Categories
Books Bullying

From Distort to Despair

Sometimes, there’s just too much technology to learn when all I really want to do is to write and edit.

This month, I’ve been taking part in one of those Instagram challenges. Here it is:

Today’s word (yesterday’s actually), DISTORT, led me to insert an extract from my book, Cultivating a Fuji, or at least to try. I struggled to insert the extract in a post, so I decided to put the extract in a comment, but that didn’t work either.

I think it’s an important extract that shows a lot about people and life. So I’m putting it here instead. What does it make you think of? Does it remind you of any episodes in your past?

July 1968

Trevor’s dad looked up from reading Trevor’s end-of-fourth form report, a sour grimace distorting his countenance. He particularly disliked the comment from the maths teacher: “What has Trevor been doing for the last four years? Certainly not studying maths. His mark in the last exam is atrocious.”

“A son of mine should be able to do better than that,” Dad told Trevor.

By this time, Trevor had picked up a thing or two from all those around him. He might not have bothered with studying, but he’d filled his brain with tips for navigating his way through life. Searching for one that would help him now, he soon came across it. Point the finger back at them. Yes, that would work. “Were you good at maths, then?” he asked.

“No, but I knew how to just squeeze past the red line by the skin of my teeth.”

Hmm. Next tip. Get sympathy. “But I don’t understand half the stuff we’re learning. I need help. Can’t you get me a private teacher?”

“Private teachers cost a lot of money, son. Look, this is what you need to do. Find some kid who’s good at maths and offer him something he needs in return for helping you.”

“What if I don’t have what he needs, or I don’t want to give it to him?”

“I didn’t say you have to give it to him. Listen to me. I said offer it. When you don’t need him any more, you find a way of getting out of your part of the bargain.”

Seven-year-old Trevor would have found it hard to accept such advice, but at fifteen he had a completely different sense of fairness. The new sense told him it was fair to look after number one first. In fact, he generally took it even further and looked after number one exclusively.

Trevor soon had a victim in mind, one who fitted the bill perfectly. He was good at maths; he needed something; Trevor could promise it; Trevor could easily renege on his promise. As soon as the new term started, Trevor went in search of his prey.

As usual, he stood alone in a corner of the playground, feet together, back straight, and head down. As if he’d been given a punishment. In that position, it was easy to, well, corner him and announce a proposition. Trevor went over to him and laid a hand on his shoulder.

“Martin, I’ve been thinking. We could be friends. Would you like that?”

Martin blinked and nodded.

“You could come round to my place sometime, and I could go to yours.”

Martin’s eyes opened wider. His mouth, too.

Trevor could hardly believe how easy this was. “We’ll have to arrange it. In the meantime, I’m having a bit of trouble with differentiation. I missed some lessons, or I didn’t pay attention. You know what it’s like. Can you explain it to me?”

“Yes.”

Poor Martin. But also, poor Trevor. Because it takes many years for Trevor to realise that looking solely after number one isn’t a good policy for life.

Cultivating a Fuji is available from Amazon.

Categories
Books Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Skye

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m visited today by an anxious character, who longs to be like the rest but needs to hold back. No, this isn’t social anxiety. Skye has a troubled past and is trained to leave nothing behind. Writing a letter isn’t something she would be able to do very often and she’d have to be under a lot of stress to write one.

Skye is the main character in Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree. Here’s her letter:

Reece, my love.

You left me. You made me stay behind. Your actions saved our son, but we’ve had to hide ever since you died. Why can’t you have found a way out?

I move around a lot. I don’t make friends and they probably don’t even notice when I’m gone. Each new town brings a new name, a new career, but Leo is tiring of the game. He wants to settle in one place, for us to stop running. It’s been years, but I’m scared that if they found you, they could find us. I’m lonely. I miss you.

I’m trying to be a good mum but it’s hard on my own. You’ll remember that my cooking is really bad, but our son never complains. He’s a good boy. You’d love him… if only you were here.

I’m going to try and stop scowling at the parents at Leo’s new school, for his sake not mine. He wants us to stay here in the cottage I’ve found. Maybe I can become the mum you always said I could be, before this, before you were gone. The fire in the hearth is warm tonight and I’ll send this letter up to you in the flames, as I can’t leave it here. Something has got to change. I need to change. I’m tired of being alone. I’m sorry. I love you.

Skye.

I hope Skye succeeds in changing, for her sake as well as for her son.

About Ninja School Mum

Ninja School Mum by Lizzie ChantreeObsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

About Lizzie Chantree

Lizzie ChantreeLizzie is an award winning author, inventor and businesswoman. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products and driving her family mad ever since!

Lizzie appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others for becoming one of Fair Play London’s Female Innovators and inventing a ‘ladder’ stop spray for hosiery.

Lizzie lives with her gorgeous family and a very unusual dog in the English countryside. In between the school run and baking cakes (or burning them!), she sits in her rooftop studio writing contemporary romance novels and daydreaming about new product designs. Lizzie’s books often feature unusual businesses and entice you in to the romantic life of the slightly eccentric entrepreneurs that run them!