me.”

The tree smiled. “Why, dear little one, that depends: what is it you yearn to learn?”

The bird sat in thought for a moment before sighing once more.

“Again with the sigh!” said the tree, concerned for the bird. “Dear little one, I am half expecting you to cry. No such tears do I want to see!”

“My heart is heavy, Mister Tree,” she told him, “and it bears me down in flight. How am I to soar free when such misery dampens my wings? Can you teach me how to fly again?”*

The tree absorbed the bird’s words, mulling them over with great consideration. Finally, he chuckled, yet the bird was perplexed by this: how was this an amusing situation? “Dear little one, you fret so needlessly – I cannot teach you how to fly, for you already know! But do not let a heavy heart hinder where your spirit goes. Although it may be hard to carry woe upon your wings, you can still fly high and reach for brighter things.”

The bird hung her head, weighed down by it all. “But I am small, and I am weak: I cannot carry this heavy load, for I’m too weary in defeat!”

The tree gazed upon her with eyes of earnest care, and so tender was the look that it helped to ward away most of the bird’s despair. “My little feathered friend, let me tell you of my dream: I dreamed a dream of future woe that fluttered down lamenting so, and how funny it should be that this woe was, in fact, a little bird! She came to me telling of the heavy heart she bore inside, and ever so concerned was she that she’d forgotten how to fly. And so I told this little one a secret known by all the trees, passed down by the sun from ancient days of wondersong**: ‘Heavy hearts are full of love! Did you not know? That is why they weigh so much, but aren’t they such a burden-load! Love for all that they see near, and love for those away from here; love for themselves, though warped through doubt, and love they did not even know about! ‘Tis a blessing high to feel such deep emotion, yet I know it can often feel like a curse in full devotion. How do I know? I see your eyes ask! Do you not wonder why the trees never move? The heaviest hearts of all are found in the woods, for trees’ hearts are laden leaden with the love from the core of the world, and our roots burrow down to it so we may hug it close! But little birds do not have roots, and thus, are not confined; may you never forget that you are free throughout the journey of your life!’ And so this little bird then pondered all I said and wondered whether all her doubt came solely from her head, for if the trees so mighty wise can smile with such heavy hearts, there was no reason why she couldn’t, too, as her heart wasn’t destined for gloom – it merely needed a lighter mind to help it shine on true. And so the bird chirped a song and thanked me for my time, and flew away so merrily and perfectly benign.” Wearing a grin with an attentive eye, he leant closer to her and whispered, “I wonder, dear little one, whether you may learn from the wondersong!”

The bird ruffled her feathers, a-flustered by all the tree had said, but deeply considered everything she thought that he had meant. “Is it true?” she finally asked. “The trees never move because their roots are bound to all the love of the world?” She paused for a moment, and the tree remained silent, so as to let her mind explore her thoughts. Suddenly, she splayed out her wings, bursting with verve. “Why, it must be true!” she affirmed to herself, “for how else could the trees care and give so much for all who live? How you give your lives and freedom for all others! Why, it makes me smile just at the thought!”

The tree chuckled. “And so you should smile, my little friend, for you are blessed with so many joys! Such a beautiful little creature you are! Why sigh when you can sing? Why look down when you can fly high into the sky? For you will feel such joy again if, to the world, some joy you bring! How the world so loves to hear the sound of the birdly serenade, and how the world so loves to see the sight of their flightful escapades!”

“You are right, Mister Tree, of course you are!” said the bird, with a glistening in her eyes that told of new-found hope. “If troubles I so have, why not sing them away? If fears drag me down, why not fly above them?” She gave a tweet so blissful. “Thank you, Mister tree, thank you! You have helped me see the sun again.”

“Dear little one,” the tree started in a tone so kindly, “that is what I am here for. Just remember: the sun is always there, beaming down his merry ways to lend you a smile on your darkest days. Now go: be free, my feathered friend, and make the most of your day!”

With a fond chirp farewell, the bird fluttered from the tree’s branch and up above him, and the tree waved his branches in the wind on her departure.

The tree watched her fly away until she had left his view, and then, with a small smile planted on his face, he released a long, contented exhale and snuggled himself back into his slumber, falling into dreamings while in wait for the time he was to wake again.

GNOWLLIS

(that’s Kurpian for THE END, just so you know)


A little while back, I finally ventured out the house on a dear old walk through the woodland for over an hour and a half. It was hardly a gentle slope back into walking, though (quite literally), for my local woodland walks are actually through the most ridiculously steep hills you can imagine, whereby your leg muscles gradually go on strike and your lungs are like, “GIVE ME A MINUTE, GOOD HEAVENS.”  It was wonderful, though, of course it was, and after all the toil I was treated to the most glorious view up at ‘The Beacon’, I believe it’s called, where the light broke through the grey clouds onto the distant shoreline below (to see this, refer to my Instagram which you can find by clicking over at the side of this blog somewhere –>>)

The photo used at the beginning of this post is one I took while walking down one of the flatter trails. It is slightly blurred, yes, because my phone’s camera is the most temperamental pile of [insert profanity] ever. We fall out on a regular basis.

This is only the second short story I’ve ever done for my blog, would you believe? I’ve been hating on Ilimoskus’ Book 2 for a couple of weeks now and cannot work on it (story of my life), so I wasted my time writing this instead. Find the message within, dear people, for what is writing without a message, hmm? I think there’s a little bird within us all. Don’t you?

I have used ‘dear’ far too much in this post, I feel. WORD OF THE WEEK.

(It took me about five thousand years to name this piece of writing. I hate titles sometimes. And what I finally came up with was a long load of nonsense. Wondersong? Dreamings? <- Why is dreamings not a word? This is a serious question. It sounds far more enchanting than ‘dreams’. And wondersong, by the way, is an age – a period of time – in my mind [imagination] that flows through many pieces of my writing and musics etc – almost like the beginning of the world, when all aspects of nature obtained the secrets, knowledge and teachings that make them so special.)

*…Can you teach me how to fly again?” – I was so listening to this when I was writing this short piece. (Side note: I approve of the man being out in the woodland in this video. Not that my approval means anything. Still. I approve.)

**wondersong, dreamings, burden-load, birdly, flightful – In case you hadn’t noticed, with Ilimoskus, my poetry and other writing larks, I like making up/playing with words. Because why not.

Until we meet again,

I fare thee well.

And if you wake a tree,

may you listen carefully…

– Jenny

Sing Your Spellsong Lullaby (O Noble Winter One)

*clears throat, taps on microphone, rolls out red carpet*

Dear everyone (or should that be, ‘Er, listen yeah? Totes got summin’ to say’, in accordance to his preferred speech?),

I would like to introduce to you a very special friend of mine – and nobility at that, no less. He is, in actual fact, my long lost brother. Can you not tell by the hair?

BEHOLD! HRH Prince Stevick of Hairyfootville of the Kingdom of Norway, also known as Shelob. And Gollum. And Nick Hewer. 

PrinceStevick

Bet you regret sending this to me now, eh, Steven 😉

I am slightly concerned that Prince Stevick might retaliate to this here sharing of his face. And ‘hair’. But we’ve already discussed that he shouldn’t pick a fight with me, for I am the creator of my own language, and I could say all manner of things to him and he would not be able to Google translate it. Mwahahahahaaaa.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to tease Stevick all day, I’ll get to the point, before Sherri P whacks me with her magical brolly and tells me off for bullying. 

Approximately nine thousand years ago, Stevick dedicated this post to me, and, light-hearted it may have been, it meant an awful lot, and made me beam and laugh in the midst of the grim week I was having at the time. I said, as my token of gratitude, that I would write a poem for/dedicated to him. So, I did. However, in my typical blue whale fashion, it has taken me an age and a half to get around to sharing it. Stevick, bless his heart, has been left in terrible suspense for months on end now. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

This poem is for WAS – or, to those unaware (which is everyone in the world apart from Stevick and I), the Winter Appreciation Society. And what better time to share a poem for WAS than in the midst of summer, and more specifically, in the midst of an absolutely INFERNO week we are having here in Britain? The answer is none other, obviously. (And when I say ‘inferno’, just bare in mind that we’re British, so what I’m really saying is we’re currently experiencing a cold summer if comparing to any other country’s standard.)

But, on a serious note, this poem is truly heartfelt. I am only good at heartfelt things, I’m afraid – especially when it comes to words. 

So, without further ado…

***

Dear Steven, this one’s for you.

Sing Your Spellsong Lullaby (O Noble Winter One)

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2014

They always say, “That castle on the hill is cold,”
but I know that’s not true;
I just know there are great thick walls
that are hard to break through.
They always say, “The cold brings nothing but despair,”
but I know that’s not true;
I just know the beauty is shy
and hides out of their view.

If I said, “That castle is home to a magic prince,”
would they laugh at me?
Would they say, “No such man could dwell up there!
Why are you too blind to see?”

But, in actual fact, I am the only one who sees
the beauty of his magic,
and the beauty that he breathes.
For deep inside those castle walls
there burns a fire in the halls:
so warm, so bright,
and soon his spell will ignite!
But who needs sceptics anyway?
Let them waste their lives away
if they do not wish to see
the magic falling with the leaves.
For there comes a time when nature dies
and any warmth seems hard to find,
but that is when the magic Prince
ignites his spell hoping to convince
every eye to behold he:
The Winter One
of beauty keen.

They always say, “That castle on the hill is cold,”
and maybe that is true,
but that’s because the ice-frost shields
form the walls of white and blue.
They always say, “The cold brings nothing but despair,”
but that is never true,
for glory is found in every flake
of snow that whispers silent tunes.

Now I say, “Sing a song to the world,
O Noble Winter One –
a lullaby, beneath your spell,
and cast the blizzard’s endless run!”

Enchanting winter spellbind us
with glitter-chill and bitter gusts
as you breathe down icy streams
to make the frozen water gleam.
Fly afar yonder the hills
until the nightly snowdust spills
out from the sky above
to make the whole world fall in love
with the mystery you always bring
every winter when you sing.
O, how you spellbind me
with every single breath you breathe.

I wonder if they will ever see
the beauty of his magic
and the beauty that he breathes.
Will they ever fall in love
with the falling leaves?

They always say, “That castle on the hill is cold,”
but I know that’s not true:
the Winter One’s fire burns brightly inside,
and it will always warm you.
They always say, “The cold brings nothing but despair,”
but I know that’s not true:
the Winter One will fill your heart with joy
with his season, white and blue,
for he will always sing for you.

If only they could hear him, too.

 ***

Keep that fire burning inside, Steven, and it will brighten the darkest nights

and warm the coldest winters,

for, though we may love winter and the dark,

we still need to stay warm, lest we turn to ice,

and we still need to see.

From your long lost sister and fellow Shelob catacomb companion who will always keep an ear open for you, should you need it,

Princess Jenona

x