I did Nanowrimo. And I “won” – which seems like a funny way of describing it, but there you go. It was an interesting experience, and I think I learnt quite a few interesting things from it.
First of all, I can write. I don’t know if I can write well, but I can write a lot of words. That was a surprise to me, actually, and was the reason why I took on the challenge. I wanted to test myself. Now I’ve got 50,000 words – or just over, and I’m wondering what to do with them. There’s a lot of work to do before that lot looks like a book.
I also found out that to keep up that level of wordcount is hard, especially if you’re working, and trying to keep on top of the washing and feeding people. I cut out a lot of my usual self maintenance, and I need to pick that up again. So I don’t think that I could do it on a long term basis.
It was an amazing creative activity, though. Along the way a fairly minor character stepped forward and took over the whole plot. My original story shrank. A whole lot of new people I’d never thought of appeared and started doing stuff. And it was fun. More fun than real life, some of the time – potentially addictive, I think.
I’m glad I did it. I don’t think I’ll do it again – November’s a busy month for me. Mind you, all months are busy. However, I have discovered things about my own creativity, and what works for me that I probably wouldn’t have discovered without taking this on. From that point of view it was well worth doing. Now I’m caught up in Christmas, but next year (when the world gets too much…) I think I might have a go at polishing up this tangle of words and seeing what it looks like.
Wish me luck!
If you’ve lived with cold, real cold, you might not understand our excitement. We come from a temperate climate, where snow causes chaos for a day or two every few years. Snowflakes are indistinguishable blobs of white, bringing joy to school-children – and those of us who still appreciate being at the mercy of the weather. But this was Finland, in January, and it was cold. Colder than I’d thought possible. Nights were long, and the days were short – the pink and orange light of sunrise fading gently into the red and gold of sunset, with the snow reflecting back the shimmering colours. Snowflakes were intricately embroidered creations.
We’d gone to the edge of a frozen lake – only distinguishable as a lake because there were no trees growing there – and waited with a group of other people, hoping to see the Lights. It was cold. Our breath formed clouds around us, and we shuffled and jigged, keeping our feet moving, talking, joking, waiting. Gradually everyone else left, in search of hot chocolate, or maybe a nightcap. No Lights tonight, they all agreed. But we are stubborn, and we hung on, the four of us alone in the wide, white night. We finally decided to go, when our youngest started to noticeably droop, and that was when they came. White lights dancing in the sky, just for us. Our memory, to hold for ever.
Whiteness all around
Snowflakes dance their way to earth
Lights dance in the sky.
Toni is tending the bar at dVerse tonight. It’s the last haibun of 2016, and she’s wishing us a “Good Night”. You should head over there and read some haibuns. Life is beautiful.
Sometimes he wondered at how heavy they had become. At first, when there were just one or two of them, they had each seemed as insubstantial as mist, and he had hardly felt their cool hands on his arms or neck, had scarcely heard their whispers, that moved through the air like wind through sedge grass. Now they clung to him like ivy to an old wall, and all he could hear was their insistent murmurings – “The princess, the princess” they whispered, pushing him on.
“We are her dreams” they told him, “Her memories. We are the stories she tells herself. How can she be herself without us?” And they cling to him, begging to be carried, to be taken on the long journey to the lost princess.
In the beginning, he had trusted them, but with the passing days he grew to hate them, and to fear them. There were more each night, holding out pale arms to him, and he couldn’t refuse them. He wondered if the princess would welcome him, and his strange company – if ever they should find her – or if she would turn from them, preferring her forgetfulness.
But still he journeyed, as if this forest had no end, and his destiny was to walk these twisting paths for all eternity, seeking a princess who had forgotten her own story.
This story is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. The image is by John Bauer. Check out her site – her entries are really great stuff.
Today of all days
I will not be defined
By the lines on my page,
Or a thing that I left
I will not be uglied
By your eyes.
I will not be a scar.
I will be solar.
Look at me.
I knew this prompt wouldn’t leave me alone. This is for dVerse again. I love quadrilles so much.
Scaramouche takes flight
In a skylight currach
Skin stretched tight
Over spars of bone
Following the starmap
Scar map, far map
Scanning the horizon
Of the Amazon
Seeking out the pathway,
The goddess triple walking
Who makes herself
This is a quadrille for dVerse. We are asked to write about scars…dangerous territory. A currach, by the way, is a light weight boat used traditionally in the west of Ireland, made of hide stretched over a wooden frame, and then tarred.