Throwback Thursday: Empty Words

*A weekly post revisiting some of the previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

This piece was the first of a short series I ran on my blog titled ‘character conversations’ – the challenge was to write a small story consisting only of dialogue – no description, no characterisation, no place setting, and no context.

What do you think? Can a dialogue-only story be successful? Can it create enough colour and texture to draw you in? Can you imagine these people? Their lives? Can you buy into their story? Do you know them? Do you care about them?

Enjoy!

“Hi.”
“Hey.”
“I finally got the kids to sleep.”
“Yeah?”
“Yeah. You want some dinner? I just ate fish fingers with the kids, but I could make you a sandwich?”
“Nah, I’m good. Had some chips at the pub.”
“You were at the pub?”
“Uh-huh.”
“With the guys?”
“Yeah.”
“How are they doing?”
“They’re alright. Dave and Sylvia are splitting up. He’s pretty cut up about it.”
“That’s awful. I must ring Sylvia in the morning. Do you know what happened?”
“Everything. Or nothing. Don’t know really.”
“Oh. What a shame. They were such a nice couple.”
“I guess.”
“At least there weren’t any children involved.”
“Hmmph.”
“Well, I’m pretty knackered so I might have an early night.”
“Okay.”
“Do you want to come up?”
“After the highlights.”
“You don’t want to be here do you, Tony?”
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
“That’s not the same as wanting to be here.”
“Not now, Shirl. I’m a little pissed and not in the mood for this tonight.”
“I guess I just want you to know that I didn’t choose this life either.”
“Uh-huh.”
“But, if I had to be stuck in this life with anyone, I would want it to be you. We will get through this. I know we will. Because in spite of everything, I love you.
Do you love me, Tony? Do you?
Tony?”

*First published June 2011

Throwback Thursday: Soap and Cigarettes

*A weekly post revisiting some of my previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

Image

When I reach for you, you flinch. When I kiss you, you don’t kiss me back. You look at me with repulsion when I try and hold your hand. So, I walk around all day, waiting – waiting for you to touch me, to pull me in to you. And when you do you are ferocious, your arms too tight around my waist, your nose tangled in my hair, your lips too hot and wet against mine.

Intimacy is always on your terms.

But, at night when we lie in bed – your back curled away from me – and I hear your snores, you are mine. I shuffle to your side of the bed, and I put my arm around your bare shoulders, pulling myself up against your sleeping body. I bury my face into your hot, smooth neck. You do not move.

I love your smell.

Imperial Soap and cigarettes.

 

*Originally published 7 June 2011

Throwback Thursday: You Have a Nice Day

*A weekly post revisiting some of my previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

“I loved him.” A shrug. A hollow smile.
“You didn’t know him.”
“I did towards the end. We talked a lot. He talked.”
“What did he talk about?”
“His wife, mostly. His kids. How he missed them. He begged me to let him see them. Just one last time.”
“Why him?”
Another shrug, a drag from the cigarette in her left hand. “He noticed me.”
“When?”
“When I was working at the garage. He came in every morning to buy a coffee and the paper. £2,50. Every morning. He would smile at me and say ‘You have a nice day’. Nobody else did that.”
“Do you think what you did was right?”
“No. I knew it was wrong. But, I couldn’t help myself. I had to have him. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I loved him.”
The heavy metal door opens, a security guard enters, nods, “Time is up.”

Fear and Writing

pic via weheartit

pic via weheartit

Writing is like laying yourself bare naked on cold concrete for everyone to look at, a controversial exhibit on display in a museum. It is like slicing yourself down the middle and peeling back your skin to reveal the workings of your body for everyone to judge.

When I was younger I used to write about everything, and the darker the world I created, the better. I loved to tell harrowing stories, fearlessly diving down into the disturbing world of my imagination and pulling out scenes and images I knew nothing about in the real world.

I didn’t care what people thought of my work. I didn’t care what they thought of me.

But, with age has come this crippling self-consciousness that permeates my writing like a parasite. I am afraid of what people will think of me after reading what I write. I am afraid of being too honest, revealing too much in case they see me for what I am. I cover myself with layers to protect myself from the serpent eyes of those around me.

Don’t look at me.

What is it that I am afraid they will see?

I am afraid they will see how much I feel. The intensity of my thoughts and emotions that crash through me, that threaten to drown me some days. There is an ugliness in the world that I can’t help but see. There is so much gnarled pain and hurt, and the sound of it is almost deafening.

I am afraid to look at it.

I am afraid to listen to it.

I am afraid to write about it.

In case it overwhelms and consumes me.

I am afraid to feel. Writing is like picking at the scab on the surface of your emotions, that hard layer you form to protect the raw flesh underneath from exposure to the outside world. To write well, you need to reveal that sore tenderness, and I am petrified of the hurt that comes with that. I am afraid the feelings will overwhelm me and I will bleed out.

I am afraid of myself.

Throwback Thursday

*A weekly post revisiting some of my previous fictional writing pieces from my old blog*

Hi all,

For any new readers out there that may not already know, I have recently jumped ship from my previous blog and am currently making a tentative home for myself here.

It’s different.

Blogger was like a rickety old cabin the woods, with uneven floorboards and lopsided furniture that smelt of damp. WordPress is more like a modern high-rise apartment. Everything is crisp and clean and there are state-of-the-art gadgets littered throughout the glass and marble rooms. The problem is, I have no idea what any of it does, and the glare from all the newness is almost blinding.

Change takes time to feel familiar.

Today, I am introducing the first of my new (and shiny) Throwback Thursday posts, which will be a series of creative writing posts lifted straight from my old blog and transplanted here for you all to read and enjoy again. What can I say, sometimes we need to take some familiar comforts with us when we move on, as a reminder of who we once were.

Enjoy!

This Body

ImageI hate this body.

I feel like an animal trapped inside this bulging, pasty white flesh. I look down at its ugly nakedness and I want to claw at it, shed it like a skin; rip it from me until blood pulses out of me draining the liquid, pus-like fat from my thighs and hips.

This body is not of me.

It hides me, conceals me.

Suffocates me.

I hate this lack of control.

Like a drug addict I crave. I am a slave to every bite, every gulp. I give in and I hate it. I need the fix – the sugar, the bread, the act of bringing chunks of food to my mouth, barely chewing, and swallowing. Not enjoying. Just eating.

And then the disgust. The self-loathing as I stand naked and bloated in the mirror, spotty skin, frizzy mess.

This body wins.

I hides me, conceals me.

Protects me.

*originally published 13 April 2011

An Open Letter to Readers Old and New

Dear Readers,

There is not much you can do when the rot sets in.

It always starts off small at first, like a tiny patch of damp in the corner of your ceiling. It spreads slowly like a shadow, seeping into the tiny cracks of your own creation reaching down into the very foundation of the thing you love, where it festers and oozes and multiplies.

And you don’t notice the damage until it’s too late.

You try in vain to mend the brokenness. You cover the cracks, and wash off the dark stains that tarnish your beloved thing’s once pristine appearance. But these are only temporary measures, and the more repairs you make, the bigger the problem becomes, the faster the damp stain spreads, the deeper it goes and the more distorted and alien the thing becomes until you no longer recognise it as your own.

And suddenly, the thing you created one Saturday morning 3 years ago is no longer home, it no longer fulfills your needs. It no longer suits your purpose.

Because you’ve changed too.

It is time to cut the chord and move on, and I would love to take you all with me.

So, I hope you will find a new home here too.

Chat soon,

Melissa