I always enjoyed meeting up with Jo, Alex, and Daisy, and the combined imagination of us when we got together is something that should never have been underestimated (I don’t like using the past tense there, that needs to be rectified):
As the multinational president looked out into the slums, only one of the posters baring his face had been graffitied with birthday wishes.
He frowned as he wondered why it was so hard for the public to remember his birthday – after all, he had had the date lasered into the moon’s face for everyone to see!
That had been a public relations disaster, of course. How was he to know that the laser was shining through Moon Base Beta, killing the entire staff as the were sucked into the vacuum?
“I can never do anything right”, he sighed to himself and lent on the terminate button.
Poor Jumblie, why had he changed places, he didn’t deserve that fate, shredded and liquefied.
I recently went to Lynton & Lynmouth to catch up with my friend @thefairyjo, who I met at a creative writing group. After lunch, cake, ice cream, and a walk up a big hill, we sat down to write something inspired by our day out. Here is mine:
He stopped as he reached the door. It had been so long. Would he still be welcome? He looked up for guidance, and saw the angels smiling upon him. He had always admired the stained glass windows, ever since he first came here as a child. He liked the colours and the stories they told. The morals they instilled in him from an early age.
He reached out to open the door. Slowly. Morals he had let slip. Some faded away, but most coming back. That’s why he was here. To come back home. To see the faces he knew and seek forgiveness. The doors opened slowly, the creak of the hinges long and drawn out. People’s attention turned from the door to the man now holding it open. They were the same faces, but had changed.
The town butcher had grown older, his daughter had grown up. He tried to remember. Two years? Three? Three, she wasn’t four years younger, but seeing her grown reminded him of his own age. All eyes watched as he walked down the aisle. The hard part was over, but he still needed courage. Courage which came from the man behind the altar.
“A pint of ale”, he said. “And the strongest whiskey you have.”
I haven’t thought of a title for it (let me know if you have any suggestions), but here’s a short story I wrote some time ago, inspired by how much Dunster Castle would be a great place to hide out during a zombie apocalypse.
Twang! The arrow loosened from the string in a way that was much more satisfying than a shotgun blast. More accurate too, at least with practice. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since the guns became all but useless, but he didn’t miss them. Aside from being fired from castle battlements, it was just more simple, more skilful. More right.
The bodies were piling up against the wall. They were coming less frequently now, but no-one wanted to go out and move them. Even those gathering food, hardly necessary, but gave the stir crazy survivors a small sense of freedom, they rushed in and out as fast as they could. Everyone told themselves that the odd case when the mound shifted was just decomposing bodies rotting and falling in on each other. No-one dared mention there were those still crawling underneath. Not alive exactly, but spinal cord still intact.
Despite the still lumbering corpses, in fact maybe even because of them, he felt better up here on the roof. Picking them off, one by one gave a sense of control, not take his anger out on, but each zombie no longer shuffling was something he achieved. Something he could do.
Looking out at the distance also helped him forget. Smiling at the rolling green hills he felt serene that nature, at least to some degree, was getting back to normal. It was only when the holiday camp came into view, unavoidable if you wanted to look out to sea, that memories came flooding back, faster than even the hordes through those park gates.
The next workshop at the library involved two different exercises. They were both stream of consciousness writing tasks, but with very different starting points.
The first involved us being given a piece of paper with an emotion or feeling on it, mine was “Pessimistic”, and were told to write down what shape was the first to come to mind, mine was “Crescent”. We then had to write about our shape, ignoring the initial feeling we had been given, and just keep writing…
Looking up. It’s looking down. On me. Standing in the darkness and the hills and the forest. It dangles in front of my eyes. Not one thing or the other, in between. Coming or going. I can’t tell, nobody knows. Everybody wants to know. Where they’re going. What direction. What distance. When do you arrive? Time. That great force that ticks aw[ay].
Our next was based on smells. The leader of this particular group was an aromatherapist, and so brought in several oils/essences. We had one each, mine was something called “Tulsi”, and had to write down what words we would use to describe it, “Strong”, “Dark”, “Chocolate”, and “Pungent”. Our task with this was to write about a time in our lives, but not a specific memory.
Woud you like some chocolate? Would YOU like some chocolate? No? Didn’t think so. Nobody does. But they do. Everyone likes chocolate don’t they? Apparently not. At least not this chocolate. Left all alone cos nobody wants it. I wonder if I could give it a new home. I like chocolate, but I’m working. Supposed to be working but there’s nobody here for me to work for. No customers. No newspapers. They all buy newspapers. Maybe that’s why they don’t want chocolate. Every day. Day in day out. Slice of choccy with your daily mail. Sat in your sofa. Arms wide. Mouth open. Reading reading reading grumble grumble grumble. Don’t like chocolate don’t like anything. Nothing much at least. Every morning buy the paper. Don’t want to not but the paper.
As you can probably tell from just the first sentence, I used to work at WHSmith.
As well as meeting up for workshops once a month, some of us also meet up for lunch and writing sessions in between. Back when the weather was rather cold and we were wishing for sunshine like this, our theme was Ice, and we had to write a 10-15 line poem:
Shining in the light,
The floor beneath the breeze.
The water frozen over,
Hiding the secret with ease.
His body stood there grasping,
Clambering for her hand.
Frozen now, in time at least,
As she looks across the land.
Confident he won’t be found,
For now, neither will she.
Come spring his hand will raise alarm,
But by then, where will she be?
At the first Creative Writing workshop at my local library, back at the beginning of the year, one of the exercises was to write down a literary genre, and the first line of a short story. My two didn’t really have much in common to begin with, but here is how I managed to create a Military Fiction short story that begun, thus:
“His eyes were as blue as sapphire jewels, piercing through my body, making my head swim.” …
Seen across a restaurant it could have been perfect, But nothing ever is. The soft glow of candle light shouldn’t have been coming from the burning buildings. Red wine should be savoured, not shed so generously. Don’t even ask about the smell of cooking flesh.
Across the Battlefield, if you could call it a battle, more like a massacre. Across the field he is looking for me. Those blue eyes, red with rage. Eyes I have been searching for myself, but if he sees me again I won’t just lose myself in them, I lose full stop.
It seems strange that at my most scared, I’m also at my most yearning. Or maybe it’s more normal than I think. I’ve been trained not look at their faces. To seem them, to aim, but not to look.
But before training comes instinct. The instinct to hide my desires. Forever combining yearning with fear, one and the same.
And so here I am. I run away from a misunderstanding family, to people who promised me support, brotherhood. Guess I shouldn’t miscount safety.
As promised, here’s another Rabbit article I’ve managed to find and upload. Prior to the 19th November 2010 issue, the film editor asked round if anyone would like to write about their top ten film soundtracks. Despite it being limited to 500 words if I remember rightly, I gave it a go, and lo and behold, my first article based on someone else’s brief was published for all the world (well, on campus) to read.