Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Found – Writing Workshop


2010
07.28

Prompt 5 of the writing workshop is ‘Found’. I’m not going to write an introduction for this – it is simply a fragment written for a larger story & I am absolutely terrified to click publish.

***

Wandering around the darkened house, fingers trailing on the worn wood-panelled walls, Jamie thought maybe she should go to bed. Her head had other ideas. Buzzing from the book she had just finished; the world she had just left. She had been imagining herself as the feisty princess who was the main character – having all that power and all those people loving you. Jamie often felt quite lonely after she finished one book, before she started the next. Her real life was so much quieter. So much emptier than how she imagined life should be; how she wanted it to be. She had finished the book so recently that she was still living in the reflection of the story where she could almost see the rich, exciting people around her – and pretend she was one of them.

She span around the parqueted floor in the large entrance hall, feeling the arms of her beloved prince around her as they danced, oblivious to the looks of the other dancers, eyes only for each other. Eyes shut, she didn’t realise how close she was to the wall and her shoulder bumped into the framed mirror hanging there. She gasped, eyes wide, and flung herself round in time to catch hold of the heavy frame and use her bodyweight to keep it against the wall on its hook. The gilt frame hung slightly to the right of its original position, exposing a wide strip of the panelled wall. A strip of wood that had never had chance to be faded by the sunlight leaping in dusty, sparkling motes through the window next to the door, aging everything it touched.

The newly exposed wood was rougher than the wood on the rest of the walls, as if it had been part of a living tree more recently. Distractedly gazing at her reflection in the mirror, not wanting to leave the fantasy behind quite so quickly, she ran her hand down the length of it, her every nerve still tingling from the imagined dance. The skin of her hand felt hyper-sensitive as it brushed against the textured wall. Jamie paused with a finger stroking a knot in the wood. It felt strangely smooth; worn in the same way the other walls were. Her image blinked back at her, green eyes focusing back in the present. The knot looked normal, but felt wrong – before she had turned to look at it she had almost thought it might be a button.

Around her the house felt smaller and even more secluded than it did during the day. She could sense her mother and father asleep and snoring in their separate bedrooms. Their presence was so strong she looked around her, holding her breath as if she was about to be caught committing a crime. There was no one there. Feeling slightly ridiculous, she tentatively pushed at the knot. Something behind the wall clicked and pushed against the body of the mirror. Her heart felt huge and heavy in her chest; the air seemed thin. This was something she should not be doing. She felt the world turn around her and knew the choice she made next could change things forever.

The silence banged and thudded in her ears. She listened again for any sign that her parents might appear.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

She tried to swallow and it gagged her. Her heart burst into flame and her mind raced, trying to come up with an explanation to pacify her parents. The air flooded her lungs and she found herself panting.

Daniel wandered over and pressed his body against her leg; his warm fur soothing her in an instant. Of course it was her scruffball dog. Her parents’ feet wouldn’t click on the wooden floor the way her dog’s claws did! Relief made her giddy – she rode the crest of it as she lifted the mirror off its hook and slid it down the wall, choking a laugh down as each corner hit the floor.

She felt she ought to be silent, but knew that her father was on the other side of the house, and her mother always drifted off with the help of sleeping tablets. As nerve-wracking as this experience was, in reality she was fairly safe. She looked back at the wall, and the little door that had opened in it. It was a little higher than head height so she had to stand on tiptoe to see into it. About the size of a small trunk, it was deep enough that she struggled to reach the back of it. And the back was what looked interesting.

The front was full of paperwork. Lifting them out and flicking through, she could see the names of her parents scattered across the sheets. She wasn’t interested in looking closer. There was a small box at the back the cupboard that caught her eye. Stretching to reach it, her fingertips scraped across its edge. Holding her breath and pressing herself against the wall in an attempt to gain more height, she tried again. She got a finger on top of the box and gently slid it forward. Settling herself down on the floor she crossed her legs and placed the small box in her lap. It felt familiar. Warm, somehow. Her fingers rested on top of it for a moment before Jamie took a deep breath and lifted the hinged lid.

Inside she found a confusion of objects. Some stood out immediately; a bracelet made for a wrist much smaller than hers; a locket; a length of white blonde hair, tied together with a green ribbon; a miniature painting of a family with a blonde girl sitting in the centre. As she took each item out of the box, she felt a strange sensation building. The careful, conservative part of her wanted her to stop, put everything back just as she had found it, and go to sleep. She knew she would never do that. Shoving her cautious thoughts back down, she carried on examining the items.

In one of the corners she found a yellowing piece of paper, folded and refolded many times, soft with age. Carefully opening it out she could see the light shining through the thinner paper along the creases.

It was a letter.

It was addressed to her.

Once more, she began to read.

Closer than a Sister – Writing Workshop


2010
07.26

Okay, so I haven’t been around much…I’m stressed, my son’s had chicken pox, his nursery are being tw*ts about it…I haven’t had as much time or head space to write things. I am still taking photos of Squish every day (well, I think I’ve missed one day, but that was the day Twink got chicken pox, so I think I have a get out of jail free card), but they will have to wait…photo uploading is still a bit dodgy…apparently Hubby has fixed it but needs to show me how to do something to the photos so they upload properly…or something.

Anyway, in an attempt to get a bit bloggy, I am pinching someone else’s idea! Well, actually I’m supposed to, it’s the Writing Workshop over at Sleep is for the Weak. I’ve chosen the first prompt – Write a post celebrating sisterhood. I’ve mentioned the person I’ll be writing about before – my bestest ever, words don’t describe, there for me in a crisis, buddy. We’ll call her Bella.

*****

I’m 3 years old and I’ve been chosen to look after the new girl in class. I was excited at being chosen, but a little disappointed about this particular new girl. With tears streaking her face, desperately trying to keep hold of her mother (who was only going as far as the school kitchen where she worked), this small girl with long hair did not look like my kind of friend. I was an adventurous, never looking back at the parents, confident three and a half year old – did I really have time to take care of a little girl like this?

Six years later, it turned out she really wasn’t as delicate as all that, and we were already inseparable, but my world was about to break. Bella was leaving our Prep School, and no matter how I begged my mum, I was not allowed to follow. Mum, however, did make sure we could see each other at every available weekend. Sleepovers were arranged, days out to London planned. We had midnight feasts that were only ever at either 11pm or 3am as we always failed to stay awake. Our birthdays are only three day apart, so we celebrated birthdays together, in matching dresses and french plaits. We grew up, and we grew together. Better than a sister.

Bella came on holiday with my family once. We don’t talk about that summer. Words were spoken, final letters sent, and now it’s history. It was forgotten as if it never happened. We never needed to discuss it, analyse why it happened and make tearful apologies to each other between hugs. One day, one of us just called the other as usual – “Do you want to go shopping?” Neither of us knows which one made that call, but it was the same as ever. Two sides of the same coin. Peas in a pod.

Other friends came and went. We both went away to university. I came back. She didn’t. Describing how close we are is difficult. We grew up thinking everyone had a best friend like this. Discovering that most people didn’t was a revelation. I don’t know what made us different, what kept us close throughout so many changes, but I’m glad it worked out this way. My life would be so much emptier without her in it.

It’s May 2008, I’m swimming in the alternate reality of labour. Random snippets of conversation flashing between contractions. My husband on my left hand, my best friend on my right, helping me deliver my son. My best friend became my son’s Aunt. More than that. His second mummy.

Flash forward to February 2010. I call her at 4 am on her daughter’s birthday. She eventually arrives nearly forty minutes later (trust her to sleep in a different room to her phone when I’m 39 weeks pregnant!), and my daughter arrives into her arms two minutes later.

She held my daughter before I did.

This is closer than sisterhood.

My life wouldn’t work without her in it. She makes my life better, drives me up the wall by being as random as me, and is one of the only people I can comfortably do nothing with.

She had major surgery on Friday. She will be home soon and I will be designated driver for the next eight weeks until she is allowed to drive. Eight weeks that I can spend helping her, when it’s usually her helping me out.

How do people cope without a Bella in their life?

Well, I think that’s crap…probably because I’m writing about real life…I think I babble less when writing fiction…but I’ll click publish anyway…*gulp*.

Pre-birthday jitters


2010
05.21

All this week I have been meaning to do some proper writing on my book. Well, all this year to be honest…hmm…and all the previous five…

Sigh…okay, this is me being slightly irrational (no change there then!), but I really, really wanted to get organised with my book before that big birthday thing I’m having on Sunday…

You know…that day when I’ll be turning (sh…whisper it…) 30.

I haven’t written any book related stuff for months and as you know, I want to give myself a kick up the arse and get started properly…and even though it’s a bit daft, I really wanted to be able to say that I’d done that while I was still in my twenties. Not sure why, but I now have just over 24 hours left to do something. Even if I just write one more sentence, I am determined to get something done tomorrow.

Of course, there is always the chance that Hubby will be whisking me away somewhere fabulous for the weekend so I won’t have a chance to write…

…somewhere fabulous that is also suitable for a toddler…

….and a 3 month old….

………..

No…probably not, eh?!

Ah well, fingers crossed that I can give you a nice shiny birthday post about how inspiration struck and I wrote a whole chapter….

….or about how I’m weekending in New York ;-)

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!!!!


2010
04.27

And breathe…

So Hubby has just popped home for lunch and told me that he’s spoken about my book to one of his business contacts whose wife works at a publishing house.

ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod

Breathing is becoming an issue!!!!

She has apparently suggested that I get my first chapter and a synopsis in shape and email them over to her, and she will be happy to advise me on it. Aaaaaaaarrrghhhhh!!!!!

This is happy screaming, honest. I’ve known that Hubby’s business contact’s wife is in publishing for ages, but I thought we were waiting until I actually had a substantial part of my book ready before mentioning it to her. Hubby was apparently not in on the waiting part of the plan.

So now I’m feeling pressure!

Pressure to finish my first chapter (how long does a chapter need to be??!! PANIC PANIC PANIC), which is currently a measly 700 words long. The rest is sort of vaguely in my head, as is the synopsis. So now I need to get my act together. We may not have this contact for ever, so I need to strike while the iron is hot (and other such cliches!).

Any idea how I can find an extra few hours in the day to do this?

My name is Allie & I’m a procrastinator


2010
04.13

I like to think of myself as a writer.

If I’m honest I don’t feel that’s entirely accurate. Although technically I do write for a living, I really want to be writing fiction, not writing/proofing random articles and blogs about business stuff. The problem is I don’t have time. Or head space.

I’m a very particular writer…things have to be just right or inspiration doesn’t come. I like to be sitting at a desk, in a tidy room, writing on decent paper with a pen that writes smoothly. Some music helps, as does space to pace (I think best on the move, so need to walk to get the ideas flowing). No one nearby to hear me talking to myself would be best, but Hubby already knows I’m nuts, so it probably wouldn’t worry him.

OK, so I do know that what all that amounts to is a giant pile of procrastination…but I have a head full of baby and toddler at the moment, and switching over to the world of my novel (& there is a novel…although most of it is still stuck behind a traffic jam in my head) is not easy.

Not sure how to give myself a mental slap and get on with writing some (any?!) fiction, but this blog post is the first step. I plan to use it to guilt me into finishing the first chapter some time this year (maybe that’s aiming low, maybe it’s just realistic!).

So, if I’m reading this back later on, here’s a little message for myself…

WRITE SOMETHING

***

Disclaimer: just because I’ve admitted I write for a living & have aspirations of writing fiction, don’t start holding it against me and expecting this blog to be well written/articulate/coherent…chances are it won’t be ;-)


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