Writespiration #42

Writespiration 42

 

We constantly worry about how to write better. But actually, there’s a benefit to being able to recognise when you have written badly. And sometimes it’s fun to just reel off a load of codswallop.

This week, your challenge is to write the WORST opening line you can. Give it your best, and produce your worst!

Because this is an actual competition, The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and I am secretly amused by all the nonsense that is to come, I am going to pick a winner… The winner will be announced in next weeks writespiration, the deadline is Sunday 31st May.

If you fancy it, why not submit to the real competition? – their deadlines the June 30th.

here’s mine, and it’s definitely bad!:

It stunk like rotten putrid gone off eggs but dear old mumsy with her tatty dirty apron thought the round pancakes were a success – I really really didn’t want to eat them – But decided not to offend her and held my bulbous nose and puckered up my reluctant lips, bottoms up, I thought.

***

Now to last weeks writespiration. First the lovely Jane who wrote a stunning poem that was originally published in the Ogham Stone Literary Journal. You can find the post on her website here.

Often at the turning of the year,

When the grass is bright and damp with autumn rain,

And last buds open with the failing sun,

I listen to the windsong in the trees.

When white-winged gulls blow in from stormy seas,

And the tang of salt hangs heavy in the air,

I hear the waves break on a lonely strand,

And taste the smoke and ash in long-dead hearths.

When only starlight guides the homing geese,

Their booming voices singing sailors’ songs,

I hear the echo from the vaulted sky,

And feel the northlands in their beating wings.

But when the blackbird sings his end of summer song,

And the white gull skims the restless ocean foam,

The whispering comes from deep in blood and bone,

The wind, the stars, the heart’s pulse call me home.

***

Ali submitted an emotional entry. It really makes you feel her longing for a sense of belonging:

Their eyes hook into my back like claws as I pass by. They keep their thoughts locked and silent in their heads, but their faces smoulder with resentment, distrust. They bite back the words but their message burns into my skin just the same, “You don’t belong here.”

And they’re right. I don’t. But I won’t go back, I can never go back, though my heart yearns for home. Those like me, well, we’re not welcome anywhere.

For me, home is not bricks and mortar. It’s not tied up in four walls, anchored in place by geography, or a slot in the vastness of time. The home I long for is family, acceptance, love. Home is not where I came from, but perhaps where I’m travelling to.

***

Geoff entered this last minute flash, and what a piece it is, he created such a disturbed character crazed by his loss in so few words.

Home Cruel Home

It’s the feeling of the bricks, sort of not quite slimy to the touch. That’s what I remember. Derby smooth stone, someone told me and they’re right. It does have that same slippery texture. But it isn’t the same, feeling an abstract. There isn’t the connection to the place and time. When I leant my face against its soothing surface after the burning; the hardness when I pressed my hands against the bricks, trying to push through the wall as Jimmy held me back; the way my tears made the slippery surface glisten. I wanted to stick to that wall, melt into it, be part of it. I’m still not sure whose screams I remember from that day but I’m sure some of mine were trapped in those bricks. Jimmy told me they demolished the cottage – ‘unsafe’ he said. I think it’s because of the ghosts. There had to be, after that fire, after those deaths. For a long time I wanted one of those bricks; it was all I asked for, for Christmas, birthdays, certain it held some part, some essence. Jimmy says it was me asking for bricks that made dad lose patience, had me committed here. I’ve plenty of time to lean again the bricks in this place, plenty of time to remember, to hear the screams. When I get out, I’ll go back, get a brick and hold it to my cheek. Then I’ll be home again.

***

34 comments

  1. Thanks Sacha! Great, deep pieces from Ali and Geoff. I’m astonished you didn’t get more take-up on this theme—I’d have thought it was one of the richest veins of inspiration ever!

    1. I know I was a little gutted actually I thought it was a deep prompt too- I wrote one of my best pieces for it. But I guess you just never know how these things will inspire people it’s all so individual.

  2. At last, one that I can do. Writing badly is what I do best; it is my forte, my raison-d’être, if you will. Here goes.
    Ahem.

    John wasn’t sure where he was going; walking solemnly and forlornly through the pea-souper fog, straining his weary eyes to make out the slightest detail murkily presenting itself to his age-worn visage; the laughter lines for which he was, until recently, famed giving way to worry-lines as he plodded relentlessly through the misty, dewy, heavy, moisture-laden air under a leaden sky that was constantly threatening to unload its heavy cargo, its payload, its bounty onto an unsuspecting world below, a world where hope had given way to despair, where happiness had been supplanted by depression, where gaiety had fallen prey to solemnity, a world whose very atmosphere, the elemental structure that is designed, intended, purposed to support and nurture life, is slowly, but surely, inexorably and remorselessly threatening to stifle it, to extinguish it, to render it extinct.

    1. Ok wow, not only is it a terrible sentence I am depressed after reading it to…. Bravo – you one to beat! :p

      However, stop being so self depreciating – you write brilliantly and I shan’t hear a word otherwise.

  3. Wow! Geoff, amazing stuff, I really love this piece! Jane, your poetry is full of beautiful imagery and emotion, as always! Sacha, your opening sentence was bad, really bad, well done! Haha! I reckon this one is going to be really challenging… we spend so much time trying to make our writing better, this goes right against the grain lol!

    1. pahahahahaahahahahah I know right?! it was terrible!! thanks for the compliment! I can see I am going to have some major chuckles with the entires this week!

      I’ve told Geoff countless times I think he could write horror or thrillers really well, he has such a talent for the disturbingly evocative.
      But you are all amazing at flash, I am so honoured that you all contribute. Ali you know I think you are amazing at evoking emotion, and stunning imagrey. And the same goes for Jane, she has such a talent for producing stunning images and unusual ideas :). You guys make my blog amazing, and I love you all for it 🙂 – makes my week.

    2. If it’s true, Ali that you say you can’t write flash then when you learn how to the rest of us might as well sit back and applaud. It is a corker! As is Jane’s poem: there’s a touch of the Gerard Manley Hopkins about it.

  4. ‘He had always liked penguins, and those shoes with the velcro fastening.’

    There you go. Does that make you want to read any further? LOL 🙂 Lovely post, Sacha, lots of fun xx

  5. ‘And it’s confirmed: Nigel Farage will be the next Prime Minister.’ What could be worse?
    Or ‘The only interesting about Tarquin was his toe-clipping collection which he had spent years cataloging: this is his story (with illustrations).’

    1. Now Geoff – whilst the first sentence would be the worst possible news – its not the worst written sentence, you’re too funny for your own good. The second sentence is vile and gross, but not BAD – you need to write BADLY!!!!!!! bore me to death – stop being so funny and good! :p

  6. ‘It was terrible knowing that they were all going to die in a house fire, except for Jill who runs off to South America with the postman who apears in chapter sixteen, that Simon would fail his Oxford first year exams and end up working as a petrol pump attendant until he throws himself off a bridge in chapter twenty one, and that her operation would be a disaster and leave her housebound so when she drops her lighted cigarette onto the sheet she can’t even raise the alarm, but you have to live through the next four hundred pages, don’t you?’

    At least it would save you having to read any further 🙂

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