Gertrude – Day 215 – Sunday Sketch

Sunday Sketch 7 - Terry Whidborne

Gertrude was the best warrior in her village and had been challenged to slay a great beast. After a week, she gave up. She she didn’t even know what one looked like. After setting up camp on a green mossy mass, she vowed never to go home. She learnt moss topiary, weaving and even painted many of the rocky spikes in her garden. A year later, the mossy mass woke. It was a great beast. Gertrude was sure she could still slay it, but she’d built such a lovely home for herself. It would be sad to leave, she thought, she held her spear poised over it’s head. At first the beast threatened to crush her. But when it saw the way it’s spiky spine had been painted and it’s mossy fur tidied, they made a deal. They wouldn’t kill each other after all. Gertrude would get to stay on the beast and it would continue to be painted manicured fabulously.

Last day of June, so I thought I’d do one last art challenge. Thanks again Terry Whidborne the artist, and also to Chris White, whose blog post reminded me of the Sunday Sketches again. 

Rock – Day 213 – Quiet People

I’m a pretty quiet person. Yesterday as I filmed with all the psychologists I noticed for the first time what it’s like to be in a room filled with other quiet slow talking people. Sometimes its difficult for quiet people- but yesterday it was so easy. 

The flowers were loud, they grew fast toward the sun constantly spreading their seeds and letting their petals fly on the wind. Rock tried to keep up with them, but it was hard. By the time he’d finished introducing himself, the flowers had wilted or turned away. Rock always thought there was something wrong with him. Why was he so slow? Why was he so quiet?

One day it rained. Hard and fast, Rock was pelted with fat bullets of water. He could feel the earth softening beneath him, and then he was sliding. Rock wasn’t used to moving, it was fast and scary. But when he finally came to a stop, there were no loud chattering flowers. Just a bunch of grey lumps. He wondered what they were. But then they began to speak, a slow deep rumble. Rock recognised it immediately. There was nothing wrong with Rock, he was just being Rock.

Word Syrup – Day 211 – Speaking

Big news! I am doing a TEDx talk for TEDxQUT on the 2nd of August about my project. I’m really excited but I find public speaking very difficult, as I’m sure many people do. On day 78 I did a story on my fear of speeches and my propensity for violent blushing. This is going to be a big ordeal for me- I’ll be filmed, there will be an audience and I dare say there will be blushing. So I’ve written today’s story inspired by public speaking difficulties. 

Words stick in her throat and dribble from her lips in a muddy indistinguishable syrup. People watch horrified as the newborn words flop about on the floor unable to find their feet. Some words begin to climb back into her throat, quivering with nerves. Her voice shakes from the quivering and then the words clog it all together. She scoops up the remaining words from the floor and carries them home. They’re not bad words, she thinks as she bathes them. If only she could give them a proper send off, let them loose in the wild. If only she could throw them into the wind and let them float effortlessly around the audience touching those nearby. Next time she’d be stronger, next time they’d be alright.

Oil – Day 210 – Ian

“What’s olive oil?”

“I think if you crush olives and it makes oil. You can do it with coconuts, vegetables, peanuts…”

“How do they make baby oil, do they crush babies?”

The two children sit in terror. The first turns to their baby sister, June.

“June, there’s no such thing as Bananas in pajamas, they’re just men in suits.”

“What are you doing!?”

“I’m crushing her dreams, I want to see if you get baby dream oil.”

June begins to cry.

“Quickly, collect the tears. We’re going to be rich!”

Yesterday at work, Ian was having philosophical difficulties with this question: “If olive oil is made from crushing olives… how do they make baby oil?”

Zombie Philosophy – Day 208 – Andrew’s Zombie Difficulties

Andrew’s been pondering the question, what is a “vegetarian zombie”? So I’ve explored some Zombie philosophy.

Urge for brains constant. Irresistible. But also urge to help others. So make diet, more earth friendly, like human vegetarians do. Choose what brains. Brains that not contribute much. Never eat scientist brains. Some politicians okay. Best brain from Murdoch man. He spread his brain though everywhere through paper. His brain very renewable.

Fairies are Hairy- Day 207 – Terry Whidborne’s Sunday Sketch

Terry Whidborne (find out more at his site) is a stupidly talented person especially with a pen/pencil/paint or really anything- I imagine he could even carve an amazing sculpture with a pin if he wanted to. Every Sunday he does a sketch and sends it hurtling into the chirping land of tweeters. I got excited and couldn’t wait for today’s so I used last week’s as today’s prompt:

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Fairies are hairy. I always thought they were smooth delicate creatures with impeccable dress sense and perfect figures. I locked myself away in libraries and even lived in the woods for a month in search of these perfect beauties. But when I finally tracked them down, I found a group of tubby hairy artists buzzing about. They’d been drawing themselves into books for decades as gorgeous creatures. My disappointment was quickly replaced with relief. No one is perfect. Everyone is insecure.

Bold – Day 204 – Margaret Preston

I asked my doctor if he had any favourite artists. He said Margaret Preston. 

Grace has very distinct boundaries. Don’t hug her, don’t look her directly in the eye and definitely don’t take her to anything loud. Everything must be clear and repetitive. At first it seems restrictive, sad even. But the closer you get to Grace, the more intriguing the boundaries become. She’s different, beautiful and bold.

Conchita – Day 202 – Julia’s alter ego suggestion

I got a suggestion from Julia while ago. Something I’ve been finding difficult is keeping track of the different submissions and fitting them into my themes. But your suggestion has not been forgotten Julia! Today is the day. The submission was: “Conchita Consuela Poiter – the alter ego of a bank payroll officer Leonie. Leading the life she always wanted to through Conchita. Can you write about Conchita?”

Yes, yes I can. 

Leonie’s eyes glazed

The new payroll software was a maze

All she could think of was tonight

Tonight she was Conchita, glamorous and bright

Tonight she’d be strutting down the aisles

No more boring files

She’d be working the floor

She’d be someone others adore

One day she’d stopped and taken stock

Realising her dream wasn’t something to mock

It was not for sale

Like homebrand ginger ale

People would admire her rack

For the shelves at Coles she did stack

It was a job she loved dearly

But her parents thought it merely

Unrespectable and dreary

So by day Leonie suffered at her respectable screen

And by night Conchita reorganised the beans.

The Difficulty of Plain – Day 201 – Hair

A while ago I was in a library and the girl next to me got out a pair of scissors and began cutting her hair. I was so curious as to why, but I didn’t want to ask. I haven’t been able to get the image out of my head, so I decided to write a story about it today.

Plain. The word had been planted in her mind years ago. It had taken root and spread through every cell of her brain. She’d grown her hair to hide her face. But hiding was lonely. Sitting in the library she imagined her bad thoughts being pushed out of her skull like one of those toys you push playdough out of. Terrible insulting words pouring out of her mind and spilling onto her shoulders. The scissors in her bag whispered to her. They could fix this. She could get rid of the thoughts. Snip. Her mind lightened. Snip. The words fell to the floor. For the first time she bared her naked face. Looking around the library, she could feel eyes on her from every direction. They peeped from shelves and computer booths, inquisitive and confused. Goodbye plain.

The Stars Talk – Day 200 – Shugo Tokumaru

Matt sent me Shugo Tokumaru’s Lahaha:

The xylophone reminds me of twinkling stars and I really like the whistle too. So here’s what I got:

Stars talk, you just have to know the tunes they like. Jasper spent many years alone in his tower trying every instrument, every tune, every complex composition. The tower was so tall it scraped the clouds and tickled the stars. But still the stars never replied. So Jasper gave up. He sold the tower and all his instruments, and packed up his things. Before he left he cleaned the tower windows, and whistled. It was just a simple nursery rhyme he’d heard a child whistle once, but suddenly Jasper heard a voice that sounded like embers fizzing and fire cracking.

“Did you hear that?” said a star peering through a cloud into the window.

“Oh I love this one,” said another star blowing the cloud out of the way.

“This one’s big and hairy,” said the first star.

“Wait, this is the song you like?” Jasper asked feeling his beard subconsciously.

“Yeah, we didn’t think the big ones knew how to do it.”

“Usually only the small ones do it,” added the second star, “we like the small ones best. They believe in our wishing powers and make us feel special. But I suppose you seem alright.”

“Would you like a wish on us then?” asked the first star.

“I wish I didn’t sell my tower,” said Jasper.

“Well, we can’t actually grant wishes. But we like when the little ones wish on us, gives us a good ego boost. You’re welcome to live on the clouds though, they’re pretty hospitable.”

Skipping – Day 199 – Kate’s Super Love

Kate gave me something she calls “EARWORMS!” 

Now I must convert the structure, the tone, the notes into words (not the words- just the feeling of the music).

I’d never heard it before, but to me fast repetitive piano reminded me of things that rise and fall (waves, chests etc). Then, the singing patterns she uses such as singing “are” and “I” twice reminded me of the way you do two steps on the same foot when skipping. (I’m a big fan of skipping- why don’t adults skip?).  I’ve tried to get all this into the format, the story and the words. 

We’re small

She skips

I follow

I fall

She stops

We’re friends.

We grow

Still

she skips

Still, I fall over

and over.

“Adults”

people call us now

Still she skips

still I fall

over

and over

Only my heart skips

Only for her.

One day

she hears

head on my chest

she whispers

“You too?”

I nod

She stands

“Never stop skipping”

Cows with Guns – Day 198 – Jason

Jason gave me cows with guns.

Now this really was difficult because it already has such a strong structure/story built into it. I tried to describe the tone of it in my head- I came up with two words “silly” and “epic”. So I came up with something silly and epic that built on the original story (I really don’t want to tamper with that masterpiece). 

There was hardly any skerrik of humans left when we started the fight. It was hard to convince people to throw away their robotic enhancements. They thought then enhancements would help us fight the bots, but instead our enemy could read exactly how we were going to fight.

I was at a loss, the resistance was losing. Finally I found a song on a usb and uploaded it to our network. We didn’t speak english then, only binary. I didn’t know what they were saying, but it sounded rousing and people liked it. It reminded them of their human history.

They ripped out their enhancements and began to fight. The bots couldn’t anticipate us anymore, we smashed them.

When the war was over, there was a big language revival. Linguists started piecing back together old languages like English. They translated our battle song, it was a comedy song about cows with guns. Most people were outraged that they fought for such silliness, but I was happy. That was the most gloriously human mistake I’d ever heard.

Party – Day 197 – World Cup Song

Plis asked me to use the World Cup Song for inspiration.

I gave it a listen and was met with an assault of whistling, battle sounding drums, and general party noises. It was really difficult to find a story in the tone of the song, because it basically doesn’t change, it’s just a constant party anthem sound. So I’ve tried to write a story that mirrors that.

I miss home. Home was quiet, I think. Drum drum drum. What was quiet? I try recalling. A ball bounces off my head. Drum drum drum. Is it when there are no drums? No party? No whistling? I can’t imagine. Isn’t whistling the only way to breathe? Don’t drums keep my heart beating? I test it. I put my hand on the nearest drum. It stops for a moment. Suddenly I remember. Being torn out of my home. Creatures with drums. The drumming creature pries my hand off the drum. Drum drum drum. Perhaps there was no quiet. Perhaps there was no home. Perhaps I’d always been here. Drum drum drum. That must be it.

Reflection – Day 195 – Nothingness Living Colour

 

The challenge this week is to interpret the mood and pace of a song into a story. Not the lyrics, just the sounds and feeling.

noticed around 39 seconds it got quite deep and menacing and then toward the very end it’s quite light and dainty. 

I could always feel James’ tiny dark eyes watching as the arguing started. No matter how many times I told him to go to bed, I could always feel them on the back of my neck as fists and furniture made contact with my face.

We left when James was 5. I hoped James was young enough not to remember. But when he got to highschool I knew he hadn’t forgotten. He looked at me after a hard day at school and I could see everything he’d witnessed reflected in those tiny dark eyes. His knuckles found the indent made by his father.

I was scared. I felt guilty. We should have left earlier. I should have tried harder to stop him seeing. But when I looked back into those dark eyes again the memories were blurring, distorted by tears. He never found that indent again.

James has children of his own now. When I look into their tiny shining eyes I can see their memories reflecting back at me, and I feel a huge wave of relief.There are no knuckles, no indents, just gentle soft palms and big warm arms.

Melody – Day 194 – Welly’s Musical Challenge

“Do you think you can write stories inspired by music? On one level you could listen to something and let the mood stimulate your thoughts and set the tone for a story. Taking it deeper, could you correlate the flow of words in a story to a piece of music. Take the beat and the (I can’t talk music!) but say how it starts mellow then it gets deeper and darker and faster and then breaks into a happy harmony. Make it so the song (or part of a song) and the story can be understood in the same way. Tone, mood, pace, structure, meaning. This takes the emphasis away from subject matter. It challenges you more in the way of poetry, I suppose. If you do choose to attempt this it would probably take more time for thought and analysis than the average story. And I would recommend you try with at least 3 different bits of music.”

Challenge accepted Welly. Sounds difficult! Today I thought I’d warm up. I use this song as my writing soundtrack all the time. Next time I’m taking requests! All this week- please send me songs!

As I was listening to this, I noticed something I hadn’t before. I thought about how fast the melody hand was playing and how slow and steady the chords sounded.

Her mind whirred like a spinning top. When she spoke, I could see her tongue struggling to keep up with what was going on in her head. I’d rest my head against her chest just to listen to the beating of hummingbird wings. She made me feel dizzy. I’d watch her spin, a blur of colour, and when she wore herself out I’d carry her. But she never rested for long.

Toward the end, she was frantic. It was as if she was timing every second of her life, trying to fit everything in. When she finally slowed, it was like listening to a music box winding down. It was definitely her, but she was distorted. I knew I’d never be able to wind her up as fast as she needed. I carried her the last leg hoping she’d enjoy my pace. But it didn’t last long, all melodies must end.

Cake and I – Day 190 – Cake Difficulties

Kate just told me she “hid in a cupboard at work so I could eat a giant piece of cream-covered cake in total silence.” I assume she finds getting alone time with cake difficult.

 Cake is sweet.

Cake doesn’t care about calories.

Cake see’s the beauty of my insides.

Cake always remembers my birthday.

Cake and I go way back.

But lately I get the feeling Cake is avoiding me.

All I want to do is sit quietly with Cake.

Gaze upon Cake’s voluptuous form.

Inhale Cake’s sweet scent.

Taste Cake’s delicate flavour.

But I always have to share Cake.

I try to steal Cake away, pulling Cake into the stationary cupboard.

Someone see’s us though, and our moment is cut short.

I watch the people stare lovingly at Cake, and I realise…

Cake is too to beautiful, too popular, too charming,

I will never have Cake to my own.

My girl – Day 188 – Catching

I needed a pinch and punch on the 1st day of the month- I forgot to announce this month’s theme! “Difficult” what do you find hard? I’ll try it.

To start the ball rolling I’ll tell you one thing I find stupidly hard- catching it again. (See what I did there?) Seriously I find catching balls (or anything thrown to me) really hard and incredibly nerve wracking (because I can’t catch). 

I look out at the sea of waist-height blue people. Their floppy hats hide their tiny faces as they throw the ball to one another. Which one is she? The ball cuts through through the air hard and fast hitting one with skinny little stick legs square in the face. That’s my girl. 

She’s eye height now, I watch her and her skinny legs tottering to the car in heels. She’s not my girl anymore. I throw her the keys. She fumbles and they land an inch away from the storm drain. As I watch her drive off I know, that’s my girl.