And yet more writing practice from my favourite app! I’m noticing that all my timed practices tend to have an element of the macabre about them…perhaps I need to start writing happy endings. Have you noticed any themes that you weren’t aware about in your writing? In my novel in progress I have the words “rotting death” which was the point at which my husband stopped reading. To be fair it is a children’s story so he needs to man up a bit, but I don’t think “rotting death” would terrorize a child – if I’d gone into the details and described everything down to the last drop of gore I would be concerned. I think that a frisson of fear is good in a story though :). What do you think?
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Here is my writing practice for this week – The Garage:
The garage stank of oil and diesel, and washing powder and the warm smell of tumble dried clothes. I couldn’t help it but I liked the mixture of dirty and clean. In amongst all the smells were household memories that had long since accustomed themselves to being resigned to the garage. “Open the damn box!” she thought. Nothing is going to jump out at you. Her dream was that the contents had disintegrated a long time ago and there was only a pile of ash inside. She heard her mothers voice saying, “Come child come. There’s nothing to fear from the past.”
She began to speak in a quiet voice to herself. “Just a box. Nothing to it. You can do it.” And it repeated over and over again. “Where did you hide it? In the box. You have the box. Open the box and destroy it. Once and for all.”
On my Writer’s HQ course that I’m currently doing, there is a recurring theme of “just get writing”. So I revisited my lovely Writing Challenge app which does exactly the same thing, and here’s what came out this time.
It’s slightly macabre – I wonder what is going on in my head sometimes! I suppose this is what happens when you switch off the planning and switch on the writing.
He returned to the cemetery to finish what he started. It wasn’t a pleasant job but he had begun and you should finish what you began. He flew in with his cape flapping in the wind. He landed with a gentle whoosh as his cape billowed out around him like a black jellyfish.
“I don’t want to leave it like this, I must make it right,” he muttered to himself as he gathered himself together. He looked around the cemetery to hunt out what he needed. Graveyards held no fear for him. He rather feared the living more than the dead! There was no magic about him – he may look like a magician, but he was all about the hard work rather than swishing a wand and making it all disappear. The burial had been a work of art! A headstone, flowers, candles, fireworks – the lot. But the magic was gone. They had buried the wrong thing.
He peered into the chapel to make sure the chaplain had gone to bed, grabbed his shovel from the coal shed and headed over to Persephone’s headstone. He jumped over the fence which had been erected to protect her and knelt down in the wet grass. He felt around the headstone and to the right was a soft mound of earth. His beloved Persephone would remain safe and sound but he needed her accomplice, and she had been buried with Persephone.
“You have changed my love,” he crooned. “What did we do to you?” He brushed the earth from her small round face and blew over her in a figure of eight. “What did we do to you?” As the breath revived her and she took her first breath in two days all he could think was that she looked so tired.
I wrote this after a gig – it struck me that musicians have a special relationship with their instruments.
He held her in a loving embrace. She was taller than him by a good few inches and leant back into his shoulder nestling into his neck. They curled elegantly around each other. He tweaked and played with her, stroked her neck, slapped her side. The crowd were transfixed. They felt like they had stumbled upon an intimate moment. The rest of the musicians were oblivious – they each had their own love affairs going on. The beat picked up and the slapping continued. The audience roared its approval.
Musicians and their instruments
As the set carried on the music rocked and rolled and rocked again to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. The boy leant in close to his double bass in the slow numbers and murmured into her neck and flung her out with a spin when the beat quickened.
The finale saw a majestic pirouette then as quickly as the boy had been to stroke and caress his bass, he let her go and lay her down on the sticky pub floor.
The boy’s girlfriend came up to help clear up. She held the double bass’s cover up to throw over its’ head. The boy took it from her hands, kissed his girl on the cheek and said, “I’ll do that,” and lovingly tucked his bass away.
His girl stepped aside and just stared at them. Her eyes gleamed in the stage lights. As the boy zipped up the bass’s case his girlfriend glared. She felt jealousy bubbling up inside her.
The boy put his arms around her and whispered in her ear. “Thanks for coming tonight.” She smiled and de-clenched a fraction – there were some things she could do which his double bass couldn’t. Her smile froze. He let go of her and picked up his bass to carry in both arms.
She frowned again. The three of them left together.
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.
This little snippet of conversation is the result of a writing challenge (see previous posts!). It turned out to be something that nightmares might be made of!
A Conversation in the Dark
“Where are you?”
“Where’s here? I can’t see you!”
“Here….hold out your hand.”
“I’m so tired.”
“I know, me too.” Fatigue was the killer – as soon as you let tiredness in you were done for. They had long since been forgotten about. Lost to society, but in the darkness they had found friendship and comfort in conversation. They had never met in the light but knew each other’s voices intimately. From what he could tell the other one had cracked ribs and possibly another broken limb. It had taken days for him to realise that anyone else was there. His companion had been unconscious for so long that he had actually tripped over him in the darkness. He had woken him up screaming in agony and so confused that he didn’t know who he was anymore. He had closed his eyes as if accepting death.
Conversation in the Dark – Woman sleeping
While he waited for him to regain consciousness, he slept fitfully, with disturbing dreams. Ogres, monsters, falling and then flying. Snakes, darkness, tombs closing. Sleep was worse than the current situation so he slapped himself to keep himself awake.
“Where are they? Why hadn’t they come?” He repeated over and over to himself. It echoed in his head as all his movements echoed around the darkness. Silence was the answer and it was deafening.