Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

Archive for the tag “Relationships”

Friday Fictioneers — A Girl Named Ivy

Genre: Metaphorical fiction
Word Count: 100

A GIRL NAMED IVY

He was the rock upon which she depended, and she the roots that kept him grounded. Her shoots started out tiny and controllable. He drip-fed them and kept her all to himself, pruning her into shape with his clipped truth.

Over time, his credibility diminished and her urge to grow escalated. “I want to see the sun,” she told him, as she clawed at his shade.

“It will burn you up,” he said, knowing that she was about to knock the top off his world.

She reached for the sky, eroding and suffocating him.

Behold that ruin she can’t escape.

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 Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: copyright © Roger Bulltot 

Review: Christy Birmingham’s Poetry Collection “Versions of The Self”

 

Versions of the Self

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THE POETRY COLLECTION AS DESCRIBED BY CHRISTY 

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

MY REVIEW

Christy Birmingham has written her poetry collection Versions of The Self from the first-person viewpoint because it’s about her personal journey. At first I found the constant use of the word “I” off-putting, but my initial reaction fast metamorphosed into feeling privileged, as a reader, to share in Christy’s honest account of putting herself back together, having had a relationship with someone who did his best to destroy her.

She tells of her deep love for this man and his gradual undermining of her confidence through mind-games and abuse, before leaving her for another woman. The form of manipulation she describes him inflicting upon her, is an archetypical use of what psychologists call “gaslighting”, in which the perpetrator’s tactics of manipulation ultimately cause the victim to no longer trust her own judgment. In fact, Christy does have a BA in Psychology and it’s possible that her area of study has retrospectively contributed towards her ability to express in words her traumatic experience.

What follows is an account of a woman lying in fragments, who must somehow learn to see herself as a whole person again and think herself worthy of love, or able to trust another to give of her love to him. It makes incredibly emotive reading, as she makes a detailed examination of the fragments, draws them together, starts to trust her own judgment, and rediscovers joy. It’s a redefining of her as a person, as she comes to accept that she cannot undo her experiences or lose the memory of them, but she can learn to move on beyond them and be a valid human being, with so much to give to the world. In fact, what I loved about Christy’s account was that not for a moment did she wallow in self-pity. Often, I wanted to give her a big hug and say “you are so, so brave. Go for it, gal!”

This poetry collection makes such an emotive read and would speak volumes to people who have or still are experiencing what Christy describes. I loved the way the writing flowed along in free verse with such forward momentum, occasionally pausing on its journey for detailed contemplation of a tiny detail. Christy has such a unique way of organising words and a fresh way of describing exactly what she means, but from a lateral slant.

A highly recommended read.

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Connect with Christy at her wonderful blog Poetic Parfait.

And on social media…

Twitter
Google +
Goodreads
Pinterest

Versions of The Self (kindle & paperback) is available at
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
amazon.ca
Plus other Amazon stores

 

November’s Guest Storyteller, Christy Birmingham

Christy Birmingham 600x600

Christy Birmingham is a poet, author and freelance writer in British Columbia, Canada. Her debut poetry collection Pathways to Illumination is available exclusively at Redmund Productions. If you haven’t been by her blog Poetic Parfait yet, check it out. You can also find Christy on Twitter.

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Shoveling Conversation

We stood, I threw onions, we never left… in our minds.

It was Thursday, and we weren’t any more drunk than usual. Only a few bottles of Merlot in and already Alex was throwing words my way that amounted to a hit that felt like a shovel to the face.

“You can’t tell me that,” he said. “You told me – you said you wanted to give her up for adoption. How was I to know you didn’t mean it?”

I didn’t hear anything other than give her up for adoption. His mouth moved in ways that I wish I had never felt on my body.

I threw the onion I had been cutting up at the kitchen counter at him. It hit his left ear and he looked at me with the astonishment I wish I had received months ago.

I didn’t know if my tears were true or fake, like our love. Either way, the knife in my hand wasn’t keeping anyone safe around here, and my wine glass was less than halfway full.

 

©2014 Christy Birmingham

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Sarah says: Thank you so much, Christy, for guest storytelling this month. Your piece of flash fiction illustrates so accurately the breakdown in communication that can happen between males and females just because their brains are wired-up differently. I wonder how many times in history men have said to women “how was I to know you didn’t mean it?”.

You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

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