becsatherton (joined over 10 years ago)
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I have always loved art and drawing has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember. Having creative parents provided me with the right genes and also meant that my naive dabblings were given plenty of encouragement. Growing up, our kitchen walls were lined with huge pinboards which displayed my work. I guess you could say that this was my first exhibition, my audience consisting of family and friends. To date – apart from school and university, where there was always a termly show – it remains the only one. Life interfered with other priorities and stole away my earlier confidence.
Since graduating, I have been a web designer, a graphic designer, a magazine editor, an art director, a copy writer, a literary consultant, a poet, an aspiring novelist, and many other less inspiring things. I have also founded a literary arts magazine called Inside Out, which published two issues before the recession hit.
For the last year, I have been hard at work writing and drawing and would now call myself a writer, poet, artist and illustrator. I use these mediums as ways to better understand myself and find them helpful in exploring and resolving personal problems. This was the focus of Inside Out, which promoted creativity for personal development and emotional well-being. One day I hope to qualify as a creative therapist, offering workshops and retreats and teaching this valuable skill to other individuals.

Stories


Their trip to the zoo had been postponed due to the rain. She was gutted as it was something she had looked forward to since their arrival roughly five months ago. And it had promised to be such a fine day upon waking: sun without clouds; an average or around 17 degrees, exceptional for winter. Like with so much about the country (and there was rather a lot): it was one long line of broken promises. However, she had learnt early on not to give much credence to the weather forecasts and to trust her own judgement and the colour...

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She was a regular victim, the kind of person who flinched when she heard a loud noise, ducked when she passed beneath an airborne bird, stepped sideways in order to avoid each time she happened to pass by a pedestrian, puddle or crack. She looked for and expected (and here I'm talking about the worst) in everything. Forget good and better, forget fortuitous, forget fate being in your favour and good fortune... As far as she was concerned, it was always cloudy outside and it rained constantly. In her model of the world life was hard, living was tough, and...

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And then there is the approach of Autumn and September impatiently tapping at the window, intimidating August, chasing it away. I reach out my hands in an attempt to catch hold of it, but it is already overshadowed by distance, one step removed. Only yesterday it was April and there was the whole of Summer; it was a time of promise and hope. I naively believed that I deserved it, that I would be delivered unblemished months. It was such a bad winter, so very long and cold.

But here I am on the edge of the season, dragging so...

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A Sad State of Affairs
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and she has kept the same position since breakfast, writing in her journal, nursing each fresh drink, drawing it out so that her budget (small) will see her through until she is forced to give up her seat. She is in no hurry to leave, having nowhere else to go, no pressing appointment – except with home, and the house is depressingly quiet and yet still too full, inhabited by a long line of hours waiting impatiently to be filled, the space between now and then too vast...

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She had made her bed and she now had to lie in it: that was what her mother had told her and what she now believed. So she was lying in it, like a good little girl – meek and mild, silent and compliant: behaviour that had got her to where she was now – unhappy, stuck, unravelling. Because old habits die hard, you see, and it is difficult to change. How does one forget three decades of learned behaviour? How does one peel off and discard the labels people attach? They don’t, that’s how, because they can’t – not...

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The spotlight travelled the circumference of the room in search of a victim, looking to curb its own discomfort by persuading the unwanted attention on to another. Beneath its bright glare the chosen individual trebled and froze, as if caught in headlights. Then, becoming aware of the line of eyes, the press of bodies – waiting, watching, for her to spring into action, to move, to come alive – she lifted her arms, stretching them out, inhaling deeply.

Her performance opened with a slow dance, the words of a song low and soft on her breath, barely above a whisper....

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She’d never thought of herself as pretty. She was far too awkward for that, too uncomfortable in her own skin, too shy and retiring. Her features, if they drew comment (which in itself was rare) were declared unusual and unsettling. It was generally agreed that her eyes were too hooded and their shade too light. Half blind, they had a tendency to fix overly long upon you, after which they slowly fought to read and absorb your every detail, drinking you in. Defying social conventions, ignoring the boundaries of an individual’s space, their precious circle, they upset rather than pleased....

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It’s like each of our lives is played out alone, obedient to the rules of a separate game board, the ladders, the squares, following the thread of a unique tale, a tail that curls around until it meets up with its maker, its head, forming a neat ball (transparent, weightless), floating effortlessly on the wind, drifting along alongside billions and trillions of other small balls, all caught up in their own complex narratives.

Yet interestingly, while it is easy enough to peer inside each of these other balls as we pass by them, (noting, as we do so, what its...

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The spotlight found her and then stayed still. Beneath it she trembled. Curled inwards. And then, becoming aware of her audience, the room of eyes watching her, she stretched out her arms, opened her mouth, and started to perform.

At first it was a slow dance, with the words of the song low and soft, gentle as a whisper. And then, as her confidence grew, as she started to enjoy it and believe in her ability, believe that these people actually wanted to watch and hear her, she started to speed up and the song became almost wild, a celebration...

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Until now, she'd never thought of herself as pretty. And, if she was honest, she still didn't. It wasn't her mind that had changed. It wasn't even thhe mind of the world in general. Just the rather pleasant opinion of one particular man who she had met while walking into town. He had caught her eye as she passed, caught her hard and fast in fact. She was forced to an abrupt halt, staggered by it's impact. Not unpleasant, mind. Gentle, but admiring. There was power in that. He had looked and smiled and then complimented her on her looks,...

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