Rivers Of Consciousness

Don't worry, be happy. Who knows what may happen?

Archive for the tag “Jan 13”

Keep Out

Blogger Sethsnap often posts photographic story prompts, where followers are invited to take an image he has taken as inspiration for a story/poem/creative writing outlet. I often read the contributions but have never taken part myself, until now. It was a fun little exercise which I recommend, whether you want to break Writers’ Block or have fun trying your hand at something creative.

The original post: http://sethsnap.com/2013/01/28/your-storykeep-out/

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Crestfallen, she ran her hand through the unruly halo of hair that tumbles down her back. It wasn’t there before, honest Teddy. Hopping from foot to foot, she chewed her bottom lip indecisively. ‘KEEP OUT’. The words taunted her from a foot above her head. She hugged Teddy to her chest, pulling the scarf wound around her thin neck tighter. ‘PRIVATE PROPERTY’. Glancing around, she sighed. Why? It’s not fair! No-one ever comes here, not anymore. Her coarse boots barely made a sound as she crept forward, the snow muffling her footsteps into a dull, softened padding. She had been down this track a thousand million times, twirling with autumn leaves and singing the springtime bird calls. But now, in the biting wind desolation of winter, her playground was forbidden. The land was no longer anonymous, and this sign built a barrier between her path home and her path to serenity, found in the deep, cave-like knotted undergrowth. Her heart pounded in her chest. She had never broken the rules before, at least not like this. Of course, she had swiped chocolate from the pantry and stayed up past bedtime before, but this was different. Big, scary world kind of different. Temptation snaked into her mind. She had been here every day for a nearly a year, one sign was not going to change that. Full of resolution, she took a step forward.
 
Behind her, a flock of birds screamed into the air suddenly, a cloud of distress fleeing from an unknown disturbance. Startled, she crouched like a tribal hunter, alert, poised and steady. Eyes wide, they scanned the shadows, but though they found nothing, she did not feel at ease. Her chest heaved with nerves, the bellows to the fire of fear. There was no way she was going back home now, not past those trees. She had seen a fox once, evil beady eyes staring at her while his tongue flickered across pointed teeth, and she had screamed, scaring it away. She didn’t want to see one today, not a fox, or, or worse. Facing the track once more, she glanced at the imposing sign with a deep breath, before darting with the agility only a frightened child could possess into her familiar haven. A puff of snow kicked up a wake behind her as she ran, leaving the sign at its watchtower as she disappeared deeper down the track. She didn’t hear the snap of twigs. She didn’t see the sliding shadow gliding from the tree-line to the track. She didn’t see the dark silhouette facing of the entrance to her beloved forest. She only saw her breath rising before her, the twists of the path guiding her further until it turned sharply to the right. She didn’t keep following it. She pushed herself straight on, tearing through the lower branches of skyscraper trees until her den came into view. Trembling, she slipped between the boulder and the tree stump into the dipped den, pressing her stomach to the frosted dirt floor. She leant her forehead on Teddy, praying each punch of her heart didn’t reveal her hiding place. She’d be safe here, right? 

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Would you rather…

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When relaxing with my housemates yesterday, we embarked on the classic game of ‘Would you rather…’ to pass the time (I think it originated from ‘would you rather have arms for legs or legs for arms?’ – arms for legs of course!) Quickly running out of comparisons, we enlisted the help of one of many websites that generate these binary oppositions and briefly entertained ourselves with debating this or that. Of course, we couldn’t leave it black and white, we had to inject some grey areas of ‘it depends if…’ or ‘do they mean…’ to see if we could find a loophole ourselves.

One example was:

Would you rather…

Never read a book again OR never hear music again?

I decided I would rather never read a book again, on the basis of the loophole that exists – the wonderful world of audio books. But of course, this is not truly satisfactory.

I have pondered over this question more than others we had asked, because I can honestly say I have no idea which would be better, or rather, which would be worse. I mean, think about it from my point of view. I love books. I’m studying a degree in English, for crying out loud. While not every book inspires my life, and I certainly don’t hold some of the ‘Classics’ in as high regard as they receive, there’s still something so attractive about reading a book.

Picture this: it’s a freezing cold day in winter. You can’t feel your hands, and in fact you’ve pretty much convinced yourself that you have frostbite in your fingertips now. Your jeans are damp from the rain you trudged through and the splash by that puddle at the bottom of the garden path you always forget about. The key seems to take an age to find its home in the lock, delaying your return to sanctuary. You practically fall through the door, dropping the stack of paper you had been clutching and the ten-tonne bag on to the floor, entering your domain in a far from graceful manner. A sigh. Scooping everything back up, you make it to your bedroom and drop everything on the desk, rubbing your hands and seeking the warmth of your radiator. A trip to the kitchen for that much-needed cup of tea, slightly sweeter than normal, and returning to the bedroom. You change out of your clinging wet clothes and throw on those old fluffy pyjamas you probably should’ve thrown out years ago. The steam from the tea warms your face as you tentatively take a sip, careful not to scold your cold chapped lips. Perched on the end of your bed, you pick up the book you’ve been dying to read, flicking the pages with your thumb like a flip book. Unconsciously leaning back against your pillows, you open the cover. The traces of set jaw and frown fade the stress of your day away, and you visibly relax. The marching procession of curves, lines and dots parade the page, hooking a lasso around your mind and tugging you in. That’s it, you’re found.

You’re found in a world only you can build, guided by an unknown entity which presents to you a skeleton, which you alone can flesh out. You meet people you don’t realise you already know, their faces sculpted by the thousand faces you pass each day in the street. You discover which ones you like, relate to, are attracted to – and their opposites. You get sucked in to a whole universe of someone else’s life, following their days and relationships, their emotions. But their emotions are your emotions. You feel tense when they tighten up, worry when it all falls apart, celebrate when they fix it back up, and wonder what will happen next. You might meet their Mum or Dad, a close friend, or fall in love with their perfect match. A perfect match who, coincidentally, just happens to tick all of your own boxes. Perhaps they travel the world, get in a fight, rob a bank, save the day, who knows what could happen in this place. You walk their streets, wear their clothes, say their words, you think their thoughts. The edges are a little blurred now, who starts where?

At some point, you are jolted back to reality, catapulted into Today, landing with a bump into Now. Looking around your room, you find yourself pondering the latest events of the book. What would you do? How’s it all gonna figure out?  Without realising, you’ve shoved your feet into a cocoon in the duvet, you’re led practically in the foetal position and yep, when you go to take another sip you find you’ve finished you’re cup of tea already. An hour has slipped you by. The tasks you were supposed to do are now calling your name fervently, but it doesn’t seem so hard now. Even the sun seems to have repelled the rain for a while. You get up and continue with your evening, but in the back of your mind a little door creaks open, a face peeping out with a ‘pssst!’ beckoning you back into their world.

 

Image source:

[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_jE0YTMIeAlE/TOsgQ8Ut2KI/AAAAAAAAALA/FBMMhwDxc9M/s1600/reading%252Bin%252Bbed.jpg]

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