I see my mind as a tapestry woven through with memories, dreams and thoughts.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Sky Watch Friday

The beauty of a sunset to conclude the year 2011.

May the New Year bring untold creativity to each of your blogs!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

¡Feliz Navidad!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas from Spain.
The Town Hall (ajuntamiento)lit for the occasion.

A time to hope for peace, for the protection of others and for family ... and moments of reflection and thankfulness for those special and beautiful occasions this year.

And from me .... thank you fellow bloggers - just for being you!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Sky Watch Friday

This I could not resist ... clouds painting in swathes on the sky.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

'Writers Pencil' Lunch

Maybe you have visited 'The Oliva Reader' already and have seen Spangle's post. If not, do visit for her perspective.

The story goes like this ....... two 'girls' with much in common love to chat about writing, art, books and whatever else takes our fancy ... solving the world's problems and that sort of thing?
Now, every group in town was lunching out this Christmas but, as we are only two, we do not constitute a group. 'We could have a name', we thought, 'a name to take us out to lunch'. We giggled a lot and 'Writers Pencil' scribbled itself. 'Agreed!' And we became 'Writers Pencil', telling everyone that we were going to the 'Writers Pencil' lunch.

And here we are, complete with Christmas tree -

- resplendent in our 'glad rags' - not often seen!

- all set to lunch -


¿Feliz navidad!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tuesday Taster

'I divide my life into two parts, not really a Before and After, more as if they are bookends, holding together flacid years of empty musings, years of the late adolescent twentysomething whose coat of adulthood simply does not fit. Wandering years I waste no time in recalling.'

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday Snippet

'“Are we going to Memory Bank?” asks Pansy Soup. She feels excited. In her mind she sees Memory Bank as a large cave echoing with memories, “but it probably isn’t like that at all,” she thinks and shivers. She turns to Larry.
“I wouldn't like to find bad memories,” she whispers to him, “especially not in a cave.”
“Then we won’t look for them,” whispers back Larry. “I think that it’s a bank. If it is, the memories will be locked away.”
“I don’t want to travel on another watermelon, Violet Jelly,” shudders Lavender, interrupting Pansy Soup’s thoughts about memories. “That situation was far too sticky and striped.”
“Let us see what Laptop suggests,” answers Violet Jelly. She types in ‘MEMORY BANK’ and presses ‘RETURN’.
A soft, damp mist comes down. It is refreshing and cool. The middle of the mist turns warm and feels cosy. They each become drowsy and light - so light that they float.
“I,” thinks Pansy Soup, but she is too drowsy to finish her thought and she drifts in the mist, mind and body.
“Lull - a - bye....,” Lavender's voice sounds out softly and slowly through the mist.
“Bye,” whispers back Violet Jelly.
“Zzzzzzzz....” Larry is snoring, until...
“Oyez! Oyez!” bellows a deep voice.
‘Clang! Clang!’ sounds a large, brass hand bell.
The cacophony of noise brings Larry to his senses. He rubs his eyes and thinks, “It’s my ears that are sore. I should be rubbing those.”'

To be published soon: 'Violet and Lavender' by Ann Sharples


Friday, 16 December 2011

¡Viernes Feliz! Happy Friday!

At Last! At last! I have completed the illustrations for 'Violet and Lavender' - the second book in the 'Violet Jelly' trilogy!
Not only that; I have placed them into the book, so it will soon be ready to go onto Amazon, along with 'Violet Jelly'

I plan for each book to be in three formats:


This caters for all tastes and pockets.

My hope is that children will enjoy reading this fun Cyberspace adventure - written for ages 8 - 10.
So far, I am happy as children have given me positive feedback, some of whom have written their thoughts, which I have posted on my web site.

Have a look, because there are free downloads, too, including 'Atchoo!' - a book for ages 3 - 5 - about a giant with a cold.
Also, there is help with Number Bonds, which often cause problems and this method can help.
There are bookmarks which can be downloaded and printed onto card and a school year calendar with illustrations from 'Violet and Lavender'.

So, stop by and browse, or tell others to look if they have young children. BUT I do need to add that adults have enjoyed 'Violet Jelly' and are awaiting the sequel.

Now, I am free to complete 'Discovering Jasmine T' - the third and final book ... and to illustrate it, of course.

My illustrations are a combinationn of my drawings and my photographs. The joy for me is that I know the location of each one. The locations are widespread and my husband can verify the urgent, "Stop the car, I want to get out here!!" knowing that I have seen the ideal scene and lighting for an illustration. In this, he indulges me.

No more of me ... but feel free to go to www.annsharples.com ..... and browse!

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Monday, 12 December 2011

Muse for Monday

Stage Set

Vestiges of Winter,
Skeletal lacework,
Emergent brush,
Veiled hills,
Pristine sky;

Day breaks away
Pulsing, living; performance.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday Snippet

A quote:

'Only the hand that erases can write the true thing'

Meister Eckhart

Friday, 9 December 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Each day, at this time of the year, I am in awe of the sun rising over Montgo.
Enjoy it with me.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

I have not written much lately, nor caught up with all of your posts, as I was unwell for much of November and seem to have been catching up ever since.

I have made my Christmas Calendars, for friends and family, and a picture book for a friend which is advice from our cats to her new kitten; a fun Christmas present.

Twice, I have been out and about playing my bodhrán, which brought forth some encouraging comments, so I feel a little more confident as I am not a person who feels easy performing (better in the back room) but love playing.

I shall now turn my attention to blogland and wish to say what pleasure those of you who follow my blog, and those whose blogs I follow, have brought to me this year. I so appreciate the work that you put into your posts and the comments you leave for me. Thank you, each and every one!

A double page from the book:

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

Formas y Ritmos del Mar

Shapes and Rhythms of the Sea

This is my latest 'compuesto' drawing; very soothing to create.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Highwayman

One of my favourite poems is 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes. In the version I have, the illustrations are by Charles Keeping whose work I also admire. The combination is electric.

Here I have the opening illustration and the first verse for you to muse upon:

'The Highwayman'

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding-
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Alfred Noyes

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday Snippet

Georges Braque 'Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepiece'

The Erasers by Alain Robbe-Grillet

Alain Robbe-Grillet's novel, The Erasers (Los Gommes) was published in 1953.
It resembles a detective novel, but has a deeper structure within, based on Oedipus.
The detective in the novel is searching for the assassin in a murder that has not yet occurred. The discovery he makes is that he is destined to become that assassin.

Descriptions, methodical, geometric and repetitive reveal the psychological make up and the inner depths of the character. The reader is challenged to discover the character.

Time lines and the plot are fractured as in a cubist painting, so it can be seen as the literary equivalent and, as with such a painting, can mean different things to different people.

I read his work when I was around twenty years old. I was reading Virginia Woolf at the time and it seemed to me that they achieved similar ends using entirely different literary structures; protraying the person within the character.

Should I say … discuss??? Well, I should welcome your comments, if you have read both authors or not. For myself, I think that shall read both again to see whether or not hold the same view.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Sky Watch Friday

..... and this one is the moon with whispy clouds passing and a star off to the top right of its beams ... last night.

It is not so much an obsession with the moon, but that it is so clear as there are no street lights to detract from its beauty.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday Taster

Michael (Blue Cabin blog) asked about the author Alain Robbe-Grillet. Well here is the opening paragraph of his novel 'The Erasers':

'In the dimness of the café, the manager is arranging tables and chairs, the ashtrays, the siphons of soda water; it is six in the morning.'

More of Alain Robbe-Grillet (mentioned in my guest post on The Oliva Reader blog) in a later post.

I welcome your thoughts on this opening.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday Snippet

I have always loved this poem, which is from an anthology 'Golden Apples' (chosen by Fiona Waters); one that I have read from to children over the years. It is written by a ten year old boy. I have tried to find him on Facebook to say that I am posting his poem, but he is elusive. Obviously, he is a man, now. If I find him, I shall let you know.

In the meantime, enjoy his poem:

Moon Bat

Once I held a bat, its small helpless
body quivering in my hand.
Its silver grey body like moonlight
shining on ancient web.
Its small shiny eyes had a look
of fear as it stared intently at
I was filled with delight as moon-
light shone through the veil-like
membrane of its wings.
As I lifted my hand to the starry
night, its frail wings lifted it up to
the moon.

Sebastian Mays

As I hold his poem in my mind, I feel that I, too, am holding this precious creature in my hand.

This Saturday my guest post 'Chapters in My life' is on The Oliva Reader (see blog list) ... if anyone wants to read it.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Sky Watch Friday

I leave you this photograph to take you into the weekend ... and my apologies that I have had little time to comment, this week. I shall catch up on your posts.
In the meantime, I would ask you to look at my guest post on Spangle's (The Oliva Reader) blog series 'Chapters in My Life' which appears on a Saturday.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday Taster

..... because I love old words, old stories. This is from a book 'Legends of the Borders' (those between England and Scotland) by Wendy Wood.


'Because the evening sky was stormy behind the Border hills, the lone traveller was relieved to hear the sound of pipes, and, rounding a corner, was able to join the piper who was going home with his cow. The stranger soon made it clear that he would be glad of shelter for the night.
"Aweel, ye're welcome tae sic fare as mysel' and my wife can offer," said the piper, seeing by his companion's attire that there was no need to apologise for their humble home.'

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunday Snippet

In the run up to the end of October, Hallowe'en and the beginning of winter, Ifeel that it is appropriate to post this snippet from Shakespeare. The supernatural was very much a part of life in Shakespeare's time when science was not a part of 'everyman's' life and fear of the unknown was. Shakepeare used these beings and creatures to weave magic and suspense into his plays.

Here is one example:


Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now is the time of night
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic; not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.

'A Midsummer NIght's Dream': Act V, Scene 1

Friday, 28 October 2011

Sky Watch Friday

I thought that I would share two photographs from my recent trip to Newcastle. These are taken on the quayside and the first is the reflection of the sky in the windows of the building.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Wednesday Wondering

Completely by coincidence, I opened a book 'Poem for the Day' at page 238 and found this piece from Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Act V Scene V

Macbeth. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.'

And as I have just read - and am re reading - 'The Sound and The Fury' by William Faulkner, I wondered and wondered whether this is from where his inspiration for the title came, because the title intrigues me and was a part, along with the cover, of the reason I picked up the book in the first place.

I know that some of you have studied the book and , whether you have or have not, I should like to read your thoughts.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday Snippet

I am returning to 'The Sound and the Fury' by William Faulkner.

I have finished reading the book and have had to immediately begin it again. Here is the snippet from a section 'June 2nd 1910'.

'This was where I saw the river for the last time, this morning, about here. I could feel water beyond the twilight, smell. When it bloomed in the spring and it rained the smell was everywhere you didn't notice it so much at other times but when it rained the smell began to come into the house at twilight either it would rain more at twilight or there was something in th light itself but it always smelled strongest then until I would lie in bed thinking when will it stop when will it stop. The draught in the door smelled of water, a damp steady breath. Sometimes I could put myself to sleep saying over and over until after the honeysuckle got all mixed up in the whole thing came to symbolize night and unrest I seemed to be lying neither asleep nor awake looking down a long corridor of grey half-light where all stable things had become shadowy paradoxical all I had done shadows all I had felt suffered taking visible form antic and perverse mocking without relevance inherent themselves with the denial of the significance they should have affirmed thinking I was I was not who was not was not who.

I could smell the curves of the river beyond the dusk and I saw the last light supine and tranquil upon tide-flats like pieces of a broken mirror .....'

I chose this piece for two reasons. The first is that it shows the continuous thought pattern that runs through the book but, also, because my main thought when reading was that it is as if a mirror holding a reflection had fallen and shattered and that it was my place, as the reader, to pick up and piece together the scattered shards.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sky Watch Friday

The amazement here, for me, is that this is the island of Ibiza as seen from our hill ... but only on occasion is it visible. This is the best 'capture' of it that I have achieved, so far.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday Taster

These are the first two paragraphs of a book not yet published. Would you read on??

This is the routine. John gets dropped off at school, ten minutes before the bell, enough time for a quick game of football, which is the most important thing in his life. I walk on along the main road to the top of the village with my girls to call on my Mother. I do hope she has her happy head on today, makes me a cup of tea, and spoils her granddaughters for a wee while.
Some days this works well, some times we argue, and some days I don’t even get in the door. These variations in her tolerance levels depend on what gossip she’s heard about me during the week. I’ve been known to smoke in the street, forgotten to give John his packed lunch, or tried to sneak in late to Mass on Sunday. This last offence being mortally sinful in her eyes, on a par with armed robbery or assault. Mam and I have what is very trendily called a fragile relationship, a bit like a cracked mirror, ready to fall out the frame on any day.

Janette Skinner

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday Snippet

I picked up this book to read on the flight home - 'The Sound and Fury' by William Faulkner - drawn firstly by the cover. I looked inside and decided to buy it.

My snippet is from the introduction and this is because I am still reading it and am hoping to experience the fog clearing 'in a flash'. I took this introduction to heart as I may well have been totally confused by now, but realise that this is a part of the book.

I defy an ordinary reader to disentangle the people and events concerned at a first reading. But the beauty of it is this; there is no need to disentangle anything. If one ceases to make the effort, one soon finds that this strange rigmarole holds one's attention on its own merits. Vague forms of people and events, apparently unrelated, loom out of the fog and disappear again. One is seeing the world through the eyes of an idiot: but so clever is Mr. Faulkner that, for the time being at least, one is content to do so.

With the second part the fog begins to clear. The narrator now is one of these vague figures, a brother Quentin, who committed suicide at Harvard in 1910: and he describes with a beautiful sense of tragedy and ironical farce his last day alive. With the third and fourth parts, which return to the present day, the fog rolls away altogether, the formless, sizeless, positionless shapes looming through it, condense to living people: the story quickens. It is here this curious method is finally justified: for one finds, in a flash, that one knows all about them, that one has understood more of Benjy's sound and fury than one had realised: the whole story becomes actual to one at a single moment. It is impossible to describe the effect produced, because it is unparalleled; the thoughtful reader must find it for himself.

Richard Hughes

I also thank all of you who followed the posts that I left until I came home. It is much appreciated and it was a joy to me to see and read your various comments. ¡Muchas gracias!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday Snapshot

An Irish Session in full force ... and on the left of the picture, the amazing Robbie Walsh (All Ireland Bodhran Champion 2008-9) who graciously offered me a class with him whilst I was there. Wow, can he touch the bodhran!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thursday Thought

Another poem - and apologies that I cannot leave comments until I return home next week.

This part of Ireland, when one moves from West Cork to Kerry, is beautiful, really beautiful:

Gale Symposium Over Derrynane Bay

To 'aark' of circling gulls rushes wind
in curves round the mountain
creating unforseen circumstances,

brushing dune's marram grass in divided waves
of torn emotion,

coursing shallows
disturbing memories of lost opportunity,

scales watery skin
of silver sea-snake estuary below
to stimulate writhing as it
glistens a path to waiting sea
beginning in circumspect the idea of change.

Urgently fierce now,
cry of gulls commands the elements
and rolling cloud opens rank
allowing dazzle of sun to illuminate
ridged, wet sand set in jig-saw loops
preventing puzzled sea-snake
in its bid for the Atlantic

while gulls rise on majestic fanfare of wind,
instrument of force and change

"Shed scales, shed skin - soar!"

Ann Sharples

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday Muse

Here is the second poem which I promised:


Quietly working
shy smile
Carefully transcribing
letter for letter
word for word
sentence for sentence
from storybook to copy
until page for page
they match.

Beautiful work
conscientious student
engrossed in rhythm
curve by stroke
fullbellied to stark line
the pattern a written sampler
worked by Maggie the traveller.

Ann Sharples

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday Snippet

Still in 'Ireland frame of mind' (although I am now in England, visiting) I used to work with travellers and am leaving you this poem today and another on Monday:

Wash Day

"Cindy can't read
and that's a fact,"
says Cindy standing
out over the tub
washing away
the days at school
so different from
familiar days at home -
minding bairns,
sweeping out the trailer,
helping ma -
scrubbing fiercely at
each taunt, each cruel name,
each moment of discrimination,
confidence ebbing,
suds slopping
and sinking
into dark gravel;
"No, Cindy can't read."

Ann Sharples

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday Muse

From 'Ireland in Poetry' edited by Charles Sullivan


M I C H A E L L O N G L EY ( B O R N 1939 )

Poems in the palm of the hand, life-lines.
Fingers tapping the ridge of the shin-bone.
The bridge of the nose, fingerprints, breath:
Then the silvery skin of the lifeless,
Ivy increasing the secrets, the answers —
The physician's power in cold dwellings.
Candles behind this veil of synonyms.
A blind man's lovely wife and signature.

There is a stone such as this a few steps from the house in which we used to live, in Ireland. The story of the stone goes like this:

A man found the stone lying in a hedgerow and thought to himself, "Now that would make an excellent doorstep into my cottage. Alone, or with help, he dragged the stone down the hill and placed it ourside the door to his cottage. Well pleased, he retired to bed for the night.
The following morning, on looking out, he discovered that the stone had gone. Angry, he set off to find the thief. He walked back up the hill and, to his astonishment, found the stone lying exactly where he had found it.
He ran in fear, back down the hill.
The story goes that it belonged to a fairy princess and that he had disturbed her resting place.

In fact, the stone belongs to a prince, or person of reknown at that time. This can be read from the markings on the stone. They are called 'Ogham Stones'.

The stone in the photograph is of the Dunlough Ogham Stone
(Commissioner of Works, Ireland)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday Snippet

Photograph from 'The beauty of Ireland' published by Gill and Macmillan


L E A N Ni C H U I L L E A NA ( B O R N 1 9 4 2)

Missing from the map, the abandoned roads
Reach across the mountain, threading into
Clefts and valleys, shuffle between thick
Hedges of flowery thorn.
The grass flows into tracks of wheels,
Mowed evenly by the careful sheep;
Drenched, it guards the gaps of silence
Only trampled on the pattern day.
And if, an odd time, late
At night, a cart passes
Splashing in a burst stream, crunching bones,
The wavering candle hung by the shaft
Slaps light against a single gable
Catches a flat tombstone
Shaking a nervous beam in a white face
Their arthritic fingers
Their stiffening grasp cannot
Hold long on the hillside —
Slowly the old roads lose their grip.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sky Watch Friday

This is one of the round towers that are prevalent in this part of Ireland. Built by the monks, they were a refuge when under attack. There is a door high up, which they entered by a ladder that they pulled in behind them. They took anything of value with them and remained there until the danger had passed. The amzement of them is that they are so intricately and perfectly structured.
This one is beside the cahthedral and the church of St. Kevin, rising to dominate the skyline.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sunday Snippet

St. Kevin's Church, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

St. Kevin was born in the year 498 and died in the year 618

This piece is taken from Wikipedia, to explain the photographs above:

His life is not well known, as no contemporaneous material exists. His Latin vita maintains that he was descended from a royal line and was related to the Dál Messin Corb. He was given the name Coemgen, which means "gentle one", was baptized by Cronan, and educated by St Petroc during that saint's sojourn in Ireland. He lived in solitude at Disert-Coemgen for seven years, sleeping on a dolmen (now known as "Saint Kevin's Bed") perched on a perilous precipice, that an angel had led him to, and later established a church for his own community at Glendalough. This monastery was to become the parent of several others. Eventually, Glendalough, with its seven churches, became one of the chief pilgrimage destinations in Ireland. His legend says that he lived to the age of 120.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Fuchsias for Friday

A brief line to say that I am back home from Ireland and to give you fuchsias, whilst I do a 'catch-up' on everyone's blog posts.

Besides the cow and the celtic cross, symbols of Ireland, fuchsias epitomise this land. They speak out, with their waxy brilliance and vibrant colours, from the hedgerows at this time of the year.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sunday Snippet

I have chosen this snippet from 'The Plough and the Stars' - a play by Seán O'Casey.
The play deals with ordinary people caught up in the 'Rising' in Ireland in the early 1900s and the First World War. They live in a tenement in Dublin. The characters are strong and well portrayed. They are trying to make sense of it all as it happens around them.
At the end of the play, one question still demands of us an answer:
'Is there anybody goin', Mrs. Clitheroe, with a tither o' sense?'

Here are two of the puzzled characters:

'Fluther. We're all Irishmen, anyhow; aren't we?
The Covey (with hand outstretched, and in a professional
Look here, comrade, there's no such thing as an
Irishman, or an Englishman, or a German or a Turk;
we're all only human bein's. Scientifically speakin', it's
all a question of the accidental gatherin' together of
mollycewels an' atoms.
Fluther. Mollycewels an' atoms! D'ye think I'm goin' to
listen to you thryin' to juggle Fluther's mind with
complicated cunundhrums of mollycewels an' atoms?
The Covey (rather loudly). There's nothin' complicated
in it. There's no fear o' the Church tellin' you that
mollycewels is a stickin' together of millions of atoms o'
sodium, carbón, potassium o' iodide, etcetera, that,
accordin' to th' way they're mixed, make a flower, a fish,
a star that you see shinin' in th' sky, or a man with a
big brain like me, or a man with a little brain like you!
Fluther (more loudly still). There's no necessity to be
raisin' your voice; shoutin's no manifestin' forth of a
growin' mind.'

All quotes are from 'The Plough and the Stars' by Seàn O'Casey, edited by Seàn Moffatt

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Thank you all for leaving comments whilst I was 'off blog'.

The two tiny kittens were found by a friend and I, dumped in the rubbish bins at a few days old, so they were hand reared - oh the night feeds! - and now are with one of my daughters. They are fully grown, and still beautiful.

Here is the moon, sailing the sky.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011