first charity skydive

October 11, 2013

in Charity

wildelycreative skydive

I threw myself out of a plane. To be more exact a man strapped to my back threw himself out of a plane. And I liked it.

There are a couple of photographs in the gallery where “liking it” means sheer terror but those moments were brief as they were overcome by excitement and joy.
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There have been many cake days in my life. I’m older than I look (pipe down at the back). But 2010 was the first Unofficial International Cake Day brought to you by wildelycreative or #cakeday for its Twitter title.
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edge of everything

April 24, 2013

in Short Stories

He stood in the field on the other side of the hedge, staring. I watched from behind the half closed curtains. The door was open wide enough for cats to escape. I could hear the birds in the hawthorn, the rush of the wind through the oak leaves like waves coming ashore, the clunk-clunk as the loose sliding door moved back and forth in its frame, and a dull roar.

It was 10am, I was up late again. Another night of heavy coughing keeping me awake to spew blood into stacks of tissues now littering the bedroom floor. I knew when I woke a pink stain would have already bled through the tissues to the carpet fibres. The hiss of a spray can of carpet foam the first sound I heard every morning, cold tea the first taste to wash down the anti-sickness tablets. The cats were already out. Sunlight slinked through gaps and around the sides of the curtains. I’d slipped my hands into the warm slice between the thick fabrics and started to pull them apart. That’s when I heard it. That’s when I stopped. That’s when I hid. That’s when I saw him there staring.

I cling to the edge of the curtain. I’m at the edge of everything. It’s a repeated pattern that has ebbed through all my relationships, my relationships with everything but most of all with people – groups of people. Fitting and not fitting, somehow apart, separate. Jumping about in the spotlight while watching from the flower papered walls. Polarised – the extrovert and the introvert – the attention seeker fighting for dominance over the hermit.

The hermit always won. Sometimes it’d take months, years but the hermit, the drawing away, always followed. As time passed the hermit gained more and more control. I don’t know if I made it that way or if it’d always been there. If it was meant to be that way. A reflection of what was to come for this life. This life that stands at the edge of everything, the tipping point from then to now.

You know it’s coming. If you don’t feel it it’s probably not going to happen in this life. I’ve always known. It’s always been there in the back of my mind. There’s a tipping point coming. An edge bigger than anything you’ve seen before, bigger than the Grand Canyon, the Cliffs of Insanity, bigger than the abyss of every falling nightmare. And you’re going over it.

I didn’t know when it was coming. I had no concept of time, place, how wrinkled my hands would be when I got there. How sallow my skin would be, how thin and saggy my body would be. I lost touch with it. Didn’t believe it was going to happen it took so long in this buffer of time. I began to question my faith, my feelings, my knowings. I ignored the callings in my mind as false prophets, strung them up, crucifying them as lies, damn lies. And all the while, deep, deep down, I knew the truth. That this life would stand at the edge of everything.

I’d wanted it sooner. Before the whisperings of paranoia swore it for falsehood. When I’d been strong and joyful. When the sparkle was everywhere – in the light that danced on the green ripples of the ocean, in the waves of clouds surging and crashing against the canyon walls, the grass, the flowers, the trees, the sounds of the birds and the drone of the bees. The laughter, uproarious then tinkling glass falling to the floor, shattering about my feet, lacerating toes as it glittered its final appeal before turning to dust. I’d wanted it then, when I was happy and ready. Ready to face a new challenge, ready to leap over the edge casting faith before me.

Not now, not jaded, half lost with a pink stained carpet, blood soaked tissues and a diary of doctors’ appointments.

Not now, not with pain shrieking through my bones, lifting my skull as it tries to escape.

And now I stand clutching the edge of the curtain knowing what I’ve always known, none of it matters any more.

The wind still rushes the leaves, the birds still call as they nest in the trees, the door I should’ve fixed still clunking in its frame.

None of it matters any more.

He stares. The sky is blue, clear, more than crystal, like diamond icebergs.

None of it matters anymore.

It’s all drowned out by the edge of everything rushing towards us from the blue.

I wonder if he knew. As he stares towards the sky I wonder if he knew his life was at the edge of everything. Had he ever questioned that knowing? Did those voices ever crowd in his head, screaming through his blood vessels? Was he torn apart or was he resolute in knowing? Accepting of this life’s fate? The way he stares though, glazed eyes, slack jaw, the spade lying by his feet, fallen from his hands.

No, he didn’t know. This is his first glimpse. He hasn’t fully realised the importance. Well, there’s a part of him that has. A part of him is screaming louder than it’s ever screamed before, roaring to be heard above the deafening incomprehension. That’s why he stares. He knows and he doesn’t know. A 6’2” barrel-chested paradox in wax jacket, jeans and wellies, staring into the blue screaming silently towards his fate, suddenly aware the edge of everything is upon him.

I have time to look. There is time to see, to see what I’ve always known and it’s a true movie moment. A rerun of every childish recurring nightmare. A repeat of a repeat, looping the loop from first awareness to the edge of everything.

I don’t remember when I first saw it. Like knowing who my mother was, I just knew, have always known and seeing him stare I wonder if it’d been better had I not been aware. There wouldn’t have been the lost decades of paranoia and question upon question, the cross examination of faith. Maybe the laughter wouldn’t have shattered quite so quickly, would’ve stayed uproariously buoyant for so much longer. Maybe I’d have been a part of instead of separate from. Maybe I’d have fitted. But I didn’t. How could I when I knew all along. Even when it tore at my insides ripping away every wall, every fortress, destroying all defences, I knew.

I knew it.


And I can never know if it would’ve been different had the edge of everything not sliced right through me, carved me to the core like Blackpool rock.

It looks as it always looked. Blue and silver. I can’t see my knuckles but I know they are white clinging as they are to the edge of the curtain – this fabric the last defence and never, ever enough.

None of it matters anymore.

Over to you, Terry…

Thanks, Chris…
Authorities have responded to a plane crash in a village on the outskirts of Chester. It is believed the twin-engine plane involved is owned by Hollywood A-lister Jack Gunn, in town to promote his latest film. It’s not yet known if the star of the action movie series EDGE was piloting the plane.

Jack Gunn, a proficient pilot, is known for his high adrenaline stunts to promote his movies, the latest of which, EDGE OF EVERYTHING, is due to open in cinemas nationwide on Friday.

It is not yet known if anyone else was injured in the crash, although one house was severely damaged. Local police and crash investigators are on the scene. We’ll have more for you at 4pm.

I never enter Twitter competitions. Well, hardly ever – except for last week. A freak encounter with a Caroline Smailes tweet while sitting on the loo started it.


FreaksPromoting the publication of Freaks (a collection of short stories by Caroline and Nik Perring with illustrations by Darren Craske, each featuring a character with an unusual superpower) I’d caught the back end of the competition, the dying minutes. I had to think fast if I wanted to enter.

Sitting on the loo is a great place to think and when I saw Caroline’s tweet I had to think, so I stayed sat.

What would your superpower be?

The ultimate question to my inner eleven year old. The one that would’ve taken only a second to answer – flying, of course. How could it not be? Doesn’t every human dream of running and flapping arms, taking off and soaring above the trees? Swimming in the air, peddling to go higher, whizzing round the globe like Superman bringing Lois Lane back from the dead…

My legs were getting tingly. The just-before-numbness-kicks-in tingly. When you know if you get up from the loo your feet will feel like someone else’s. But flying wasn’t imaginative enough – flying is the dream, what’s the superpower? Something that’s useful, something that stops injustice in its tracks, something that gives voice to the voiceless.

The day before I’d been to an animal sanctuary hunting for a buddy wabbit (mine needs a companion). One beautiful 7 month old was extremely timid. He’d only been there a month after being found by a neighbour of his original owners who’d moved house and left timid Casper in a hutch in the garden. How can you leave an animal behind when you move house? That infuriated me. Madness had to come to cope with the mayhem.
(You already know how that’s necessary.)

A very big cat and a hat

Shape-shifting – that would be the superpower, shape-shifting into a giant lion and appearing whenever animal cruelty occurred. But that wasn’t enough. Cruelty to animals is occurring every minute of every day somewhere on the planet. To be useful I’d have to be omnipresent too.

An omnipresent shape-shifting giant lion to stop the mayhem. With a hat on, The Hat. Oh yes, there has to be The Hat.

So I tweeted it, and won. The prize? My superpower brought to life by the illustration magic of Darren.

The Big Cat in The Stripy Hat disapproves of your animal cruelty

The Big Cat in The Stripy Hat

(Yes, feet were someone else’s when I finally got up from the loo.)

With thanks to Caroline, Nik, Darren and Scott Pack.

no, I’m not childish

January 23, 2012

in Poetry

I tried to explain it on The Cloud Factory, there’s a difference, you see, a difference between childish and childLIKE.

Childish is nothing like childLIKE,
which is all about exploration and wonder and wow
and no creative rules whatsoever, nosiree

we make it up as we go along
and sing a song and jump in the puddle
all covered in muddles of mud

then we slide down the hill to defend the castle from the raging hordes
as dragons leap to the air and tigers roar
we beat them back to the river with our wooden swords
and swim to the lake just to make sure
then race back to the fire for tea.

And we all know how stompy childish can be.

There’s a difference, you see, a difference between childish and childLIKE.

The Golden Thread

January 15, 2012

in Health

Beach School - Kindling Play and Training

There is a point of relaxation that sweeps through all the muscles we use to stand where we are suspended by our connection; a golden thread to which we are attached. Chronic contraction takes us away from this connection. Our spine, in spasm, tears away from the golden thread.

Chronic contraction – scar tissue of traumatic emotion and physical stress.

It’s not just the muscles that need soothing. There’s the memory of an emotion attached to the contraction. We might have forgotten, it may only be a small thing to our conscious minds and the release may seem disproportionately large by comparison. But the result is all about balance. About being about to relax through the muscles we use to stand and be suspended once more on a golden thread.

Immediate releases are screams garrotted by heavy breathing and I wonder what my physio’s neighbour must be thinking. Maybe it’s this thought that brings about a secondary response: hysterical laughter.

The first time this happened was in Chiang Mai, a joint massage to ease our aches from a long day of exploring. Fully clothed we lay in a room made entirely of bed and two tiny Thai women pummelled and beat us voraciously. They thought it was hysterical too – the entire clinic heard my garrotted-heavy-breathing-screams of hysterical laughter. Mortified!

But this time I don’t care if anyone hears. I want the pain to go away. I want balance. I want to be suspended on a golden thread.

Image: Kindling Play and Training – Lily Horseman

More about hope

September 14, 2011

in Twitter Inspired

More About Hope

This is the last fight.

Within two generations we won’t have to fight for the environment, for the planet, for the earth beneath our feet and the air we breathe. We won’t have to fight for clean water, truly sustainable business practices, healthy oceans. We won’t have to fight against senseless destruction in the name of progress, economy, growth.

All decisions will be made with the “good of all” in mind, as “all” will be known to be “one” and “one” shall encompass more than the ego of humanity. Every natural part of the planet will be seen, felt, understood as One.

And the fighting will cease.

Image: Pundit Kitchen

Madness in mayhem

September 12, 2011

in Twitter Inspired

Twitter’s a wonderful thing. It’s full of idiots and great people and everything in between. It brings both the information and the mechanism to cope with it – the madness to cope with the horror of the mayhem.

Take the tale of the banker and the lion. This type of thing bothers me. Powerless, great welts of frustration surface at the horror of the mayhem.

Madness had to be created to regain the joyful expectation of life. It was the usual culprits (RunSqueezyRun and hen4). We created the Teddy Liberation Front in hot pursuit of us on the lam for the atrocity of “violence to teddy bears”. Murder, in fact.

It culminated in Siry Hen Fnar Fnar, Goddess of Laughter, and the Great Teddy Bear Hunt of 2011.


It had to be done and my heartfelt gratitude to Hen for the “tea-nose-spurt” incident that followed.

Once madness arrives in the mayhem, I remember. Hope bubbles, keep walking on the beach throwing starfish back in to the ocean – it matters to this one.

I’m grateful for the madness that allows me to cope with the mayhem, whatever form it takes.

I know what I mean, the me, the I, the whys and wherefores
before this moment, this decision an incision
through my own morality, or sense of it anyway.

Why stay in teaching if leaching the system
and children’s minds and hearts,
ripping apart the fabric of society?

Why create a debate? Too late for a generation,
it’s happening now, under our noses,
deposes our sense of who we are.

Because it matters, it leaves us all in tatters,
cotton blowing on the wind powered
with a shower of fear and repression.

Because the creative instinct matters,
these tatters you give us will out live us
when unity is round the corner.

Strive from a life of robotic injections
of sections of knowledge, access denied
to a free life. No. You service us.

stalking dove

May 5, 2011

in Poetry

white petal flakes fall, littering the garden
collar necked dove calls mate,
late for dinner she shimmers, hovers, prepares to land,
wings fanned, expanded.

i’ll keep an eye out,
cat’s feeding, no need to not eat seed.

cat curdles around kitchen corner, stalking low,
creep, crawl, creep, crawl.

white petal flakes fall, no stalling doves,
they take to the trees.
cat sits. at ease.

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