Tag Archives: stories

Feeling my way

I foolishly rented a 14th story apartment for the view. Often it’s glorious – the harbour opens invitingly out of my bedroom window, and lake MicMac winks at me from my den and living room windows. I often while away non-writing hours watching the rowing shells draw circles and figure eights around the islands in the middle of the lake, take a fantasy ride along with them, curse with them the motorboat people doing doughnuts in the middle of the lake.
But for the past two days, the fog has been so thick I can’t even see the trees reaching their arms up to me. Birds flying by appear suddenly, like fish in a curved aquarium. The cat startles, unsure of how these pigeons are appearing. My apartment is shrouded in grey light and I am compelled to descend and walk on the earth to prove to myself it still exists, solid and still autumnal.
I haven’t had a winter in my aerie yet, and I wonder how winter storms will feel here. The last time I was this high in winter, I was living in Ottawa in my first year of nursing, sharing an apartment with my dear nursing buddy and two cats. We’d gone house hunting together and, both not wanting to offend the other, had agreed on higher and higher apartments as they were offered. We each thought the other wanted to live higher up…
And so we spent many evenings carrying two protesting cats down 20 stories after the fire alarm went off. The place where we lived had a resident who would set off the alarm to get the cigarette butts people would leave behind while the alarm got shut off. We’d all be outside for half a cigarette or so, and she could gather up the leftovers as we rushed back in from the cold.
We didn’t smoke, thank gods, since we often had to climb back up the 20 stories or else wait hours with struggling cats in the lobby.
There’s something oddly disconnecting living shrouded in fog. Down lower, you have the shadows of buildings, trees, cars, people. Up this high, you can go for hours with nothing visible out of the window. It’s isolating, sound is muffled, you have no idea of the time, until the grey goes darker…
In the midst of the fog, I’m drifting through a nanowrimo novel. I’m following my character around, watching with bemusement as he talks to people, does different things, makes love, creates mayhem. The path forward is as foggy as the view out of my window, but I’m liking the experience of drift. It’s fun being surprised by what he does, what other characters do in response.
So I’ll take the fog for a while longer.

Taking flight…

I’ve been working on a little story for a while now. It originally was a story from the fantastical 3DayNovel contest – dashed off in a pile of sweat and handwriting over three days, painstakingly typed into my computer over the next day or two. I was thrilled that it survived the competition, made it to the top twelve!

I was so proud of it.

So then I thought, gee, maybe I should send it somewhere else, see how it can cope out there in the big bad world. So I’ve been working on it, toiling now and again, thinking about it. It’s not an easy story to place, being a bit odd and perhaps a bit offensive to some, though I tried to write it with love and affection throughout.

I had wonderful friends who read it, helped me catch errors, helped me make it clearer, less of a three-day panic attack (though I HIGHLY recommend that contest!). Thank you and kisses to HJ, PH, JP. It’s a shinier thing thanks to you.

Now it’s all grown up, ready to leave the nest, ready to face the cruel world. In fact, it HAS to leave the nest. I’m entering it in a contest and the deadline is so close I can smell its breath.

Of course, it’s heavily laden with my hopes and dreams and such things. Which tells me immediately that I’d better get some more submissions out there so the poor wee thing can fly without having to drag my entire psyche with it.

So fly, little story. A part of my heart goes with you. It’s time for you to connect with others now.

And now, back to work…


Revisionist history, or embroidering around the edges of life

Sometimes, being a fiction writer has its disadvantages. Too much imagination has led me into all sorts of trouble. It’s just too easy to imagine alternative endings to various stories, and you know, some people just don’t like that.
I got into trouble last night at a church event, in fact. We were discussing the oncoming Holy Week events and the reading of the Passion this Sunday. One of my friends will “play” Judas.

So, of course I had to open my mouth. I always felt sorry for Judas. I mean, here he was , sort of set up for doom, I said. If he hadn’t done what he did, poor Jesus would end up wandering around at age 50, thinking to himself, “there was something I was going to do, but what was it again?” (like many of us in our 50’s).

I was chastised for sacrilege. Probably fair enough. But still.

In my defence, I have to say there’s a part of me that is always questioning things. I feel sorry for Mary, for example. I mean, she gives birth to this magical kid, and honestly, how does she cope with it – the staring from the villagers, the toilet training, for heaven’s sake? Did Mary have to bribe him with the equivalent of Smarties? Was the young Lad a good kid, or was he a bit cheeky? All of these practicalities aren’t dealt with, and unfortunately, my mind fills in around the edges with scenes. I suppose , if I were good, I’d just leave it alone, but I don’t have that kind of mind.

The same thing happens in all sorts of settings. I go to the coffee shop and overhear part of a conversation and embroider a life around the speakers. I read about a famous person and want to know about the other parts of their lives.

I believe part of being a writer is being endlessly curious about people and things – why does water behave that way? How do you make material out of loose wool? Can you balance angels on the head of a pin? How many?

Often it’s purely mental play. Some people do crosswords. I make up stories.

But perhaps I should learn to keep my wonderings to myself. Lest I offend the hearer.
Alternatively, I could write under a pseudonym. Any good ideas for one out there?