Mavis's Shoe

Author of two novels and a creative memoir.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Books and Beds.

This is the view which doesn’t distract me at all but quietly comforts me through the rigours of novel-writing. It is the view from my bed.

I think beds and books are a combination made in heaven. After all, most people, including myself, probably do most of their reading in bed. It’s warm, no heating is required, it’s forgivingly squishy and is often in the quietest part of the house. There’s usually a decent lamp strategically positioned (unless you’re in a hotel where it’ll be pointing in the wrong direction and have a 10 watt bulb) and usually everyone else is asleep or nearly or doing the same as you and the rules of bedtime privacy apply.

But I have discovered that certain other people, myself included, have been using their beds for the same and other purposes DURING THE DAY and I don’t just mean the weekends either. And by the way I’m not talking about S*X in case you’re dirty little minds were travelling in that direction, although extreme pleasure may be experienced.

This is how I spent my day: Woke at 6.30am. Husband away working. Rolled over. Went back to sleep. Woke 8.30am. Rose. Slippers, woolly jumper, a rub of the eyes and I’m off to the kitchen. One lemon squeezed into a pint of spring water is enough to waken the arm muscles with the effort and the rest of me with the zing. Knock it all back then make the Oolong tea. Take said tea back to bed. Fetch mobile, laptop and large bag containing notebook, pen, best glasses and tissues. Write.

Keep writing, no matter what.

Interruptions include various phone calls, some answered, some not, and toilet breaks which usually involve tea breaks during which oatcakes and various types of fruit may be foraged for in the kitchen. Spider solitaire, emails, Facebook, Twitter etc, are lightly dispersed throughout the day when the tension of creative sideways thinking starts to hurt.

Suddenly the last line of the chapter appears. I make a space, then another, then I type: Chapter 21.

The phone rings right on cue. I feel inordinately happy and gracious. These are the moments to ask to borrow my most precious earrings, my car, my husband. Fortunately the call is none of these. I emerge blinking into the human world as family members return and I catch sight of myself as I pass the mirror in the hall en route to the front door. My hair has three opposing kinds of clip and looks sticky. My jumper is on inside out and my jammie bottoms clash horribly with my slippers. I have been tousled by my own book.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What would you do?

I have three treats for you today.

When Mavis's Shoe was at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I asked the kids who came to imagine what would happen if some bombs came down at just after 9pm that night. I asked them to think specifically about what they would do. And I asked them to write something and send it to me. These are the results.

This was a very difficult task for me because nearly all the pieces were very very good. I therefore chose three winners, first, second and third. Their stories are below. I hope you enjoy them.


The Bombing Begins
by Caitlin Paterson, p.7, Broomhouse Primary

I was in my house with mum and dad. I was in my room sitting on my giant bed texting my best friend. I was feeling fantastic, happy, cheerful and great. I never saw my best friend for a year and she was coming back to visit for a week. I was excited to see her.

She was coming to my house to visit. She reached the doorstep and the ground started to shake madly. I told her to come in. We looked out the window there were bomber planes
everywhere and me, mum, dad and Sarah ran outside to the bomb shelter. Just when we got in the bomb shelter, the bombs started going off. I smelt the disgraceful smoke and heard loud crashing sounds we could smell the burning metal. We were petrified.

My mum and dad ran out of the shelter and then I went out to look for them. I could not find them. I looked everywhere for them. I tried shouting “Mum! Dad! Where are you? You need to comeback!”
I saw them walking.
Cabang !
A bomb went straight through them. My eyes filled with tears and the street was filled with flames.


World War
by Ali Eltom, P7, Broomhouse Primary
“Oh no,” I said to my friend Lewis. He was beating me at my own video games again. We were playing Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3. All of a sudden I heard a giant roar in the sky but I ignored it…

Bombs started falling. People were screaming. Men were shouting “Someone help my family”. The only thing going through my mind was “What’s going on out there?” I ran to my window and could hear the rubber of my shoes thudding on the ground with humungous bangs. Me and Lewis ran outside and explored. I worriedly walked across the street. My brain was filled with different emotions, fear, anger and worry.

I thought I should go looking for my mum. Lewis asked “How are you going to find her with all this bombing?” I ignored him. We were walking and I heard a faint scream. I ran to see what was happening. I saw my mum sitting there she never opened her eyes I thought she was dead. I screamed “Wake up, Mum, wake up !!!!!!!” People in military suits came and took me away. I was screaming and shouting. They stuck a needle into my skin and I fell asleep.


Bombing in Denny
by Brandon Wilson, 15, Hillside School

One morning I woke up in a nice, wet and windy Scottish summers day. I went down the stairs to the kitchen to make a greasy squared sausage roll with fried onions and a bit of HP brown sauce. After finishing my breakfast I headed to catch the post office at 9am to get my mum’s money for the tea that night.

I took my dog Lehgend. He is a German Shepherd, only 7 months old. I was walking casually down to the town. I was only two minutes from the post office and my dog was going mad. He was barking, jumping, and staring up into the sky. The sky was still and very grey. I shouted, “Shut up” to my dog, and suddenly I heard in the distance a roar of engines. All around me there was a deathly silence.

The Post Office shutters went down and everyone ran for shelter. All of a sudden these planes were surrounding the buildings in the town centre. Bang, crash - the sound of concrete and glass smashing and falling all over them. I heard the screams of panic. Children crying. Dogs barking. Everyone ran for their lives, with their hands over their heads. Fear on their faces, as they saw the flashing lights in the sky. The smoke and dust was up into my nose, burning and choking me and the people around me. All I felt was dust, tiny, sharp bits of debris. Suddenly, all I heard again was silence. The buildings stopped moving. All I could hear now were sobs and crying and dogs whimpering. People were helping each other to safety.
I started to make my way back to my family to see if they were safe and well. But I struggled to find my way back home because all the paths and roads had burned out cars. It was all smokey in the air around the streets. Finally, me and my dog were back in my house. My family were glad to see us. They thought I was hurt, but I only had a cut arm and a bruised leg. My house was not too badly damage but next door’s had crumbled down. It was just a big pile of rubble. We were extremely lucky that we were not hurt and our house was still standing. We all sat down and stood in the one room, waiting for everything to blow over (said my mum).