Flying Eyes – Day 343 – Eye painting

20141105_165611

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.

Am I Okay? – Day 315 – Simon Groth Mentor Part 2

Before I begin, I did a word count this morning and I am now over 38, 100 words. I feel like this:

so many 

Anyway, today I asked Simon to be a mentor one last time.

Me and Simon laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences. (Simon is stooping... a lot)
Me and Simon at the start of the year laughing at the difficulties of selfies with huge height differences.

Here is a little snippets of my questions and his brilliant answers:

At the start I wanted to see if I could become a writer- so I’m wondering if you think I have become one? What do you do with your time? With your attention? Arrange words? Then yes, you’re a writer. If you want my opinion as some kind of external confirmation, then yes, you are a writer. Welcome to the club. Silly hats are optional.

I also think after writing everyday it has become a habit and sometimes I’m not entirely sure why I am doing it. Oh yeah, you’re a writer, alright.

Why do you write or why do you think there are writers? I’ve been writing a long time now. I’ve wired my brain for this. I’m really not sure I’m qualified to do much else any more, despite my hodge-podge collection of ‘qualifications’. I write because I want to express ideas and stories in ways that are succinct, arresting, beautiful, and utterly my own. I want to reach people who don’t know me, who have never met me and inspire or encourage or entertain them, or even sometime irritate them if I’m in the mood.

As for why there are writers: there are writers because there are readers. There are readers because we have evolved to recognise patterns and there’s no more pleasing pattern than the narrative. We are storytelling mammals because we are first story-receiving mammals.

And lastly- this challenge has been like school for me. There have been simple rules to follow, but do you think I can survive outside it? What will I need to do to survive outside it? You’ve trained yourself to find stories, craft them, and put them together in a way that other people enjoy. You already have your basic survival kit in order. So where do you envisage this going? What kind of form would you like to use? What kind of help might you need to reach a bigger audience? Think about that for a while and take your time, but don’t dismiss the success you’ve achieved so far. Try and use whatever platform you’ve established to get to the next level and keep thinking ahead.

These answers comforted me a great deal about leaving this challenge behind. I realised the question “am I a writer?” is not the question I am really asking- I’ll have to let go of that question now.  What I really want to know is, “am I okay?” “am I improving” “will I be alright?”: Approval – the golden chalice for most writers… and humans for that matter. It seems ridiculously vain when I see it written down now, but it’s true. Humans: we like approval and we like narratives.

Here’s my story. I imagine it as a picture book.

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the philosopher.

“Depends what you mean by okay,” replied the philosopher.

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the mathematician.

“That’s a bit vague,” replied the mathematician. “Do you want it as a percentage or decimal?”

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked the meditator.

“Look inside yourself,” replied the meditator. “Do you feel okay?”

“Am I okay?” the bluebird asked a peacock.

“Yes,” replied the peacock.

“Don’t you want to know my definition of ‘okay’ or how to express your answer as a decimal?” asked the bluebird.

“No. I like you, I think you’re going to be okay.”

Troll Wrestling – Day 150 – Goodwill bridge

Image

This morning I am coming to you from the goodwill bridge over the river. I was walking along it looking for inspiration- graffiti or a funny interaction with strangers- but I didn’t see anything. So I sat down, and immediately noticed a tiny bird. Then another and another, they seemed to be living just under the platform I was sitting on. 

I’d been sent to deliver a hamper to the other side of the river. I’d never taken a job on that side of town, people rarely did, but I needed the money. I squinted at the stone bridge, it looked clear. I set off quickly, looking over my shoulder. As I suspected, a hulking troll appeared from underneath and began to climb up the side. I sped up, I’d been told trolls can be avoided if you are agile. But then, another appeared in front of me and began to charge.

There was nowhere to run to on the narrow bridge so I flattened myself against the barrier. As it charged, a flock of tiny birds swarmed it’s head. The troll shot straight past me and there was a crack that sounded like rock on rock. It had collided with the one behind me, and they were gripping each other tightly, I assumed this was troll wrestling. The birds had saved me, and turned the trolls against each other. But then they turned, like tiny missiles honing in on their prey. Their tiny beaks pierced my skin making thousands of nicks like paper cuts. 

Then they were gone, as was the hamper. I could see their fat nests lining the river. Full of loot from other unsuspecting folk. I shivered. I needed to get off the bridge. As I went to take a step, I felt my body being pulled backwards. One of the trolls had grabbed me. I looked up at his pockmarked face, he was covered in thousands of cuts just like me. Then, he pulled me closer, crushing my bones into his stony chest. I now know this is not troll wrestling, but troll hugging. He carried me to the end of the bridge and set me down gently. 

That was the first of many successful bridge crossings for me. We ambushed the birds one night, and now I am the town’s most sought after delivery boy. I pretend to fight the trolls (Boris and Grunt) in front of the townsfolk every few days. We make a killing from every crossing, and feast together every night under the bridge.