Saturday, August 22, 2009
I've always wanted to be a writer (after muppeteer), but since my late teens I've felt that my imagination had dried up and died, and I had no stories to tell. This lack of ability for fiction didn't stop me wanting to get into criticism, particularly of film, but with a lack of effort on my part and a very limited opportunity to make a living it will take a massive amount of will power to take that road.
In the meantime, as I ambled along with a bit of criticism thrown out here and there on various websites and my own blog, I was introduced to the idea of the 'drabble' by friends. Essentially an exercise in focus and restraint, it is a short story contained within exactly one hundred words and it seems like an ideal format to try and come up with and use ideas without being daunted by the idea of a novel or even a short story. Unfortunately it's a lot harder to fit ideas into one hundred words coherently, and the below is an example of overspill.
Of course it was ironic. She couldn't envisage actually telling people
about this, assuming that she even survived.
After years of panic and worry due to her phobia of air travel, Sally had given in to her desire to see new cultures and more of the world. Trains and coaches across Europe and Western Russia, and the brief visits to Northern Africa via ferries across the Med had only exacerbated her desire for adventure, rather than extinguishing it.
Three weeks ago she boarded a frieght vessel at Southampton, thanks to months of wrangling and a sympathetic captain who had a pteromechanophobic wife. They set off along the West coast of Africa, rounded Cape Agulhas and made their way across the Indian Ocean en route to Bangladesh. Sea travel agreed with her, the rythmic lurching of the vessel and the salty whip of the air raised her spirits; she looked forward to seeing India, the Far East and on into the Pacific.
It wasn't pirates that did for them in the end. The ship had been old and rickety,
and whilst this had added to the charm of the voyage in her eyes, the tornadoes that hit were the worst in three decades, and the ship broke up before the night was out.
She didn't remember how she came to leave the ship, whether she made one of the life boats or hit the water, when she fell unconscious. All she knew was the here and now - the bright, cloudless sky, the small island of rock and sand, so tiny she could see the entire perimeter from where she sat.
The boxes washed up from the ship, damp not just from the sea but from the slow melt of their contents. Part of the cargo had been a large number of pudding items from one of the UK's premium luxury food producers, kept frozen on board and destined for the tables of India's burgeoning upper middle class.
A dessert island.