Tag Archives: stars

When Darkness Falls – the Midnight Hour

What is your favourite time of the day?
Is it dawn with the light of a new day,
or the gloaming twilight and the indigo blanket
that sweeps across the sky bringing night?

When Darkness Falls - The Midnight Hour - The Last Krystallos
I love the night, the dark, the stars, and the romance of the cloak that night draws over us as dusk trails into starlight. I’ve always loved the dark, the late autumn evenings moving into the dark, cosy nights of winter have always brought me comfort. Maybe it’s because I like to hide away, maybe because I’m a night owl, maybe it’s just because I’m a stargazer and a dreamer…

Loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night - Sarah Williams - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Just as some love the break of dawn and a new day, I love the closing of the day, its end and a time to snuggle down and sleep.

I wonder if the time of day we like the most says something about us? Perhaps those who love the sunrise and a new morning are more positive and forward thinking. Maybe those who love midday love the hustle and bustle of a lively world and enjoy being in the present. Maybe those of us who adore the quiet, solitary hours in the middle of the night are perhaps reminiscent, not negative, but maybe we dwell a little too long on the past? There might be nothing in my pseudo-psychology, but I know I might enjoy the night a little more as a dreamer.

Memory - Midnight - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I was recently listening to Memory the song from the musical Cats and it never fails to make me cry. My throat tightens and my eyes are wet every time the words fill my soul. I remember the song from my childhood, one of those classics that stay with you forever, like On My Own from Les Miserables. Memory is so evocative, so real, so heartfelt, and so lonely, and I relate with every fibre of my being. I have spent too many nights standing beneath the moon in the early hours…

On My Own - Midnight - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

But, the night brings so much more than just memories…

It brings stars, searching out Orion as a child with my dad, teaching my children about the constellations, watching the Perseids meteor showers, and gazing at the ISS – International Space Station as it moves overhead like a single-minded shooting star.

It brings safety, home, and nights cuddled up with my family.

It brings solace after a tough day.

It brings late nights out and excitement at being out when others have gone to bed.

It brings rest, sleep, and relief, and dreams.

It brings love.

It brings silence, and introspection, imagination, and inspiration. I get some of my best ideas, clarity, and moments of sheer genius late, late at night. The early, early hours are when plot holes fix themselves, characters decide what they want to do, and endings of novels are resolved.

Stargazer Lisa The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I love the night, the stars, its encompassing darkness, and the velvet night sky.

What is your favourite time of the day, and why do you love it?  

At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon. Edgar Allen Poe - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

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Dragons, Stars, and Works in Progress

Look at the stars look how they shine for you and everything you do…
this is my stargazing year.

Dragons, Stars, and Works in Progress - The Last Krystallos

This post is perhaps more for me than anyone else, but it means I have something in writing which makes a difference.

Goals that are not written down are just wishes – Fitzhugh Dodson - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

My plans for this year encompass change and small steps, but steps that will take me to the stars – to reach them and write about them.

I have a few secret projects involving art and writing and marketing, and the continuation of The Seren Stone Chronicles. So, to fit my mental health I’m taking small steps, one thing at a time.

small steps - dragons, stars, wip - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

A Symphony of Dragons is doing very well – if you’ve read it I could do with more reviewsreviews help us reach much larger audiences – and my marketing is concentrating on this beautiful book of short stories, though my marketing will expand again later in the year.

A Symphony of Dragons - Lisa Shambrook - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Last year I completed The Seren Stone, and it’s almost at its beta reading stage. I have a couple of changes to add, then it’ll go out to my readers, before arriving back and going through more changes (see, I said this is a year of change!). While The Seren Stone is out in the hands of its betas I’ll be working on paintings and hopefully have some news for you in the Spring.

I can’t wait to begin working on the first draft of the second book in the series. It’s all mapped out and ready to go, and as the daffodils and tulips bloom so will the book. The third book of the trilogy will hopefully get its first draft late in the year, and once I am sure all three work together then plans to get The Seren Stone out there will move forward. I’m planning on releasing it Spring 2019, with its sequels in 2020 and 2021.

I also plan to write more flash fiction, writing exercises that promote inspiration, skill, and fun. My life feels very tight and restricted right now, so, letting loose with my words will be cathartic.

Look at the stars look how they shine for you and everything you do – Coldplay – The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Life hasn’t been easy and though I’m currently off medication because the side effects were so severe, my anxiety and panic attacks are still spiking. I’m trying to work through this year by removing the main triggers for anxiety, anything to stop the urge to run, and counter the waves of panic that build within my chest. Part of that is learning to put myself first for a change. That may mean I’m negligent in other areas, but sometimes you need to go right back to the basics and learning to accept yourself is part of that.

I’m planning to fly with my dragons this year and reach the stars.

Light Up Your Life – Be a Star

How do we deal with darkness and light in our lives?

Light Up Your Life - Be a Star - The Last Krystallos

Terry Pratchett in Reaper Man wrote: ‘Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.’

…but I agree with Robert D. Hales that ‘Light dispels darkness. When light is present, darkness is vanquished and must depart. More importantly, darkness cannot conquer light unless the light is diminished or departs.’

Moreover, Teal Swan tells us: ‘There is no source of darkness in this universe. There is only the presence of light and the absence of light. Darkness does not exist; it only appears to exist. In truth, it is only the absence of light.’

Both Light and Dark - J. K. Rowling - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

However you choose to deal with the two elements, they will touch your life. The old Indian legend: There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is: which wolf wins? The one you feed. Offers the best insight into how we should deal with them.

I often feel, though, that darkness has been given a bad narrative, I like the dark. I love winter and its cosy early nights, I love being out beneath the stars, and sliding beneath a warm duvet to sleep in the pitch black is heavenly. I’m more comfortable with dark colours, earthy tones, and have a black cat. The dark has its place, without it our internal clocks would go crazy, and so would we!

We need the dark to appreciate the light. Like all opposites, without it life would be dull and unrewarding. Even if we use symbolic darkness, we still need sadness, despair, pain, and trials to know and love happiness, joy, good health, and fulfilment.

Stars can't shine without darkness - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

And after all: Stars can’t shine without darkness…

We’ve all been through dark times and, generally, come out the other side better people. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is most welcome. Darkness gives us the opportunity to grasp light and embrace it. Eleanor Roosevelt said: ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness…’ Light your candle and let your light shine.

I’ve written before on who we are, and we’re all a mixture of light and dark, but it would be good to allow our sparkle to shine. We can be positive, happy, and bright, and shine like stars.

Dance until the stars fall from the sky and fill your hair with sparkle and light - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

We are an intrinsic part of this universe, whether you feel it spiritually or physically. In Cosmos, Carl Sagan tells us: ‘The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.’ We are made with the same atoms, molecules, and particles as stars… Think about that for a moment. In fact, this quote from sci-fi writer Doris Lessing enchants me: ‘We are all creatures of the stars and their forces, they make us, we make them, we are part of a dance from which we by no means and not ever may consider ourselves separate.’  So, let’s shine like them.

How do you see yourself? Are you made from the same stuff as stars? Whether you believe in Deity, Humanism, Atheism, or you are just Agnostic, DNA and the science of genetics is undeniable. However we dress it up we are created, made, formed with interstellar dust!

And whenever I talk about dust I am pulled right back into Lyra’s world in Philip Pullman’s: His Dark Materials… I won’t give away what Dust is, but it is integral to consciousness. Go read the books…

Light is a fluid of sunbeams - At-Tunikhi - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

So, light and dark, particles, DNA, and dust, interstellar stardust, are part of us. When we feel dark, or lost in the shadows, we can light the way. Light lives within us, and we can emit it without even thinking. Imagine what we can do if we choose to? ‘To be a star you must follow your own light, follow your own path, and never fear the darkness for that is when the stars shine their brightest.’

Shinesparkle, glitter, effervesce, shimmer, and glow with the light that lives within you.

Light replaces darkness - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Find your path, join your constellation, follow your dreams…
Know that when darkness falls it will always be replaced by light.

‘Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.’
– Sarah Williams, Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse

TLT Throwback – Alone

TLT 15 Alone

My fingers thread through strings of cosmic fairy lights,

drawing acres of studded satin across the glitter globe.

And beneath the stillness of infinity, I bring night’s dance…

round-tlt

Joining in Grace Black’s TLT Throwback – Fifteen, as I just couldn’t resist this photograph.

Prompt: Alone. 3 lines, 10 words max per line…

Blues Buster: Stars (Waiting on a Dream)

girl_watching_city_at_night-1920x1080

Girl Watching City at Night Free Download Wallpaper at chaoswallpapers.com

 Stars (Waiting on a Dream)

From his perch atop the city, it seemed he could see the entire world.

Below, electricity wreathed the ground in a geometric web of light, winking and flickering in the frigid cold, like a supercharged network created by a techno Jack Frost. Twinkling gold lit up the entire spread of community; interspersed with blinks of red and green ruling the roads, and swathes of neon crawling throughout downtown.

The docks rose in the distance, towering cranes, great shadows on the horizon and the harbour lights danced on black water. The river snaked like a python, like a dark chasm amid the lights and city sprawl, and moved silently through the urban spread until it flicked its tail and faded into the glow on the horizon.

He stared intently at the mathematical placement of roads, intersections and buildings, at the strings of lights that threaded the cityscape, before casting his eyes heavenward and releasing a sigh.

Stars glittered and the moon hung in the indigo sky like a silver marble.

He laughed inwardly, his lip beneath his whiskers curling lightly. He shivered and blew into his cold, weathered hands as the dark sky and dotted galaxies sneaked through his coat. He turned his attention again to the metropolis at his feet.

As he drank in the view, he shifted his weight on the park bench and pulled his camel skin coat close. The city had been his for a while, just a while, just enough to make a name for himself, but there was more to life than fame, and more to this city than cold, twinkling lights. There were better things than your name in lights, better things than hard, gold statuettes, better things than this.

He had no regrets, but she’d been gone for a while, and he missed her.

He liked hearing his name on the lips of others, but no voice beat hers. He adored the cheering of the fans, but her smile was worth more. Oscars shone on his mantelpiece, but no accolade was as soft and satisfying as her sweet kiss.

“I’m coming home, sweetheart…” The words barely left his lips, but they whispered in the raw night air and warmed him.

For a few moments his rheumy eyes wandered the city, remembering, and finally came to rest on the small patch of grass before him. He recalled the young girl kneeling there, staring down across the city in wonder, before leaning over to kiss him. He closed his eyes to capture the moment.

The night wind blew across the city, and up the hillside, chilling his bones and messing his unruly white hair, and he smiled. “I’m coming home…”

Snow began to fall. Soft, thick snowflakes slipped from the sky and grey clouds gently moved across the hillside. The morning would come and the city would slumber beneath a blanket of white, and a lone runner, atop the hill, would alert the authorities to the snow-covered mound on the bench. Blue lights would ride up the hillside, despite the snow, and headlines would be made, but it wouldn’t matter to him, because he’d risen far above the cityscape, far above the snow – and had returned home to the stars and to her soft, sweet kiss.

(541 Words)

My entry into Jeff’s Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files. The prompt song is Lee Ranaldo’s ‘Waiting on a Dream’ and my interpretation took a while coming, but I got there!

Sometimes Stars Fall from the Sky – Depression

‘There, but for the grace of God, go I’

Rain_the_last_krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Several billion years after its life starts, a star will die. Some will fade into a black dwarf and others will explode in a supernova. I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand astrophysics, but stars die and fade across our infinite galaxies – all the time.

Orion_cut_of_Hubble_heic0206j

Orion – Hubble Telescope

Do we notice them go? We cannot even comprehend the size of our universe, let alone its number of stars, but imagine if Orion’s Rigel (Beta Orionis), one of the brightest stars in our night sky, forming the Hunter’s left knee, went out? Or Mintaka, one of stars forming his belt disappeared – it would be headline news.

For each star that fades, light is lost. On August 4th we remembered those who’d lost their lives in World War One. Many flames extinguished amid sacrifice. And yesterday we remembered a single star Robin Williams, who lost his battle with life itself.

The worst thing in life, alone... Robin WilliamsFor each star that falls, we mourn.

More often than not, we don’t control the way we go, but sometimes, our life is in our own hands and this is when death touches me more.

I do not fear death. I’m comfortable with my beliefs and fear not walking into that valley, and it’s a route I’ve considered, holding my precious life within my own hands.

Yesterday felt personal to me, and a quote, from an amazing blog post I read, resonated: ‘…here’s the thing about his death that is hurting so many people right now: when someone who publicly advocates for a disease that you’re intimately familiar with decides the pain is too much to bear – even with every resource available to him – what hope is there for the rest of us who battle this disease on a daily basis?’

Where is hope? According to official statistics, there were 5,981 suicides in the UK in 2012.

Eyes Bekah Shambrook

© Bekah Shambrook

Depression affects a fifth of all adults in the UK. Look around you, that’s 1 in 5 and we hide it well.

We have the highest rate of self-harm in Europe.

Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in Britain, and 1 in 4 people will suffer some kind of mental health problem within a year.

Several times yesterday, I saw the word choice being used. Yes, for most of us there is a choice, but the black dog and society sometimes remove choice and the black hole of depression offers no alternative. 

When I hit my true lows, when I’m sitting at the bottom of the pit with my head in my hands and my eyes closed – I cannot see those around me, I cannot lift an arm or ask to be pulled up. I cannot see further than the gloom and fog that surround me and sometimes the nothing removes my choice. Depression can be a killer.

Isaiah 41.10

Isaiah 41:10

I am lucky, whether it be my faith, or my family, or my friends – someone is there to embrace me and lift me out even when I refuse to move.

So, why, when mental health issues are so prevalent, are we still so unwilling to talk about them? Why are treatments so difficult to find? And why are so many suffering in silence?

She was drowning but nobody saw her struggleI’ve self-harmed since I was 14. Had 6 months of anti-depressants at 18 and was offered pointless group therapy. I had a nervous breakdown at 32, 6 more months of anti-depressants and 9 months of private counselling which successfully resolved one major issue. I rejoiced, believing my depression overcome. I soon discovered that depression is not something you get over, it’s something you get through, until the next time.

During the next decade, depression and anxiety raised their ugly head time and time again. Anti-depressants are the first thing offered by doctors already struggling for resources. My experiences with anti-depressants are not fun. My family prefer me present though anxious and depressed, than an empty, emotionless zombie. I choose not to take anti-depressants for a variety of reasons: I don’t want to sleep my life away, I need my creativity, and I want to be me! Anti-depressants and meds have their place, and they have worked, short-term, for me.

Trying to keep your head above the waves...Tyler Knott GregsonLast year I was offered ‘Stress Management’ to help conquer my crippling anxiety. I took the 6 week course, hoping to talk about and share experiences and find answers. While I won’t criticise the course, which was presented very well, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t find personal answers or help during a weekly 2 hour slide show of things I already knew.  If I want to talk or get personal help on the NHS several years will pass before help is offered. Most depressives won’t put themselves on that list, because they believe there are people more worthy, more desperate and in more need than they, which will be true until they become one of the statistics. Help isn’t offered until you do something desperate.

Anxiety_the_last_krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook/Bekah Shambrook

So my family continue to live with a woman who is flawed, cannot answer the telephone, suffers huge bouts of insecurity and paranoia (even after almost twenty-three years of wonderful marriage to my sweetheart, I still ask “Are you sure you’re happy you married me? Wouldn’t you be better off without me?”). A mother who disappears or runs away when things get too much, who has scars that reappear, who panics, and who slips into interminable black holes.

But you know what made me cry and gives me hope? My youngest listened to a friend who suffers all these things too, and said to her “It’s okay, if you ever need someone I’m here, because someone I love is like you and I know how to deal with it.”  I’m crying because Robin Williams had people like that and still couldn’t win.

Society needs to understand that depression is a hidden illness, and that it’s generally not something you get over.

It’s a lifelong condition.

Someone once said to me “…but you’re okay now, you’ve got over that depression thing…”

You never get over this depression thing – when people understand that, it will be easier for us all to get through, not over, it.

The best way out is through - Robert Frost
Offer support and understanding…and don’t let the stars in your life fall.

Diamonds in the Inky Night Sky…

My Orion’s Belt Murano Glass bead from Lions Paw Jewelry
Last night I stood outside staring up at the stars in absolute wonder…an array of diamonds sparkling against the indigo blanket of night… *sigh*
I adore the night sky and on a cold, crisp and clear night it’s my favourite place to be…staring up at the Orion constellation in particular, which reminds me of my father and childhood stargazing. The night sky is offering two glorious twinkles in Jupiter and Venus right now too, so true wonders to behold!
If you get a clear sky, go and take a look, once the sun has gone to bed…

BCF: Festival

Business Card Fiction is a new Flash Fiction Contest run by @JDWenzel@bullishink and @LillieMcFerrin.
The contest asks us to create a piece of flash fiction from a prompt to fit a business card…and there will be prizes…

This is for their Beta Trial Event and I chose the prompt: FESTIVAL

I chose a font size 13 in Times New Roman, but I’m still thinking that’s quite small…lucky this is a beta event, next time: write less, bigger font! 
Follow @BCFiction on Twitter

The Stars and Our Earth…

I’ve always loved the stars, staring up at the multitude of constellations filling the night sky…

Globular Cluster M15 taken by Hubble Credit Hubble, ESA, NASA

I love standing up at my parent’s house, at the top of the valley overlooking Carmarthen (On a clear day you can see Llanstephan Castle fifteen miles away…) and staring up at the stars. There is so little light pollution up there that you can see a whole arm of the Milky Way sweeping across the sky, millions of twinkling stars…

Yuriearth International Space Station 2003 (Source Wikimedia Commons)

A few years ago we got the children out of bed at midnight and bundled them outside to watch the International Space Station soar overhead… The children were young and it was an out-of-the-ordinary experience for them. Dan, who was about ten-years-old waved, hoping the astronauts would be able to see him!

So this link on Twitter made me smile…
Somehow I don’t think the inhabitants of the ISS saw our wave! 

Have a look at this video of time lapse photographs taken by the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 aboard the International Space Station from August to October 2011… and marvel at the Aurora’s Borealis and Australis… the amazing night view of earth… the lights from our cities that look as if the earth is on fire…and the sheer beauty of the creation that we live on…

Earth at night (Source Wikimedia Commons)