The Brown Eyed Dreamer

'Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.' William Wordsworth


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Block.

I miss writing. It used to be that a pencil never left my hand, that ideas always fled into my head. I’d write whenever I could find time, and whenever I didn’t really have time too. Characters, plots, journeys and worlds would flood from my mind and spill onto paper, filling page after page of the cheap notebooks I bought from the store. I loved building a  story until it almost become a world around me, with most nights spent scribbling down everything I could think of until I could get my characters to the end of their adventure. I miss the thrill of new ideas, the hours spent in the corners of libraries and cafés planning and the satisfaction of finishing.

These days, there’s not enough time, not enough energy. School builds walls around my daydreams, reminding me of my responsibility to do well, of the importance of my future, while all the time my mind scurries like a bird trapped in a cage, willing to escape from studying for subjects I care nothing for. And as all this is happening, a greater wall looms above, dark and menacing, blocking any idea from coming to me. I feel trapped, bored, yet too exhausted to make a change.

But I swear, this drift is only temporary, and I will be back. A mind cannot stay trapped forever, and soon the shackles of exams will be broken and I’ll be free to spend hours filling pages with every trace of my thoughts. Soon I can go back to the one thing I love most. And when I get back, maybe the sparks will ignite and ideas will burst back into life, and I can carry on as before; a dreamer.

That’s all I can hope for, for now.


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The Clear Out

In a cold, cluttered study dimly lit by a bulb encased in a thick layer of grime, a man stands surveying old, flaking walls filled with bookshelves and cabinets, head cocked on one side as he impatiently tuts and looks around him. A room once the hub of his home and working life now sits dormant and forlorn in the cold October sun peering through cracks in the yellowed blinds. A room once so lively and loved now seems as alone and lost as the man standing within.

He takes a step forward and roughly glides a finger across the nearest shelf, leaving a bright trail of mahogany standing stark among the surrounding layer of dust. Lips curling in disgust and rubbing his covered finger on his jumper, he sighs. This room, now of no use and an annoyance to him, needs clearing desperately.
As a plan forms in his head, he leaves the room only to return a few seconds later armed with every cleaning utensil he can find. He then starts clearing out the room. Initially, he takes his time, taking each item off the shelves and inspecting it before deciding what to do with it. But as each dog-eared novel and notebook full of scribbles is salvaged from the dust and dirt of the shelves, old memories resurface themselves to mock and taunt him. Memories of days where writing was his life and words tumbled out of him like droplets onto a page, and the world around him held the fascination of a child. But too many rejections from snotty publishers can make a man bitter in his ways, and soon his bubble of ignorance was torn as the world became cruel and unforgiving. Suddenly the passion of the world was gone, and a dream to write died along with this room.
Memories flood back like flames, taunting him with their flickering, fiery tongues. Fury filling his core, he flings out his arms and pushes every item into bin bags, grabbing books, ornaments and ornate ink pens and throwing them to walls, ignoring the glass smashing and ricocheting off the walls. Ripped pages fall like burning ashes to a floor filled with shattered glass and puddles of blue ink stains sinking into the carpet.
His crazed cleaning does not stop until he grabs hold of an old glass photo frame and a jagged edge catches his skin. He curses loudly as it draws blood and looks down towards his cut, only to be stopped short by what he sees.
It’s an old frame, a photograph within that had been blocked and almost faded from memory. He sees himself, a young man of only twenty, standing beside his childhood hero, a published author whose name he cannot recall now. He looks upon the uncontrollable smile on the young him’s face, the eyes shining with childlike eagerness, and that day comes back to him like a bolt of lightning. He remembers meeting this man, and sharing with him the hope of one day joining him with the esteemed title of ‘author’, his love of writing and wanting to write forever. And most of all he remembers the author looking at him with an almost fatherly smile, patting his shoulder and saying, ‘If you want it enough you can do it. Never give up on a dream like that.’
The statement echoes through the man’s head and around the room, bouncing and echoing off the bare walls. Never give up on a dream like that. The frame drops from between his shaking fingers, landing with a dull thud below him. He stops; sinks slowly to the ground. Everything is too much. How could he forget this? How happy he had been then, how full of joy and life… memories flood back once more, but this time like rushes of water coaxing the tears from his eyes as he falls forward onto his hands, sobs rocking his whole body. He balls up his fists and beats the ground, yelling to a man who is not there, who cannot hear him.
‘Never give up?! You can’t even begin to unravel an idea before reality shoots it dead now! I’ve been shot down one too many times, I’m wounded. I GIVE UP. I can’t get back up this time.’
The cold, empty shelves stare at the man sunken and broken in the centre of the room with blank, harsh stares. Tiny speckles of blood spurt from a cut in his hand, but that short, sharp pain is nothing compared to the tearing of his heart, the thumping of his head, the desolate thud as his stomach drops. No pain could compare to that of a man falling apart from the seams. Tears fall relentlessly from his eyelids, and his body lurches forward and back with pain, as emotion floods out of him in a tidal wave of desperation, total loss and turmoil.
‘I can’t get back up this time,’ he whispers, his eyes shut to try to bottle in the pain, ‘I can’t get back up.’


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Daydreaming

It’s always late at night when eyes flutter closed,
That hopes and dreams truly show themselves,
In the darkness images burst into life and I see,
For the first time, all that I want.
A quiet café in Paris, late October, I see a girl,
Pen poised above paper, eyes closed in thought,
A forgotten coffee sits untouched and slowly cooling,
A pastry crumbles in her contemplating hands.
An idea strikes like lightning through her mind,
Her eyes dance with delight as she comes to life,
Pastry drops through fingers, pen frantically scribbles,
Line after line floods onto paper.
Finished, she dots the last word; triumphantly drops the pen,
Lifts the coffee and winces at the cold, metallic taste.
Shifted back to reality, she shakes her head, grabs her coat,
Passes the waitress a distracted smile as she goes.
Hands in pockets, she steps through streets of strangers,
Curious eyes soaking in every brick, sign and face she sees,
She walks without conversation, but her mind rambles on,
Every ebb of her imagination filling the silence around her.
And it is that girl I see every time I close my eyes,
The girl lost in a world of her own, caught up in her very own story,
The girl, that when brought out of dreams into reality,
Could maybe someday become me.


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I want to know you.

There’s so many things about you I want to know. I want to see the real you, and everything that moulds you and makes you, you. There’s so many questions I want to ask you.

I want to know what your favourite season is, whether you prefer stripping down or wrapping up. I want to know if you have hay fever, or if you get a bad cold every Christmas. I want to know your favourite day of the week. I want to know if you like Saturday nights or Sunday mornings best. I want to know how you wake up each morning. Do you sleep sprawled out across the covers or curled in? I want to know if you hum a tune as you put your bread in the toaster. Do you prefer butter or jam? I wonder if you dance about your kitchen, or do you read a book? I want to know the thoughts swirling through your mind as you stir your coffee. Do you have sugar in your coffee, milk? Or maybe you drink tea. These are the things I want to know.

I want to know whether you’re an outdoors person, or whether inside is your haven. I want to know if you like forest walks or beach expeditions. Are you adventurous? I want to know what music you like, or do you like a bit of everything? I want to see you listen to your favourite song, I want to know your favourite song. I want to know if you nod your head in time, or tap your fingers on the table. Do you sing along? Or do you just listen? I want to know if you read books on rainy days, if you like thrillers or fantasy novels better. I want to know if you have a cat that follows you about the house. I want to see you watch movies. I want to know if you cry at the sad parts, and I want to see you laugh uncontrollably. I want to know if you stay up all night or prefer to fall straight to sleep. Are you afraid of the dark? Are you brave? I want to know what you’re afraid of, or find out you have no fears at all.

I want to know what you think about the future, whether you’re planning for an impending zombie apocalypse or saving up for uni. I want to know where you want to travel, what you want to see, what you want to be. Do you want money, fame, love? Do you want 12 kids and a small cottage or a small studio above a shop? I want to see your face light up as you carefully explain your hopes and dreams. Are you afraid of the future, like me? I want to know if you’ll visit your family, if you have friends in exotic places. I want to know if you have big plans. I wonder if you have any plans at all. Maybe you prefer to go with the flow.

I want to know about your interests, your loves, your hates, your past, your present, your future. I have so many questions filling up my head with their clutter about you. I wonder if you think about any of these things at all. Maybe some day I’ll pluck up the courage to ask you.