Monthly Archives: August 2016

Microcosms 34

I didn’t get around to posting my last Microcosms story (it was my birthday that week so I was too distracted for blogging) (because I’m a big woman-child who still gets excited Every. Single. Birthday) but there are HEAPS of stories this week, so think of it as a double dose.

Entries have closed, but do go read them all and vote/comment on your favourites if you like.

Here’s my entry this week.

Character: Driver

Setting: Rural Road

Genre: Romance

(I ignored the photo prompt)

The Final Lesson

Melissa checked her reflection before sliding into the driver’s seat. 

Looking hot, babe!

She smiled at Peter as she did up her belt. She’d been resistant about learning to drive as an adult, but the move out bush had necessitated a change of attitude.

Plus her instructor turned out to be a total dreamboat.

Truth be told she could have passed the driving test weeks ago, but she wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Not yet.

Possibly not ever.

Peter smiled back politely, trying to remain professional. Melissa’s scent was maddening in such confined quarters. Truth be told he should have sent Melissa off to do her test weeks ago, but he wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Not yet.

Possibly not ever.

“Alright Melissa. Pull out from the kerb and head for the highway. We’re practicing tight, curvaceous- I mean,” he swallowed, “curvy roads today.”

Melissa stifled a giggle. Time to play.

She slowly shifted into drive and stroked the shaft of the handbrake a little before gently easing it off. Peter watched intently, biting his lip to stay in control of his treacherous body.

They drove out of town to a secluded section of road that twisted through the undulating countryside. As Peter guided her through the motions – “Ease into this bit”; “Lean in harder”; “Watch out for rear-endings here” – the tension became unbearable.

Finally he could take it no more. He directed her to park and took a deep breath.

“Melissa, this has to be your last lesson. I… I can’t be your teacher anymore.”

Melissa deflated a little. Have I read this wrong?

“May I take you out for dinner instead?”

She beamed and internally pumped her fist.

“That works for me.” She smiled slyly. “I’ll drive.”

Flash Fiction

I still love it. I’m not a full #flashdog by any stretch, but I really do love to squeeze in a bit of short, sharp writing whenever I can.

My current favourite weekly challenge since the demise of Micro Bookends is its successor, Microcosms. No matter how random my week gets, I always check in with it each Friday and try to give it a shot.

It’s a really great format: each week you are provided with a character, a setting, a genre, and an optional photo prompt, with which you then weave a story in 300 words or less. You can spin the wheel to get different parameters, but I personally love the challenge of sticking to the initial elements. That limitation really gets the creative juices flowing!

I can’t recommend it enough if you want to improve your writing technique.

And even if you don’t write fiction, there are always some amazing stories to read – you can upvote your favourite one(s) to win the Community Pick for the week, no matter whether or not you choose to enter.

For this week’s competition I well and truly missed the deadline (it was a busy day…) but I found the prompts so inspiring that I entered a story late anyway. Given that I am fairly consistent with it, I figured I’d start sharing my stories here each week too. Maybe that will prompt me to blog more in general again…

Microcosms 32
Character: Inventor

Setting: Grand Hotel (I only subtly evoked the setting this time…)

Genre: Fantasy

(I chose not to incorporate the optional photo prompt.)

The Exchange

The door didn’t so much burst open, as burst into pieces. 

Jax didn’t flinch – though, to be fair, trolls were widely renowned for their unflappability. 

“Katrice,” he rasped in a voice forged from granite. “Dramatic as always.”

The wily battle-Elf smirked and tipped her head. “One does have a reputation to maintain,” she replied. Her eyes darted to the corner of the elaborately furnished room. “Is that him?”

Jax grunted. “Yep. That’s the freak you want. Take him!”

Katrice tossed the troll a bag of coins and sidled up to the industrious blond man. He was tinkering away at something on the floor and ever-so-slightly rocking back and forth. She nudged his shoulder with her foot; he didn’t react, focussing laser-like on his task.

The troll shuddered with a sound of grinding boulders. “He gives me the creeps! Why d’you want him so bad?”

Katrice shrugged, sheathing her sword. “The boss says he’s the smartest guy ever lived. He “has use” for his inventions – whatever that means.”

She hooked her hands under the inventor’s arms and hauled him up. “C’mon sunshine! You’re my property now.”

The blond man suddenly grinned and held aloft an intricate ball of gears and tubing. He pressed a button on its side, threw it to the centre of the room and kicked Katrice’s kneecap with such force that she could do nothing but collapse, releasing him.

As he darted through the broken door towards the lobby, the device released a sickly green gas that made Jax seize up, while Katrice helplessly retched on the floor beside him.

“Fuck. That. Guy!” Katrice gasped between convulsions.

Jax swivelled his eyes to look through the window, where he could see the inventor wandering aimlessly away.

“Always the weird ones,” he muttered through clenched teeth.

Bloooooock block block block!

I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger.

I just can’t seem to make it habitual. And the fact that I left things hanging with the first instalment of my bike riding attempt is definitely weighing on my conscience. I had hoped by adding a little pressure I could force myself to be more consistent – but no. Instead it’s just made me curl up and crumble and become victim to the part of my brain I’ve recently started referring to as the Chicken of Self-Sabotage.

Source

“Oh, you want to make progress on that piece of writing? It’s going to take WAY too much effort – why even try? You know you’ll never be happy with it anyway. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, you’ve offered to do something for someone? If you complete it you’ll set up the expectation that you’ll always be this available, thus setting them up for future disappointment; but if you don’t, it’ll be yet more proof that you’re flaky and unreliable! Let’s just freeze up until the time pressure destroys you. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, the house is so messy that you can’t think straight? Cleaning it will be a mammoth task. Let’s just go out and spend all the money you don’t have to distract yourself instead. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh hey! After weeks of calorie counting and forcing yourself to be more active you’re finally back under 80kg for the first time in years! Let’s celebrate by drinking half a bottle of wine! Oh dear. You’ve gotten the munchies and devoured the rest of your chocolate biscuits too. Whelp! May as well just give up now. Eat this bag of chips! Blooock block block block!”

Inhale. Exhale.

This voice has gotten quite loud recently, as I’ve kind of fallen off the mediocrity wagon and started getting lost in my own head again – daydreaming of future glory while conveniently ignoring the hard slog needed to get there. I weaned off my antidepressants a couple of months ago and although that’s mostly been great, an unfortunate side-effect is all the “unhelpful” internal monologues becoming more insistent.

Getting my brain back to its natural state has unleashed a flood of creative urges. An idea for a screenplay that’s been kicking around for a while suddenly coalesced and threatened to explode unless I started putting it on paper. So did a speculative fiction novel idea. And I’ve come up with two other blog ideas (which are totally laughable notions considering how poorly I maintain this one!).

I’m bursting at the seams with music ideas too: just listening to the hum of the fridge and the tick of the clock prompts my brain to start weaving a melody into it. I actually went to a music workshop with my sax a month ago where I jammed with an AWESOME group of people with an eclectic mix of instruments. It was so much fun. One of them has since tracked me down to see if I am available for regular gigs. YES! But also NO – that would need for me to: practise every day to maintain technique and stamina; rely more heavily on my in-laws for childcare; rely more heavily on family and friends for lifts everywhere OR get my driver’s license sorted ASAP. 

And don’t even get me started on all my crafting urges…

Inhale. Exhale.

It’s been hard not to get swept up in it all to the point where I fall in a heap and let the Chicken of Self-Sabotage peck me into submission. At the end of the day, though, I still need routine, patience, and self-discipline if I have any hope of achieving the barest minimum of these dreams.

You’re not quite there yet, Meg. Chillax, stick to the basics, and throw all that Chicken-feed to the other side of the barn. This will only work from the ground up.

You have the luxury of time and space. Keep making the most of it!

(Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt)