Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Stop!

Things That Stop The Flow

After a few weeks of brainlessness, I'm finally participating in the theme challenge at Delightful Aberrations!
This week, one of the prompts was stop.
I worked this into my project, A Strange Pair, which I originally started partly for the challenge and partly for goal #12 (Complete 3 photography projects).

I've been continuing the project, and had planned to post all the images together when I'd finished it, but today I got my hands on the items to take the image above, which is a pairing that comes directly from Daniel Nettle's book, Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature:

"When asked to sort pictures of objects into classes, schizophrenics often depart from those categories most intuitively accessible to the rest of us, such as 'tools' or 'fruit'. One subject put together a bath plug, a padlock, and a circle of red paper 'because all three stop flows or processes'."
- Nettle, D. (2001). Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature.
Oxford University Press, Oxford
Since 'stop' was one of the prompts for this week's challenge, it seemed the obvious choice! It works for the prompt, and works for my project, too!

I still have more ideas for A Strange Pair which I haven't photographed yet. It's a real exercise of the mind to figure out these pairings, without them being too obvious or typical!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

One Year Music Challenge: Top Ten


At the end of last year, I completed my One Year Music Challenge, which I did for a goal from The List:
029. Listen to 2 new musical acts every week for 1 year
I used this goal to push my boundaries and try music from genres I don't normally listen to alongside the rock/pop styles that I usually have on my playlist!
Between suggestions from friends and googling phrases like "musicians from [random country]", I ended up with a huge list of artists to try out--far more than I actually needed, in fact!


Once the challenge was over, I used a handy tool from traveltip to generate a map of all the countries from which I'd listened to music. I thought I'd listened to a lot of music from around the world, but as it turns out, it was only just under 19% of the world's countries!

Admittedly it was harder to find music online for artists from some countries. Then again maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

Anyway, this challenge was fun, and through it I found a lot of musical acts that I really liked!

Here comes my top ten.
Those that put up with my waffle on a regular basis can probably guess who is at number one...


10. Kitaro (Japan)
Super-relaxing New Age instrumental music! I first heard this artist in week 16 of the challenge, and go back to the music every time I want something peaceful to relax and daydream to!
Kitaro Official Website

Saturday, 1 April 2017

March Roundup & 365

Paper (60/365)
Though I titled this 'March Roundup & 365', I have to admit this post is mostly about, 'here are the photos I took for my 365 Project during March' rather than 'here are the things I've done'.

Unclothed (61/365)
Flying Leopard (62/365)
Drooping (63/365)
Fresh-faced (64/365)

I started off the month with the intention of doing a lot--another daytrip to Portsmouth (this time with my sister), a trip out with a friend from college, some local events and several trips out on my own to go to some museums, or just to wander around and take photos. That is alongside writing one piece of flash fiction every day this month!

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Way We Work: Flash Fictions 28-31


It's the end of the month, so here are the final four pieces for my flash fiction goal, written over the last four days!

Flash fictions 28-31:
Pareidolia - A supernatural story about seeing faces in things
Missed Connection - The tale of a man obsessed with timekeeping
Little Rituals - The story of a woman who counts
Finish Line - A tale of a woman who has to see things to their end

With the exception of Pareidolia, these are companion stories to Background Characters and Connections in the previous flash fiction post--about people with their little quirks and the habits they have to make life acceptable to themselves.

Hope you enjoy these ones!

Pareidolia
Date: 28th March 2017
Prompt: Orb

"It's a great image, good use of shadow, but you've got dust marks again," John handed the photo back to his disappointed student.
"I think it's in the film," said Emma, who had printed the same image six times with the same result.
"Let's see your film. Marks like this usually happen when the light catches dust particles in the atmosphere. Did you shoot with a flash?"
Emma shook her head and handed over the film. "I didn't need it"
John hummed as he studied the film through a magnifier at the light box. "It's definitely in the film..." He checked the other frames. "You've got dust in all of these."
"What can I do?"
"Clean your lens and reshoot. Pay more attention to dust in the air."

Emma nodded, knowing it wouldn't work. She'd already cleaned the lens and the mirror of her second-hand SLR camera, carefully loaded fresh film in a clean environment, yet still ended up with weird dust marks on all her photos. It didn't matter the location or the conditions she shot in, the annoying little circles continued to show up, like ethereal bubbles that had definitely not been there when she took the photo.
"My granny calls them spirit orbs," she commented.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Stories of Struggle: Flash Fictions 24-27


Here I am, nearing the end of the month, with nothing Done but photographs taken (roundup at end of the month) and flash fiction written.

There are four days left of the month, but here are my flash fictions from today and the previous three days--flash fictions 24-27:
Art Imitates Life: About strange happenings and an artist of particular talent
Green Triangles and Yellow Trees: The story of a blind man with synaesthesia, and a remarkable skill.
Background Characters: The tale of a man disconnected from those around him
Connections: A sequel to Background Characters, about a commuter who feels he is only existing, rather than living.

Art Imitates Life
Date: 24th March 2017
Prompt: Frame

In the upmarket part of town, Thompson's Gallery was where Grendel Thompson sold his paintings, and a few by select local artists.

Whenever Thompson completed a new canvas, he displayed it within an ornate, decaying gold frame in the window. It drew the attention of passers-by, who stopped to survey the latest of Thompson's works, and marvel at his talent for combining surrealism and photorealism.

Thompson's work was based on town life, featuring faceless figures of locals in odd situations, so people liked to see if they could spot themselves.
Whenever anyone recognised themselves, they would gasp excitedly.
Had they understood what would happen, those would have been gasps of horror.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Seas and Change: Flash Fictions 19-23


Though it's the only thing I've been posting this month (life has not been going to plan) here are more flash fictions.

This time, flash fictions for days 19-23!

Brighton, 1919: A sequel of sorts to Folk Tales of the Sea People, about Cadogan's son Julian.
Message in a Bottle...: A side-story to Folk Tales of the Sea People, about listening to Siren-song.
Travel Without a Ticket: A story about pushing againt barriers
Within: A tale of taking care with one's inner self
A Dragon's Name, A Dragon's Place: A sequel to How Helle Found the Monster (from Folk Tales of the Sea People)

I can't believe I ended up writing three new pieces in the Folk Tales... universe!

Brighton, 1919
Date: 19th March 2017
Prompt: Sea
Notes: A sequel to Folk Tales of the Sea People

The tide was out, and the bitter winter wind left the beach deserted but for one man.
Julian Browne, only a few days off his thirty-ninth birthday, ambled slowly over the pebbles, his coat fastened all the way up and a scarf wrapped around his neck to fend off the wind.

He wrapped his arms around himself as he continued along the beach, feeling the sheaf of papers concealed beneath the thick wool.
They were important, these papers. Ground-breaking, in fact. But in this, King George's England, they were considered the ravings of an unbalanced mind.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Not What You Might Think: Flash Fictions 15-18


Here's another batch of flash fictions, written for goal #26, as I try to catch up on posting what I've written!

Flash fictions 15-18 are:
Name Your Child Well - A story about names being the making of a person
Dirt and Diamonds - A scene in which some settlers get very cold
Passengers - The musings of a boatman
Morning People - A morning spent with a Morning Person
These tales may not all be what they initially seem, so please do give them a read!

Name Your Child Well
Date: 15th March 2017
Prompt: Autumn

She was named not for the season she was born in, but the next to come, named for the little tufts of red hair sprouting from her tiny head, for her rosy cheeks, and her brown eyes that peered out, inquisitive, from the pram.
Autumn grew up surrounded by friends. People flocked to her, drawn in by her warm smile and outwardly genial nature. They thought fondly of her when apart, remembering her glossy, fiery curls and chestnut eyes with that nostalgia that people think of the season she was named after: mild, comfortable, that sigh of relief after the heat of summer and that deep, leaf-scented breath before the freeze of winter.

Nobody thought about the tougher, less pleasant side of autumn: the dreary grey skies, the pouring rain, the mud and the slow fading of colour from the world.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

You Reap What You Sow: Flash Fictions 10-14


Though I've been completely lax in updating with flash fiction, I have been writing it, and as a result have ten new pieces to share here.
Rest assured, I'm not posting them all today. Even with short stories, that can still amount to a lot of words!

For today, here's flash fictions 10-14:
Sour Child - A gentle story about tradition and superstition
Over The Wall  - A tale of overcoming obstacles
Tailed and Chased - About seeing what is around you
The Herbarium - A story of a flower collector, and karma
Tongues - An unpleasant tale of death and vengeance

The first three stories are pleasant. The last two, not so much...


Sour Child
Date: 10th March 2017
Prompt: Lemon
Notes: I know nothing about lemons and their growth cycles, and the first three links I clicked on after searching were pretty vague and unhelpful, so don't imagine I know what I'm talking about.

After the trinity of Winter, Spring and Summer, Autumn was the Lemon Season, when - as the world lost its colour and most trees dropped their leaves, the sacred lemon trees bore their fruit in brightest abundance.

There is a tradition, here in the southern borderlands, that during the Lemon Season, a man was to walk three times around a lemon tree with his beloved, then with eyes closed, pluck a lemon from the branches and present it to her. The lemon would then be taken and cut into two, and they would eat the lemon together, and its flavour would indicate the future that lay before them.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Clocks, Collectors, Change: Flash Fictions 5-9

The Account of Eve Undermountain

After the first four days of writing flash fiction, I'm continuing on with it, albeit with the occasional rush to get it written at 11pm after nearly forgetting.

This time around I have five pieces to share, perhaps a little less morbid than the first three!

House of Hands - A story about a woman with a rather unusual collection
The Account of Eve Undermountain - The tale of a land without sun
The Truth Behind the Propaganda - A reimagining of a faerie tale 
End of Time - A world of dust, about to change
Oversleeping - About people who live by the Clock...




House of Hands
Date: 5th March 2017
Prompt: Hands

Elizabeth liked hands. She had a collection of them. She used to show them off in the front windows of her cottage, which stood on the main street and could be seen by any that chanced by.
Then the parish council said it was a little too strange, and didn't suit the nature of the village, and could she please refrain from displaying them in public view in the future, please?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

At the Bottom of the Bottle

Mouth

I managed to miss joining in with the theme challege on Delightful Aberrations these past few weeks, but this time around I actually got organised, and played around with several ideas using the prompts bottle and inside.

I ended up with this photo (among others, one of which I uploaded to my 365 Project). Didn't edit this much, just adjusted the levels a little and resized it for the web (because nobody needs a 6000px wide 300dpi version of this photo).

This is just a photo of an old bottle that I dug out of the ground as a kid. Something has marked the inside, and the glass itself is covered in scratches.

You can see my previous photos for this challenge on my Delightful Aberrations tag.