One of the pieces of criticism I often get is that I don’t put enough emotion into my writing. So this week I thought I would challenge you to write a short piece where a character feels an emotion intensely. You can choose any emotion you want, but the character has to feel it in a big way.
I’ve recommended this book before, but I really cannot advocate it enough. Especially for this exercise. This book is my writing bible, my most coffee stained, love crumpled, biscuit crumb covered reference book. It’s The Emotion Thesaurus and if you don’t own it, you really bloody ought to.
Apologies if you received this twice, it shouldn’t have gone live earlier!
His eyes followed her across the room and slid down her perfectly long legs as she hooked them over each other and sat down. Heat from a thousand ovens burned the acid in my stomach. I felt sick. He was meant to follow my legs, not hers.
“Sandy, who the hell is that?” I whispered.
“Huh? Oh, duno. Some new girl. Think she’s a graduate or something. Actually, now I think about it, I hear she’s a proper hotshot.”
I pressed my lips flat so I didn’t expel a barrage of abuse at Sandy for telling me.
“What a bitch.”
Sandy edge into my desk and leant on me, “bit harsh, Laura. Why’s she a bitch?”
I tried to focus on Sandy, but couldn’t help a few furtive looks in his and ‘her’ direction.
“Because look at the state of her. Coming in on her first day, swaggering about, skirt barely visible, tits bulging out of that top, I mean for godsake I can basically see her nipple.”
Sandy sat back on her desk, folded her arms and raised a solitary eyebrow.
“No, I will start. Be careful, Laura, you’re starting to sound just an incey bit jealous.”
He stood up, ran his hand through his hair and waltz over to the new girl. My stomach hardened, I sat up, muscles instantly at attention. I tried to keep my face still but I knew my jaw was flexing as I ground my teeth into each other. She giggled at him.
I could feel a growl brewing in the depths of my chest. My whole body burned, I wanted to launch across the room and rip her tit off. That’d show the slut.
She glanced at me.
I snapped back to my computer and typed furiously. I could hear Sandy stifling a laugh. That was it. New girl was going down.
Now to last week’s Writespiration where we talked about the karma of 3 and a distinct baby theme this week!
Geoffle takes a different view of parenthood this week.
Martine was ecstatic when the test showed she was pregnant. Me, I was just glad we could stop spending every dime on IVF. Ha! Everyone else gets a free baby: ours cost two Isas and that new fridge we needed. Still I was pleased, too. As well as relieved.
The doctor had that ‘how do I tell them’ look that worried me a bit but he soon put us right. ‘Noo, the baby… Babies are fine.’ ‘Twins?’ Martine was quivering with joy. ‘No…’
Pause there. What’s the right response, do you think? Evidently not ‘Thank Christ.’ Leaving aside the blasphemy that offended both of them, when it turns out it’s triplets you look both ungrateful and an early runner for the ‘Poor Parent’ award.
She’s a canny and crafty wife, mine. She knew I was doing the maths so she said, ‘it’s always cheaper to buy bulk, isn’t it James?’ Not sure the doctor understood but I did. She wasn’t stopping at one so this way we were sorted up front.
I sound bad, don’t I? See, that’s where you’re wrong. Sure pregnancy is no cake walk and IVF with the diet, injections, hormones, uterine massages and what have yous is hardly likely to appear on anyone’s bucket list. But she’s the bread winner. I write therefore I scam. I stay at home and cook the dinner, clean a bit. And now I’m the stay at home dad. Martine is ‘high flying’ ‘on then path’ ‘smashing the ceiling’. So her maternity was already fixed at one month post birth, absent complications.
We never discussed what ‘complications’ covered. To me, having three under noughts was one mother of a complication, but she insisted it meant hers and their physical and mental well being, not mine.
‘Mum will help.’ Her mum, that is. Mine is teaching yoga in a Yurt outside Basildon.
I’d be lying if I said that month was a blur. People in a PVS have more animation than me what with the lack of sleep, the regular feeds, changes, worries over heat and cold, breathing and not breathing.
On her first day back, her Mum had an appointment at the doctors. Chimp was grizzling (his nose is permanently stretching to sniff his armpit, hence Chimp), Gecko (eczema, hence scaly skin) was vomiting on repeat – this was a common problem and didn’t warrant a deferral to the much anticipated return – and Stalin (already trying to banish the other two) had gone cross eyed not that anyone else saw it (or they said it was wind). Staying in was going to turn me into wallpaper so I did the only thing that, so far, quiets them. I strapped them in and set off, not without trepidation, to the park.
We’ve done this before. Obviously. But there’s always been three of us, one for each babe. Me, on my own with three new borns and all the clutter. Yeah mad but I had given up being classed as sentient a week ago.
I made it to the park, sweating and praying. They seemed calm enough. And that’s when I had my epiphany. Or rather she walked out to meet me.
‘You here for the mum and baby class?’
Sandra has dreamy eyes, flawless skin and a love of other people’s babies. She and Harriet – brunette, business like and boobs like.. Anyway they saw their vocation. Me. Everyone there, all those single free babies and their mums took me into their bosom. Not Harriet sadly.. Still. The boys loved the attention. Passing them round like three dimensional human pass the parcel generated infinite joy. I wasn’t chastised if I slept. They listened to me explain my work in progress, my block, my strategies. They gave me cake and cookies and invited me on their trips. I was a token hero dad, to be used against their unsuspecting partners as a paragon. The superhero role seemed to fit quite well.
Yes. All things considered, triplets are the only way to have children
Sarah brings out this cracker of a piece of flash.
Three Bean Salad
“You misunderstand, child.” The woman placed her wrinkled finger on the third card in the spread.
“I’m not a child,” she pouted, “and that’s the third time some Tarot reader has told me this crap.”
“Ah,” the woman picked up the card. “And yet you continue to get readings.”
“So this is my fault?” She glared.
“Why is there blame, child? There is only what is.”
A dark-haired woman walked over, rummaging through her large bag. “If someone’s to blame, that would be me. Whatever it is. It’s always me.” She reached her hand out to the tarot-reader. “I’m Carol. Julie’s mother.” She jerked her head toward the young seated woman.
“Of course,” the old woman searched the cards. “Ah. Here you are.” She held up the queen of cups. “Lots of cups in this spread. Emotional bunch, I see.” She muttered. “Pleased about your first grandchild, I assume?”
“Excuse me?” Carol froze.
“Hey!” Julie shrieked.
The woman laughed. “She would have known soon enough, child.” She winked. “Triplets.”