Tag Archives: Creative Writing Ink

The Wedding Party

4 Mar

The Wedding Party

She’d been to these parties before, when a bride wants another wear out of her wedding dress. ‘It’ll be fun,’ Stacy said. ‘All the girls from the office are coming. Another chance to feel really special, eh Christine?’

It was also a chance to have a snide look at your friends’ weight gain; the not- yet-revealed pregnancies; the workmates who would have to make excuses because their dress came out of the hire shop, or the man they called their husband wasn’t really.

Christine had no such worries: at forty she had accumulated three traditional white frocks and two less formal ones – one from the beach wedding with Javier, (who turned out to be gay); and a grey suit from the Registry Office with James, who believed that everything should be functional (he was a bag of laughs).

Stacy’s party definitely called for white, but no amount of SlimFasting would get her into the dress she wore when she married Andy. She was so tiny then, withered away to almost nothing. Three kids later, and a hell of a lot of comfort eating and she was in a plus size for Ali. He said he liked something to hold onto, but it turned out he wasn’t great at holding onto anything.

So those two were out. All that was left was her first dress. The one that made her mum cry when she tried it on. The one that made the girls in the bridal shop rush with a veil and shoes to pop on, and even an artificial bouquet that she could hold in front of her, so she could get the full impression in the mirror.

She lifted it off the hanger, and slipped it on again. After the years of a yo-yoing waistline, it just about fitted. She circled the gold band on her finger; the one Euan had given her twenty years before. The one she had refused to remove for Javier and Ali and Andy and James. The one she had kept faithful with throughout all the subsequent failures.

Maybe if she wore this dress to Stacy’s party she would stand out among the other brides. Maybe Euan would realise what a mistake he had made. And Stacy would regret inviting her new husband’s ex-wife to her stupid wedding party.

This piece was inspired by a prompt at Creative Writing Ink

After the Beep

4 Nov

After the Beep

He goes to the phone box every day – 20ps in his pocket; the number he used to know by heart, on a scrap of paper.

Some days no one answers, on others a voice gives racing tips. Fewer times now there is the offer of a job – something local, nothing that requires speed.

The walk takes longer each day, the occasional stumble; the rare fall. He had a phone put in in the 70s, has the latest smart technology in his inside pocket, but each day he varies his route to the last phone box, hoping that before he dies, the voice on the end of the line will reveal where the loot is buried.

 

This post was inspired by a photo on Creative Writing Ink

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Inheritance

3 Nov

‘And now,’ Clare said, ‘do you regret not opening the door.

She’d caught her at a bad time, otherwise Eve would never have shared so much with Clare, but once she had started it had all come out. She re-focused on the obituary in her hand, carefully cut from a newspaper and sent thousands of miles.

She had made the journey in the opposite direction two years before. The streets of her home town had been both familiar and foreign. A differently coloured front door causing her mind to falter, to stop the memory, to check the dream.

She’d driven the rental out to the farm, parking a mile away, then walking slowly towards the house. At no point did she think she wouldn’t go through with it. Her kids had jobs now, no longer dependent on her; and her divorce settlement allowed her to book the plane ticket with barely a thought.

It was only when she was there, her hand on the doorknob, that she hesitated.

A noise from within startled her. Footsteps. A nicotine-strained cough. The scrape of a chair.

Fear clenched at her stomach, anger at her bowels. The scars she had etched on her thighs with sharpened sticks, pulled.

She wasn’t sure if she had come to forgive or seek forgiveness.

‘Do you regret not opening the door?’ Clare repeated.

What Eve couldn’t explain was that she had heard no raised voices, no pitiful cries or smashes of crockery. But she could feel the quiet disappointment oozing through the door; the aggressive silences; the oppressive power.

‘No,’ Eve said finally. ‘Je ne regrette rien.’ She smiled, deflecting with humour.

‘And did your mother leave you anything?’ Clare asked, picking for secrets to share at her book group.

Eve nodded. ‘I inherited everything.’

 

 

This piece was inspired by this prompt at Creative Writing Ink

 

prompt door open

Away with the Fairies

3 Nov

When the children asked why Granny couldn’t remember their names, or talked to them like they were her childhood friends, I couldn’t bear to use the words – Dementia, Alzheimer’s. Their little tongues wouldn’t be able to wrap themselves around the syllables, so said she was away with the fairies. It made them giggle, satisfied their curious minds. It made me wonder how long I had accepted the same explanation when my mum used it for my little Nan. How long before I drummed up the courage to ask if it was really the fairies that were occupying her mind. From my reading of the Brownie Handbook, I would have thought it was more likely to be imps, making Nan leave the gas on to boil the electric kettle dry; making her strip to her girdle and knickers, and walk out to meet the postman.

It seemed appropriate that we took Mum out to the woods to scatter her. The roots of blown down trees looked like fairy skyscrapers, with nooks and crannies to hide precious memories. A ring of mushrooms under an oak. Stones neatly piled. Tinkling in the breeze.

‘What do we do now?’ Moya asked.

The rituals at the church and crematorium were for others to command, now it was my turn, and I struggled under the weight of expectation. A new tradition about to be born through this death.

‘Form a circle,’ I said, thinking back to my childhood’s Thursday nights. ‘Hold hands. Now we skip.’

John looked at me, and I knew he thought I’d gone too far.

‘Even Daddy?’

‘Especially Daddy.’

We skipped in a circle as I mumbled incantations from all the cultures that had brewed in my life. Then I broke the circle, stood in the middle, a tight little group, clasping hands around me. I took her from my pocket, and silently asked the fairies to look after her.

This story was written in response to this prompt at Creative Writing Ink

A photo by Robert Lukeman. unsplash.com/photos/_RBcxo9AU-U

Holiday Packing

20 Jul

One of my pet hates is packing for holidays. Don’t get me wrong – I love holidays, I adore holidays, I want to be on holiday all the time, but I really hate packing.

My husband travels quite a bit with work so has packing down to a fine art and can’t understand why I get so stressed. Maybe it’s the weeks of preparation – do the kids have clothes and sandles to fit; will last year’s trunks do or I need to drag my boys to the shops; can I stand another trip to New Look with my daughter; do we have all the medication we will require for two weeks?

In theory things are easier now – the kids are more or less old enough to pack for themselves, and there are always shops where we’re going (no matter how prepared I am, we rarely/never have a family holiday without a trip to the pharmacy). I’ve also found that having a large glass of wine before I even reach for my case really helps with the stress levels. This year I’m packing over two, if not three days, which I think might be a good idea, so staying sober, and taking things in stages.

After the clothes and toiletries are packed (books always go in first), I’ve taken a wee bit of time to think about what I might achieve writing-wise on holiday. I’m not taking my computer, so writing huge chunks of my novel is not going to happen – it is a holiday after all. But writing gives me pleasure, and having some time to indulge is wonderful, so I’ve packed my Mslexia and Writing Magazine, my notebook and a couple of writing maps from Write Around Town. I’ve also noted down written prompts from the photos of on Creative Writing Ink – in case I can’t see them on my phone in the bright Portuguese sun.

So I’m hoping for a few flash pieces, maybe a short story and some notes/scenes for my novel.

Note to Burglars (from a paranoid blogger): I’ve scheduled this to appear after I’m home, so no coming round trying to rob me.

Another Day, Another Win, Yipee

27 May

I do love Creative Writing Ink, and they seem to love me. Just won the Writing Prompts Competition, you can read my winning entry here – American Gothic.

A Little Round Up

6 May

Hello, this month this blog is Blog of the Month for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), so I thought I would give a little round up of who I am and what I do, and what appears on this blog in case this is the first time you’ve been here. If you want reminders to read the blog, you can sign up to follow it via email, Facebook or Twitter, by clicking on the links.

  • I live in Glasgow with my husband and three kids who are mainly of the teenage variety.
  • I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember, took it relatively seriously in my early 20s when I was very involved with the Castlemilk Writers and Cutting Teeth.
  • Got too involved in my career, and as involved as I should have been with having kids in my 30s, so writing took a back seat.
  • Gave up my career, got a job in a supermarket, did a 6 month Faber Academy Novel Writing Course, wrote a novel All the Places I’ve Ever Been , published 3 collections of short stories, won a few competitions, and was shortlisted twice for the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, in my 40s.
  • I’m in the G2 Writers group (with former members of the Faber Academy and Glasgow Uni MLitt Course)- writers I’ve worked with who have published or are just about to publish novels or poetry collections: Ethyl Smith, Vicki Jarrett, Maggie Ritchie, Gail Honeyman, Kev Scott, Maria Sinclair, JoAnne McKay Charlie Gracie
  • I regularly post new fiction here – often inspired by the writing prompts at Creative Writing Ink.
  • I also post more generally about what I’m up to in the writing field and give hints about all the things that keep me away from writing, mainly to do with care responsibilities and hospital visits (rarely mine).
  • I am currently working on my second novel – although I’ve put another ‘second novel’ on the back burner which was actually my first novel, and the one I’m writing now was my first play, so, oh, you get the idea. I’m writing something.
  • So, that’s me – if you want to know more, hang around, take a look at some of my previous posts, or have have a look at my publications.
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