Monday, 14 January 2013

Re-Meet Me

My lovely blogof, Elise Fallson, has started up (along with some partners in crime) a 're-meet' blogfest, where we can all share our wonderfulness - and our woes - to friends old and hopefully friends new.

So this is me, Mark, and welcome to 'The Open Hearth'. If you wish to read through the fiction I've written, take a look in the left hand column, third pane down. I hope you find something that you enjoy :)

Apologies for the (initial) lack of content here. Real life can be so inconsiderate at times, and couple that with a senile brain and you've got a recipe for... well, crap, basically.

Now, I'm afraid I can't produce any musical (as I am not that way blessed) videos, nor am I going to deliver anything on video that would allow anyone to take me seriously ever again - not that some of you do as it stands... yes, you know who you are! :P

So, without further ado, allow me to re-introduce myself by means of a small life history...

Christened with the name of Mark, I was made self-conscious of my name when a dear neighbour joked that if called repeatedly the sound could be mistaken for a dog with a hair lip barking. At the tender age of 9 I was not amused. Adults can be so cruel sometimes.

Initially a very artistic little chap, I was in love with felt tipped pens and pads of paper... and Dr Who, especially the Daleks. As I grew, my love for all things sci-fi took hold and then I read my first paperback book: Day of the Daleks. And so I discovered books. Proper books, as I used to think of them; books that grown ups read. So now I was beginning to feel far more grown up.

Life moved on...

I grew, drew less, forgot about my felt tipped pens and paper pads in favour for speedo trunks, swimming caps and goggles - I had been enrolled into the City of Cardiff Swimming Club. My wonderful aunt and uncle do this for me, 'to get me off street corners', my uncle says, ruffling my hair. They are the best.
I swam up and down, fast and slow. I raced and lost, and raced some more and won, then won again, and won some more... and more... and more. Their pride was comforting, my aunt a record keeper of everything I did.
And I then fell in love, and fell out of training. Six years gone in a smile and a fluttering heartbeat.

Life changed...

I grew some more, and work beckoned. Drifting from one job to the next, this was my path, to be set adrift on a sea of the unknown, a voyage of discovery. Of jobs fair and foul, of hours long and hard. I met people I liked, some I disliked and there were those I didn't care for at all.

Life changed some more...

I trained my body once more in martial arts. I loved life. I was free to do as I wished. There were ups and downs, more jobs, more times alone. Late nights in night clubs with friends, my evolution was nocturnal. I walked at night and slept by day. I learnt much about life, but less about myself... and still I grew.

An unwelcome visitor enters my life...

Laid in a hospital bed, eyes closed, breath shuddering, agonising pauses between. We sat, we watched uncomfortably and waited. My aunt was drowning in her own fluid. My uncle drawn and lost, a shadow of himself.
At home I get the call. Death has claimed my aunt. I have a task to fulfill and it makes me sick to my stomach.
My mother is placing washing out on the line, the sun is shining, the air is fresh. She smiles as she sees me, it breaks my heart. She sees my face, the look. I pause, not knowing how to tell my mother her sister is dead.
It is the first of several such moments I reduce my mother to tears. Life has changed.

Life moves on. Fast forward...

I sit holding my dying uncle's hand in a hospital room. His eyes are shut, I stare at his chest, and watch the rise and fall stuttering. He says my name and squeezes my hand. Lost for words I smile back and rub the back of his care-worn hand held in mine. I suddenly wish I'd swam faster, trained harder and given so much more in return.
Death once more pays a visit.

And on and on...

I'm in a job then out of a job - repeat. I live, I train, but no direction. I become a part-time soldier. Life is good, training hard, living each day as it comes. Then Camp America comes calling, I answer. Pennsylvania here I come. Hugs and kisses for my mother and father, from whom he presses and envelope into my hand. I read his spidery writing and on it it says, "Have a great time".
People are good, fun times, crazy happenings, making friends.
Four weeks roll by.
Early morning on camp I get the call, 'phone home'. My sister's voice, "dad has died".
Thirty-six hours and my feet are back home. I hug my mother who is crying again. I don't speak, just hold her tight. Three days later I hold my father's hand for the last time, memories of all the work those hands had done, the labours of love, hard graft and fun. And all the words they spoke and taught me, for he was born deaf and mute. All gone, left cold. There are times when I still try on his wedding ring, gently run my finger over the smooth, worn gold and smile, then I return it to the box and close the drawer.

And still we move on...

Years fall by, events are many. Life has changed me. Wedding day, gathered faces. Family and loved ones, friends and guests. The church is filled with a wonderful voice, its song rises upward, as we sign our names. Wayne did us proud that day, thank you my friend. At the wedding table a speech I made. It was not written or prepared, but hopefully from the heart. I toasted those who could not be with us to share the moment, thinking of my father, my uncle and my aunt.
A degree I have now, in graphic design. Was it right or wrong, it might be now. But life was good, happy times are plenty. Friends are frequent, the fun is plentiful. The twenty-sided dice is god, this is my release, the freedom my imagination craves.

It has begun...

Life never stops, always changing and challenging. I have a story to tell, as do we all. But this one insists on being a reluctant child, shy and rarely seen, still in the womb if you will. I have yet to give it birth, but still I try, and try, but still it hides.
So the blog is born. My days of the twenty-sided die are long gone, as are the friends whom shared it, but in this blog I've been able to revisit and recall. My love is the word and the imagination, as to how well I tell a tale is another matter, but for me it keeps in mind days of which I have to share.

This is me, I'm pleased to re-meet you, and if you are new, then well met.
I know it seems a long tale of woe, but forgive the telling but I had no control. Such it is with words and phrases, there are times when they seem to flow across the pages.

This is me, my name is Mark.


  1. DM, Thanks for the shout out and for joining in!

  2. Big smile over here! You know I'm a big fan of your writing. (:

    1. Then buy my book... one day... if it were ever to happen *sigh* ;)
      Still waiting for you to let us know when you're going to visit Cardiff - you'll have two very knowledgeable tour guides at your disposal :)

    2. I am certain you will get published. And rest assured I will buy your book(s) but ONLY if you sign it first. (; Would love to get out to Cardiff. My budget is super tight right now, but maybe sometime in May after A-Z. Are you going to be participating again by chance?

  3. Hi Mark! I already know you :-) But just dropping in anyway. Yes, you'll get published, I feel it in my bones...

    1. Hehehe... thank you, Susan. But in all honesty, I was only joking when I said that. I seriously do not consider myself to be a writer. That takes dedication and persistence, and I don't feel I possess either.

  4. Replies
    1. And good to meet you also - so many blogs to visit. Makes the head spin a bit.

  5. Do the Welsh have this deep, dark side? Makes great writers, though, so much to pull from. And I will buy one of your books, since I am not a writer-writer, but a "lover of words."

    1. I think words are the currency of life; they give life to so many wonderful things, but like everything else, are open to abuse and manipulation, which is such a sad thing.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today. Nice to meet you, and I appreciate your honesty in your sharing.

  7. Wow Mark. You've been around death a lot. But it seems to have made you a very compassionate, feeling person. So you know sign language, then. I've always wanted to learn. I find it fascinating. I've been to lovely Cardiff once. Picked up a nice wooden love spoon that my dog destroyed years later. Ah, the memories. :)

    Great to learn more about you!

    1. Heeey there - so good to see you back :) Glad you could make it, hope all is well with you?

  8. Aloha Mark K,

    Mark K here :)

    I've been meaning to drop by and use the above lines, but now I'm glad I waited until now - because it's an interesting live you lead and a great voice you have.

    What's weird is I have another connection to the Cardiff area, but that can wait until later.

    *Thanks* for being honest and leaving it all out there.

    1. Now you know there's only room for one Mark K... I feel a showdown looming on the horizon ;)

      So very cool to meet a fellow Mark K, and a Celt to boot! :)

  9. Hey Mark. I'm glad you shared part of your life here. It feels like you shared part of your soul too. I often look back on my life and wish things had been different, but like you said, life moves on. I'm glad to have met you last year during A-Z, and I'm very glad to have gotten the chance to re-meet you, today.

    1. *Shudders* that dreaded A-Z! Not sure if I am brave enough to do it this year? But, I did meet some wonderful bloggers out there, nott o mention one or two fruit-loops.

      So glad we had this chance to re-meet, though I'm a bit nervous after seeing your video - how do you stay so young looking? Are you an alien, by chance?

  10. Really lovely, touching post. I haven't had the heart-breaking experience of losing so many loved ones. Interesting how life is so affected by the visitations of Death.

    "I know it seems a long tale of woe, but forgive the telling but I had no control. Such it is with words and phrases, there are times when they seem to flow across the pages."

    No need to forgive. The best and most touching tales come from the experience of no control, of surrendering to the flow. :)

    Nice to re-meet you!