Archive for amwriting

The Thing-Finder

This piece is about a young woman who tells a story from her childhood. I am not sure about the grammar or the use of some of the words, and I have not bothered to revise it, but since I like it, I am posting it anyway. For now, only the story is important.

“I used to find things for my father. You know, like a treasure hunter, but without a mission. He called me The Thing-Finder. I found many things for him over my childhood years and he was proud of me and always let me know how thankful he was for it. Often it was things that he’d lost somewhere, or that he’d forgotten about. Other times it was new things; things that roused his curiosity. Those times we would sit and wonder what it was for, or used to be and how we could use it for something.

Once, when we were out walking and chatting our way through the city streets on an early Sunday morning – having sneaked out before the others had awakened – he said that it would have been nice if we had some money for a cup of tea somewhere. In the middle of his sentence I had spotted something on the pavement a few feet away from us. I dived off in the direction of it, grabbed it, and came back to him, holding my hand up to him showing a £5 note. He laughed with joy, but told me that I could do anything I wanted with it; it did not have to be used for tea. We had tea. And it was a particularly excellent Sunday morning.”

Ghost town misadventures

It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.

Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.

An expanding universe

It’s the 11th of May and there’s a tree in full bloom outside my window. The sun makes it stand out against the building behind it and I just want to climb up into the tree and be there. Nothing else but just to be there, sitting on one of its branches, watching the people pass by and catch a few rays of sun between the flowers and the leaves.

I used to do that a lot as a child. Sometimes when I got fed up by being with my friends, I would climb up a tree with a book or something else to read and sit there for an hour or two. I’d watch the people walk by; I would listen in on their conversations and really love the fact that nobody knew I was there. Like a fly on the wall.

That feeling never went away as I grew older. It still comes back now and again, but it has been a long time since I climbed a tree. Instead I go to a cafe, which is much like sitting in a tree, except they all see me sitting there.

Perhaps some would say that it is bad listening in on other people’s conversations, but I look at it as a class room, a place for research. Without life and other people, I would have nothing to write about. Of course, I could write about myself and what happens to me, but that universe is not in itself big enough. This universe of mine (we each have our own) is a product of many things, including the people around me and I am the main explorer of it. However, even though almost endless, it’s not big enough.

The explorer in me wants to travel to every part of that universe which holds all our individual universes. My life is not going to be long enough, of course, but I aim to explore much more yet. For every place I go to, my own universe expands.

Plotting and scheming

For each script of an episode of Fawlty Towers, John Cleese told that they used to work six weeks. Two and a half weeks of those six they worked on the plot. They always made sure that they had the plot complete before they started on the dialogue.

Sometimes I get an idea for a dialogue in my head and I usually go with it. The plot might be born out of that dialogue, but most of the times I’m just left with a piece of dialogue that I put away for later use.

The plot is always the hardest for me; I have poor imagination, it seems. It’s never easy to come up with why my characters are doing and saying what they do if I start without the plot. I guess that’s why John Cleese and Connie Booth and most other writers spend so much time with the plot, and why some stories I write take more than a fair amount of time to complete and why some of them never see the light of day.

So, now I will be changing my modus operandi and make sure I will have a well thought up plot before I venture on to writing my next story. I have tons of ideas for dialogue and characters, but they will just have to wait.

I have been writing in a more serious way for about 9 months now, but it’s time to step up the game. I had a wish to have a first draft ready for October and that’s only 3 months away and that is, now, not enough time. Who knew writing would take so much time (no, you do not have to speak, it wasn’t really a question).

8 connected short stories. 3 are coming along nicely; 2 are on their way; and 3 more to start on. Guess how many of them have well thought up plots? I’m too embarrassed to say.

Time to plot and scheme.

A possible future book title

A possible future book title:

“The One-sided Coin or How To Avoid Being A Complete Arsehole When Discussing Things.”

The subject is very dear to me.