Again, from here
. Prompt number 20. I seem to have developed an odd talent for starting with nothing and as I write turning it into a fully-complete scene with a proper and fitting ending. It's happened every time I've written from a prompt so far. I never have the ending in my head when I start. It sort of arrives halfway through, and evolves, and then it wraps everything up for me. It's very convenient!
Anyway. This is possibly even creepier than the last two.( Write about the colour of hunger.Collapse )
Found at lightning_fic
. A ten-minute prompt that ran away with me a little and became eighteen minutes. The prompt was "Right now, I want to kill". No editing done, obviously.( Read on.Collapse )
started 26/01/06 14:45
White Valley, from the rocky plateau of the the Witch's hut, a fall of forest down to the uneven meadows and fields of Aydinshollow, to the grey stone buildings of the village and the haze of smoke above them. A jagged bowl open to the sky, lined with greystone cliffs that the trees cling to, or pour down, in straggling trails, till they meet the cleared edge of the grazing pastures where the Torcalls' sheep are scattered like stars across the green. The heavy shadows that lie across the deep valley as the unhindered sun in the clear sky turns into afternoon, and light appears in the windows of the village, and the high east-facing plateau is steeped in gold from the impending sunset. Below, her farmhouse, and the gently undulating fields for the cows, and the ramshackle humped shape of the dairy sheds where her family would have once be waiting, with her mother standing by the stove, one hand on her rounded swollen belly, watching her eldest daughter cook the dinner with one hand on the roundness of her own heavy stomach.
And now in morning, when the plateau was in the shadow, and the new dawn light slipped over the faraway cliffs of the west face, and the winter-spring breeze whipped sharply at tree branches laden with tiny pale green buds, smelling of earth and life, when the valley was spread out before her and the feeling of ownership, of hers, swelled inside her like a tide of birdsong as the sun rose on the valley that she knew every inch of, every stone, every tree, every bend in the white rushing river...
She stood there now, the wind swirling the dust-brown skirts of her travelling dress around her legs, streaming the darker cloak behind her, snapping like a flag, watching the village awake beneath her with a still calm peacefulness that she held all around her, the sense of home. Doors opened, brooms swept dust out into the street, windows were opened to the cold spring air. The Torcalls' shepherd had been there since before dawn, and she had watched him climb the hilly pastures with the sheep crowding behind him. She had watched Master Hywel and his boys hitching the ploughshare up to the donkeys they were so proud of, distant figures still clear to her as they patted the sides of the beasts and led them out to the cornfields. She had watched her own younger siblings and cousins, moving out amongst the great herd of cows that came under her family name, buckets ringing together as they knelt and stood and carried and returned, and knelt and stood again. She had watched her Shain, her baby brother, moving to the hen house to snatch the eggs from the chickens; she could see now herfather and oldest brother mending the fence of the chicken coop, again. And she could see now her mother, leaning on her favourite fence-post, her belly now flat but with the baby, her very last baby, cradled in her arms.
Brean looked down at her mother, and knew her mother was looking back.
The bell on Goating's rope tinkled behind her, and she straightened, stretching her tired arms. Her back ached, stiff and dull, a constant kind of ache that had persisted in her last journey out from the valley. Too many hard nights on the ground that even the odd night in an inn and last night in the Witch's hut couldn't ease. She would have to get it seen to, she supposed.
The door of the hut swung open, and Brean itched suddenly, between her shoulderblades. She scratched it, idly, not bothering to turn around.
"Meaveen, could you be feeding Goating now?"
"I was about to," Meaveen muttered, her steps quick and nervous as she huried towards the goat. "You don't have to be telling me every morning."
Brean turned her back on the valley, reluctantly, and crossed her arms about her chest, letting the cold in. Meaveen was giving Goating her oats and hay, the ancient grey nanny-goat snorting them up with a peculiar, intelligent contentedness. Black suited Meaveen, Brean thought. Far more than blue ever had. She thought that Meaveen was probably happy now, or happier, in black, in long, straggling hair, with her eyes very slowly turning the colour of the sky. Her recent snappishness was only fear of returning to this place, Brean knew, fear of returning to the valley she'd almost killed. But Meaveen would be a good Witch to the valley, and they would accept her in time. Brean was satisfied with that.
"Is the Witch awake?" she asked Meaveen.
"Hard to tell," Meaveen replied, absently, patting the pockets of her long black dress for a carrot, then looked up suddenl at Brean. The blue at the edges of her brown irises caught the light. "Why do you still call him the Witch? Aren't you a Witch? Don't you know his name?"
Brean considered this. "You should know," she said, slowly, "more than most, that Witches don't like names. And you should know I'm not one."
"But you're... well..." Meaveen trailed off, eyebrows drawing together in annoyance over her changing eyes, a flush crossing her cheeks. "Well, you'd think that you would still... well, you know what I mean!"
Brean supposed she did. "Don't ask questions," she advised, seriously. "Especially if you won't like the answers."
finished 26/01/06 15:27
started 25/01/06 19:00
Every time I look, the screen saver on my computer, the one that shows the planets and moons of the Solar System, is displaying Jupiter. I am becoming wholly bored of seeing Jupiter, especially since the 3d model of Jupiter in the screen saver omits its only interesting feature: the big red spot. Now what do you think of when you think of Jupiter as a planet? You think Big Red Spot. You also think Very Freaking Big, but because my monitor is only inches wide (although it is very big for a monitor, and I have no desire to make it feel self-conscious about its size) the bigness of Jupiter is not really relevant, isit? If it isn't big, and it it doesn't have a spot, then what's interesting about Jupiter? Well, it has a bucketload of moons. So does Saturn, and ice rings into the bargain. Jupiter is boring. How about Mercury?
I think Mercury is underrated. It can't be easy, living so close to the Sun. You're basically a scorching hot little rock, you're zooming around the Sun too fast to think, you have no lovely protective atmosphere and you know that when the Sun dies, you'll be first to be swallowed up. On top of that, you're ever so lonely with no moons to keep you company, and you know there's no hope of humans ever colonising you in the near future, because 1000SPF sun lotion has not yet been invented and is not high on their list of priorities. Poor, abandonded little Mercury, all alone out there.
Now Venus, Venus has no moons, and Venus knows humans will never colonise it either, and Venus DOES NOT CARE. For years we called this innocuous, pale little ball our sister planet. We praised it, called it the Morning Star and the Evening Star, named it after the goddess of love. And what happens? Oh, we find out that those pretty white clouds hide a LANDSCAPE OF UNFORGIVING DOOM. You could not imagine a more evil, venomous, uninhabitable world if you tried. Volcanoes! Blistering heat! Incredibly poisonous atmosphere! Many shades of orange and red! The place is actually HOTTER than Mercury on account of being so damned EVIL. I daresay bizarre carbon-monoxide-breathing tentacular aliens may like it there, but us? To us, Venus is the bitch queen of planets. Do not wonder why you don't often hear it referred to as Earth's sister planet any more. If Venus was our sister, we have disowned her.
Now, Earth. What is there to say about Earth? It's probably in the running for Miss Solar System 2006, contested only by Saturn. Uranus and Neptune are nice, too, if you like bizarre axis tilts and faint rings and odd shades of blue, but when you get down to it, it's Saturn and Earth. And Earth IS awfully pretty. It's got blue bits, and white bits, and sort of yellow bits, and floaty white bits, and overall just LOOKS like a pleasant and hospitable place to live, and is not blanketed by evil carbon monoxide clouds of DOOM, like some OTHER planets not so far away that I could mention. It's also got a lovely white moon that was handily reachable by great big rockets, which made us all happy for a little while until we realised that the Moon is a bit dull. Unfortunately, when the sun dies, it will expand and expand and swallow poor Mercury and evil Venus (not that Venus would notice, as it is hellishly hot there already), and then it will scorch the surface of the Earth and everything will die and the moon will fly into the Sun and the seas will evaporate and basically we will be like Mercury, but slightly larger and scorchier. Sad, isn't it?
Mars is pretty boring, once you get past the alien stuff. It is red, which is nice, makes the Solar System nicely colourful and all, and it has white bits on each end and a couple of funny-shaped moons. However, it's basically got nothing to offer but a lot of red dust, some old probes that we sent up there anyway, fossilised bacteria (which is interesting to some people, but not us) and absolutely no green men whatsoever. Frankly, Mars is a bit of a disappointment and I think it knows it. It looks awfully sad up there, so close to us, so close to supporting life of its own but unfortunately falling by the wayside. It can see us from there, us and our proliferent life, and it just wants to cry. But it can't, because all of its water is in the frozen ice caps. So it just sort of stares. On top of that, it's got Jupiter looming ominously over it all the time, being big and threatening with only a belt of small oddly-shaped rocks in the way. (None of these rocks, by the way, are shaped like genitalia, so I won't be covering them today.)
However, Mars is still more interesting than Jupiter. One interesting thing about Jupiter is that things related to it are called "Jovian" insteadof, I don't know, "Jupiterian". That's kind of cool, but you know, not really. At least Mars has chocolate named after it, and you can actually stand on it. Jupiter also swallowed a comet once, which was I think distinctly unfair on the poor comet. It was just trying to get somewhere, just flying around aimlessly using gravitational fields to swing itself about, and them BOOM, it's eaten by a gas giant. Poor, poor comet. Other than that, Jupiter sucks and I don't care who knows it. It thinks it's so great, just because it's enormous, but take away its spot and shrink it down a bit and you'd have Saturn without the rings, but boringer. I would like to see all of the smaller planets gang up on Jupiter. If they could get, say, Uranus to join them, I bet they'd win.
More planets later, plus the Oort Cloud, Sedna the NOTPLANET and Planet X, the NOTSEDNA.
finished 25/01/06 19:40, break taken for lunch.
- Music:Green Day - Minority
started 25/01/06 15:22
I remember the cracks in the patio where the thick moss grew. I remember digging it out with a dinner-knife in my hand, my grandmother beside me, the dark sweet moss-soil scent of the garden. I remember the cracked concrete, and the panicking ants disappearing into the cracks. I remember prying out stones and weeds, digging the tip of the silver blade into the ground, pushing, levering out roots. I remember pulling miss-dirt out in one long string, and the way the strings lay on the patio afterwards like dead green-brown worms.
I remember when the daisies grew on the lawn like a scattering of stars, and I spent an afternoon picking every single one. I remember finding a plastic bag and filling it, overfilling it, with daisies, because I did not know how to make a chain. I remember giving the bag of daisies to the woman next door, because of how she was kind to me. No doubt she didn't appreciate it.
I remember that rose-bush, old and gnarled and bent, like my grandmother, whose rose bush it was. It did not cling to the side of the house; it stood proud, despite leaf-rot, and never fell. I remember the roses, the watery pale scent of them, the thick sunrise cream of the petals with their blushes of unashamed pink. I remember how beautiful they were. And how the thorns hurt, but never too much. I remember the old brick platform where my grandmother grew cress, and where the green-leaved plant grew, the one I was small enough to hide behind. I remember that plant disappearing, when the house grew over the patio; I do not remember the rosebush being taken away, although I know that it was.
I remember the garden swing, sealed into the earth by concrete, but done so long ago that when you swang too hard the legs with their concrete bases lifted out of the ground, and you had to make a friend or a sibling stand on one to keep the swing down. I remember the washed-out orange plastic of the seat, the green paint that flecked and shed from the metal, that prickled against my fingers when I flaked it off. I remember the bent cross-bar, with its dip in the middle, where we used to swing upside-down from the bar, when we were small enough that our heads did not brush the ground. I remember the blood-tasting metal of the chains, the coldness against my cheek, I remember spinning the chains together, around and around, till the tips of my toes hardly brushed the ground and I would let go, and spin and spin and spin and spin until the chains unraveled and raveled themselves again, and unravels, and re-raveled, until the momentum had gone and there was just me, giggling, sick and dizzy.
I rememberthe dirt under the swing that was perfect for drawing in, for writing in. I remember pretending to be a student from a time long ago, scratching names and pictures into the dust. I remember the evening I finally learned how to swing without being pushed, how high I went, how happy I felt, how much I could see. My grandmother stood in the doorway, begging me to come in for a bath; I jumped from the swing, but misjudged; I had never jumped from so high, or so far, and I landed past the border of the lawn onto the patio, and skinned my knees and hands, and only laughed at the sight of the blood.
I remember learning to ride my bike with my father, at the top of the gentle slope of our lawn. I remember the redness of the paint, and the weak sunshine, and the wooden trellis at the end of the lawn, and the long distance between. I remember the clouds. I remember my dad's excited voice. I remember the first time, without stabilisers, sitting as he held the handlebars and ran down the hill with me and let go. I remember falling, and getting back up, and falling, and getting back up, and that final time when he pushed me and I pedalled and I stayed upright, wind in my hair, a perfect balance, until I hit the trellis at the bottom of the garden and fell, again, laughing and laughing and laughing...
I remember the tree. The beech tree, taller than my house, taller than anyone's house, and how it was green in summer and spring and aflame with rusty colour, shifting in the breeze. I remember reaching up, standing on the wobbly picnic table to pull leaves from the tree, because I could. I remember the space between the sheds and the tree, dark even at noon, cluttered with pallets and old bikes and remnants of fence, the dark scary place where we said ghosts lived, where we hid in hide and seek, or when we were wronged and crying. I remember, behind the shed, under the shade of that tree, the house that my brother and father built from old fencing and breezeblocks, a perfect waterproof cube with one wall missing as a doorway, sheltered by the tree and the fence of our property. I remember furnishing it, bringing trees and flowers, and mint from the tomato patch to make it smell fresh. I remember sitting there, in the storm, in a plastic chair upon the dry dirt floor, listening to the rainstorm around me.
I remember one cold wet winter, when my brother and I dug a hole in the barren vegetable patch, in the dark wet clay, an enormous round hole wide enough to lay in. I remember my brother going indoors from the cold, but staying myself, digging deeper and deeper, and then finding bricks and a sheet of corrugated iron, and sheltering underneath as the rain started, dirt in my hair and eyes, dirt on my skin, excited and tired and happy. I remember dry frosty afternoons, when I would take a bamboo pole and my brother a ball on a string, and we would play at fighting on the pale patio in the old, tired light, yelling and screaming and putting on voices. I remember how much it stung, in the cold, when a hit landed across your knuckles. I remember not caring.
I remember, younger now, on my bike after I learned to ride it, riding around and around in circles on the patio. I remember how I pretended I was on a journey, that I was not going around in circles but onwards, forwards, through villages I knew at first, and then onto villages I didn't, and my grandmother would come to the door and ask "where are you now?" with a rare smile on her face. I remember the wendy house that my grandfather made, from old planks of wood and nails and nothing else, how small and perfect and even it was, how tightly made, how it smelt always of mildew, how I kept books in there. The games we played around it, where the criminals would hide in there and us, the police, would hold our platic guns and solemnly inform them in our fake American accents that if they did not come out, we would blow them to smithereens.
I remember the sheds, the three of them. The green one, where my grandfather kept his moped and my grandmother her bike, the one that held paint and nails, where everything was covered with a faint glisten of greaseand everything smelt sweetly of oil. The flaking one, where we kept our bikes, where we kept chairs and onions and made a house of it, with chairs and shalves for our things, and the spiky orange bud-heads from the beech that scattered the floor, and the smell of onionskin. The forbidden grey shed, lastly, at the top of the garden, where there was more paint, and dangerous-looking tools, and old crockery, and nails, and forbidden things, sharp things, that we stared at in their holders, afraid to come close, in case they might bite us.
I remember my grandmother's runner beans, the way she compared them to next door's, the wooden teepees that she grew them on in haphazard lines. I remember the pale calm green of the leaves, and the red of the flowers, and therough, hairy texture of the final vegetable. I remember eating them raw, pulling the strings out from between my teeth, splitting them open to reveal the seed-beans inside.I remember my grandmother scolding for it as we picked the beans, but not meaning it. I remember the potato plants, the roots laden with brown dangling fruits as my grandad pulled them up, and the tomato plants with yellow flowers, and the frgrant shoots of the onions that I used to eat. I remember the sprouts growing on what I thought were cabbages. I remember the marrows, and the low rock wall that enclosed the marrow patch, how it shifted as we ran along it, as we sat upon it and spoke.
I remember the compost patch, loaded with fragrant hay after the lawn had been mowed. I remember wheelbarrows full of hay, that we would sit in, and throw, and occaisonally eat, just to see why horses liked it so much.
I remember the bonfire, the old wire bin that my grandfather loaded with scrap and set fire to, and how we could stand near it, but not close, fascinated by the flames. And afterwards, there would be embers that we would poke in, cherry-red against the dull of the day, and charcoal, which we used to write our names on the sides of the old grey shed, and believed that they would stay there forever.
ended 25/01/06 15:55
(written in longhand, Tuesday 24th January 2006, 12:43am)
...write in odd corners, from new angels, at work, in cafés, in the cold, in heat, on buses, at night, in the morning, while eating, while waiting. Find space to put pen to paper, fill the books up, wear the pens out, grow a callus on your right ring finger the size of a peanut. Fire yournails down, get ink on your hands, answer questions with a smile. Fall in love with writing, love the act of it, find comfort and pain and anger and joy in lines of cramped handwriting. Write for the love of it, for the fun of it, for the hate of it, for the sheer frightening potential of it. Try to write yourself empty, try to write yourself dry, and feel joy in knowing thgat you cannot. Write what you see and feel and taste of life, what you don't, what you love and hate of it. Find flow, find direction, find simplicity and words that matter. Don't stop. Never stop. Remember this feeling, this joy, this excitement! Recapture it, relive it, again and again. You can feel like this, every day, and better.
Write till you are hoarse, and know that the words will never run dry.
Comments: I am awfully dramatic at quarter to one in the morning, especially when doped up on cold medicine. (added to memories)