‘I don’t want to go.’
‘Yes, you do.’
‘What are you going to do for me in exchange for going out and speaking to people?’
‘I’ll fix your phone screen.’
‘Good deal. I prefer messaging to speaking. Actually, I hate people.’
‘No, you don’t.’
‘I don’t. But how bout reading? Can I stay home and read?’
But I left Neil in the kitchen with my phone, working on his end of the bargain.
I got in the car.
‘Y’know, let’s just go on a road-trip. C’mon. I don’t really need to do this. Mairi, don’t make me go in.’
‘Get out of the car.’
‘I’d probably get more writing done at the at the house.’
‘You wouldn’t, though, Mummy.’ Isla pipes up from the back.
‘Who asked you? And seriously, HOW OLD ARE YOU?’
She just looked at me. Like, into my soul. That kid has been making me pull up my big girl pants since before she was born.
So I went. To a short story workshop. That involved other people. And we weren’t in my house.
It was at the library. For five minutes, it felt like being back at school. I had a new bag, a notebook, a pen. Because, y’know, writing. Did I mention it wasn’t at my house?
So, introductions. I don’t remember what I said. Whatever it was included KID and BLOG and NOT AN ADVERT. HI.
Then there were some hand-outs that made me realise I’m a bit rusty on the short story front.
Like, did you know that 2 or 3 characters are enough characters? And shit has to happen to them? And the story has, y’know, an ending? And then you WRITE ANOTHER ONE? I had NO IDEA.
And I’m only being halfway sarcastic. Finishing things has always been my issue.
And again, not being funny here, but I have issues with ass-on-seat-and-finish-the-shittin’-story-thing.
I’ve missed the freedom of fiction. Anything can happen. And I love the point where writing becomes automatic for me, and I don’t have to think about where the next word is coming from.
Take this snippet.
The fruit was waxy on the table. Ashtrays smoldered with lipstick edges. Steepled hands and toothpicks, things unsaid stuck in cheeks. The room buzzed. He smiled. She did not. But the look on her face said, what is she wearing?
I figured that I was writing to this photo.
Other than that, where the shit did that come from?
Photo: I’m related to all those people. Mostly, my grandparents sitting in the front.