It has been a long time …

… but I have decided to return to this blog.

My next series of posts will be a novella named VALHALLA RISING, a science-fiction tale about human refugees living on an alien world, which is already completed in draft form. Depending on interest in the novella, I may or may not post the complete story on this blog.

I look forward to returning to my reader to explore and to discover new blogs, and I hope that you all enjoy the return of Inspired Stories and Poems!

– Laura Marie Clark

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A Look Back at my Blog in 2016

It’s that time of year again. The time for reflections, for looking back, and then for looking forward.

As some of you know, I began this blog back at the beginning of 2015. It was originally on Tumblr (where it still exists), but I decided to move it over to WordPress later in January 2015. Back then, I was only posting once a fortnight, then once a week, then twice a week … in 2016, there was at least one post on LICFTH every single day, which is an excellent improvement. I’ll say more about what will happen here in 2017 on New Year’s Day – you should expect to hear my voice, as author, reader and individual, more often – but for now let’s take a look back at some of my favourite posts from 2016.

Some of these did not get as much attention as the others, but I am proud and fond of them all.

January

I’ve picked a short story and a poem from January.

Poem: Prophecy – There’s been a lot of dark poetry on my blog this year (it’s more fun to write!) and this one set the year off nicely for what was to come.

Short Story: The Spooky Shack – Kids love a scare. Adults don’t. That’s what I know about growing up, and that’s the idea behind this story.

January was also the first month of other writers being frequently featured on this blog. My favourite featured post was From Dark into the Light by Fred.

February

February was an exciting time for me. Writing Tips Volume 1 was published, featuring the writing tips I had provided for Creative Talents Unleashed.

Short Story: Magik Book – This story was originally a prompt on Tumblr that I answered in 2015, and I decided to share it here a while later after discovering I still enjoyed it.

My favourite featured post was while we sleep by unbolt me.

March

I was published again in March, this time in A Bouquet of Verse by ARDUS Publications. My busy writing at the beginning of the year resulted in the inclusion of two of my poems in this anthology.

Poem: Now That We Can Smell – After writing about using smell in writing, I was asked to give further examples. This poem was the result.

Short Story: In Memory – a quick story about two people remembering someone they lost.

There was an abundance of great featured writing in March, but my favourite piece was The Unclaimed Man, a character description from The Well of Fiction.

April

Another month, another publication. This time I had both a poem and a short story published in Shades of the Same Skin, an anthology from Creative Talents Unleashed.

Poem: An Alien – An excerpt from my own book of poems, City of the World, about being a stranger in a foreign land.

A fantastic poem that was featured on this blog in April was I Do Not Hook Up by brookeandcompany.

May

No more publications. May was the time when I started to focus on the big change that would happen in my life in late September: my Masters degree. I’ve picked out two poems from this month.

Poem: Akismet Saves the Day – A tribute to the WordPress bot who stops all those spam bots from commenting on my posts, and occasionally likes to list genuine posts as spam too.

Poem: The Raven’s Way – I sat watching a raven bathing itself in the rain and thought about having nothing to write about. So I wrote about it.

My favourite featured piece from May was the fantastically creative The Story of a Poem, by Knots of Thoughts.

June

My contribution to Shades of the Same Skin was shared on the Creative Talents Unleashed blog in June.

Short Story: Three Wishes – A fun little story (or so I thought at the beginning) about a genie.

Poem: A Child of Two Places – A little ‘who am I?’ life crisis in the form of a poem.

And the featured short story I picked out for June is the curious Make Me Beautiful by Calliope’s Lyre.

July

It was difficult to select my favourite posts from July, because it was a great month for the writing on this blog.

Poem: Bombarded by Persuasion – I get fed up of advertisements really easily. But it’s a part of modern life … unfortunately.

Short Story: A Reading – Magic, witches, genies … I continued down the fantasy/occult list with the tarot.

For the featured post, I chose Cleansing Befuddle by november winter.

August

Two poems from August: magic and anxiety.

Poem: Dedicated to the Goddess – White or black magic, depending on your take.

Poem: Demise and Rebirth – A mixture of anxiety about life and anxiety about writing, with a glimmer of *gasp* positivism at the end.

And my favourite featured poem was maybe by Crumpled Paper Cranes.

September

Returning to university was a reminder that – oh – academic writing exists. And it’s a pain.

Poem: Creators – Because parents are the Gods of our childhood universe.

My favourite featured post, with wonderful imagery, was Beneficial Friends by Kira’s Hymn.

October

You would think I’d have lots of spooky stories to share for October, but … what was I thinking? Here’s a couple more non-spooky poems.

Poem: Good Guy Pining – Or, alternatively, “Why do women find bad guys so attractive? I held a door open for a woman once!”

Poem: In Days of Innocence – Because the world wasn’t simpler when we were kids, but our lives were.

I’ve picked out a nice rhyming poem from October: This night is beautiful by If my mind spoke.

November

Again, there was a lot to choose from on this blog for November. I finally selected a poem and a short story.

Poem: The Ravenous One – I used a few different techniques for this one, wanting to create something unusual.

Short Story: Button Eyes – Dolls tend to be creepy, but this one’s just forgiving.

My favourite featured post was Soul of the World, from Brendenn’s Writing Blog.

December

And finally, December. A summary of my blog for this year has shown just how much variety there has been in the writing posted and featured here. Here’s a quick look back at the past month.

Short Story: The Lonely Book – a quick little piece about a book left untouched on a shelf.

Poem: Spider-Lover and Fly-Boy – I saw a spider on a web. Yeah. That’s how this one was written.

It was very difficult to pick a favourite featured piece from December, but I finally selected A Funeral For Thoughts by Beck Medina.

Well, what a year! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I do believe there are a couple of Byzantine saints who would like me to analyse how their holiness has been gendered …oh the wonders of academia!

A Reminder for All

Applaud yourself
For what you’ve achieved;
Let no one do it louder.
You are not egotistical
Or self-centred
When you give yourself praise
Those times you deserve it.
Let the good things overcome
The pitfalls and the errors;
Be positive when you do well
And convince yourself
That tomorrow you will do
Even better than you did today.

A Moment that Changed my Life

My final university exam was over. There was nothing more to do but sit back and wait for the results. I went to the campus pub with some friends who had also taken the exam, and there we met one of our lecturers, who joined us for a drink. He asked us what we were planning to do next and why we had decided to go to university in the first place. My answers were, unfortunately, not the ones he wanted to hear: I don’t know and because I didn’t know what else to do after I had finished my A levels. He was not impressed.

During the course of the conversation, he suggested that we should look into living abroad and teaching English as a foreign language. I didn’t say it at the time, but I thought it was a terrible idea. I had not moved far from my parent’s house to go to university and I didn’t like the thought of living in another country. But a couple of months in a poor job market was enough to persuade me, and around six months later I left for Ho Chi Minh.

That lecturer doesn’t know I followed his advice. He probably doesn’t even remember giving it to me. But he set in motion a journey that culminated in a book of poems, “City of the World”, focused on my time in Vietnam.

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You can find more information on City of the World and purchase it here: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

New Year, New Blog

So, it’s been a year since I started this blog now. Originally, my plan was to post one poem/short story every fortnight, but that quickly grew into more regular posts and now I’m posting three times a week.

However, this year I have decided to bring in some changes to how this blog works. I will (hopefully) be starting a Masters degree in September and although that is still (thankfully) a way off yet, I am already thinking ahead to how often I will be able to write and post my own material once I get there. At the same time, I want to be able to keep this blog going as I have found real success here.

Therefore, this year will see more reblogs of short stories and poems written by other bloggers (all with appropriate credit, of course). I will also be posting my own writing twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays, although this may change depending on my university schedule) and I will continue to promote my book, City of the World, on this blog by sharing extracts.

In addition, each month this blog will feature posts discussing writing tips, aides and prompts on a specific theme. I will announce the theme on the 1st of each month and will invite anyone who has written about the theme and would like to be featured on this blog to link to their post or contact me so that I can share it.

This means that there should be something for me to post or share every day, minus any days I may not have access to a suitable internet connection. It should hopefully keep this blog active whilst also giving me time to prepare for university and focus on my studies when I’m there. Now all I have to do is get on my chosen course!

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for Inspired Stories and Poems.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

May 11 – Memories

Today’s prompt for Story a Day’s May challenge is to write a story inspired by a memory from my own life. You can read the full prompt here.

I have previously written a short story based on my memories of the 2014 Color Me 5K Run in HCMC, which you can read here.


The first time I kissed a boy was nothing short of disappointing.

I had been taught by music, television and movies that a first kiss was something special, something to be remembered, and something to be cherished for the rest of my life. Instead, we had walked down to the end of the street holding hands, awkwardly skirted around the act that we both wanted to do, and then bumped noses with each other in a clumsy kiss that had been more spit than tongue.

It taught me a valuable lesson. I stopped listening to the songs that told me about the sparks of a first love. I stopped watching the TV shows that told the stories of young couples who stayed together their whole lives and were perfectly happy and never wanted to try anyone else to see if they were missing something huge. I stopped paying attention to the movies that taught me that, as a young woman, I needed to look at physical pleasure as something sacred that I could only share with the “right” person.

Instead, I focused on what I wanted in my life. I wanted to have lots of kisses with lots of different people so that I could find out what was good and what was bad. I wanted to experiment in as many ways as possible so that I could learn about what I liked and what I disliked. I wanted to fall in love with someone and fall out of love with them, to feel the magic of a blossoming romance and the heartbreak of an impending break up.

And what I wanted, I went out to get.

The first time I kissed a boy was nothing short of disappointing. The second time I kissed a boy, I felt no social pressure to find “the one”. The second time I kissed a boy, it was exactly what I was looking for.


Note: Yes, my first kiss was disappointing. And yes, I did want to kiss lots of other boys. But in real life, those boys didn’t want to kiss me back!

May 7 – The Object of the Story

Today’s prompt for Story a Day’s May challenge is to take an object from a museum’s website and write about its significance or value. You can read the full prompt here.

I have chosen to use these canopic jars from the British museum.


From the moment that my parents created their greatest mistake (which, of course, is me), I have been fascinated with one particular ancient culture: Egypt. In particular, kid-Laura gaped in awe at images of the jackal-headed God Anubis, because he was just plain awesome and that was that. As Anubis was the God of embalming, funerals and death, somebody probably should have noticed at that point that I had a peculiar fascination with dark concepts surrounding the underworld and the afterlife.

I was also extremely interested in the story of Osiris, who was chopped into pieces by his brother Seth – not because of the violence, but because I found the tale that his wife impregnated herself when she found his dismembered penis hilarious.

Kid-Laura was the original, basic version of adult-Laura who still finds the tale that his wife impregnated herself when she found his dismembered penis hilarious.

One of the earliest things I remember actually finding interesting at school was learning about Ancient Egypt. We drew a map of the country and studied some common artefacts, amongst which were canopic jars. For those of you who do not know, canopic jars stored the four main organs of the deceased before they were mummified (which is where the film The Mummy got their facts wrong – there were five jars in that movie, not four). The four organs that were considered sacred enough to be placed in these jars were: the stomach, the intestines, the lungs and the liver. The brain and the heart were not given this special treatment.

I have always felt disheartened about the fact that I did not study Ancient Egypt – or, indeed, a great deal about any ancient civilisation – after I left primary school. From then on, history lessons focused on subjects like the Cold War, Women’s Suffrage and Victorian England, which (although interesting and important) were repeated again and again as though there was nothing else in the world that could possibly be studied.

Sometimes I went back to my old notes and read up on what I had studied as a child. Sometimes I went online to read whatever I could find on the subject of Ancient Egypt, and in doing so I became increasingly aware that my education in history lacked significant depth. When I later went on to study history at university, my interest in the medieval world was thankfully allowed to grow, and at last the syllabus presented me with something exciting again.

Without those lessons studying Ancient Egypt at primary school, I may never have discovered something to be interested in during my history lessons. The subjects I covered at secondary school and in sixth form were not only repetitive, they also seemed to have been designed specifically to sound as dull as they possibly could. It was knowing the facts and the arguments back then, rather than forming them as I did at university. The subject was bland and it was only by looking back at my lessons on Ancient Egypt that I maintained my interest in history at all.

That is the significance of these canopic jars. They are a memory that led me to my degree, and they present the question of what I might have studied (even – if I might have gone to university), and who I might have been, if the history curriculum at my primary school had been tedious.

Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.


I won’t make this a long one. No point in blathering on, is there?

No point in much else, either.

Everyone has fears. I’ve always found it bizarre that people are afraid of the little things. Spiders, dogs, darkness. I can understand others to a point. Heights. Yeah I get it. Enclosed spaces. A bit weirder, but then I don’t like being close to people too much. Flying. Well, more like falling, I guess.

We all fall, don’t we? Hardly unusual.

But those things don’t seem to bother me. Pick up a spider and put it outside. Check. Help stray dogs. Check. Wander around in the darkness. Check. Climbing. Check. Working in small spaces. Check. Long plane journeys. That’s a big check.

No, those aren’t the things I worry about. They’re infrequent.

Everyday. That makes a difference.

So, what does make me anxious? Lots of things, if I’m honest. Speaking to a group of people in a formal environment. Informal is fine, but formal? People expect things of me then. Making a new post. Not all of the time, but on those days when the prompts just don’t go my way. Meeting new people. That’s a big one. Sometimes, just walking past people. Clients at work who say good morning. That makes me nervous. Doing new things. Oh, not all new things. No.

An adventure or two never hurt.

And therein lies the point. I’ve gone out on a whim and done things that loads of other people might never do. I’m not afraid to pack up my life and move it somewhere else. I’ll take on a new job. I’ll take on new challenges.

What I am afraid of is normality.