Want Something Different To Read For Mother’s Day?

Firstly, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.

spring

I am all for celebrating the joy  and hard work of motherhood. I think it is a wonderful idea to have a special day to say thanks, but I do get a bit fed up with all the over-the-top sugary sentimentality that the event conjures up.

So, as an antidote, let me share my Sestina – Echo– with you all. It may be a little dark, but it does celebrate the relationship between a mother and daughter.

Sestina – Echo

b&W Tulip

Echo

In blackness, Mother reaches for the light

switch, but the bulb has blown. There’s a candle

under her pillow, ready for a time

like this – when the darkness grips. A cut

on her arm has festered and now the skin

appears red and taught; an angry mark.

She tries to rub it away, but the mark

won’t go. Mother cowers, whispers, ‘No light.’

Calls out, ‘Mary, quick.’ Then picks at the skin

around the wound. Mother lifts the candle

rubs it on the dirty scratch. Mary says, ‘Cut

again?’ Then sets the wick on fire. One time

she found Mother naked, another time

crouched in the corner making a mark,

a sign to her daughter. A broken nail cut

her arm, left a blood trail that soaked up light.

Mary saw it flow and seep into the candle

whose flame highlighted Mother’s aged skin

hanging in folds. Mary peers at her own skin.

But the dimness hides the truth; that at some time

gravity will win. Mary takes the candle.

Sees a rough carving of a heart-shaped mark.

Did Mother make this? A bird calls as light

shines through the window. It’s enough to cut

into the gloom they stand in, and to cut

away the chill. It shines upon the skin

they share, so similar in this half-light.

Mary shudders at the thought that in time

her fate will be to scratch out such a mark

and wear her body half melted like candle

wax. A strand of hair has stuck to the candle.

She pulls it off revealing a perfect scar, a cut

embedded. With her thumb she makes a mark

like Mother made, leaving some of her skin

behind. They smile at the symmetry; how time

has crept up behind them and how the light

transformed the candle wax into a fresh skin

to lay across the cut, giving it time

to heal the mark, slowly fading in the light.

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If you enjoyed this poem, you might like to read more unusual and darkly inspiration stories to be found in my anthology – Glimmer and other stories.

On the Eighth Day:

“He wriggled and pushed the bedclothes down. It was the first time I had seen him in the flesh.  His skin was white, and smooth as the skin on warm milk.

Never knew a man could feel so soft. More used to rough hands grabbing, not knowing what they touched.

He knew.

At least, I hoped so. Hard to tell. Been a while since I was in the company of a male.”

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‘The subjects range from humour to horror and supernatural romance to repressed creativity – they all have an underlying oddness about them which is quite refreshing. Recommended for those who enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary.’

‘Glimmer and other stories’ is a miniature treasure chest of jewels. I absolutely loved these short stories. As I was reading, I fell into a trance of adjectival excess… they were mesmerising, masterful, original, eloquent, lyrical, clever…’

On Offer at Amazon:

US:  http://amzn.to/239YbRG

UK: http://amzn.to/1n6Hqpu

 

Pottering about with a Polaroid

Boris polaroid

I was given a Polaroid camera today. Lovely present. I haven’t used one of these things since the late 1990’s. I always found them very difficult to use, in that the viewfinder is tiny and far away from the lens, so trying to compose a picture is tricky, especially when photographing something close up.

storm polaroid

With the photo below, what I saw  through the viewfinder didn’t exactly match up with the final version. Still, it makes a nice B&W photo of a sleepy cat.

kimi polaroid

I had a lot of fun using the Polaroid camera, and will get the hang of it eventually. Pity the film is so expensive though.

I scanned the photos into my computer and fiddled around to create some different effects.

Katya polaroid

Katya polaroid-2

Rasky polaroid

Does anyone else have a Polaroid? If so, do you use it regularly?

Any tips on how to get a decent exposure when using it outside?

Colour versus black and white

I found a couple of broken, half-dead tulips in my garden the other day. Instead of throwing them on the compost heap, I decided to try to revive them and put them into a vase of water. To my delight, after a couple of days they did recover a bit.

flowers in vase

As they started to decay, I realised the flowers became more beautiful as their petals dried up. I took some photos of them with my husband’s stained glass window as a backdrop. I thought that the colours in his glass complimented those of the flowers.

dead tulip  dead tulip 2

I was delighted with the results, then the experimental in me took over and I turned them into black and white.

dead tulip B&Wdead tulip 2 B&W

Now I’m not sure which I like best.

Do you  think the colour photos are better than the black and white pictures?

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/

Signed Paperback Book on Offer

      The official launch of my brand new website is today – Wednesday – 20th August. 

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There is information about my YA Dystopian novel series, The Song of Forgetfulness, my short story collection, Glimmer and other stories, my experimental photography, and so much more!!

echoes cover for email     SilenceHeard_CVR_LRG      Glimmer

 

To celebrate I am giving away a signed copy of one of my books, to be chosen by the winner. Just go to the site, answer the simple question and email it to me. All details are on the site. The competition will be open until Friday 22nd August, so there will be plenty of time to enter.   So keep an eye on it!

rasky eye

 

http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

Clouds and a Suffolk sunset

 

 

Some photographs I took a couple of days ago in my garden. The colours are not enhanced. The sky went from a dark sulphur orange to this spurt of purple in a matter of minutes. Such amazing clouds!!

Truly inspiring.

 

sunset

 

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Alternative Reading For Valentines Day

Want an alternative read from all the sweetheart romances this Valentines Day?

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If so, then Glimmer and other stories might just be for you.

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Glimmer and other stories is a collection of seven compelling and darkly humorous stories that deal with obsession, loss, redemption and hope.

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In these tales of mysterious liaisons, supernatural intrigue, deathly hauntings and disturbing fixations, characters reveal hidden secrets, forbidden urges, untold yearnings and skills in necromancy.

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Available to purchase on:

Amazon.co.uk:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390814124&sr=1-1&keywords=glimmer+and+other+stories

Amazon.com:   http://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-Nicola-McDonagh-ebook/dp/B00H89AN1M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1390814214

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