You have to jump to fly

I was recently lucky enough to visit New Zealand for a month. My goodness, there are probably a thousand stories that I could tell about the beautiful islands that make it up, and it is certainly influencing my current writing. In response to today’s daily prompt: Zip

Please find a short piece below 🙂

It started off in the rain, and thunder in the distance. Peering out of the hotel room, doubtful. Was it a good idea to zipline – with metal, in a lightning storm? A quick confirmation came through, the thunder had passed and the lines were safe…even if they were a bit damp. It was the tour guides who apologised for the rain, and we laughed. We’re English, rain we can handle. Downpour experts.

The van bounced along to the centre and we were given the thickest, most rain proof trousers and jacket I’ve ever seen. Weighed down a helmet and harness were added and we bundled back into the van.

A trek beneath drippy trees and damp-wood walkways, listening out for the sound of native birdlife. The birds were perhaps more sensible than we; hiding, watching from their nests beneath the ferns. Laughing, probably.

Not afraid of heights, I said. Totally ‘OK’ with climbing up a ladder to a platform. We huddle between the chest high railings and listen with over-eager ears to the demonstration, and the rules; do not, under any circumstances unclip your safety line! Also don’t try jumping from great height to the ground, it’s terrible for your health.

Because I was totally okay and not at all afraid of heights, you others go first and you wait, lingering at the back with the rain dripping. Cosy in your own cocoon of waterproof clothes. They tell you how high you are, and you instantly want to forget. You step up to the launch pad. Gear checked. Hat secured. Lines clipped. Now all you have to do, is walk down two steps and learn how to fly.

Totally okay with heights. You grin through gritted teeth and cling to the railing. Totally okay. First step, second.

Just here? You want me to just…drop off this platform a mere twenty metres from the ground and just…just zip….right.

Better get it over with. You perch, lift your legs and then you soar. Flying. Whizzing through the trees with the hiss of metal on wet line. Leaves rustle and a pigeon startles from the ferns beneath, hooting as it flees.

You land, heart pounding in your throat on the second platform and join the conga shuffle around the giant Rimu. Tallest tree in the forest? Highest starting point for the zip-line? Awsome…

This is who we traveled with: Canopy Tours– they were lovely people. I found the activity in the Rough Guide and myself and Mr Lovely were so excited to join in the fun. An amazing morning!

 

An Alternate Reality

I love it when an plan comes together. I’ve always been very fortunate to have a loving family and generous friends. Minus a few scary hours, in Montreal, I’ve always had a safe place to sleep. Even if it was in a tent…with bears in the nearby woods.

Recently however, I entered a flash-fiction contest  at Third Word and won. I was delighted, because the project intends to help homelessness. So here it is, a shock to the system. A Jolt of today’s daily prompt.

I asked the lovely Helena, who is running the competition, and what had prompted it’s creation, and this is the response I received:

I, the founder of The Third Word Press, had the idea late one night.  It was the culmination and drawing together of various passions – to run my own project, to support the homeless and a love of literature and writing.  I had designed and submitted my first project for funding whilst in Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of the conflict; it was a peace building project through dialogue based around photography.  I did not get the funding, and left the country a short while later but the idea of running a project remained.  Upon returning to the UK, I started work at a photography CIC, a relatively new organisation running projects with disadvantaged individuals, where I observed the workings, struggles and strategies of setting up and running projects based upon a passion for the arts with charitable bent.  I’m not sure when I started to want to work with homeless people, but it quickly became the group for whom I wanted to provide relief, and designed a project to lead craft making sessions with them, another passion of mine, to make sellable items.  Having set up the organisation, and in the process of applying for funding, I came across a selection of short stories I had written some years ago (I had more recently moved to writing screenplays) and I discovered that I wanted to do something with them, to get them published would have been the ideal, so I wrote to a number of publishers.  Unintentionally, one of the publishers I wrote to was a self-publishing outfit, and they, quite predictably, showed support for my work, but I was not inclined to proceed with them.  Frustrated, I was convinced that I was by no stretch alone in wanting to see my work in some medium that went beyond my Word documents, and I thought of drawing together like-minded individuals to publish works collectively.  Publishing these works in mini books appealed to my love of all things dinky, and such a medium would be novel, suit shorter works, and, in a flash, I saw would also be something that homeless people could market without being overly burdened (physically), something that could engage them, share glimmers of imagination and other worlds.  I went to sleep very happy that night.
So far, we’ve received up to 17 stories a day, from all over the world, it has been incredibly exciting to wake up and discover new literary gems every morning.  We’ve got enough high quality stories to proceed with the first edition, but are following up a number of contacts and applying for funding (which takes 10 weeks to be processed) before we compile the first edition.  We have our fingers tightly crossed for the funding, but with strong support from our authors, we can irrespectively proceed with a smaller edition.  Our winners to date have shown huge support and willingness to help us market the books across their networks once they are available to buy online and this is hugely stimulating.  We should have the first edition available by the end of the summer, and look forward to it!
It’s been difficult to select winners, we’ve been amused, tugged, surprised by the works, we feel that our initiative nurtures the belief that everyone has a story.
It’s my intention to enter the competition again and I would encourage everyone else to join me. It’s only 80 words! Imagine how much fun you can have with an 80 word story!
Thank you to Helena for answering my questions with such enthusiasm.
Sometimes it takes a jolt, to help us see beyond the realms of our own worlds.

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs – Rise Again

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs - Rise Again

My response to life after blogs Daily Prompt. What do I do when I’m not writing? I paint or draw, I take photos and go for long walks. I live in constant amusement from my cats and every day I feel thankful for my amazing family and collection of friends. I’ve been a very fortunate person – but still. Life? Life is getting back up again. It’s realizing that every day is different and that the world changes. Tomorrow is a new day, and unless you can predict the future, (if so, please tell me the lottery numbers!) there is always hope.

The image is a photograph of a piece of acrylic art I created a few years ago. It started as a photo edit of a sunset. I created a pheonix from some clouds. I liked the photo so much that I painted it onto a small canvas.

Fi