This is another writing challenge which I started for the Daily Post and has ended up being a slightly spooky image of a fairground. I have always found fairgrounds and circuses to be rather odd and intriguing places.
The challenge was to use five nouns from the following list: The lake. The night. The crickets. The ravine. The attic. The basement. The trapdoor. The baby. The crowd. The night train. The fog horn. The scythe. The carnival. The carousel. The dwarf. The mirror maze. The skeleton.
The skeleton danced at midnight with the melody of the carousel reverberating through his hollow bones. He yearned to touch the carnival animals again and jest with the dwarves. His life of skin and flesh had been full of colour, light and music and how had he loved it!
Skeleton Danced at Midnight
The crowds spun through the circus screaming with laughter and candy-floss induced mania. It was a sugar-spun world. The fat lady solemnly ate her way through fifteen courses; the bearded lady combed her hair and the iron man lifted trucks to practice his art. Animals preened in their cages and the big top shone like a beacon in the night sky.
The carousel had been his creation with the pretty horses with their painted tails flying. How he loved their graceful motion. Up and down and round and round. They never stopped their flight until that fateful day when he lost his footing and fell under the painted horses’ hooves. He lost his flesh to the carousel but honoured it with his bones.
Another story from my Venice days was created on a night out with my friend Tara who is the most talented artist. We went to the wine shop in the square to fill up our plastic bottle with some very reasonably priced (1 or 2 euro) white wine, and sat on the water’s edge being silly and coming up with all sorts of short story ideas (as you do!). Tara was sketching the back of my house, which later turned into a beautiful painting now on my living room wall. And I wrote a short story about a fairy with exceptionally large feet called Mildred. She had red hair as an homage to Tara who has lovely red hair, and of course to Anne of Green Gables as well! She also has a bit of a temper (of course – after Anne not Tara).
I spent a year living in Venice in my twenties and had an awesome time living right in the city centre. I had an apartment looking out over a canal. The ever lovely Campo Santa Margherita was just round the corner from our house and there were so many canals to sit on and watch the world go by.
My best friend and her husband came to visit me with their small baby – Joseph. After they left I sat by the water’s edge near a statue of a mermaid, on a sunny evening and wrote a very short story about a boy name Joe. Writing something for him was the inspiration for my first book. I didn’t know it at the time but this story has so many things that can be developed into a story – great ideas for characters, great location. We’ll have to see how that goes…
The canal was flashing with a thousand sparkles underneath the water. I called them “angel lights”. In the spirit of having balance in a story it seemed fitting that a beautiful thing should also have a dark side. Surrounded by all the mythology of a sea-faring city I added the “sea monsters”.
I want this short story to become the inspiration to my first novel which is going to be about a little girl who witnesses a horrible crime, gets washed up on a beach and befriended by a little boy called Joe and a salty old sea captain. In this case the “sea monsters” are very much human though! Stay tuned for excerpts coming up.
My son is only 2 years old and already has a love of a good old pirate story. We have been reading a lot of Julia Donaldson books together and he loves them too – the rhymes, the drawings by Axel Scheffler, the characters. They are beautifully presented stories. So on this Friday night, I have decided to try my hand at writing in rhyme! Continue reading →