It was by chance that I logged onto the Write on Wednesday blog this week…and to my surprise and delight there was a prompt, a call to action to write a short story….I could not have been happier!
Stories will now be submitted monthly, and in May, creative ideas must spring forth from this suggestion:
Take the first line of whatever you just read…Magazine article, Blog post, Newspaper, TV guide. Doesn’t matter. Write the first line on a piece of paper. Take that piece of paper outside. Leave your screen behind. Wait until you have been outside for at least 15minutes ( an important part of the exercise) and then use your prompt to begin writing. Choose to write in a 5 minute stream on consciousnesses of take it slow and write a 500 word piece.
Like a naughty school girl I am deviating from this suggestion…but with reason.
Here is my story:
On Sunday evening, unable to sleep I decided to glance back over diary entries on my laptop. In late 2009, early 2010, I turned to writing as a way of making sense of who I was, who I had been and who I was becoming. My world had been tipped upside down, become topsy-turvy for I had began the momentous task of questioning every belief I once regarded as being gospel truth.
Looking back over those entries three year later, and I amazed at how far I have come, and of how far I have to go!! Though painful to read, these entries highlight to me that I have always had a clear understanding of who I was, who I wanted to be…I just did not have awareness….
The difference between then and now is awareness, and it has been said, may times over that awareness is harder than denial…
Whilst I was reading my online diary…I was captivated by a line I wrote ( how self indulgent!)…It jumped out at me, right off the screen…Did I really write that? I read it over and over to myself. Thrown in there amongst teenage memories and repressed feelings…this line gave me a break from the overwhelming sadness contained within my writing….
It was at work on Wednesday that I logged onto the Write on Wednesday page….a request to get outside amongst nature, and write…leave the computer behind…take a line from whatever / wherever and just write…Liberating stuff!!
Yet for me…my Sunday night diary session had made this difficult…That line, that powerful and captivating sentence, was making this impossible. It was all I could think about, and certain to be part of my story.
But how? How to incorporate the personal into a short story…it was after all something I had read before I had been given the writing prompt…I was not sitting outside with this thought for a mere 15 minutes…it had been on high rotation in my head for 72 hours!!
By Friday, I was beginning to question whether I had actually written the words that were on repeat in my head. It was beginning to sound far fetched…Surely I could not have written that? I was often depressed when I was writing, surely word of clarity were not capable of spewing forth onto the page?
On Saturday, with the online submission of my story looming, I decided to check in with my online diary, to confirm that what I thought I had written was indeed true…Using editing tools to search for the word ‘ hand’, I scoured all 30 pages , three times….and the words I believed I had committed to screen did not reveal themselves….I left my house feeling a mixture of disbelief and confusion.
As I drove South for a hair appointment my mind wondered….Did I just imagine such story telling? Rather, had I taken a few mundane words from that period of time and with my new insight, crafted a new version of my story, one that was more fitting to the new me, easier to digest?
I could not believe this to be true….I had entertained myself for a whole week with a sentence I had written and the story it would help shape. Yet in reality when I revisited the document , my failure to find these words left me questioning whether I had imagined the whole thing…
All that could be located was the following
My hands look old as I type, I am only 31 but they look very old this morning
What I had imagined I had written, hoped, believed and prayed I had written was the following:
I look at my hand sometimes as I type. Glance at them, and they look old….this stuff should have been said so long ago. I could be free, it has taken so long to find a voice….
Well, I did find this very sentence…after scouring the 30 page document for a fifth time late on Saturday evening….It was a great find, not only for my writing but for my sanity!
I had no idea that those words would shape a story such as this…I believe they will inspire me to write many more…But this week they required me to write a story about what we believe is true and what is imagined…and that this time around , truth was found in the written word!!