Lighting Bolt

No longer a blank page
No longer a blank page

Being involved with the running of a theatre company for a year seriously  damaged  my creativity. Just sorting out the day-to-day details left me with very little of my precious free time and my creative juices dried up. When the company ended, I deliberately threw myself into taking a variety of online courses as I didn’t want to get sucked into another theatre venture. Unfortunately,  my creative juices didn’t  return. I seemed to have been sucked dry.

So I went back to some old stuff and worked on that for a while. It was good to go back  and see my work through a fresh pair  of  eyes but it didn’t  trigger anything new.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was at a local singer/songwriter’s album launch with some friends when something unexpected  happened.  There I was,  minding my  own  business,  when I was hit by a lightening bolt.  A line from one of the songs struck me as being unusual and beautiful at the same time. I couldn’t  get the line out of my head. And the more I thought about it, the more I stopped listening to the music and, suddenly, a story began to appear.

My first instinct was to run out of the gig, go home and write it down before I forgot it. But I took a deep breath and told myself ‘not to be so silly’ and that ‘if it was important, I’d remember it.’ So I stayed till the end and then spent a couple of days running the idea round and round my head before sitting down to write it.

And, so far so good, the story telling  part of my brain is fully functioning again and I’ve written nearly 3000 words (which may not seem a lot to some of you but, believe  me, it is for me).  I guess you can’t  force things and, when you are truly ready, inspiration will strike – probably from the most unlikely situations.

Advertisements

Sweet Krampusnacht

After banging on about my Krampus Cracker story, thought it was time to share it with you all. The inspiration came from the commercialisation of Krampus in Europe and the States with chocolate Krampus being made and Krampus parties being thrown. I tried to imagine how Krampus would feel about this.

 

Krampus sighed as he bit the head off the mini chocolate replica of himself. How has it come to this, he thought. I used to be feared and dreaded. People were terrified of me. Mothers told their children terrible stories about how I would haul them kicking and screaming off to the underworld if they weren’t good.

For years the stories had been repressed, first by the Catholic Church and then by the fascists, as the tales were believed to be too frightening, too horrifying to be heard. Krampus had been forced to hide away in his cave, biding his time until he was heard and remembered again. He knew the time would come. Stories of demons and devils and bogey-men were never forgotten for long. So he had waited patiently until, finally, the moment arrived.

Krampus had shaken with delight when he heard his name being whispered once more. He’d dusted off his chains and bells. He’d polished his horns and sharpened his fangs. He’d even bought a new bunch of birch twigs from a woodsman who lived nearby. Krampus could hardly contain his excitement when the whispers became louder and louder until they had turned to shouts which hurt his ears and set his fangs on edge. But, somehow or other, he’d managed to control himself and keep his emotions in check. That was, until tonight – Krampusnacht.

As the sun slipped away over the horizon, Krampus had rushed out of his cave with a deafening roar, whipping and thrashing his chains and bells around his head with a ferocity not even he knew he possessed. He had stomped into town baring his fangs and brandishing his bundle of birch twigs at all he passed. But no-one had been scared. Nobody had screamed, trembled and tried to run away. Instead they had laughed, pointed and taken photos of him on their phones. One child had even dared to hand him the mini chocolate replica of himself with not just a smile but a hug.

I’ll show them, Krampus muttered, ripping off the replica’s arm and swallowing it whole. They’ll be sorry when they see who I really am, he growled, stuffing the mini chocolate Krampus’ legs into his mouth. Just let them wait. I’ll make sure they’ll never sleep soundly in their beds again, he snarled, ramming the remainder of the sweet-tasting figure between his lips. But first, he said, licking his fingers, I’ll have to have another one of these.

 

 

More Krampus Crackers

Krampus Cracker!
Krampus Cracker!

I wrote previously, in my post Launch Night, about my experience of being involved in Krampus inspired writing project in Leeds. I had a fantastic night listening to many of the other authors’ take on the Krampus tale and sharing my own too.

 

I’m pleased to say that two other blog sites have and are currently publishing all twelve of the Krampus tales, complete with the fantastic illustrations that go with them. If you have five or ten minutes to spare, put your feet-up, grab a cuppa and a biscuit of two and enjoy. You can find the stories at:

http://www.bigbookend.co.uk  and http://www.thestateofthearts.co.uk (which includes my story).

Another very unexpected and massive bonus was the Liars’ League in London selected two of the stories to be performed at their Christmas evenings. Liars’ League take fiction and have it performed by actors, which makes a fantastic change from writers having to get up and read their own stuff. But I guess it’s easier to do that in London where there are a plethora of actors than in East Yorkshire where there are not so many. I was very excited, proud and pleased as punch to be chosen as one of the two. You can see the reading of my story on their website where there is a YouTube link. Just check out their website at http://www.liarsleague.com and look for Sweet Krampusnacht.

All in all, I truly wonderful experience and I am so glad I submitted despite only ever writing one piece of flash fiction before. I guess that’s all you can do – keep doing what you do and, fingers crossed, someone, somewhere will like it.

 

Launch night

Krampus Cracker!
Krampus Cracker!

IMG-20141204-WA0000

Last night was the launch of a Christmas writing project which was conceived by Tiny Owl Workshops and brought to life in the UK by a lovely lady called Vicky Pointing. The project took the story of Krampus as the inspiration for twelve pieces of flash fiction, which have been written by twelve different authors. If (like me before the project) have no idea who Krampus is, he is the anti-Santa Klaus. A goat-like demon who would frighten children into being good or else haul them off to the underworld.

I was really happy, excited and proud to be chosen as one of the writers. The stories have all been illustrated by professional artists and have been put into Christmas crackers which are to be left in cafes around Leeds. If you are in Leeds this Christmas, look out for them!

Apart from the obvious high of being chosen as one of the writers, I was pleased because this was only the second piece of Flash Fiction I’d ever written. I love Flash Fiction. It’s great to read if you only have five minutes to spare with a cup of coffee. It’s also great if, like me, you would love to write a novel or full length play but find that after a week or two (maybe a month if I’m lucky) you get fed up, bored and want to start something new. That’s why I like blogging. It gives me a finished piece in one sitting. I think you have to just accept the kind of writer you are. I’d love to be able to write long, beautiful prose but that’s not who I am. No matter how much I try long and want it, I could never do that.

The launch night itself was fab and not just because of the three free glasses of wine I drunk. Nine of the authors were there and it was amazing and interesting to hear their takes on the story of Krampus. The venue, Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds, was amazing too. It was a quirky, shabby-chic kind of place, with art work on the walls and home-made Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling which made me want to replicate them but knowing that there was no way I could. I’m definitely a writer not an artist, more’s the pity.

The end of the night meant a mad dash to the train station to catch the last train back to Hull. Lots of running with a big Mary Poppins type handbag on one shoulder and a bag with a full set of the Krampus Crackers in the other. As I was doubled over, huffing and puffing when I finally made it to the platform, I realised that I couldn’t have done either the writing or the running two years ago. To quote Fat Boy Slim, “You’ve come a long way, Baby.”

Mixed Messages

20140831_112130

Carrie dug her fingers hard into her temples. She closed her eyes tight, tried to clear her mind and concentrated. Nothing. She bit down on her lip and tired again. It was no good. There was no message coming through.

She ran her hands through her short red hair, pinched her cheeks and tired once more. Still nothing. It was impossible. It didn’t matter how much she cleared her mind or concentrated, Lee’s message was just not getting through.

Carrie jumped to her feet, knocking over the chair she had been sitting on, and began to pace around her small bed-sit. There wasn’t much room and it took all of her concentration not to bump into the dusty old worn sofa or knock over the piles of books and magazines on the floor. This wasn’t working either. Her eyes quickly searched the room looking for something, anything that could help her.

Carrie saw her mobile phone on the floor next to the chair she had just knocked over. Carrie picked it, righted the chair, sat down and placed the phone on her forehead. A smile crept slowly across her face as she closed her eyes once more. She sat perfectly still and held her breath. It was no use. The smile disappeared from her face as she pulled the phone from her forehead and threw it on the floor.

Carrie sighed and then bent down to pick up her phone once more. Her fingers worked quickly across the screen until she found the message from Lee and read it one more time. Maybe this time the message would become clear to her. It didn’t. “R u going on Fri?” it read. What was that supposed to mean? Lee had never asked Carrie if she was going anywhere before so why did he want to know now? What did he want? Did he want to be friends or, maybe, something more? It was no good, Carrie decided. She could sit here for hours and would still be no closer to finding out the truth. Carrie sighed again, tapped out a reply and pressed ‘send.’

Lee dug his fingers hard into his temples. He closed his eyes tight, tried to clear his mind and concentrated. It was no good. He’d read Carrie’s message over and over again but he still didn’t understand it. It was simple and brief in its “Yes” but what did that mean? What did she want? Was she interested in him or not? Lee read the word “Yes” one more time before he placed the phone on his forehead, closed his eyes and concentrated.

UK Krampus Crackers

Sometimes you feel ‘Why am I bothering?’ Then something like this comes along to give you a boost when you need it most. I’m really pleased to be part of this project

Tiny Owl Workshop

The mighty fabulous Vicky Pointing and Steve Toase have chosen the 12 flash fiction stories that will be part of the UK Krampus Crackers project. Our congratulations to the authors and our thanks to all those who submitted.

The list and a little about the authors can be found here: http://vickykpointing.wordpress.com/krampus-crackers/

Terry Terry

View original post

Wishes

Be careful what you wish for. It’s easy to wish. It’s easy to long and want and imagine. It’s easy to loose yourself in daydreams and believe wishes will make everything alright. It’s easy to believe you really want something. That you have to have it more than anything else in the world and that, by having it, you’ll be complete. Your skin will stop itching, your head will be quiet and your soul will stop aching. It’s easy to believe your wish will make you happy and that you’ll never be lonely again.

It’s easy to believe this when the wish isn’t yours. When it belongs to someone else and is so far out of reach to be impossible. When the longing is just longing and the wanting is just wanting. It’s easy to believe the wish will change your life if only you can grab it, pull it to your chest, hold it tight and never let it go.

The old woman pulled her cape tight to her body. “Are you sure this is what you want?” she asked as she peered down into the face of a young woman. The face was filled with longing and want. The young woman’s eyes were brimming with hope and expectation. Her mouth was set firmly with realisation of the seemingly impossible as her head nodded excitedly up and down.

“Are you sure?” the old woman asked again, though why she asked she didn’t know. It was clear to her what the answer would be. That she was wasting her breath and her time with this one. The young woman nodded again as the old woman knew she would. The old woman reached deep into the folds of her cape. She sighed as she pulled out her wand and said, “Well then, you better go and fetch me a pumpkin.”