Posted in Learning, Writing

Final flower/story challenge day

[Day 7 of seven]

Well, we made it to the end of the week and there have been some terrific stories. Thanks to all those who were brave enough to put themselves out there and write stories, and then post them! Please, if you feel the desire, and you haven’t yet added your contribution, feel free to add your story to any of the days’ challenges. 

Tim asked if I’d write stories too … and I said that I’d post them at the end of the week. Well, that’s today, so here are my contributions.

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Day One

She emerges from the quiet of the exam room into the gloom of late evening. The silence from inside lingers, deepening her mood of contemplative forgetfulness. Her steps slow despite the urgency to be home. The smell of decay whispers to her. With a jolt she remembers, laughs, tears streaming.

Day Two

She is overwhelmed by it. Ornate, golden, speaking of riches in earlier times. Whispers of those who have gone before float through the centuries and her ears buzz with proclamations, judgements, sermons, debates, messages from afar.  This place stops her breath and, laughing at her clichéd self, she shoots again.

Day Three

She sways inside the open front door, denying his news, rocking as she used to as a young mother. The floor provides a sanctuary she never imagined she’d need. She feels more, and much, much less, than she ever imagined she could.

At the end, just one shot.

Gone.

My only one.

It was the end, and the end, and the end.

Her anguish swirls around the empty hills.

Day Four

She clutches them so tightly they tremble in her fist. Mum says, don’t hold them so tight, you’ll make the petals poo, the leaves leak,and the teacher will think you’re a freaky flower geek. A heartbeat, and they collapse under the weight of shared giggles.

Day Five

She laughed her head off, her knees dancing up a storm. It took the floor right out from under her and she fell, head over heels. He had cast a spell, knocked her socks off, turned her to jelly, blew her mind. She didn’t mind. She was hit by cupid’s arrow and willingly gave him her heart.

Day Six

She stood, holding her head at an unfamiliar angle, trying desperately to keep it on. The ceremony was much more solemn and more formal than she had anticipated and as if on cue giggles rose in her throat. She coughed to stop them bursting forth and walked slowly forward. Soon it would be her turn to climb the stairs, hand her card over, walk across the stage, doff, shake, keep walking. A moment to savour.

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Thanks again for your responses and interest.

Posted in Writing

Writing challenge (Day Two)

I’ve given birth a number of times now. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert (is it the kind of thing you can become an expert in?) but five births is a solid effort. It’s not the most glamorous thing a woman can do on a sunny Sunday afternoon, but where would we be without it, eh?

I won’t say any more than that because I can see Tim is getting distinctly uncomfortable, thinking that I might go into graphic detail, and I don’t want to shock him, especially when he hasn’t yet had his breakfast.

But it’s like writing. Childbirth that is, not Tim feeling uncomfortable. Writing, to me, is like childbirth. It’s painful and messy, and thankfully at some point the pain stops and the thing flops out and lies there waiting for someone to pick it up and love it. And clean it up. Let’s face it, a newborn baby needs a wash before presenting it to the world.

You wouldn’t push and strain and suck on ice cubes and then go ‘ta-da’ as soon as the baby appears. You want it looking pink and soft and clean and smelling good before others see the beauty that you see the moment it’s born.

It’s the same with writing. Your first thoughts, your first words on the page, your first attempts aren’t what you present to the world. They’re messy, a bit gloopy in places, and urgh … what’s that in your hair? Your first words need air breathed into them – either with a short sharp smack (a bit old-school, but effective nevertheless) or perhaps with a machine to suck out the icky bits; they have a life of their own, but you need to get that life started in this new outside-of-your-head environment.

And so you edit. You re-arrange (metaphors can only go so far, and I’ve pushed mine far enough, so I’ll just focus on writing now 🙂 ), you re-word, you shape and think and move sentences from the beginning of the paragraph to the middle, and then put them into completely different paragraphs. You read and re-read your own work and realise that you don’t have to say things the long way round; sometimes the shorter sentence is the most clear.

You find your own voice – yes, even in a university assignment – and you grow in confidence across the years as you develop that voice. You find your voice through editing; through looking at your work on the page because it’s almost impossible to edit while the words are in your head (imagine trying to wash your baby while she’s in utero).

I prefer to edit. I like the creativity of that process. I can’t shape and re-arrange when the words are in my head (or Tim’s head for that matter, imagine that!) but I can when they’re on the page.

So, editing is a joyous process, a creative process that allows me to play with words and ideas.

Through editing I find my voice.

How/when do you find yours?

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Tomorrow’s challenge is ways of thinking about writing to a structure (aka playing the game). That’s going to require some serious thinking!!