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As mentioned in last week’s post, while cleaning out my room, I uncovered a stack of papers containing short stories and flash fiction that I had written last summer. With most of the writing I do on scraps of papers, I end up grouping them together in small piles and stashing them somewhere that I won’t look for nearly a year later, if not longer. After going through this newfound pile, I picked out a few that I’d like to share here on my blog in the coming weeks.
Scroll down to read the second story…
She had forgotten what it was like to be near the living. In an estate untouched for nearly a century, the living seemed like a distant dream to her. The man cautiously walked through the aged teak door and peered around the mass expanse before him. She leaned over the guardrail positioned across from where he stood, one story above him. Despite knowing she was all but a whisper on his plane, she nevertheless pattered down the mezzanine steps as swiftly as her feet would allow her, until she came face-to-face with the stranger.
Standing so close, she could smell the faint scent of tobacco clinging to his clothes, see the soft pores on his cleanly shaven face, hear the the gentle thrumming of his heartbeat. The very fact that he was so very alive was almost enough to shock her own long-expired heart into a rhythmic flutter. She reached up to touch the smooth milky skin of his face, trailing her fingers across as he stared past her — through her — into oblivion. Was he afraid here?
Here she was in a manor possessing minimal light, no trace of human contact for close to one hundred years, yet was finally seeing a living man before her…chest rising and falling with each inhalation of oxygen, cheeks flushed with life, hands clenching and unclenching nervously.
Why was he here? Why are you here? My mouth cannot open to speak words that he would never hear. I take his hand, trying to lace our fingers together, but I cannot. He does not know that I am here. He does not know that I exist. I am a superstition, a scary story, a bump in the night. I am invisible, I am translucent, I am a memory long forgotten. To him, I am no one. To me, I am a young woman trapped in a place that she once loved, damned to pace its empty rooms for eternity.
As he steps closer toward the center of the Great Hall, I mirror each reluctant step, until he turns and abruptly exits. I race to the door, but go no further. He disappears. He is gone, and I am alone.
Who am I? Where do I go from here?
While cleaning out my room this week, I uncovered a stack of papers containing short stories and flash fiction that I had written last summer. With most of the writing I do on scraps of papers, I end up grouping them together in small piles and stashing them somewhere that I won’t look for nearly a year later, if not longer. After going through this newfound pile, I picked out a few that I’d like to share here on my blog in the coming weeks.
Scroll down to read the first…
She stared out into the open, arms crossed under her leaning body. The stone railing held her upright, but nothing sheltered her from the sparse but steady rainfall coming from above. The rain clouds moved languidly, gradually making their way toward the last remaining traces of sunlight that she could discern in the far distance. Slowly, her mane of chestnut hair soaked up each raindrop, her clothing turning a deeper shade as it too, drank up the rain. From miles away, thunder rolled loud and deep, the lethargic grumble rolling its way across a blackening sky.
Still, she kept her arms crossed against the rough grey stone, sinking her body further into the stance. Rainfall could never perturb her. With only the terrace spanning before her, there was nothing particularly intriguing to see; nothing that she could not see on any other day in far better weather. Of course, she knew this was so, but staring out in these conditions was something in and of itself. The moisture in the air could not gather on her skin and face like this, nor the nearly non-existent breeze whisper in her hair, nor raindrops kiss her eyelashes on any other type of day. She could not feel the Earth weep, hear Her low groan, nor smell Her dewy tears in any other circumstances.
The rainfall increased, a heavy sigh from the clouds releasing the warm water from above her. The thunder grew louder, creeping closer to her safe spot on the balcony. Beyond the walls enclosing the terrace gardens, she easily could see a thick pocket of trees, a single sparrow darting from a distant rooftop awning, into the thick, deep green foliage.
Rain fell heavier upon her narrow shoulders, seemingly washing away her sins and misgivings as easily as it watered the Earth. Each droplet from the downpour worked toward erasing her fears; her hates; her distrusts, sweeping them away to the soil far below to be purged and forgotten.
Lightening cracked overhead, the illuminating force of nature glowing against her face. With her eyes closed slightly, she straightened her back, turned her face upward, and smiled.
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After spending over four years inundating myself with academic writing and reading material, it has been of some difficulty to transition back into effectively writing creatively. There were countless days in this near half-decade of my life where I sat emptily in front of my computer staring blankly at the screen, hoping that something — anything — would once again spark my creative writing abilities. The truth is, it can be extremely difficult to flip-flop between an academic mindset and a creative one; in post-secondary school, particularly one heavily based in science, we are expected to think of everything critically and quite often, from a singular point of view. It’s unsurprising that the result is an inhibition of creative flow… But there is a way to begin counteracting this, especially once you’ve moved on from that academic mentality and are ready to fully get back into creative writing.
Many times, I convinced myself that I was being creative just by planning out my stories. Though there was something rather imaginative about this (I was still coming up with a fictional story line — from the era of the plot, to the characters, their relationships with one another, and their background stories), I still felt like it just wasn’t enough. This was all done scribbled on pieces of paper in point form and, in a way, I was transitioning myself from a very critical and “abbreviated” research-oriented mentality to a more innovative one. To help with this, I have happily gotten back into the swing of reading as many novels as possible, vying for inspiration with each turn of a page.
As a cry out into the void of time and space in my desperate need to write fictional stories again, I asked for (and received) a We R Memory Keepers Typecast Typewriter from Michaels. Using a typewriter for my creative endeavors has really helped, as it removes me from distractions like social media, emails, and the internet in general. These are all things that I apparently have zero self control over when writing on my laptop. When you feel devoid of that passion for writing, regardless of how momentary it may be in the grand scheme of things, it becomes easy to get distracted by the other things at your disposal — mainly, the aforementioned features a laptop offers, that a typewriter does not.
Needless to say, getting back into novel writing has been a bit difficult. I have pages and pages of ideas for my next story, but am missing the drive to execute it and bring it to life. In between the chapters I write of that story however, I now find myself easily writing poem after poem. This is something that I had done quite easily in high school, but found increasingly difficult (as I moved more into novel writing) toward my senior year and into university. I’ve become quite attached to poetry writing, as it’s something that I can focus on and complete in a brief amount of time, yet still a piece that I can convey a great deal of passion and emotion through.
Of course, the ability to write longer works and once again form intricate lives and complex feelings for fictional characters will return to me once again. In the mean time, I’m content in writing what short pieces I can fully focus on, and brainstorming ideas for the day that I can again immerse myself fully in the written word.
How do you keep on track with your creative writing? What do you do to get yourself out of a writing rut? Let me know in the comments!