Today’s Faber QuickFic prompt was interesting – not least because I managed to write something. I have been on the fence with most forms of writing over the past five weeks or so. QuickFic is a great initiative, because it keeps me writing. I’m sure it does that for a number of others, but I am particularly grateful. I don’t think I would have written for pleasure today if not for QuickFic.
So – the prompt: ‘There was no possibility of going for a walk that day.’ I couldn’t escape the sense that I recognised it, for some reason. Couldn’t place it, though, so I soldiered on. Ended up with something that I am not certain I like, but it is a piece of fiction no less.
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. With one bold move, God or Whoever, had turned the world to black and white. As is often the case, nobody else seemed to notice – perhaps they would have done, if I’d been able to obtain a t-shirt that proclaimed the extent of my falling apart.
These days, there are no earth-shattering moments. Worlds change quietly, individually, imperceptibly. Unless you happen to be at the epicentre when the earthquake strikes – then it’s Brave Face time, pretending that all is well. I’ve become an expert in that field through sheer nauseating life experience.
Never imagined that I would be the person who would inwardly flinch at the one question everybody asks, to which nobody wants to know the answer. They can see something is different, but there’s no sign around my neck that proclaims it’s been a fortnight since the car crash where I walked away and he didn’t.
Realisation dawned gradually, and I don’t know that it has completely sunk in yet. People were telling me all night that I should stick to the one drink, but I didn’t listen. It was my fortieth birthday, I said. I could do what I wanted, I said.
Now, because of that one rash decision, my life as I knew it disappeared in a sea of empty bottles and tortured memories. And there’s a young man who won’t see another birthday – clearly, I am not the hero I once thought.
I’m teetotal, and I don’t drive – so I have no idea where the substance of this piece came from. However, I am pleased to report that I managed to reach that place where the words flowed. At one point, the story began to tell itself, rather than my having to form it.
As any writer knows, these are the best moments, where there is little work involved. A lot can be gained if we allow ourselves to step out of our comfort zones, and out of our own way, once in a while.
That’s not to say it’s an excuse for poor writing, which has been my other battle during this creative barrenness. I have wanted to write, but been worried about the standard that I was producing. I want it to be the best it can be, rather than being the best ‘under the circumstances’.