Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Short Shorts VII

We decide to have our own fireworks this year. Living in the basement, we have no access to explosives but we'll make do with what we have.
With thunderous bangs and crashes coming from outside, we turn off the lights.
We unroll the sticky tape and gasp in amazement at the sparks that fly.


Monday, October 27, 2008


I've now had a week of writing micro fiction which I've really enjoyed but I've come to the conclusion that it's like eating sweets which taste good but make you feel sick after a while. I can only conclude that everything in moderation is best and I may well continue to write these as they get me focused not only on producing ideas and writing them down but actually finishing them which is very good for me.

I'm aware that not many people are blogging or reading blogs these days but I would be interested in hearing your constructive comments on my attempts at short shorts: what did you like, what didn't you like? It would be very helpful to me.

I shall sign this off with an example we were given from our course from what I presume is a "professional": Barry Yourgrau from "A Man Jumps out of an Aeroplane Wearing Dad's Head"


Men are working in the woods. I take a seat on the pine needles and watch the movements through the trees. I hear sounds of their talking. I lie back in the coolness and shadows, covering my eyes with my arm, and let myself be lulled into a doze by the distant voices, the blurred echoes. In my dream, they're working beside me. They chat with me pleasantly as they carve from wood the roots, the boughs, the blossoms, the detailed leaves. "And soon we'll do you," they promise.


Short Shorts VI


At some point in that alcohol infused evening, someone asked me to describe Toby. This was my area of excellence especially after several pints. “He was a small man,” I started. It generated a warm trickle of laughter. “Not a man of fine physical perfection such as myself”, I patted my round belly to another chuckle. “Small in size and stature- I often wondered what the beautiful Sarah saw in him.” A sigh and a wry smile this time, echoed around the table. “But he was a fine man,” I continued, “A good friend, reliable, trustworthy and would always buy a pint. I shall miss him greatly.” Luckily the lighting in the pub was subdued as we nodded, raised our glasses and toasted our departed friend. “To Toby!”



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Short Shorts V

Forget the story, use the words. Force them together and hear the crunch. Push them to their limits. Twist the boundaries, make it hurt, scream the difference, screw convention, be tenacious. Don’t fall into the gentle trap and sway with eyes half closed. Feel your eyes stretched wide not able to blink, water building up.
Go past the limits. Put pairs together even though they cry and beg for separation. These babies have to share a cot. Get used to it. Squirm as you type, be bugged going away thinking should I have done it. Yes you should, leave it be.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Short Shorts IV

I'm not so sure about this one. See what you think...

Under the skin

They all tried to discourage me.
“It’s not what you think.”
“It’s a vocation, not a job.”
“You have to be really sure.”
What else can I do? Writing is either in you or it’s not. Ultimately there isn’t a choice.
I take my inspiration from the great writers. They really understood how you had to suffer for your art.
Changes are happening to my body- growth spurt, course dark hair, oily skin, angry pustules. Today I feel like a man, tall and hirsute. I check out the reflection and nod. Twisting slightly, I can see in particular one red spot in a field of pretenders, mere pimples in comparison. It looks promising, throbbing slightly and ready to burst. With a mixture of pride and revulsion, I attack the place using my bitten down nails. It’s not as easy as I thought it might be. One day I’ll be good at this, discovering the treasure beneath, allowing the contents to spill. But today I’m not so good. I make the spot more painful and the raised head seems to shrink back into my skin. I pick and pick and there is no relief.
And then it happens. The surface of the skin breaks and out spill words, undamaged by the whole scratching process. Like the birth of a corn snake they coil and pulse, seeming slippery and fresh. I have paper ready to place them and I urge them on, fingertips showing more delicacy this time. They unravel slowly and settle onto their new home. Fresh words, hatched from me! My career as a writer has begun! I smooth them down as their glossiness fades and they are indistinguishable from the paper home I have given them. I read the sentence just six words long. It’s a start.
My attention turns to the small lesion which is still leaking fluid. It is a good start but still quite small. How big must the boils be when whole stories erupt? I know now why this isn’t a path that you can walk without preparedness. But I’m on that path now! I’ve proved all those doubters wrong. It’s within me, always has been.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Short Shorts III

Death Row or Death Valley

Come through the gap- I’ll let you through.
It’s time to escape!
No need to collect your stuff, precious things.
Leave them. Leave them and flee!
He asks, “Why are you doing this?”
To feel the blistering sun, smell the baked clay, to hear the dust screaming through the valley.
“I’m safe here,” he says. “I’ll take my chances.”



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Short Shorts II

Nightmare City. It’s not the place to think of before you sleep. I tried to recite familiar rhymes but they turned into “Nightmare City, it ain’t so pretty!” I thought of my beloved starlight poster but the mocking winking City Mascot began to form from the random arrangement of stars. His voice called me, “There’s no escape! Come right now!”
Switching on the lamp, the sound of laughter, and the menacing shadows and the idea of a bad time-bed time place leapt away. I sipped hard bursts of sharp, cold water left there by Mama. I knew I was warm, remembered how loved I was and drifted off to a gentle sleep. Mascots winked their starry eyes. “We knew you’d come.”



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Short Shorts

We talked about Short Shorts (also known as micro fiction, flash fiction and other things) at my Creative Writing class this week. I love them!
Here is my first one to read before I tell you any more.

Snow, Horse, Tree

In my quest, I have travelled for almost a thousand years. My companion shakes her chestnut head and whinnies. Jets of steam rise from her nostrils as I tether her to the ancient pine. I try to suppress a sense of building excitement; I haven’t succeeded yet!
An impatient stamp from behind urges me forward. She knows the time has come.
Fresh snow is falling whirling and dancing around me. This really must be it!
All I need to return home are two flakes the same.
And this time, I’ll do it.