June 11, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about exhaustion. Who is tired and why. This week’s prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch contained a surprise treat – like a Kinder chocolate egg for bloggers. Stretching the analogy beyond breaking point the surprise – a Versatile Blogger’s nomination with a twist (Charli is the ultimate 60’s girl at heart – she twists like there’s no tomorrow) – requires some thought and construction, namely to answer some questions. Which I will get onto. But not before a BIG THANK YOU.
You see this isn’t any old award to the novice blogger. Oh no. I’ve been inducted into the CONGRESS OF CARROT RANCH ROUGH WRITERS. This exclusive, dare I posit ‘unique’, gift – the Victor Ludorum of my blogosphere for sure – is given to some real talent. The sort of people ‘whose merest scribbles I am not worthy to try and emulate’ (to badly misquote the late great Douglas Adams and Deep Thought). But there I am, on Charli’s little list.
Touched, I am, guv’nor.
Charli asks me the following questions, to be mailed to her:
- When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
- When did you start your blog? (If you don’t have one, why not?)
- What are your blogging goals?
- Do you have a writing mentor and if so, how does that person guide you?
- What writer do you admire most and why?
- What is your primary writing goal and what are you doing to achieve it?
- Has writing flash fiction benefited you in any way?
I understand she wants the answers to reveal in her own time, but when they are I will link here for others to see them. I will, however, answer question 5 because I intend to cheat. Writers I admire and why. See, here’s the thing. I’ve admired lots of writers at different stages in my reading and writing development and they have all had a part to play in who I am now. So I think I need a generational list. Here goes:
- Hergé and Tintin because he started me off – still brilliant;
- Enid Blyton and the Famous Five because they were the first proper books I read – I don’t care that her writing was simplistic, her syntax chewed or her home life a mess;
- Tom Stoppard because he introduced me to reading and enjoying plays – I was a pretentious 18 year old;
- Rudyard Kipling for his epic and intense poetry that started a reading pleasure that continues to this day and Roger McGough because he did the same for spoken poetry – he and Brian Patten did a reading in Bristol in 1975 and I’ve loved performance poetry ever since;
- Dylan Thomas for making me understand that poetry can go anywhere and do anything – and for giving me the first lump-in-the-throat moment that I experienced from reading any form of literature – when I read Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night it made me confront the thought of my parents’ mortality for the first time;
- Wilkie Collins for awakening in me an understanding that a literature written a hundred years or more ago can be enjoyable – school nearly killed that for me but I was rescued (as in so many ways) by the Textiliste and her gentle promptings;
- Arthur C Clarke for starting a love of sci fi;
- Conan Doyle for ditto with detective fiction;
- William Boyd and Iain Banks for proving you can write in different ways, styles and genres and not compromise quality.
I’ve left out far too many but, thank you, ye gods of writing, for taking me this far.
And so to the prompt. For reasons I know not, the continuing plight of Peter and Milton, his dog, refuses to let me go so I give you another chapter in their saga:
The tears of gods
Mary rubbed her back. Packing her father’s belongings took forever.
‘Are you tired, Mum?’
Mary forced a smile. ‘Exhausted.’
‘Dad said you need rest.’
‘Maybe a walk. Later. When the rain stops.’
‘Does it rain in heaven, Mum?’
‘I don’t know.’ Was there heaven? She hoped so.
‘Will Grandpa Peter get wet?’
‘He wouldn’t mind.’
‘He’d use it to get out of chores and go fishing.’ She glanced up at the hunkering clouds. ‘Eh, Dad?’
Peter looked down and nodded. Too right. ‘Milton. There.’
The dog-cum-unicorn leapt in the water, horn to the fore, and speared the salmon.