handwritten draft text

Pretentiousness level: High

We did a ‘Story Cards’ creative writing exercise at Write Club last Thursday. This involves writing a short piece of fiction (or the start of a longer piece) inspired by an illustrated card drawn from a set (of about 40 or 50).

It’s traditional in our group to share what we’ve written in a session like this by reading it out. This time, I was a little apprehensive about that due to the nature of what I’d written. It is – as I said both during the session & on Twitter – “I keep getting rejected because I’m too much of a genius” level of pretentious writing.

But then I thought: oh to hell with it! Surely everyone knows me well enough to know this isn’t my usual style? And maybe I should just share the lolz at this proof that I can pretensh* as much as anyone else.

So, herewith, the thing I wrote last Thursday:

Who was she? Guarding the borders of light and dark, life and death, she stood. Frail now, though perhaps she always had been and they just hadn’t noticed it until she’d started using a cane, leaning on it, each day relying on it to bear more of her weight, though still she stood, hour after hour. Quiet, steady, unmoving. Just a word for those passing through, or a shake of the head and sad smile for ones trying to return. Those – the hopeful ones, the wishful ones, ones who’d given too much of their hearts into others’ keeping – sat quietly by her side, half hidden in the dark, waiting.

Waiting for so long that after a while there was no longer any sense of waiting for, but merely waiting with. With her. With hope. With… they’d forgotten the rest. Their protests, questions, all… quieted, absorbed into her calm. And still they waited. Until…

Until one day a young woman replaced the old. No coming, no going, just one moment – her – and the next: her.

The new woman was young. Red-haired. Tall and strong and full of life. And she leaned on her cane with the weight of centuries in the fierceness of her grip. And the world was changed and made anew and remained forever as it had been before.

The old woman stands, guarding the border of light and dark, or life and death, keeping company with those who wait and reminding them – reminding us – what it is to be alive.

*yes, I made a word up. I don’t care.

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