The End – Day 365 – It’s Over

Today I answer that age old question: Can someone write a new story everyday for a year? 

The Answer: YES, I JUST DID IT! Over the course of this year I have written 46, 102 words in short stories! (That’s not including the blog part before each story)

I set out to become an “extreme writer” (the Bear Grylls of the literary world). Bear, what do you think?

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Now I want to talk directly to you readers: thank you for helping me. This project would never exist without you- your ideas are what made this work. You have been generous, imaginative and silly- I hope in return I have entertained you. 

People keep asking me how I feel. I’m not really sure how I yet- but I think these GIFs give you an idea:

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love

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For my last story I decided I needed to meet some very important folk. (Scroll over the words if you’d like to know more about any of them)

The line stretches as far as I can see, I’ve never met these people but they seem familiar.

“Why are we in line?” I ask a giant and his dog in front of me.

“Giant heard Imaginer is here,” he says.

“Imaginer?” I ask.

“She made us all up,” says the dog.

“Even me,” says a little poo next to the dog.

A small creature somewhere between a crab and a hat tugs on my jeans behind me.

“You look a bit like her,” he says.

“Mun,” I gasp. I’m starting to piece things together.

“How’d you know my name?” the crab-hat asks.

“Never mind, why do you want to meet the imaginer?” I ask him.

“We’re protesting,” he replies.

“She’s going to stop imagining,” pipes up a warrior. “We have to stand up for ourselves like we did when the spirits were upon us.”

Her army cheer.

“If she stops imagining we’ll all be gone,” says a man dressed entirely in teal. “I’m not losing my family!”

Another cheer. I start to feel anxious.

“She isn’t going to stop imagining,” I shout. “This isn’t the end!”

“How do you know?” asks a Dinosaur.

“I’m Freya, I made you up,” I say. “Your name is Dara, I named you after a comedian I like.”

“Yeah right,” says a teenage girl. “Just because you look like her doesn’t mean anything, she imagined herself loads of times.”

The girl looks just like I did when I was younger.

“Fine, I’ll prove it,” I say. “If this is my story, I can have a dragon for a best friend.”

“Don’t let them bother you,” says a rumbling voice.

I turn to see a dragon with a long beard. Everyone gasps.

“You are her!” says a flying eye.

“Then, we’re going to be okay?” a stone statue asks.

“Yes,” I say. “I won’t be writing new stories for a little while, but I will never stop imagining. You guys are in my mind forever, and I hope you will live on in a few other minds too.”

“Come on then,” Giant shouts. “Party at Giant and Rupert’s!”

I clamber up the dragon’s beard and fly off to Giant’s cave.

And that is The End – a 365 word story to end my 365 Day Challenge. I hope you’ll help me keep some of these folk alive- see you at the celebration picnic if you can make it! (Find the details here)

It Was All A Dream – Day 364 – Niall and Karl Stefanovic

I was having trouble coming up with a challenge for the second last story of the year- so I did a call out and got this response from Niall:

Someone experiences some very strange and unusual events but in the end IT WAS ALL A DREAM.
You can keep that one.

I have experienced some very unusual events during this challenge. FLASHBACK TO: getting a secret from a stranger, doing a TEDx talk and making up a new language with the audience, and writing a story on people’s hands in a pub.

And then I had a thought…

Karl Stefanovic just finished a year long challenge of his own. He wore the same suit for a year without anyone noticing to highlight sexism. 

What if…

Here’s my story:

She’d been having these strange dreams that she was a breakfast show host. At first it only happened every few months but now it was happening every night. She dreamt crazy things like that she was interviewing a grumpy cat

slapping a man with pizza

The 34 Most Karl Stefanovic Things To Ever Happen

and pretending to be a peacock.

One night whilst chasing pigeons on national TV, she never woke up.

She lived the rest of her life as that breakfast show host, and when she was asleep, she dreamt that she was writing stories.

P.S. If you want to read more Karlfic, I have written one more story about him during my 24 Hour Challenge – you can read it below.

The Karl State – Inspired by Georgia

Rosie was just 16 when she crossed the wall to QLD. She’d heard there was work there. She remembered being terrified. Rumour had it that if you didn’t answer the phone with ‘I wake up with Today’ you could be evicted from your home and that if you failed to salute the Today T at work you’d be fired.

When she finally got to the capital, Karlsville, she found that if you could deal with Karl’s face staring at you from coins, posters and art galleries it really was Australia’s best kept secret. Most of the rumours had been put out by Queenslanders trying to keep people away from the party state. In a bizarre twist Queensland had become a very progressive nation since its breakaway. Laws became publicly driven through reality television shows and a strong artistic culture was born because of Karl’s entertainment obsession. Rosie was now a people smuggler, smuggling alternative Australians into QLD. She hoped she’d never get caught or she would have to face a sentence of 10 years of insanity by dad jokes.

Surprises – Day 362 – Almost Done

When we first found out that he was a the god of colour, he would spend his time trying to find the perfect shade for everything. But it never worked out, there were no perfect colours. So now he changes the world’s colour everyday. It made me feel confused and even ill at first when the sky was gold and the leaves purple. It was so unexpected and some days it really didn’t work out. But now I go to sleep comforted that tomorrow will be different, and perhaps the most beautiful colours yet.

There are only a 3 stories to go, at the start I remember being overwhelmed with the idea of fitting writing into my days, and terrified about having to come up with new things everyday. Everything would be so unexpected and sometimes it might not work out. Now I can’t imagine a day without writing- whether it works or not- I like the surprises. 

Lucky Number – Day 358 – Number Identity Crisis

Today there is only a WEEK TO GO of the challenge. Thinking about this made me realise that my numbers weren’t matching up to my end date- it turned out that I had accidentally made a mistake around day 128… meaning every number after that was wrong. My “Day Numbers” were having an identity crisis… hence today’s story:

I used to be a two, but I got changed to a three. The other numbers laugh at me, they tell me I’m messy. They tell me I’m a mistake.

I remember when it happened, I’d only just been drawn into existence. I liked being a two. Two was a couple, it was even, I liked being a two. But then, without warning I was crudely changed to a three. It was an odd number, and it felt wrong. Two was solid, three was awkward.

For a while I thought I was a two trapped in the body of a three. But one day I met an 8 who used to be a zero, her round curves entranced me, they were more beautiful than any other number I’d ever seen.

Something switched that day and I realised I am lucky number. I get to have fun, sometimes I tell others I am a fancy five and other times I just let them guess. Now I know I am not a two or a three, I am whatever I want to be.

ALSO REMINDER: On the 30th of November I will be holding a picnic for you all- please come tell tales and eat food. I would love to meet you! Read more about the event by clicking here.

The Eyes – Day 354 – Mona

I saw this clock made out of a Mona Lisa, it gave me an idea.

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I’d never seen art like hers. As I walked around the gallery I could feel all the eyes from the paintings following me around. They were small, playful things and I ended up tripping over a pair of over excited dog eyes. I scooped them up and put them on my shoulder, I didn’t mind having an extra pair of eyes here.

Most people thought the gallery was haunted. I walked deeper into the gallery, to the room no one would dare enter. They say her later paintings toward the end of her life were very dark.

At first I couldn’t see anything at all, it was pitch dark. But then, I realised that the darkness was fur. The entire room was filled with a fury black monster.

It roared at me and the dog eyes on my shoulder bounced around in fear. I reached up and patted the eyes on my shoulder to calm them, which gave me an idea. I extended my hand into the black and started to pat the dark fur in front of me. The monster began to pant and rolled over happily.

I don’t think the gallery is haunted, I think her paintings have always been real. She just knew how to handle them.

Learning to Speak – Day 353 – Xanthe

Xanthe wanted to give me a prompt today but didn’t get a chance to- I remember she said she’d like to give me a song to inspire me. I’ve seen Xanthe sing before and her voice almost seems like it isn’t coming from her. She is the closest person I know to an actual fairy. When she sings, even though she is young, she sounds more like an ancient wise being. So that idea is going to inspire me today. (Disclaimer – Xanthe is very articulate and intelligent whether speaking or singing).

People think the clouds are stupid. They mix up their words a lot, but people don’t realise that speaking is their second language. They’ve been singing since the big bang, but they only learnt to speak a few thousand years ago. The people don’t hear their singing over the sound of the rain, but it is there if you listen close. They sing their wisest tales and ideas during the heavy rains.

The Protectors – Day 351 – Carving from Sarah

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When I was little my cousin lived with us for a few years. She helped instill a love of characters and stories in me. This is a carving she did that sits in our garden.

Every house in the village has a gargoyle to protect them. Most are tall and fierce, but when we moved in, we could only afford a tiny one. We left our city to escape war. We shouldn’t really be here, but we couldn’t stay in our home country. No village really wants us.

Our gargoyle sits in the garden most days clutching his knees. Sometimes I offer for him to come inside but he always declines, so I bring out tea for him.

One day I hear reports of thugs heading toward the village. I am sure we will be first to be robbed. Why did we have to get the dud gargoyle? When they find we have nothing to steal they’ll turn us in to the officials for money.

“We’re going to be sent back and it’ll be all your fault,” I say to the gargoyle.

At dusk the thugs come. They try a few houses but their gargoyles roar and fight them stone to fist. Then they spot our house. They come right up to our gargoyle and laugh, trying to push him aside. But he doesn’t budge. In fact he’s rising, controlling the other stones in the garden and forming a huge barrier. The thugs begin to sink into the gravel path. Horrified they drag themselves out and run off weighed down by their stone encrusted feet.

We come out and the other villagers are trying to buy our gargoyle.

“I’m sorry I doubted you,” I say to him. “I’m so glad we got you.”

He looks back at the gaggle of villagers and says, “None of you would buy me before so I will not go with you now.”

The villagers threaten to have us sent back.

“Try and I’ll encase you in stone. I am 2000 years old, the only real gargoyle here. The others are not gargoyles, they are thugs from the first war. They tried to burn this city, but I gave them their lives. In return, they swore an oath to protect our people.”

He turns to me.

“Thank you,” I say, completely stunned.

“We are both leftovers we belong together,” he says.

Just One – Day 350 – 1 a day

People often ask if I sneakily write a few stories in a day and then post them. I don’t – to be honest I am too pooped after one story. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do more than one in a day after this challenge. 

Jasmine has one idea per day. She is told the other idea generators working in the Minds can have up to 10 in a day. She worries that she’ll lose her job and be kicked out of her Mind. But when she finally retires, the Mind sends her a card. They tell her she has generated more ideas than any other employee because the others always burn out and quit. She is the longest giving brain component they have ever had.

Rupert the Rabbit – Day 348 – Found Boats in the City!

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The other day I was complaining that no one had taken any notice of my story paper cranes that I left all around the city. Well today I found these boats. I took a moment to inspect them and saw they are for “walking borders” which seems to be a refugee rights art project. It really brightened the street so here is my story:

Rupert the rabbit had inherited a large plush rabbit hole. When storms came most rabbits got washed out, but not Rupert, his home was perfect. One year the storm season was particularly bad.

He watched over the valley as sodden rabbits with droopy ears slowly made their way to higher ground. He felt uncomfortable that they were getting so close. This was his land.

In the morning the storm had worsened and rabbits were now lining up near his home. They asked to come in and share the warmth but Rupert couldn’t let everyone in, they wouldn’t fit.

He turned around and did not come out till night. He thought they would have given up by then, but when he emerged there were double the rabbits, all still waiting to be let in.

“Go away!” he shouted as a crack of thunder rent the air.

And with that, they did. For a huge torrent of water rushed toward them and swept them all up. Rupert suddenly felt his first pang of guilt.

This was his fault, he had to save them. The first thing he came across was a childrens toy boat his parents had found. It was an heirloom but it might just work. He rode it along the water, down into the valley and collected as many rabbits as he could.

Rupert no longer lives alone, the other rabbits helped him burrow extensions. Rupert and his new family patrol the valley during storm season looking for rabbits who need help.

Being a Lion Statue – Day 346 – Crane Untold

The other day when I did the paper crane story drop, I tried throwing a crane from up high onto a food court table. It fell straight onto a girl’s shoulder and her and friend looked at it. I was so excited! But instead they just watched it fall the floor and kept talking. This kind of thing has happened to me a lot during the challenge- some people are open to these types of surprises and some people won’t even see them. 

It used to make me angry- how can people not be curious! Why don’t they question a paper crane with “read me” falling from the sky? But I think I must let this go- sometimes these things will work out perfectly like sending the letter to a stranger, and sometimes they won’t. That’s what makes spontaneous story writing fun- there is an element of chance and danger. I always wanted to be an “extreme writer”- the Bear Grylls of the writing world.

Being a lion statue can be dull. It was hard only being able to prowl at night when the court was empty. Hen liked to make it interesting. When people came to touch her cold stone back she would purr, just ever so quietly. Most people didn’t even hear it but some people would smile. Look into her colourless eyes inquisitively and pat her more. Then she would curl her lip and they would either have a beautiful moment of connection or run a mile. Either way was fun.

Folding In – Day 344 – Paper Cranes

It’s time for another story drop! Today in paper crane form. I’ve been supervising an exam all day and enjoying the feeling of having to just sit quietly and people watch for hours. It gave me this idea:

I saw a girl fold a crane out of paper. I watched her, too afraid to talk to speak. When I got home I had memorised the sequence, so I folded my own crane.

I told it how I was too nervous to talk to her and that all I could do was sit in silence and admire. I had always done this, I learnt to speak Vietnamese from watching my neighbours but never spoke to them. I learnt knitting from the old lady across the road but never said a word. I wished I had a friend who understood, I told the crane as I folded another smaller one.

The next day I found I had not 2 cranes but three. The original paper crane I had made appeared to be folding a forth. It must have been watching me yesterday, too afraid to speak, just like me.

Which I then folded into cranes and left around the city. 

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(plus one that I couldn’t take a photo of – because I looked to creepy- on a plastic life sized dog’s head in a pj shop).

Flying Eyes – Day 343 – Eye painting

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This painting has been in my house for years and it’s blurred into the background- I almost don’t see it anymore. But today I looked at it in a new light- it could be my story trigger!

The flying eyes can be deadly and watch out for their fight whistle, my mum tells me after dinner.

I ask for seconds. She gags into my beak for a while, but she can’t bring up anything. She tells me I’ll have to start collecting for the smaller ones. She can barely find enough food for me as it is. Her wing is hurt and she can’t fly far enough. I look around the nest at my unhatched siblings.

A week later my siblings emerge and I know it is time. Gliding around is wonderful, I take a dip through the clouds. As I emerge, I see an eye ahead and hear the whistling. I fly beneath the cover of clouds for a while hoping to get rid of it. A moment later the whistling gets louder and it flies straight through the cloud nearly knocking me over. It slows and begins to dig in the cloud as if it is earth revealing a nest. There are tiny eyes in it that remind me of my siblings.

They open their mouths and blow at the big ones belly, now I can see it is filled with tiny tubes that make noise when the wind passes through them. The big one unloads some food from it’s arm and the little ones eat. It looks delicious, I sigh, wishing I had some. Suddenly they all look at me. The big one speaks.

Are you hungry?

Yes

Then take some, fellow eye. There is more below in the valley, I can show you where to go.

 I’m not an eye, I’m a bird.

That whistle you made just now, it sounded like a call.

I sigh again.

That’s it. You’re a natural.

Why do you whistle? I thought it was a fight call.

Because we are blind. We find each other by the whistle our bodies make as we fly. The eye is just there to keep predators away.

She shows me the best place for food and my family is never hungry again.

The Thieves and the Scroll – Day 342 – The Last Month!

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If you remember this– from start of my challenge gold star! It’s been sitting in my house for 288 days now, shrivelling up. Today – because it is the last month of the challenge – I decided to return the seed pod to where it came from.

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It then gave me this idea.

The oldest scroll in the public Book House has been stolen over 340 times. It’s huge, heavy and worth millions. They say the Book House has a fierce spirit that searches for the scroll and brings the thief to justice.

Han thinks this is a tale made up to stop the book being stolen. A Book House can’t have a spirit. One day takes the scroll. His plan is to sell it, but he figures he may as well read it before getting the money. It is a disjointed story of kings, slaves, monks, cooks and children, the writing styles are all different and there is no main plot. He decides it would be funny to add his own story into it before he sells it.

He writes all night. He’d almost stamped out the memories of being left on the street or being beaten by the baker where he used to work. In the morning as he heads to the market to sell it to a private book House, he finds himself walking straight back to the Book House. He’s very attached to the book now, he wants other people to understand him, laugh at his jokes, feel his grief and know why he steals.

As he puts the scroll back on the shelf of the House, he understands. The Book House does not have a spirit. These tales are just everyday people who want to be understood. That is why the book always returns, to be read.

Sleeping Revolt – Day 341 – Sleepy Writing

Today I am exhausted and fell asleep several times trying to write this.

The people were placid as they followed the chief’s horrific orders. They cleared, jailed and killed those in their path without a fight. Every time they thought about leaving, their eyelids drooped, their minds dulled and they fell into a deep sleep. The slumbering were carried as they moved through villages.

One young girl in particular was almost always being carried. She was rarely awake for more than a day. Her body was wasted away but her mind was strong. She had been training for years. Every time she woke, she would think about leaving, trying to beat her record of conciousness.

When the chief finally asked her to kill for the first time, she ran away from camp, just managing to keep her eyes open. He found her in a nearby forest and tortured her. She slept through the entire thing and so did the people. They took her example and there was a mass sleep. The chief watched their unconscious bodies wither from thirst and hunger.

But before they starved, their minds grew strong. Together they shook off the chief’s spell. Now he is imprisoned by the people, his eyes dry and his mind buzzing, never able to sleep again.

Racing to the Boat – Day 340 – Island Boat

Foot to the floor we sped toward the ramp. The car became airborn. Camping gear jumbled around as the ferry ramp began to close. But the tyres hit the floor of the deck just in time. We smashed into the cars parked in front. Car alarms rent the air and my toothbrush slid under the car in front. I picked it up as I got out and like Indiana Jones picking up his hat, I put it in my mouth proudly before exchanging insurance details with the other car owners.

I’ve been staying on an island and today we nearly missed the boat back home. It was a mad drive to the barge which we just made before they left. It was like an Indiana Jones scene – I kept thinking about what would have happened if you tried moves like his in real life. 

Air Turtle – Day 339 – Kris/Island Vibe

I was sitting under this for shade today and met the man Kris who helped make it. He made it with a large community group out of basket weaving and bark.20141101_135857

The air turtle patrolled their community. It would ask the sun to shine for them, though it wasn’t hard, the sun is a bit of a show off. And it would convince the grumpy clouds to rain when they needed it most.
One day the clouds were feeling very bloated. The hail they were carrying felt heavy and uncomfortable. They threatened to unleash it on the community but the air turtle pleaded with them. The small bark huts might not withstand it. But the clouds couldn’t hold on any longer.
The turtle flew underneath the clouds and let the hail shatter on it’s back to save them.
When the clouds had cleared the community was safe but the air turtle landed with a thud. Its shell had been broken.
The community cried for weeks tending to the turtle’s every need but they could not repair the shell. Until one day the old basket weaver had an idea.
The turtle roams the sky once more clad in an intricate basket weave and the clouds even apologised.