Spent the day yesterday at the Emerging Writers Festival and attended an excellent session on short stories. One of the panelists said that there has never been a better time to reinvent the format and write in whatever style you see fit.
If you're like me you constantly have ten million ideas rolling around like marbles in your head, and dismiss so many because they're not tom bowlers. (Are they Skittles? Empty calories and ingredients that read as numbers. Showbags - full of shit.)
My attention span is short and slow to catch on sometimes. I wonder if I could write from that place. What would happen? Would it be terrible? Who cares, do it anyway. Romy posted a great blog on Haiku the other day - about the wonderful healing aspects of being present in a single moment and documenting it. Don't worry so much about the 5-7-5 structure, just let the words tumble their way out. Short and sweet.
Here are some chunks, from my mind to you.
Every time I get in the car
I adjust the rear view mirror.
Often akimbo, what happens?
For the longest time I thought
Someone had rummaged through
My car and knocked it,
Or I had nudged it with my handbag
(always too full of things I don't really need)
But I realised finally
It's my spine that keeps changing.
I found myself in a room of some importance, dwarfed by dead white men - all ten feet tall and framed in gold. Pointing at books, holding scrolls, none smiling - some in velvet pantaloons. I was all alone and loving it, in a room full of people. The words washed over me and I didn't understand many of them, truth be told. I haven't had the academic experiences of so many and sometimes that leaves me yearning for better mental health in my late teens, a greater capacity to push through and sit in that discomfort, even the freedom of not giving a damn about the others. But that hasn't been the way of things. I sit in a row of people, near the back. I smell halitosis and body odour all around and know that we're all trying our best. Some are concerned about what They think of us. Our time will come - every one of us. I know this to be true because my time has come in everything I really tried my hardest in, and I grew from that small fish to the frog standing on the rock and singing about it. It's so easy to forget those triumphs when you're an amoeba, starting all over again.
I crossed Gertrude Street fresh out of a cab, new hair product (salty sea curls), eBay frock and a day of fun ahead and I felt so shit hot that I assumed the person washing the window was waving at me until I saw the sponge.
The paralyzing fear of starting: a knot in my gut and a thorn in my side. It took me three months to apply. One day to get accepted. Three weeks to reply to that acceptance with pitches. Four hours to receive a positive email with a go head and request for more info. I'm sitting here, not replying. Not writing it. Thinking about it, marinading, being annoyed at myself, doing brainless admin, social media, chewing my nails, wiggling my toes. Write it, damn you.
I came home to her and found after all that, we were both fantasising about the same things. The freedom that being single brings (but not being apart). We'll rearrange our furniture, I'll spend some days in town, she'll have some time alone at home. This is a better us.