All entries for February 2005

February 13, 2005

FF2

Here is my second fiction. I don't know what to make of it, I didn't really want to post it up here but I don't have anything to lose so here it is! Let me know what you think…OH! And any ideas for titles will be much appreciated…

The moon shone like a polished pearl as it sat upon the cloudless velvet sky. In the spectrum of her vision, Elaila saw the sky, black and clear as ink, merge with the earth encapsulating her in a weightless sphere. The moon illuminated everything, yet created more darkness in the shadows beneath the trees, those pools of nothingness which would devour any who strayed from the moon’s gaze. Better to bathe in the light, Elaila thought as she gazed upward from where she lay on the cold ground. The woodland was young; the trees were barely ten years-old, but their distorted figures seemed so pained and aged. For a moment she imagined that she was surrounded by crowds of starving people, all reaching their pale, bony arms towards the heavens in a silent plea for nourishment and salvation. A blink and they became mercury sculptures, dancing in the moonlight. She closed her eyes once more and opened them to see the silver birches suspended in timeless static.
Elaila reached out to the nearest trunk and touched the silvery bark which looked like silk pulled taught around a pole. It was surprisingly rough against her sensitive skin, but the way it grazed her finger tips pleased her. She retracted her hand and hugged herself to savour the tingling feeling pulsing through her body. Senses heightened, she became aware of the utter stillness around. No sounds. No movement save her own. The silence pounded in her ears and became almost unbearable but she dared not make a sound to break it. Time might be started into motion again if she did that. She wondered where time went when it had been expended; what happened to the seconds that had been knocked out of sync by the driving seconds hand?
Elaila failed to notice the grass around her growing at an abnormal rate. The blades curved around her body and wove together to form a basket, cradling her. Time sped up and slowed, dancing amongst the stars, smiling down upon her; the grass grew fast and then stopped to hold her.
The pounding silence was making Elaila dizzy and she sank deeper into the grass cradle, closing her eyes. The pounding eased and as she relaxed, Elaila heard the silence begin to sing. It was faint at first, a dull note far off, but it grew louder and louder until the woodland reverberated with a dissonant melody that penetrated the core of each atom. Elaila could no longer keep her eyes closed and they shot open to see the sky, once so serene and clear, full of lights and shifting constellations. Orion was striding out from behind the moon towards Pegasus who was flapping her wings and swishing her tail. The seven sisters danced wildly in circles chanting horoscopes. Far away Galaxies could be seen expanding and contracting, revealing parallel galaxies on each expansion. The noise and the visual stimulation of the sky made Elaila’s body burn with adrenaline, her muscles tensing and relaxing rapidly. The shadows underneath the surrounding trees were drawing her towards them by some powerful force. She glanced at them in awe and fright, and realised that each one was a black hole, willing her towards their space, wanting to own her, to crush her in their binding love. Silence’s song now echoes throughout the universe and each note moved Elaila into a deeper appreciation of the substance of her being. With each notch up the volume scale, Elaila’s body drew further apart. The cells were separating, the atoms pulling apart to join the universal energy and suddenly –

– She’s waking. The morphine is wearing off.
– Do you thing she’ll recognise herself?
– The plastic surgeon did his best.
– The crash was just so awful, and the burns, oh, the burns.


February 12, 2005

Flash Fiction

Hey Guys, here's my first flash fiction. It definately needs refinement but I'm not sure where to start on that so let me know what you think :) It also needs a title…

The mountains tower around my insignificant car, sheltering me from the wind, but taunting me with treacherous winding roads. The map is useless and so is my sense of direction. Each house I have passed has been deserted, rotting from the inside out, pining for its warm past and the homely smell of soda bread.

The car is jittering now and the petrol gauge is creeping into the red. It is four in the afternoon and the sun is out for a change. I have been travelling for hours. My eyes are becoming weary from scouring each nook and cranny of the mountains, searching for some sign of life. A village, town, hamlet, cottage, cave: anything that might mean food and communication.

I drove off the Swansea-Cork ferry six hours ago at eight am with an old map and a chest-full of excitement. The boat ride was bizarre. I watched pulp fiction projected onto a wall in the makeshift cinema and I drank a pint of Guinness in a traditional Irish pub. I browsed the gift shop and bought my car a present; a Guinness key ring. I then drank more Guinness and got talking to an old man who asked if i'd like to hear a true ghost story.

He told me about his family who lived in Kerry. I mentioned that I would be staying there and he smiled with misty eyes that were lost in some distant memory. He continued. His family had lived in a cottage, deep in the Beara Mountains near to the village of Lauragh. There were twenty of them that lived together, his immediate family and that of his uncle’s all under one roof. They survived this way for many years until his father grew old and his uncle grew greedy. The aged siblings began to dispute over whose family would own the land upon their death. The disputes got worse and more violent and one night, when they had driven each other quite mad, the brothers took their fight outside and drew their knives. The situation was resolved with the death of his uncle and the family abandoned the house soon after. The old man paused. I wondered where the ghost of this ghost story has disappeared to. I waited. “It has been told,” said the old man eventually in a sad, husky tone, “that my uncle’s ghost can be seen walking the mountains around the deserted cottage, guarding his family home and searching for his sheep. I haven’t been back there in years.”

The next morning, as I was passing by the bar to take the escalator down to my car, I saw the old man again. This time he was asleep in an armchair with a stain on his shirt and a half-finished pint by his side. I thought to wake him but didn’t and instead I wondered to myself if he ever got off the ferry. Maybe he travelled back and forth perpetually, searching, like his uncle, for what he knew he would never find.

I feel myself drifting ghost-like through these craggy passages, lost in my mechanical tragedy like a sheep that’s strayed from the flock. I am loosing hope and the car gives its final shudder as I notice a house tucked away in the mountainside ahead. There is a driveway and I manage to swerve the car into it just as the engine stalls. Luck or coincidence? I think to myself as I step down from the car and lock the doors. The house stands about two hundred metres above me on the slope and there is a neat footpath amongst the bulrushes and stacks of heather.

The building is renovated, painted green, and faces south so that the sun shines directly upon the garden that is in full bloom. I see potato plants and tomatoes and marrows tucked beneath broad green leaves. There must be people living here. My heart rate increases. I knock on the front door. I knock again. And again. No answer. I walk around the building peering in windows but there is definitely no one in. I see a door ajar and decide to explore.

I have stumbled into a studio. The walls are lined with paintings which are all by the same artist. They mostly depict colourful buildings and shop fronts typical to Southern Ireland. There are a few portraits too and a man trekking across the desert. I notice an easel erect and a fresh white canvas upon it. The palate of paints is ready too and still wet. They must have been freshly mixed.

I sit in front of the easel and stare at the canvas, deciding what to paint. I pick up a large brush and dip into the green paint. The brush guides my hand to the canvas and I begin to swirl the brush to and fro, creating grass-like patches. Next I use blue; the sky and the grass blend seamlessly in front of me. The cottage should be grey, with flecks of brown, and the thin brush that I reach for follows my command, but my eyes are finding it hard to focus on the detail. Exhaling in mild frustration I reach for my glasses which are balanced on the toolbox to my right. That’s better. I see a small smudge and get up to retrieve the white sprit from the cupboard on the back wall, beneath O’Shea’s Supermarket. My large, speckled hand carried the large bottle with ease.

The cottage is done and the sheep I have dotted about the landscape need little attention. Almost finished, I smile with satisfaction. I lean back for a moment to absorb the entire painting and reach for my joint which has been smoking in the glass ashtray that Val brought back from India. Just one figure left to add before this painting is complete. My 3mm E18A brush slides between my forefinger and thumb, where it is most comfortable, and with browns, pinks, blues and black the figure of Michael Molly is fused to the landscape amongst his sheep. Bless the old man. The really was a crazy old fool, but by God he tended those sheep well, forever roaming these mountains with his bad leg and an angry frown that told of a tough life and a hard soul.

“George! Dinner’s ready love!”
I stand up and take the last drag of my joint, stubbing it out in the ash tray that I pick up to take with me. The painting stands finished, a sentimental dedication to Old Mike Molly. I chuckle to myself: our mountain won’t be the same without his hopping all over it with those funny crutches. I head out calmly, forgetting to shut the door behind me, and I think of calling Teddy to help tow away that mysterious car.


February 10, 2005

Kids…

I am reminded, as I sit here needing inspiration, of the kids I worked with on Tuesday when I did my first school workshop with Codpiece. I must admit that I was pretty nervous. What if they were too shy? What if they were little rogues who were set on making us feel utterly stupid? Not that I dislike kids, in fact I enjoy their company a lot as long as they arent constantly obsessed with who you fancy and whether you've kissed someone before.
It turned out in the end that the kids were fantastic. We could hold them back from jumping up and acting out scenes or joining in with the devising activities. It was amazing to see how each child was brimming with ideas and confidence – even the "shy" ones. We played a game where everyone sits in a circle with a pen in the middle. The pen can be anything you want it to be and people can get up at any time to act out what the pen is to them. When we play this in codpiece there are sometimes 20/30 second gaps between people getting up to act. The kids, however, were fighting over the pen. The room was buzzing with energy and imagination and it struck me how much more creativity and imagination children have, or rather how it comes to them without thinking, more naturally. What happens to it? Do the creativity cells in you descrease during puberty? Does your imagination escape through your ears? No, its there, but I wish I could have learned from the kids where it's kept, why it is that comes to them so much quicker than it comes to me.

February 2005

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