Writing everyday has been a massive effort for me and pretty hard at times. So I decided to contact a talented author named Christopher Currie who wrote a story everyday for a year between 2008-2009 (you should definitely read his amazing blog furioushorses.com). I wrote him an email asking for advice and he was amazingly obliging. We swapped stories about the difficulties of this type of challenge and he linked me to some other similar projects for inspiration. It was really useful and weirdly therapeutic- and now I have a lovely mentor.
I asked him for a story prompt and he sent me back this:
“So you have to get a challenge from someone each day? Now that’s impressive! I’m actually in Germany at the moment until later in the year, but you can always catch me on email.
A prompt, eh? Well at the moment I’m writing stories based on colour and World War II, so why not take that as a starting point?”
And I did. I looked up a website of WWII noises and listened alone in the library. They were haunting. I wondered how I would link them to colour, and then I remembered watching a documentary on Synesthesia (where your senses get mixed up and linked in odd ways). This is the result.
My dad’s voice was always teal. Soft and gravelly; it almost looked woven, like the fabric of his coat. Everything I heard had a colour, but no-one had a teal voice like dad’s.
The whining air raid siren was always a blinding white, only pierced by the whistling of falling bombs (yellow). It was always a relief to hear the long note that signalled the all clear (a soothing forest green colour).
One night I awoke, blinded by white. I could feel dad lifting me up as a yellow flash streaked across my vision. He took us down to the basement and left to help put out the fire down the street. I huddled close to my aunt and sister hoping for green. Instead, another flash of yellow blazed a trail across my vision in the dark.
I never saw that teal again. Years later I married a girl with a delicate blue voice. I made sure my wedding suit was teal and the bridesmaid dresses too, but I could never find the right shade. It was so long ago, I wasn’t even sure I’d know the colour if I saw it.
We had a baby boy. He cried as soon as he was delivered and so did I. Soft woven teal was echoing through the hospital.