Tuesday, 3 January 2017
Prompt 3 - The Vessel. When Free Writing Is A Tale Of The Unexpected
Three down. Three-hundred and sixty-two to go. Here's the third writing prompt taken from http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/
3. The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.
The trouble with free writing is that I never know where it will lead. I type this on New Year's Eve, not long before midnight. I think there must have been something in the water today - or in the meditation group I attended this afternoon. I promise that the vessel in this writing would have taken me somewhere different from where I am now - very close to the window I began with although, it being nearly midnight, I can't see the garden. The plan was in my head. I'd look out. I'd see a boat. I'd go somewhere in the boat. A simple plan. And then this happened instead. 1400 words later I stop the pretty free writing not knowing where it would lead were I to continue.
Perhaps in January I will find some answers. Perhaps. It could be the beginning of a beautiful discovery. It's too late to find answers now. And soon there will be a thousand fireworks to watch as the people of Newcastle conspire together to light up the sky in joyful explosions.
Sorry to leave you without an ending to this tale. And to leave you without being taken somewhere different. Tomorrow a new dance will begin and I will try to let it end too.
I looked out of the window this morning into the back garden. The wind was blowing. Powerfully, without shame about who it might alarm or what it might cause to change its journey. Perhaps I should be more like that wind. No more hiding. No more fear that another might be hurt if I choose to fully live and express my being. It's not a bad being. I have some core personal values and, though I fail so often to express them in deed, I know they are mostly based on love not murder. To be myself. Without blame or shame or forever guilt. To look upon myself and truly mean those words, "I am sorry - I forgive you - I love you - Thank you." I can do it. I will be like the wind and blow wherever I blow because in this is creation just as in the beginning.
I looked out of the window and to my surprise I saw a rowing boat. Brightly painted in all the colours of the rainbow and a few beside. Whoever painted the boat did not seem to fully grasp the enormity of the ways pink can class within a bright spectrum. I hadn't expected to see a boat of any kind since our garden is not near the river. The wind must have been more powerful than any I'd seen before. Yet the trees seemed unworried by the gale.
A boat in our garden? It seemed impossible that it could have been carried so far on the breeze and then landed upright and neat, oars still in place - bright lime green oars they were, adding to the discordance of the scene. And what was I meant to do with a boat? It would never fit down the path to the front of the house. How was I ever going to get it out of the garden and back onto open water? Would the owner want it back? I'm ashamed to admit it. I saw the boat and instead of appreciating it as a thing of wonder, a meteorological miracle, I fell into a panic.
But maybe, after all, it would be okay? Maybe I could learn to live with the boat. Turn it into a garden feature. Fill it with earth and plant it with the finest shrubs. Or fill it with gravel and plant it with anemones and sea cucumbers and the choicest kinds of kelp. And drape bladderwrack from the bow and pretend my garden was the bed of the ocean and the good ship Wind Torn had been sunk in the tempest. Or maybe not. I thought afterwards about the impossibility of planting anemones.
I opened the back door and went out to see the boat, still dressed in dressing gown and slippers. The inside of the boat was plain varnished wood and that seemed perfectly normal. As normal as it could be considering it was a wind marooned boat in a suburban back garden. The oars looked pristine. In fact, come to think of it, the entire boat looked to be brand new or at least maintained so well that it could be returned to the factory for a full refund if I only had the receipt.
On the side of the boat, in large black letters, was the name. Hope Costs Nothing. I thought that a strange name but who was I to judge the names people give to their boats. Or their cars. Or their soft toys. At least the name of the boat had some grain of truth to it. It would have been equally true of course had it been named Hope Costs Everything. Maybe more true. Someone had obviously put a lot of hope into building this lovely craft and lovingly painting it. Where was that hope now that the boat was washed up in a waterless garden? I could hardly row my boat across the lawn. The oars would wreck the turf with every stroke.
Then a voice. "Eeuuurgh! Eeeeeeuuuuuurrrgh!"
I turned and looked and saw underneath the rose bush with thorns in his side, a man. He was dressed as a Napoleonic sea captain with ripped clothes and his hat had fallen off revealing hair flecked with rainbow glitter. His eyes were dark and his nose crooked as if it had been broken and badly set and his teeth were as crooked as his nose.
I called to him, "I say, are you okay there?"
He looked at me and answered, "Eeuuurgh! A bit of help?"
"Oh God, sorry."
I rushed over to him. "Let's get you up and inside and see what I can do for you. I'm not sure I can help your clothes but we can get those thorns out and patch you up with a bit of witch hazel."
"No. Not that. I wouldn't want to trouble any witches. Most of them are a little crazy and those that aren't ... well let's just say I'm not worthy of their help. Could you help instead?"
I held out my hand and helped him onto his feet.
"Well that hurt. It's that wind you see, sometimes it likes to play tricks on me. There I was one minute rowing my way across my reservoir and back home for dinner and the next the wind has swooped down and picked me up. It's done it before you see but not like this. End over end it spun me and it was all I could do to hold on. I must have lost my grip when we landed in your fine garden and passed out for a while. I don't know what's gotten into the wind recently I really don't. I'm worried that it's ill."
"Never mind about that for now. Let's just get you in and patch you up. I've got a sewing kit somewhere too if it'll help."
"Stitches for my wounds? No thank you kindly no. Not for me. You hardly look qualified for that? I must refuse your offer. I do hope the wind isn't too sick. Maybe someone's hurt it. Maybe someone's stolen its beautiful crystal wand. I do hope not. Oh my, no."
He seemed quite the most peculiar man but I thought maybe it was just concussion and I'd have to call casualty and get some help. I got him inside and sat him down on my couch.
"It's a comfy chair you have here, that's right it is. I've never seen better, not even when I was hired by the Marzipan King to lead his daughter under the ocean and through the tunnel in the world. His chairs were sumptuous but even they were not so soft as this. His were far more purple though. And he served the tastiest grapes it's ever been my pleasure to eat. Have you met the Marzipan King?"
I had to admit that I had never met such a king or any king and that I didn't know quite what he was talking about. A tunnel in the world? What nonsense. He must have knocked his head harder than I'd thought.
I pulled back his shirt and gently removed the thorns. They hadn't penetrated deeply and I was able to cover the wounds easily enough, without the use of witch hazel in case he started worrying about the witchiness of the situation again.
"Look, is there anyone I should call to let them know where you are? And would you like a cup of tea? No, don't get up, you just rest there."
"There's nobody to call I think. Nobody at all. Unless you know my three cousins. Faith, Hope and Charity. Lovely women. Could you call them?"
"Do you have their phone number?"
"Phone? What is that? Just call them. I'd do it myself if I wasn't so shook up by my fall. If the wind is sick then the sun and moon will begin to be confused and then day will become night and night become day. What to do? What to do? And what is this tea you speak of?"
"Tea? Well ... it's tea. It's just tea. Don't you know tea? It's a drink. A hot drink usually. Drunk with milk. Or without. It's tea. I'll make you a cup anyway. I'm sure it'll do you some good."
He nodded and then lay down on the couch and when I returned with the tea I found him snoring. "Better leave him," I thought. "I'll sort it all out when he wakes up."