Monday, 29 August 2011

Weekly writing challenge 3

Rewriting fairy tales

As I have two blogs going and am a bit lazy to write two challenges a week, following post appears on my other blog too. I hope you won't feel cheated:-).

I’ve tried to get on that stupid tightrope for too long with not much of a success until I saw her. My fortune changed and I was all of a sudden the “gifted one”. I did not mind bloody blisters on my palms, deep scratches all over my legs, raw thighs on the inside; I would endure any pain connected with a satisfaction I felt whenever her eyes caught mine, when her velvet hands stroked my cheek in appreciation, when she spoke to me.
“Snowdrop” has joined the crew in the middle of last winter, after half of the animals died without explanation. Local vet looked puzzled every time he got called in again. The bodies of dead monkeys, parrots and other species covered two-thirds of the area of the largest tent we had, lying on the cold floor peacefully one next to another. There was no need to fight for their place on earth anymore. They were finally equal. “Snowdrop” stared down at those empty shells. Her cheeks glittered with tears falling silently down onto a sandy floor. I watched her kneeling down and stroking a head of an orangutan which eyes looked as though they were staring right through her, piercing her soul. I knew she is going to be special.
She knew her craft; ”Snowdrop” moved with grace, yet I could sense the danger in her performance while she’s been flying thirty feet above the floor hanging head down only by her knees. Her dress would obstruct the view but she knew what time she had to reach out and grab the pole and let go to transport herself onto a platform under the tent’s top. The spectators yelled with a fear, they would cover their mouths and stop breathing for a few seconds. Sometimes, if she would perform her most difficult piece, they would stand up and cover their ears, eyes locked on her swirling body, suspended in the air. I used to watch her every night, hidden behind the curtain dividing backstage and circus arena. My knuckles whitened often, as I prayed for her not to miss the bar each time she was getting ready to switch positions.
‘You don’t have to be afraid, my little friend. I’ve never missed it and I never will,’ she said while passing me by after performance, accompanied by people shouting in amazement for more. She strolled as though she did not have to touch the floor, her footsteps were barely audible. “Snowdrop” knew what effect she had on all of us. She knew we would never be able to hurt her.
She became the biggest hit of that season. Posters lined up the streets of each town we visited, our reputation stretching beyond state borders. My fellow circus performers were rehearsing new numbers trying to lure her in to cooperate but she was much of a loner, single act. I guessed she did not want anybody to outshine her. Like that was possible. My heart thumped with hers, my palms were sweating instead of hers, my eyes were wide open as though she could see through them in attempt not to miss the bar. She must have known I fell for her in an instant as she walked through the door. She always smiled and blew me a kiss; that was all I could hope for. I dreamt of her, visualizing myself as a tall, handsome and brave, someone she could not resist, someone worth her attention. I promised myself and her I will always look out for her, no matter where I was or how far. She laughed at me often. I could feel the pity in her smile.
‘You are sooo sweet, my little friend. What would I do without you. Would you be a darling and fetch me an apple?’
‘Of course, my lady,’ and I would run down the street to the nearest shop or if I were lucky I would climb up on the tree and bring her the best of best apples I could find. And I would taste it first in case it was poisoned. And I would pay for it, too.
I know she used me. But I would do anything to deserve one look, one smile, one stroke.
As the summer crawled closer, days became longer and southerly breeze warmed up the air, “Snowdrop’s” confidence grew. She began rehearsing her new solo act, deadly dangerous. The Principal did not agree with her, he refused to even look at it while she practised with a safety net. I tried to persuade her to quit this idea, she succeeded already. She had no reason risking her life any further.
‘You all are jealous of me and my success, I know that. And you will be even more. Who do you think brings the most money in? It is me, and only me,’ she shouted and her face contorted into an ugly grimace.
On the last night of August when the sun  set in, Snowdrop positioned herself on a platform under the tent’s top, her tight dress sending sparks down the audience. The glitters shone so bright it blinded me. My eyes filled with salty water and I had to tear off the edge of my shirt to wipe them. By the audience responses I could tell without looking, her performance made their hair stand up on the back of their necks. Shouting and gasping grew louder and I knew the climax was getting closer and closer. As soon as my eyes could see again, I picked up all my courage and looked up to get a glance at Snowdrop. Her face stern, concentrating, lips moving as though she was talking to somebody.  Both hands swung in the air and caught the bar, Snowdrop still hanging down by her knees, the little skirt uncovered her slim thighs in white leggings. She swung left and right, hair flying in all directions. White pearls necklace slipped off her neck and fell down to the floor where the pearls scattered around like marbles. I knew what was coming now. The triple twist, in the air with no support between two swinging bars ended with a firm landing on the platform after she would grab a red rose suspended right under the top of the tent. Snowdrop was gaining a speed she needed to perform this act successfully and audience fell silent in anticipation of something big.
And then many things happened at once. Just as she grabbed hold of the rose, the thorn pricked her finger and she lost concentration. She must have forgotten she is flying; her perfect body twisted and she looked like she writhed in pain. Snowdrop missed the bar as well as the platform and her body fell down onto the circus sand with a dull thud. Somebody screamed but most of us fell quiet in astonishment. I remember my body moving without my brain engagement. I was drawn to the body on the floor, with broken legs, hair spread around the bleeding head. The blood stains grew bigger as more blood was being absorbed by sand. I kneeled down to her, drew aside a streaks of her hair from her face which has been disfigured by a hard landing. I could hear her uneven breathing, wheezing as a dark blood run from her mouth.
‘You can kiss me now, my little friend,’ she whispered to my ear, ‘this is your last chance,’ and she smiled.
I bent down but changed my mind half way through. I did not want blood stains on my face. I did not want to taste her blood. I did realize she was not worth it.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl called Snowdrop, lying on the floor, covered in blood who paid for her arrogance with death. Once upon a time there was a dwarf who finally understood his worth.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Brain dead

My brain is too occupied with work related issues, where does the money we earn go, how fast is the autumn approaching, how am I going to find a time to write regularly, how am I going to cope with the workload and studying, how, where, who, what.......
I feel brain washed, uninspired, blunt, empty, tired.
Is there any hope it is all a bad dream?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Weekly writing challenge-vignette

This week's writing challenge has been set! I will write a vignette, a piece that reveals something.

Emma stood by the cooker, subconsciously aware of the heat the burner was generating while a pot of stew sat on the top of it. The air was full of rosemary and garlic scent mixed together with lamb. She could not see anything for the evening has set in and the windows have steamed up so much that drops of water were rushing down leaving uneven traces behind which resembled a picture of detailed road map. She breathed in through her nose and closed her eyes in attempt to compose herself. The visitors were coming any minute now. The shin on her left leg still hurt from this morning accident in a supermarket. That man was well out of order to ask her out after he almost broke her leg with his heavy loaded trolley. She was still angry but could not get his smile out of her head. 'Silly girl, you are.'
Kristen left her alone while setting up the lounge in anticipation of upcoming evening. His plan must work this time as he did give it a lot of thoughts and planning. The tires screeched on a freezing ground and the headlights illuminated the stairs leading up to the front door. Kristen's palms were sweating a little and he had to wipe them onto his trousers before approaching the door to open it and let his old friends in.
Her heart jumped and she swallowed heavily. She was not prepared to face strangers; she felt like a baboon in a Zoo, on display in front of visitors waiting for an entertainment. This was not the reason why she chose this country, this part of the world to start again and forget the past. Despite all those negative feelings, she felt excitement, too. Maybe it'll bring her something new.
She could hear Kristen welcoming his friends, she could hear him laughing for the first time since her arrival a month ago. Limping slightly, she made her way through the corridor and just as she was stepping into an angle of vision, his face appeared and he looked as shocked as her. The trolley man stood in front of her, his mouth open, frozen expression on his face.
'I knew I couldn't have lost you,' he exhaled and Emma collapsed and slid onto the floor.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Money, fame or satisfaction?

Why do I write? What do I want to achieve?

I guess, these questions do pop up every so often inside every writer, author, famous or not, rich or poor, discovered or not. Why do I write question could be altered to When did I start and why? Well, speaking for myself, I have started to write very early, as a child I wrote a typical childish stories, tales about dragons, witches and knight, not much about princesses, though. In an adolescence I wrote mostly poetry, which now seems a bit silly and naive, but I guess, it must be the age:-). In my early twenties I began to work on more "serious" pieces; I was never a particular fan of short stories. Thus novels they were. I've managed to finish two of them but now i know they weren't as good as I thought at that time. However, with a little bit of hard work, i could easily use some parts and rewrite it, if I wanted to but my head is full of new projects I cannot shake off.
I know I still did not answer my first question. Well, I feel I have to write; I have physical need to let my thoughts out in written form, see the words on a piece of paper (that's why I prefer handwriting, partially for its pain it brings-if you write long enough without break your fingers begin to get into spasm and that hurts), hear the rustling of pages, be able to make a notes with a pencil and so on... I also write to be recognized. And who says they are not bothered by recognition they're lying. Lets face it. It would be bloody brilliant if my novel got published and mentioned in a papers or a film based on it. It would be great if I could earn a living by writing, by actually doing something that I love and not just because I have to pay the bills to keep a roof above our heads.
I see now I have answered both questions in the last paragraph. I want to my novels to reach wider audience, I want them to give people a little bit of pleasure so they would want to read it not only once like I do with some of the books I love.
Well, this is my dream and dreams can come true; I just have to work hard to make them happen. What about you? Are your opinions more modest or you share my views?
One way or the other, we all write to express ourselves, no matter what. So let me wish us all the very best of luck in our future adventures and as much success as possible:-)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Writing exercise 2

Sometimes, if I just need that tiny sparkle of imagination to get my brain cells going, I go to a certain web page and generate a first line. Than, I just sit down and write whatever comes to my mind following that line somebody has written for me. So, today's line is Happiness lay somewhere in the future. Hmmm, challenge. The purpose of the exercise is not in creating a perfect story but if you produce one, two great sentences which you can use in the future, it is worth it. And it is fun. You never know what will come out and sometimes it is a great fun or surprise! Take a pick and try it yourself. I will try to post a line a day for my followers to have a go if you are stuck. It is also a great way to start your blocked engine too.

Happiness lay somewhere in the future, she knew that now. After so many attempts to turn the fortune  to her advantage Laura was on the verge of giving up the hope. The fortune teller must have been right saying she is the only person in the whole world who can change the course of events. Laura was told she must take her life into her hands and stop listening to others, stop obeying their orders despite them telling her it is for the best. And she knew, right at the back of her mind, that it is true. She hesitated, closed her eyes and tried to imagine what her life would be like if she listened to the fortune teller. She could see herself walking freely along the streets of Paris, book in her hand, while sitting on the bank of Seine and having a light snack at lunch time. She could taste the wine, smell the river full of water buses with tourists on board, taking in the atmosphere and the beauty of a city in the dimming light of dying day. Laura would just stare into the distance, looking for the stars, knowing, she is the one who has to do it. Than she would stand up, straighten her skirt and wrap the scarf tightly around her neck before making the first step towards the water.
No, that was the picture they wanted her to see and act on it. She was going back to her old roots, the habit was stronger than she hoped.
"Yes, they know how to influence your mind, how to twist your thoughts, how to make you do whatever they want and need. Remember, happiness is there, far ahead, be strong and grab the chance, possibly the only one you'll be given," Laura was persuading herself out loud.
The day was dying as quick as Laura's belief in better future. 'Perhaps, happiness is not for everyone,' she thought.

Here I stopped and started to think too much. The aim is to write without a pause, don't worry about punctuation of a grammar and just write. You should be able to write at least 250 words a piece. Good luck and let me see your exercises, too.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Chapter 1 continue

As I said yesterday, here is more of my first draft story. Hope you'll enjoy it...

Church bell chimed in a distance and suddenly his ears were deafened by ferocious sound of alarm echoing through the whole building. Chris could hear steps rushing behind his door, but no sound of talking, no words, no laugh, just feet shuffling along the corridor. He shut the trunk and approached the glass panel in his door to find out where those feet are going. When he looked through the dirty glass, he met eyes of the others, in a hurry, some of them running, some struggling to keep up with a pace for any reason. They were not much older or younger than him, at least those he could see. One thing was obvious; none of them looked happier. They had that in common.
Chris wasn’t sure if he was supposed to follow other children and join the crown. He did not feel particularly keen on socialising anyway, but had the feeling he should, just to fit in. He opened the door, looked around and stepped in to the crowd of strangers. He could feel their eyes burning onto his skin, grafting a symbol of a newcomer, assessing him closely. It looked like as though they were preparing themselves to defend what they’ve had here before he came. Nobody smiled, nobody invited him to the table, but Chris did not expect that.
‘As long as they leave me alone, I’m fine’, he thought to himself and avoided any unnecessary eye contact. He knew from previous places that to stay invisible is the best way to sail through anything, although it meant more loneliness, destroyed possibility to find a friend he had longed for so long, a kindred soul.
Many years have passed since he spoke to somebody who understood him, who loved him and cared for him. Many months he kept his muteness under control many months it has been since he felt the warmth of other’s hand on his face. Many days have passed without him eating any food. Chris kept drinking though, as he remembered an article he read long time ago that you don’t have to eat to stay alive as long as you drink. Carers at Woundhill House thought he was on a strike, refusing any food, but there was no evidence Chris would do so for he has not said anything. He did not give them any reason to think that. They have tried to force the food down his throat, literally, stuffing his mouth with mashed potatoes, pushing the spoon inside his mouth but he resisted. He spat everything back out, encouraging the carers to slap him when the food ended up on their uniform, precisely pressed. It looked like as though they were proudly wearing the black and grey dresses with the rim reaching their knees. They wore black stockings as well as black long sleeve cardigans and a heavy chain with a cross and Jesus figure hanging down their neck. Bare flesh was not seen within those walls. But bare emotions were something else. If the kids behaved badly, the carers did not go far for punishment. They did not pretend kindness or understanding. They acted as they liked and nobody could do anything to stop it. Nobody from outside saw what was going on behind the closed doors of this institution, claiming high rate of corrected residents able to step outside and live their lives to the full.
So it happened, when Chris refused food for another week, they decided to lock him up into a room with no windows and wait for his begging. They thought he will finally talk as no one before him did last more than three days in solitude and with no food. Chris was something else. He welcomed the darkness, the smell of mouldy mattress and rough blanket, the only things in the room. He could smell human excrement too but could not make out where they were. He sat in the far corner away from the door, as he knew they would try to loosen his tongue by throwing buckets of cold water at him. He did not stir a little when one of the carers did so and it made her even angrier for she was trying so hard to be the one who would break him. She was the last resort of the institution. If she could not do it, nobody could. They left him alone the first day, second day they used buckets of water, following day it was scrap food ready to be thrown to the pigs in the courtyard, another day they did not even come to check on him. He sat in the silence, knees drawn up to his chin and embraced by thin arms. When he knew there was nobody around, he loosened the grip, stretched his legs and began to move his fingers along the floor in one line as though he was paying invisible piano. Serene humming echoed through the room, silent singing resonated peacefully and his mind was flying above the institution walls, uninterrupted by the rudeness of the staff. He took himself back to the place he was safe, back to the arms of his mother, holding him tight and kissing him on his forehead. He could smell her perfume, sweet scent of ripe strawberries with a hint of spice; he loved Sunday mornings when he was aloud together with his sister to join their parents in their bed. There was no better secure place to be.
‘Take me with you, mom, please. Take me where you are’, he begged trying to reach her hand.
She smiled, looking into his eyes and then turn around from him. Pain engulfed him as he was slipping away, starved to death, neglected by the system, abandoned by everybody. He was now flying above the ground, looking down at the other children with no future, with no past, with no hope. And he was happy, for the first time in months, in years, that he controlled his life. The joy in his heart grew and grew and he was free at last.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Chapter 1

I've decided to post my first draft of a story that is waiting inside my head to be born. This is just a short beginning, will add more next time:-)
By the way, I have another blog if anyone is wondering there are some similarities. Yes, it is still me and the fact I have started two blogs at the same time just shows how many lives I am living. Only in my head/imagination, though.

Last stand

He remembered the first day in sanatorium very well; in fact, he was more than sure that picture will stay with him until he draw his last breath. He would smell the rotting damp of leaves lying on the dirty tiles on a ground floor. He would still be able to feel the cracks (roughness) under his fingertips when, while walking along the corridor, he was running his hand along the wall as though he was trying to hang on to something permanent. The experience of coming somewhere new has worn off as this was supposed to be his final place; at least that’s what he’s been told by an old social worker. As a final place, he hoped himself he’ll survive without any major catastrophes.
He kept his eyes down as he was deliberately trying to avoid a direct contact with other children, who were poking their heads out of their rooms. Each wooden door had its own clear glass inset for carers to be able to keep an eye on as many kids as possible without having to open single one. To those experienced ones it took only one short glance to be sure nobody has gone missing, especially at bed times when it happened to be the most critical time for any escapee to do a runner. And today wasn’t an exception. Chris was following his guide closely almost stepping on her heals how near he was. It wasn’t the first time he felt this heavy pain sitting tightly on his chest and making him totally helpless and out of breath. He tried not to breath too deeply for he knew it would make him feel sick to inhale this well known institutional stench he found everywhere else in the past. He was very close to passing out from the lack of air in his lungs when the carer interrupted his thoughts.
“Here we are, there,” she said and pointed to the closed door with a number 9.
Chris has nearly collided with the carer’s rounded body when she came to a halt. He looked up to read her expression but her face did not let out any clues; just like a stone carving, but not quite admirable.
“In you go, son, come on, I haven’t got all the time in the world, as you might think. You are clearly not alone here,” she said and gave him a nudge to make him move.
‘Clearly not’, he thought to himself, while entering a room which from now on was his only place he should call home. As if.
The room was small, plain, walls painted in off white with many scratches left by its previous occupiers. He could read all sorts of messages such as ‘hell could not be worse’ or ‘life sucks’ and at that moment, he could not but agree with those statements. The window was high up so he had to stand on his toes to take a glimpse of outside world, beige curtains had few tears at the bottom and he could smell a mothball. The carer left soundlessly for when he turned around he found he was alone with a trunk half empty which contained all his possessions. He looked around and finally drew a deep breath; he was on his own again. It took him exactly four steps to reach an old Victorian cupboard and another three steps to stand next to the sink. He could barely turn around and dragged the trunk across the wooden floor to the bed and when he opened it, he would have to jump over to get to the door again. His eyes started to burn and soon his face was wet; how many times he wiped his cheeks in the past, he could not remember.

Monday, 8 August 2011

An exercise

this is a flow of my thoughts, I will not try to think too much, not to edit anything, just to write. I might miss some capital letters and so but who cares? This is just an exercise to get me going without stopping. It is supposed to be a very good way to opening your creative well and let the juices flowing. Lets see, shall wee? Now I am just starting to think about this and this is not very good. I can hear the sound of rustling leaves entering my bedroom through an open window. o can smell the still summer air despite the fact we did not have much of a summer yet. My lovely wife is sleeping next to me already. it does not take her too long to pass the state Alpha, as we say in our private joke. Mind you, she has been very busy with our new dog, and now and this point I have just stopped. And that is only because I started to over think things too much and I know it. So maybe next time?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday, crazy Sunday

I will always wonder how is it possible to experience a heavy rain, strong sunshine and crushing winds in one day in England. And we are only in the beginning of August. Although, I got used to English climate and must say, in some sense it is much more acceptable for my body as I don't cope well with the heat, I kind of miss the "proper" summer. Sticky nights when you can sleep under the thinnest sheet or nothing and you don't feel cold; the morning air scented with ripe raspberries and a fresh tea made out of raspberry leaves served with ice cubes; still warm, home made rolls dripping with melting butter...
 My childhood summer holiday memories are full of warmth, clear blue skies and lazy mornings; long breakfasts at my grandmother's house, forced midday snacks, early lunches, afternoon teas and finally exhausting suppers. Yes, five meals a day, every day, for a period of 8 weeks! Yes, I have always come back home plumper, rounder, bigger, happier! My grandmother was the ultimate goddess of the family keeping art. Well, that sounds like bee keeping! And she was as busy as the bee queen.
Today reminded me the days I was happy, contented, placid in my grandmother's arms, quite happy to be bossed around to do some housework, to help out in the garden, to go shopping in the morning before the sun came up too much and the streets would start to melt. Today, although it was raining, it was sunny, it was windy, today I stopped for a moment and reminisced about my grandmother who died only a few weeks ago. And I realized how little time I have spent recently to give her more of my thoughts and gratitude for all she has ever done for me.

Thanks to English weather, thanks to Sunday, crazy Sunday.

And most of all, thanks to my so missed grandmother for a wonderful memories she presented me with.


Saturday, 6 August 2011


I have been writing and reading since I can remember. Therefore, the natural way to progress is to go public. One of my main concerns is that English is not my first language as I've been living in the UK for seven years after growing up and going through my adolescence ( and an early adult years) in Czech Republic.
I guess, after I've tried to come back to my writing passion by using English, that's why I have decided to study with Open University. I've just finished my first course and enrolled on to another one, which is creative writing, so I hope, I will get back to my favourite thing ever, putting words together in order they make sense and more, the words are going to be enjoyable to read too:-).
I have been thinking of creating a blog for a very long time; but as any other idea, it had to get enough time to ripe.
So I hope, it will make me to post something every day.