The Bridge


You crossed the bridge, into dark.

They say it is light there, but I know it’s not. The bridge dangles in two parts, like a snipped string. Today, I’m buying a hammer and nails and rope to make the repairs and bring you back again.

Will you speak to me from the other side of the bridge? Will I hear your voice or will you hear mine?

At its edge, between the hammering of nails, I shout into the void but you are not there. The darkness gushes below and above. It steals away my words and throws them back at me, filling my unending silence.

I loop the rope around rope, around wood and wood, and piece by piece pull up the bridge.

When night falls, I sleep on the planks I have repaired so far and dream of your face in the light.

I wake in the dark and drink the wind and hammer more nails in, tap-tap-tap. I listen for your call, thundering towards me across the void, but I hear nothing.

When the I am halfway done, it begins to rain. The bridge sways and bucks lightly, swinging and groaning. The planks I have repaired stretch out across the chasm, waiting to join hands with you.

The next day, I’m trying to untangle a portion of rope that has become lost around a plank and I drop the hammer. It tumbles and twists away, sinking into the darkness below. I wait, listening for the sound of landing, but there is only stillness.

I sit down and cry. I pound the planks and try to keep going, but without the hammer, it is useless. I look for a rock, but I can’t pry any from the ground. I go back to where I got the first one from, but there are no more.

All I can do now is go down, into the deep chasm, to find it, but I’m afraid that I will never return.

 

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1960s Summer Holiday


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1960s summer holiday. Marriage failing. But a captivating thing next door. Knocking, waiting. ‘Hello, I’m …’ World-moving smile, a face with stories. ‘Hello.’ A hesitation. ‘Would you like to come in?’ Threshold crossed; soft words and lingering gazes. Later, a kiss. Later, even more. In the mirror, they watch each other, and discover their place in the no-gender world.

(Start with a #sixwordstory; then expand into a #sixtywordstory)

 

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digging Deep to Write Every Day


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A writing teacher once told me that the only real way to write, to be a serious writer, is to write every day.

To dedicate yourself to the cause. Working from home makes this goal a lot easier, but there are days when finding that motivation is tough.

But – I’ve learned to “dig deep,” as they say. To write even when I don’t want to, when I don’t feel like it, when I’m tired or even when my creative brain is burning out. How do I (try and) keep writing? I just write something.

Once, I used to work on just one thing, one story at a time. If I got stuck, I would try a writing prompt, but they didn’t ignite my passion in the same way. I tried word-count minimums, schedules and deadlines, but that didn’t keep me motivated either. And it didn’t help much when it came to things like working out character/plot/story problems.

What does work for me, I finally discovered, is having a few different narratives on the go. A literary novel, a speculative short story (or three), a sci-fi/fantasy fiction blog. I kind of rotate between them, so that if I’m not in the right headspace for one, I can least work on the other. Which makes it easier – and more motivating – to write every day.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the sky. Not a plane.


In the sky. Not a plane.

I saw it with my own eyes, coming down, whirling. I ran, not away from it, but towards. From it grew a mammoth garden; flowers and vines, trees and roots. I built a house there of stone, and lived under leaves, until a great wind came and blew the world away.

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(Start with a #sixwordstory; then expand into a #sixtywordstory)

*Image courtesy of photoexplorer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

What’s the One Book Ending You Always Remember?


Does the ending the really make the book? I was reading one from the vault on Book Riot and I’m torn.

On one hand, you can have a mind-blowing book with an ending that’s lacking (even if only on a personal level); you enjoy the read, but the ending isn’t quite what you’d hoped.

I experienced this recently when I read Hilary Mantel’s brilliant book, Bring Up the Bodies. I loved every word I read, but the ending left me just a teeny bit unsatisfied (I’m not sure why, will have to go back and analyse more deeply). That said, I’m still desperately looking forward to the third novel.

On the other side of the coin, there are novels that might not be as captivating throughout, but whose endings resonate entirely.

For me, this book is John le Carre’s the Constant Gardener (spoiler alert: you may want to stop here if you ever plan on reading this novel).

The final words of this novel have stayed with me. For a decade, word for word. It left me hanging, it made me think. It put my on the edge of my seat – and then it ended, mid-action. You know exactly what is going to happen to Justin, and yet you don’t know. You can’t know, but you are left to imagine.

I didn’t love the Constant Gardener as a whole. I enjoyed most of the read, but I found the narrative a little long-winded at times, and it is by no means my #1 book.

But the ending in itself is what made the story for me. It’s gritty but magical. Revealing but mysterious. Inevitable, but shocking. Really, everything an ending should be.

I wish I could “republish” it here and now, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

What’s your favourite book ending? The one that’s always stayed with you, that you’ve always remembered?

 

 

Writing Prompt: A Fantasy Scene from the Snow White Trilogy


castleonahill-800pxIt was the dream of all cherished dreams. She stood before him and gazed, her smooth, green eyes glowing in the darkness. Her hair shone in gold, like a suncoloured fawn, her cheeks rose red. She reached for him, delicate, white hands extending out against the night.

Had she really come back to him?

He trudged forward, his feet sinking into the thick snow, snow as soft as an angel’s wing, and suddenly he tumbled and she was gone.

‘No, wait!’ he shouted. His breath heaved, his heart banged. He heard a soft scrape and turned.

Here she was again, behind him now, the same emerald eyes, the same sunset hair glittered with snowflakes.

‘Come,’ she whispered, and he did.

She led him further into the forest, deeper into the dark, the branches of the Whispering Trees brushing against him, their milky leaves fluttering down like the snow.

As he looked back he saw his own invisible track winding through the Icelands, curling for miles until it vanished in a wash of white. The last castle fortress of Amelie flickered through the mist like a fantastical mirage and then, in a gust of leaves and snow, it was gone.

She was here. He blinked at her up ahead, her silky form, that fiery hair. She was wearing the white dress she’d been in when death had snatched her up and her feet were bare, just as they had been then too.

What had brought her back? And how?

She moved forward, between the trees, and again she was gone. ‘Evelina!’ he shouted. ‘Stop!’

He ran to where she’d been and circled frantically, snowflakes whipping into his eyes. All he could see now were the twisting, swaying branches of the trees and the vast and dismal stretch of snow.

‘Where are you?’

She laughed, shrill and mocking. He looked up. There she was, not behind him or in front, but above him, hovering in the icy air. She sauntered on the winds, her arms and legs twisting and lengthening out from her body like serpents. Above her, the coal-coloured clouds shifted and churned and she whirled herself around like a bloodythirsty dancer.

‘No,’ he whispered to himself. He knew what she had become. He had seen them before. Now, she was one. ‘Eveline, no.’

She snarled, her eyes like glass now, her hair coiling around her like vines, powdering white fingers wiggling at him.

He saw her teeth and drew his sword, quickly, swiftly, the skating sound of the steel lost in the wind.

‘Eveline, please,’ he said. She laughed again, her manic stare falling down on him. He stepped backwards, sword poised, but he knew he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t face her like this. She would give chase, he knew, but it was better than the fight.

He gave her a final, longing glance, one that said, I still love you, even so, and turned, fleeing as fast as he could, into the dark, white depths of the Whispering Forest.

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(Image credit: j4p4n @ openclipart.org)