Love the creative process

It’s that time of year where everyone feels inspired. We’re well into spring now (although could there be a bit more regular sun for those dwelling in the UK!?) and people’s creative tastebuds are salivating for more things to do. Whether it’s writing, painting or whatever, now is the time to do something creative. I too am on the bandwagon, having recently decided to continue writing a short-story which only originally intended to be for a flash fiction piece. 12,000 words later and I am inkling to finish it, to show it off in book-form, to give it to friends and family alike and eagerly await their reply.

Don’t we ever just forget to love the creative process? Surely the best part of it all is the bit in the middle where we appreciate and learn about our craft, the actual doing of it and the ideas and the inspiration and all the bits inbetween. We’ve got to learn to ‘love the chaos,’ the ‘middle bit’ because we’ll never manage to conjur up something perfect instantly or out of nothing ourselves. We’ve got to love the work. This is something that I feel I need to learn more and more. To savour all the moments behind the scenes as well as in the front.

Anyway, here are a couple of interesting quotes I found on the ‘creative process’ that might entertain you…

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go afer it with a club.”

Jack London

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche


The benefits of photography for anyone

Photography has only expanded in recent years. It’s clear that what originally started with a single invention of the camera by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, in 1918, has since then escalated into a worldwide phenomenon. From DSLRs to digital cameras and kodak printouts to basic phone photography, you name it, we now have it.

To me there is nothing better than capturing a moment from a press of a button, whether it’s a wedding, being in the great outdoors, a sporting event or a lazy afternoon on the beach, photography is the perfect way of doing this. Having said that there are also lots of ways photography has helped our lives in the field of work too, for example the photography of products (like pictures of homes for estate agents in the window sills or images of toys for a toy magazine…) But it’s more for the reasons of personal pleasure, artistic pursuit and personal moments that I wanted to talk about.

These are 5 different reasons why I think this type of photography is beneficial to anyone involved.

  1. Saves memories – There is no better way to save special moments than by taking photographs. Whether it’s keeping digital photos online, on social meda sites, instagram or printouts at home in physical photo albums, cameras means opportunity for memories saved.
  2. Gets you exercising – It’s true that to hunt down a good picture, for the most part, you have to travel outside and find it. This could mean walking along beaches to get a good coastal shot or up hills and through parks to find a good shot shot.
  3. Releases stress – The very act of taking photos releases stress. You’re in control and can take the picture when and how you want. I think this control can be something very theraputic.
  4. Helps you to see beauty – I think photography forces you to look outside the normal everyday. It helps you to focus more on nature, architecture, design and your general surroundings. It helps you to see the beauty.
  5. Gives you a voice – I think photography can you give you a perspective, or a story to tell. It enables you to communciate with others on many levels.

Why you can’t go wrong with Italian (& life update)

After a couple of days spent at the parents, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been well looked after. It was a time of catching up, jokes, drinks and of course dinner! I love Italian food and I was very pleased to hear that my mum was making just that for two days straight. (yes, these photos were taken by yours truly) Now I know they were simple dishes you’ve probably seen many times before, but for me, any Italian dish is a good one. Whether it’s the succulent spaghetti noodles, the red tomatoey flavoured sauce, the cooked bread base or the garlic bread that goes alongside, I for one fall for it every time. I think partly why I like Italian so much is because the taste isn’t too outrageous, it’s healthy, seasonal, rich in pasta and goes well with wine. To conclude, a good cuisine.

Oh and I recently found out that there are over 350 different shapes of Italian pasta… Isn’t that amazing! Here’s a chart showing just a few of them. You may recognize some of the names. I think the Ruote looks the most appetizing, don’t you?

Now for my life update. In general life is going pretty well. I have lots of new students, many of them originating from France, as one of my specialities is being able to speak French to a fairly good level. My job is that I teach English as a Foreign Language online, in a 1 to 1 setting. It’s very rewarding and I can meet many different types of people from around the world. It’s very conversation based so I get to really know people and have a good time. One of these days I’d like to talk about it more on my blog. As for my hobbies I am still reading, going for walks, meeting with friends and going to the gym when I can. I’d also like to get into taking some more interesting photos… for example when I am going for walks. It would be a great addition to the blog. As for the writing, I am really enjoying creating poems and writing flash fiction (have you noticed?) One of these days I’d like to finish a longer story, but we’ll see, and that takes time.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. What about you? What’s your favourite cuisine? And what hobbies do you have, what are your passions?

Have a great week!

Acer Tree

Acer tree, in the breeze,
How calm and astute you look,
The fountain of knowledge, 
You stay put, and give to those that ask

Acer tree, in the wind,
How calm and patient you seem,
A man of wisdom,
Each breath is true,
Each leaf gives answers anew

Even when the wind runs, 
And the raindrops slide and drip,
You stay sharp, unfaltering,
And lead with example...

by Tom Crossley

Rain, rain go away… (a flash fiction)

‘…It was the type of rain that lingers in the sky before it falls. The type you can smell from a mile off; musky and humid, the scent adrift in the parks and on the streets, the clouds becoming heavier and grey before the final downpour.

When it falls, you hear the sound of the drops hitting the pavements, water beginning to collect at the tip of leaves and the gravel paths of the public parks becoming shiny and wet. Umbrellas begin to appear out of nowhere. People on the high-street flock into the shops, some choosing to stay outdoors under the canopies by the mannequins and the large window displays and wait before the rain is tolerable to venture out into once more.

One man pushes himself through a small crowd huddled by the side of the pavement blocking the way to an office building. Not one of them dares to move.

‘Excuse me,’ he says, as gradually he squeezes through the people. Popping through the other side, he begins to run. Raindrops begin to mark his suit as he dips under more opening umbrellas, his black hair becoming shiny and wet.  Turning a corner he feels a vibration in his pocket. He reaches for his phone. It’s his girlfriend, Monica.

‘Hey babe, I’m just coming,’ he cries, pushing his mobile to his ear.

‘It’s been almost 40 minutes,’ comes her voice, barely tangible through the rain. 

‘Jess, I-’ 

‘-Jess?’ he says thinking he had heard her hang up. He stops in his tracks and looks at his phone screen once more. The line is dead. 

‘Great-’ he mutters.

The rain is close to torrential and there are yelps and screams as a group of tourists run this way and that as they too try to avoid the downpour.

‘Was it ‘Helm’s Street,’ or ‘Gateway?’ he thinks to himself as he glances at the nearest road sign.

‘Great…’ he says, scrolling through his texts, standing there in the wide open of the pavement, recalling where he was meant to be 40 minutes ago.

by Tom Crossley

© Tom Crossley’s Journal 2023

A Superhero Flash Fiction

Maximilian Fritz squinted as he looked at the algebra homework. The equations on the page looked more blurry than usual. He tried to focus. ‘Was that a 6 or an 8…?’ he wondered as he leaned further into the page, ‘And was that a 2 or a 7?’ 

Max slunk down onto the floor. In the shaded side alley of the busy city of Chicago, he was engulfed in the sound of shouts and horns echoing from the nearby busy street. Max turned the page of his textbook. The familiar voice of Luigi from the local pizzeria next door rang out. ‘Hey Stella,’ he said, ‘Have you got the flour?’ 

Pulling out a pen from his bag he began to scribble down some notes for the Math questions that were due for tomorrow. A stray cat slipped by, rubbing his back against Max’s arm. 

‘Was that a 9 or an 8?’ he wondered, squinting back at his textbook.

‘Maybe his mother was right… ,’ he thought,  ‘Maybe he did need glasses after all.’

The truth is Max wasn’t that keen on the idea of getting them.

‘They might call me four eyes’ he thought, thinking about his classmates from school. And the way his sister put her contacts on every morning with the drip and the thin lens over her eyes, that didn’t much appeal to Max either.

The smell of pizza wafted through the side alley as Max continued to try to read.

He had been going to the pizzeria for over 2 years now, to grab a slice after school and to say hi to Luigi and his wife. “I like you kid,” Luigi would say as he would hand Max the free slice of pizza over a paper napkin. It was a time of catching up and Luigi’s jokes.

Max looked at his watch, just 5 minutes to go before his Taekwondo lesson. He shuddered and shut his textbook, even his watch was looking blurry. 


Now inside the dojo, Max finished his session with an impressive double kick in the air. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead.

‘Wow Max,’ said Jason, his trainer, ‘You’re getting better.’

Max smiled. He had been working on the kicks at home in the backyard. It seemed like his practice was paying off. Max was tall for a 15 year old which made his kicks even more striking, thought Jason, his trainer.

It was the end of the session, the students stopping what they were doing, some more out of breath than others. 

‘You guys have done really well today,’ said Jason as he looked at the long line of teens in their Taekwondo outfits fit with belts and barefeet.

by Tom Crossley

© Tom Crossley’s Journal 2023

The Blue Planet (flash fiction)

I pause for a few seconds to catch my breath, then squinting look out across the fields of Elysium, where I see about half a dozen other women harvesting further down, the silent action of their scythes reaping the grain. Sunlight reflects off the wheat and a cool wind passes by, for which I am momentarily thankful for and for a second I almost feel a sense of peace…

‘Elizabeth, we’ll not be finished by 6 if you don’t get back to it,’ comes a gentle voice behind me as I turn and see Mary Campbell standing there sweetly, her cornette protruding sideways from her head. I nod.

It’s 6.30pm and we have just a few minutes before we are to prepare ourselves for dinner. Other girls are changing or reading some verses as the time quickly passes by. As for me, I am by the window, the quiet sound of giggling behind me, some girls attending to some crochet by the fire. I am tired for the day, but still I’d rather be by myself, close to the window. I look up to the night sky and see the ‘Blue Planet,’ our twin planet with all its colour and magnitude hovering there. The colours exuberating life, of blue, then green and brown, something so different to what I feel now, on our own planet Elysium. 

‘One day,’ I think to myself. One day… I will be free.’

by Tom Crossley

© Tom Crossley’s Journal 2023


Sitting on a tree,
Twisting his head, all care-free,
Thinking of it's snack,
And where to go,
It hangs upside-down,
Then swoops below

Standing on the lawn,
It plucks away,
At the dirt and scraps,
That have come his way,
Looking this way and that,
It turns its head...
Not staying around for too long

 It takes its flight,
And into the sky,
Not leaving enough time,
To say goodbye

by Tom Crossley

A Sci-Fi/Horror flash fiction

My footsteps are the only sound to be heard as I run along the crunchy, destitute road that once made 34th street. Up ahead I see the remains of the top part of the Empire State building leaning against the base of another lesser known skyscraper.

This is my home. Where I’ve learnt to survive ever since I was a little girl. You might think it’s not so bad living in a once metropolis that harboured almost anything and everything to survive. Well yes, but supplies can run out, food can become scarce. It’s been exactly 9 years since the first invasion came and the shadow monsters touched earth.

I run as fast as I can, the sweat pouring from my brow as I breathe heavy pants. I managed to find a secret stash of canned food in the upper east side. But what good is the food if it can’t be returned to those that need it. I run holding it in a plastic bag, knowing that my chaser is a few seconds behind me. Quickly I slide behind a car, like someone sliding in for a home run, I scrape my jeans against the gravelly, old tarmac road. There I huddle behind the old, ruined car. Then I hear it coming, the strange clicking noise, the clicking, rushing sound that you hear when a rollercoaster is about to accelerate down a slope. The speed of the thing is incredible, once you’ve been spotted, you must run.

I hear the traversing sound of the shadow monster as it turns the corner and embarks down 34th street. I huddle behind the car as silent as I can be. Within a split second or so I hear it pass me as it stops there in the middle of the road. I huddle there in-front of the car, the shadow monster just beyond me, it’s back to me as it stops and looks left and then right, like a child crossing the road. Quietly I stand up and circle around the back of the car again so that it’s less likely to see me. I huddle and stay as still as I can. Within a split second the monster rockets back the way it came and into the distance.

It seems I have survived another day. 

by Tom Crossley

© Tom Crossley’s Journal 2023