A new opportunity to grow as a writer. For the next 10 weeks I am focusing on the short story and after the first reading I am already feeling liberated, challenged and terrified. It is empowering to read, learn and discover that while you have come a long way there is an even longer way to go.
Here is a glimpse into our book camp (This excerpt is from the book “From Where You Dream” by Robert Olen Butler)
The quote that starts the second chapter?
“All good novelists have bad memories” -Graham Greene
It is hard to explain what my desk job is but I can tell you that it revolves around customer service. Lately I have decided that each person I help has a secret story the world should know. These are not sick and twisted stories that should really remain hidden from the world, no my imagination runs in the opposite direction.
My latest fascination, his name will remain anonymous but his secret is destined to be shared. He is a man of means and importance, if you give him a moment he would be happy to tell you the many reasons why this is so. My friend, we shall call him Prince E has opulent taste, he reminds me of the man with the tiny giraffe and the golden remote control.
In fact I am quite certain if it was possible to own a tiny giraffe he would have two because one would not do. Sometime ago, I am not sure when it happened I discovered his secret….he has all of the hidden treasures of the world under his lock and key.
It seems that my destiny was sealed, a crusade of my own was coming…
TO BE CONTINUED
Walking down the path he happens to notice it out of the corner of his eye. He is in a hurry, he’s going to be late but he has to get a better look. A thousand little questions dance across his mind. What if? What if? What if?
Simple yet beautiful. A flicker from the wind makes them dance, a dance only they understand.
There is a story.
The shadow plays softly against the untouched snow, it is like the moon before it hides behind the clouds. It is like me standing on the path wondering what has happened to all these trees?
All photos on this post belong to this blog- LiteraryLandOfAlysia
People say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperate may not be the most appropriate word for the situation but it would garner the desired results.
The exact moment it happened could not be deciphered. All that he understood was the need to flee became more than a passing thought but a way of life.
Money as always was tight, he had only dollars to spare. Time was even tighter, he would be lucky to find minutes to spare.
If he didn’t get away he was certain the anxiety that racked his body would cripple him. Consequences be damned, he had to do this for him.
Ever so slowly he made his way across the room and grasped at his last resort. Flipping open the cover, his fingers slid across the page, his eyes adjusted to the text, minutes later his was gone.
I saw this on another blog the other day, I really can’t remember any of the details but the idea behind it caught my attention. The challenge was to try to tell a story in six words. At first it didn’t that difficult but it really challenged my thought process, sentence structure and my vocabulary.
Here are some of my attempts; they are good, bad and horrifying. 🙂
-The long walk ended in tears.
-All his children fought their history.
-Irrevocably damaged, indeterminate optimism, eternity achieved.
-I went to the store forever.
-The house of one hundred truths.
-My notebook knows all my secrets.
-Love, hallucinations and how it works.
-Fall into a drink forget nothing.
-She always danced to her beat.
-From below every conversation was heard.
What’s your best attempt?
When the sun begins its descent in the western sky, things begin the change. The further it disappears behind the Rocky Mountains the more active my imagination becomes. Days, months, even years have been spent in this same place. At night familiarity is useless.
The beauty of the mid-summer flowers gives way to the eery crackling of the branches in the wind. In the moment after sunset and before the lights click on the yard comes to life.
The gate is unlocked. Someone has to make the journey to secure it before we all venture into bed. It is only ten feet but something about it doesn’t seem right.
Step by step the pebbles push hard into my foot. My senses are at their peak. I see it out of the corner of my eye. A strange man is staring at me from behind the creeping vine.
A scream escapes me.
The Easter Island statue has not been moved in over 15 years and he gets me every time.
The scent is utterly recognizable. To him it is serenity. To some the musk, the leather and the age would bring up disconcerting emotions. For him, his blood pressure drops and his mind clears. There is no description that can do the ambiance justice. This is a place while full is vacant of any worries.
The need to escape now is greater than ever. Destruction, death and apathy weigh heavily on the soul. It ages a man far past his years, the lines are added to his face, the stress upon his heart. An escape if only for a moment can bring immeasurable relief.
He enters the room fully and makes his way to his faithful chair. Sinking into it, he closes his eyes and reaches for the side table out of instinct. His fingertips feel the etched writing on its spine. Opening his eyes the book, The Great Gatsby, was in front of him. His eyes adjusted to the text, he let go of any remaining grasp on reality.
Survival if only for a page was undeniably his.
Who is she I wonder? Everyday I see her there completely alone. I have never seen her with anyone else. She doesn’t pay any heed to whomever passes by. She keeps to herself. Why does she maintain her isolation?
Does she dream as she stares off into the ocean? Does she cry quietly to herself as life passes her by? How is it possible that she is here in the middle of the day? Doesn’t she have responsibilities? Each day her routine is the same. There is no excitement, no deviation, no opportunity, no chance.
Each time I see her I create a story of what might be in my mind. I am never able to come up with a positive interpretation. Each time my mind delves into the numerous tragedies that must have happened.
The situation is unique, strange to say the least. I never see her come, I never see her go.
Who is she?
Am I her?
What is the real tragedy?
So It Begins…
She was locked in an intense battle, the odds were neatly stacked against her. It was clear to all that saw her that she was fighting and unwinnable war. It was clear to anyone, everyone but her. To her it was only a matter of time before she would come out victorious. She had the answer tucked away in her pocket. She needed to wait for the opportune moment. For only a moment would be required to snatch victory.
A howl of pain and emotion escaped her throat. There wasn’t much time left now. The line between success and failure was beginning to fade into the morning mist. It was quickly becoming a battle just for survival, it was time. Time to pull out her last resort. Crawling across the break room she reached for it. Her finger tips touched than gripped the powerful mug. The coffee elixir would get her through her current work day.
But alas the battle would begin anew tomorrow.