397TH DAY OF LOCKDOWN IN THE YEAR 2021, CORONAVIRUS ERA

Not that long ago I asked what you were reading. A better question might have been what novel or story did you once read and have never forgotten?

For me, that would be the tale of The Scarlet Plague by the American author, Jack London – a story that came into my mind earlier on in this pandemic. 

I first read The Scarlet Plague when I was in my early teens.  The story tells how the world had been decimated by a plague, leaving few survivors. The narrator, now an old man,  is one of the few people left. He tries to tell his sons, who have only ever known this life, how things used to be.

“To think of it! I’ve seen this beach alive with men, women and children on a pleasant Sunday …. And right up there on the cliff was a big restaurant where you could get anything you wanted to eat. Four million people lived in San Francisco then. And now in the whole city and country there aren’t forty all told.  And out there on the sea were ships … when I was a boy, there were men alive who remembered the coming of the first aeroplanes, and now I have lived to see the last of them, and that sixty years ago.”

His grandson says .. “Four million. That was a lot of folks.”

“Like sand on the beach, each grain of sand a man, woman or child. .. the world was full of people. The census of 2010 gave 8 billions for the whole world …”

Later one of his grandsons says, “You were telling about germs, the things you can’t see but which make men sick.”

” A man did not notice at first when only a few of these germs got into his body. But each germ broke in half and became two germs, and they kept doing this very rapidly so that in a short time there were many millions of them in the body. Then the man was sick. He had a disease, and the disease was named after the kind of germ that was in him. Now this is the strange thing about germs. There were always new ones coming to live in men’s bodies.

Long ago when there were only a few men in the world, there were few diseases. But as men increased and lived closely together in great cities and civilisations, new diseases arose, new kinds of germs entered their bodies.  Thus were countless millions and billions of human beings killed. And the more thickly men packed together, the more terrible were the new diseases that came to be.

Soldervetzsky, as early as 1929, told the bacteriologists that they had no guarantee against some new disease, a thousand times more deadly than any they knew. It was in the summer of 2013 that the plague came. I was 27. The word came of a strange disease that had broken out in New York. There were 17 millions of people living then in that noblest city of America. Nobody thought anything about the news. It was only a small thing. There had only been a few deaths. Within 24 hours came the report of the first case in Chicago. And on the same day, it was made public that London, the greatest city in the world, next to Chicago, had been secretly fighting the plague for two weeks and censoring the news dispatches …

It looked serious but we in California, like everywhere else, were not alarmed. We were sure that the bacteriologists would find a way to overcome this new germ, just had they had overcome other germs in the past. But the trouble was the astonishing quickness with which this germ destroyed human beings, and the fact that it inevitably killed any human body it entered.

… the bacteriologists had so little chance in fighting the germs. They were killed in their laboratories. They were heroes. As fast as they perished others stepped forth and took their places. It was in London that they first isolated it … then came the struggle in all the laboratories to find something that would kill the plague germs. All drugs failed.”

Just saying.

What novel or story did you once read and have never forgotten?  Let me know in the comment space below.

Jack London

1876-1916

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

CORONAVIRUS. WILL THERE BE A HAPPY ENDING FOR US?

 

 

We all remember the story of Cinderella.  No fairy godmothers for us but aren’t we all wishing for something or someone to come along and take us away from all of this? 

An end to housework and cooking? An escape?  It used to be called a holiday but it looks as if that wish isn’t going to be coming true for quite a while.

In my writers’ group we were asked to dream up the sequel to a well known story.  I chose Cinderella.

You remember that at the end of the tale she had married her handsome prince and was living in a beautiful palace, supposedly happily ever after.

Here’s what I imagine happened next.

Cinderella sighed. Her new life had held such promise. But, after ten years of marriage, her prince had lost his charm. He spent all his time alone in the billiard room and didn’t want her even though she was the fairest in all the land. Letting her ugly sisters move in had been a big mistake. They were forever bickering.

It was probably the lockdown making her feel like this, she decided. Life wasn’t so bad.

Just then Prince Charming entered the room. He was wearing the dress her sisters had been fighting over earlier. And he looked pretty good in it too.

“What ho Cindy! How do you like the new me?”

“Is this some kind of joke Caspar?”

“Try to show a bit more understanding. The world has changed you know. It’s time I came out.”

“Came out of the billiard room do you mean? You spend far too much time in there.”

“I mean I’m fed up being the handsome prince. I want to try life as a princess. From now on you’re no longer to address me as Casper. I’m Cassy. And once I’m a princess you’ll no longer be the fairest in the land. I’m off to show your stepsisters how I look in their dress.”

And with that he flounced out of the room.

Cindy didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

“I wish,” she said out loud, “my life could be different.”

At that moment there was a magic whoosh.

“Fairy godmother! How lovely to see you after all these years. I have missed you.”

“Work’s been pretty quiet since this lockdown,” responded her fairy godmother, “so I thought I’d pay you a visit. How can I help my dear? I can manage a little magic. I’m too old for mice but what about a new home now that people can move house again? There’s a nice bungalow for sale.  Much smaller and easier to manage than a palace but it wouldn’t be big enough for your family.”

“It sounds magical fairy godmother. Thank you!”

“My magic doesn’t run to fancy gowns so just get a few things together. Once we’re there I might be able to do more.”

“Once we’re there?”

“Where better for me to retire than in a little home with my Cinderella? You know dear, you were the pinnacle of my achievements. We’ll settle down just the two of us. You can look after me just as you did your step mum and sisters in the old days.”

“No thank you, but I don’t think that’s going to work.”

“You’re an ungrateful child!  You don’t like your home or your prince. And you don’t like being in lockdown. So here’s what I’m going to do, miss fussy.”

Cindy felt the room spinning around her. Faster and faster.

When it stopped she found she was back in the kitchen of her old home, among the cinders by the fire grate.

“Oh no!” Cinderella sobbed. “What am I going to do now?”

The moral of my tale is be careful what you wish for! 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 

 

 

About Me

WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

Hello! I began this blog by posting my poetry but, more recently, I have been writing about what life is like now.

I’m the mother of three, grandmother of five, writer, author (How to Get into Advertising, Cengage Learning), lecturer, poet, copywriter and the founder of Get Into Advertising Training Workshops.

BC (Before Corona) I was reading my poetry to audiences – now the only audience I have is online.  Since I started blogging, I have received more views than ever before!

I hope that, as well as reading my latest blog posts, you will also want to look at some of my poetry.  I call it My Life in Poems because most of it is autobiographical. If you ask me for a favourite I would say that it is, “Another Birthday”.

I’ve also included some “flash fiction” I’ve recently written.  These are extremely short stories – sometimes only a paragraph or two long.

I would be very happy to receive your comments and even happier to receive your “likes”.

Keep looking. Keep liking.

Thank you!

Andrea

Where have all the poems gone?

You may have wondered why you haven’t seen any poems from me of late.

It’s because I have found out that if I post a poem here it would count as “previously published” and therefore would not be accepted for publication or for poetry competitions. I am still writing but sadly have had to hold back from posting because of this. It does seem unfair particularly as you’re probably my only follower!

I belong to a writers’ group in my area and we are often set topics for “flash fiction” where you have to write to a specific topic and with a specific word count.

So from now on I shall be posting some of my short stories.

I’ll still be posting the occasional poem.  But it’s possible you will like my short stories as much – and maybe even more – than my poetry.

Let me know!  I’m always pleased to receive your comments and feedback.

Watch this space!

 

 

 

 

FLASH FICTION IN 350 WORDS

Writing short stories is a huge departure for me as I normally write poetry. So your feedback really means a lot to me.  If you enjoy this, please let me know.

The writers group I belong to (Watford Writers in the UK) often runs a flash fiction competition. We have to write to a specific topic and word count. The subject this time was “The Party”. Here’s what I wrote:

Something in Common

The party music was deafening.

“I can’t hear myself speak above this noise,” Jenny said to no one in particular. Then, turning to the woman nearest to her, “I hate works parties don’t you?”

“Makes a break from home” yelled the other into Jenny’s ear.

The music stopped for a second and the two women smiled at one another.  “I’m Jenny”, said one, “from the Hertford office”. “Donna,” volunteered the other, “Camden branch.”

They moved into the adjoining room where it was quieter and found some seats.  “Can’t wait to get these off”, said Donna slipping off her high heels. Jenny nodded in agreement.  “I’ve given up killer heels. It’s trainers for me from now on.  Much easier for school runs with our three.  You got kids Donna?”

“We have a dog. Hubbie doesn’t want children. Trouble is he’s away so much on business that I’m the one that has to walk it every day.

“It’s the same for me” Jenny sighed. “I do all the work – mine’s never around!”

“Men!” they exclaimed in unison.

“Yet we can’t live without them can we?” smiled Donna. “And mine’s not so bad.  He still knows how to give me a good time.”

“You’re lucky”, Jenny responded. “It’s different once you have kids. At the first hint of anything that needs doing, mine’s off.  Disappears for days!  Even at Christmas! Sometimes I feel like a single mum.  Even when we’re away it’s the same. Always self-catering and it’s all down to me. I might as well be at home.”

Donna nodded sympathetically. “Yes, I am lucky Jenny. We’ve had some fantastic holidays. Ever been to the Maldives?”

Jenny shook her head dismally. “The most we’ve ever had is a day trip to Calais.”

Donna was busily scrolling through her photos.

“Look – this was taken outside our holiday bungalow last Christmas.”  Jenny looked at the photo. Took off her glasses, cleaned them and peered at it again.  “I must have had too much to drink – your bloke looks just like my Dennis”.

“Dennis!” shrieked Donna. “My husband’s name is Dennis!”

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


My favourite blogs

 

Liebster Award

I am grateful to Rachel at rachelsvendsen.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Liebster Award!

Thank you Rachel!

The Liebster Award seeks to bring recognition to less well known blogs.

Rachel has challenged me to answer the following questions:

1) Why did you decide to start a blog?

It’s an easy and fun way for my poetry to have an audience.

2) What is your favourite memory?

The birth of each of my three children.

3) Who inspires you?

My family – past and present. 

4) What is your current goal in life?

To have a book of my poetry published.

5) How would you describe yourself?

Ah – this one is tricky! I think the answer can be found in my poems. 

6) What do you do for fun?

Chase my grandsons!

7) What is your dream vacation?

Anywhere where there is stunning scenery and the sea is like a warm bath. Floating in the Dead Sea was the most incredible experience. 

8) What is your favourite quote?

“Don’t dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be.”

From Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem.”

Also, this quote from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

9) Do you enjoy running a blog?

Yes – or I wouldn’t be doing it!  

10) What do you plan to do now?

Spend more time writing.

I have picked the following nominees for the Liebster Award.

loutreleaven.wordpress.com

Lou is an experienced published writer who freely and generously gives help and advice to would be writers. A must read if you are trying to get published.

brianswatercolours.wordpress.com

Brian is a prolific artist who makes and sells delightful watercolour paintings of his travels. He will also make a painting of your favourite place for you.

colours-textures.blogspot.co.uk

Tessa is a gifted artist and designer.  On her blog she not only shows us what she has created but often displays work in progress – even explaining how it was done. Her designs on silk are just amazingly beautiful.

Storyshucker

I am really only meant to nominate blogs that don’t have hundreds of followers. However, I can’t resist also nominating “storyshucker” for a special mention although he really doesn’t need the publicity. His blog is terrific. Full of entertaining and beautifully written anecdotes. I commend it to you.

I hope that everyone reading this will take the time to check out my nominees for the Liebster Award.

You’ll be glad you did.

 

Liebster Award

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems