Life Imitating Art

I have just read an article in the Guardian newspaper entitled – Have we lost half the world’s animals?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29458930

sarcophage-4

This interested me because of the YA dystopian novels I have published. In this futuristic scenario, animals and fish and amphibians are just a memory, or an entry in a history book. Gone due to mankind’s abuse of the planet earth. When I wrote the books, I researched the possibility of mass extinction on a global level and was seriously shocked by some of the data I discovered. When I did my initial research a couple of years ago, I came across statistics saying that over 30% of animal life, including amphibians, reptiles and birds had declined. At the time I thought it was awful but now a new survey carried out by the WWF and highlighted by the Living Planet Report, suggests that the percentage is more like 52% and has been since 1970. You can read the full report here:

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/

I remember during a reading of my book one person suggested that my somewhat depressing idea that only insects and a handful of birds and wild dogs exist in the future, was nonsense. If only I’d had this report to hand. I would have quoted this extract from it, ‘Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems, which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril.’

pony  IMG_4829  IMG_4325

Instead I said that I had done research, and figures suggest that my bleak outlook on the future of animal life on this planet is based on factual reports that I have intentionally exaggerated for the purpose of my narrative. In the light of this report, it would seem that my vision of the future might be right after all.

rasky eye

I urge everyone to take note of this appalling figure and do whatever you can to stop my vision of a world without animals coming true, by supporting the WWF and spreading the word. We must learn to realize that human and animal life must live in harmony if we are all to continue to exist on this beautiful planet.

Nature conservation and sustainable development go hand-in-hand. They are not only about preserving biodiversity and wild places, but just as much about safeguarding the future of humanity – our well-being, economy, food security and social stability – indeed, our very survival.’ (Quote from the Living Planet Report 2014)

hawk   crocus   boris on grass

For further information on WWF please go to this link: http://wwf.panda.org/

If you are interested in reading by books, here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness-ebook/dp/B00CXSZIGS/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408436005&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Heard-Song-Forgetfulness-Book-ebook/dp/B00JMPWRX2/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=16567ZZQKBJ2G2VWY2J8

Nettle Soup and Bugs

I was picking nettles this morning to make some soup – it will be the last time this year as they are going to seed and dying off – when I spotted a rather lovely bug. Well, I had to take a picture of it, and then I saw a few more interesting things to photograph – so I did.

 

purple bug

 

buggle

 

 

spiral flower

 

white flower and bee

 

You can see more of my photographs and stuff on my new website: http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger

 

I am very honoured to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Many thanks to Karen Einsel for nominating me.

You can check out her wonderful post here: http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/

So, here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award – kindly given to me by Karen:

Thank the person who nominated you. In my case it was Karen.

Include a link to their blog, as I have done above.

Nominate 15 bloggers you think deserve the title Versatile Blogger. Mine are at the end of this post.

Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. And that’s it!!

Okay then – 7 things about me:

I do not enjoy talking about myself. I never know what to say and often come across as very silly indeed. I suppose being an actor for so many years was a wonderful way of hiding behind a character, but now that I am an author, I get asked all sorts of questions about ‘who I am’. Maybe I just don’t know.

storm-me cu

 

I experiment with the visual image and the written word. I love to take photographs of insects, especially in close up and macro. I like the patterns and textures of insects they are so varied and colourful. I find beauty in spiders and beetles and things that make most people go Yeuk!

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sacophage-2                                                sacophage

I am very disorganised. I have papers strewn all over my desk and floor in my room. Despite having shelves put up by my husband to store my files and folders, I still throw stuff around. Important things I do try to keep in order.

 

I use food to make poetry. I make soup out of nettles. It is really quite delicious. Nettles are full of good things, such as iron and potassium and other minerals. When asked what it tastes like, I can only say, “Green.”

spaghetti haiku-10

 

I like to stand outside and look at the sky. I especially enjoy watching thunderstorms. Where I live in the countryside, we have terrific storms with lots of thrilling lightening and booming thunder.

sunset-5

I have lots of pyjamas. I get at least two pairs every Christmas. I wear them after I have a bath in the evening and would wear them outside; only I think people would take exception to my dress sense – or lack of it. Especially since I work in schools a lot.

 

I am always rescuing animals. Mice, voles, rats, birds, snakes, insects, and of course cats. I have lots of felines and can’t imagine my life without a cat or six.

kimi

boris-2 copy

 

And here is my list of bloggers:

http://themirrorobscura.wordpress.com/

http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

http://sfoxwriting.com/

http://russelrayphotos2.com/

http://jwpatten.wordpress.com/

http://jenningswright.wordpress.com/

http://donschlising.com/

http://photonatureblog.com/author/photonatureblog/

http://ryan.boren.me/author/ryan/

http://steviet3.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/my-fifth-novel-no-sex-please-im-menopausal-is-publi

http://terraverum.wordpress.com/

http://theopeningsentence.wordpress.com/

http://aewallaceblog.wordpress.com/

http://guyaldous.wordpress.com/about/

http://deidraalexander.com/

Life Imitating Art

I was reading the news today and saw an article about the first food safe 3D printers that can produce chocolate.

I got all excited.

In my book Echoes from the Lost Ones, Adara, the heroine, has her own self replicating chocolate.

Image “Wirt raised his head and despite the muck and spittle that ran down his chin, he gave a whisper of a smile to me. I wiped his face with the sleeve of my tunic, rummaged in my Synthbag and handed him some Sterichoc.

“Ye sure ye want to part with such a treasure?”

“Keep stum about this. It’s Sterichoc.”

“I believed that to be a lie.”

“No, all true. Self-replicating choc. Or it would be, if I had the DNA and the 3D imaging device. But I have enough to keep me indulged for a while, I think”

Wirt sniffed the sweetness and gulped it down in one. “Such meltiness and sweet-sweet flavour. This truly is a wonder of wonders.”

“Time for glorifying later. Up we get,” I said and we walked back to Oakhome, the groans of Aiken fading in the mist.”

 

 

I never thought that I would be one step ahead of science!

Here’s the link to the video: 3D chocolate: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25648101

Alphabetti Spaghetti Haiku

I found a tin of spaghetti letters at the back of the under stairs cupboard, a few days out of date and dusty. I don’t remember buying them. I don’t remember ever eating said tinned convenience food in my life. A mystery to be sure. Anyway, I thought the birds might enjoy them and opened the tin. I poured out all the gooey letters and for some reason thought, why not write a Haiku using some of the pasta shapes?

ImageImage

My husband joined in and separated the letters – a messy business to be sure. Then we made some toast and began to play around with the pasta. My first attempts were a bit vague, and the poem I really wanted to do, I couldn’t because not all the letters were there.

Haiku I wanted to do:

Poetry from food

Nourishing both mind and gut

A sea of ideas

Image Image

But I came up with something in the end.

Image

 

Well, it was raining outside, and…I don’t need to make excuses!

In case you couldn’t quite make out the letters – below the end result:

Snake ‘s’ and moon ‘o’

Ooze and flow upon the toast

Nature’s gibberish

Does anyone else play with their food?

Chocolate and tax Returns

I was doing my tax return. Sifting through receipts to see which ones I can actually use.

I came upon a rogue purchase bill amongst the genuine ones. It was for three bars of very expensive chocolate.

My mind said, ‘I can’t put that through.’ My mouth said, ‘Yes I can. I just have to think creatively.’

I’ve receipts for magazines, publications to do with writing, books, inkjet cartridges, paper, pens, paper and all manner of products that pertain to my self-employment as an Art Practitioner.

 How ambiguous is that?

So, I went to the cupboard in the kitchen and rooted through the sugar, baking powder, flour, vanilla extract and maple syrup, and found the treasured confectionary. Three blocks of  ‘Willie’s Cacao.’Image

 I ate half a bar.

This chocolate is the best chocolate I have ever tasted. Sure it is pricey, and I can only buy it in Britain’s most expensive Supermarket, that takes me forty-five minutes to drive to.

 But I don’t care.

 I ate the other half and began to see things differently.

Image

 So, back to my dilemma. How can I justify putting chocolate through my books?

 A flash of inspiration.

 I can say it helps me with my creativity. When I eat it I become more productive and my writing improves.

 Do you think I’ll get away with it?

 This is what I wrote after my eyesight returned to normal

 Image

Lightning Brood

They come down from the clouds when there is a storm.

We, the children left behind by those less brave,

catch them in our mouths.

 

Once inside, they sputter like fire crackers,

burning our tongues with a taste

of something primal.

 

The adults don’t understand our tight-lipped quiet

and shout for us to hide. To get away from the rogue

bolts of electricity.

 

To run from the bangs and crashes that whoosh around

our heads. But we just stare at them

with big button eyes, all innocence and light.

 

One by one we move our limbs and go into  

an unmeasured dance, wild,

some would say chaotic.

 

But they’d be wrong. Each step we take

is perfectly choreographed to keep in time

with the boom, boom, boom. 

 

Breathless we gulp in static and sulphur. 

Our bellies bulge with a glut of spark and fizz;

and we slap our hands

 

upon our distended stomachs echoing

 the drumbeat thumps.

Until, we can stand no more.

 

Lungs fill with heavy air, our faces turn red.

So we tilt them up and scream.

Their offspring spurt out,

 

carried away on our ear-splitting howls.

The rumbles die away, the flashes weaken 

Exhausted, we lie

 

on our backs and watch them wave to us

as they fly towards the boiling sky.

Returning to their mothers and fathers.

 

We wave back and let the grown-ups shake their heads

and think us mad.