Saturday, May 5, 2012

What have I?

Chimes and bells ring, catching my breath, piercing my soul.  Church sounds haunt me.  They return me to a childhood defined by discipline and critique. Devoid of love. 

Before the fire, before the end, I had walked through my days pretending to be proud. Pretending to be studious. Pretending to be.  But since the hills melted and the waves crashed in, I have only tried to exist.  Hearing those sounds has awakened me, though not in the gentle way of fairy tales. No, the music of prayer has shaken me and forced me to finally assess my circumstance.

I see her in the distance, clamouring to stay upon a raft in the murky waters left to us.  I try to call out but my voice has been used up.  Terror has taken it completely.  Now that I have a gentle use for my words, they cannot be uttered. 

I call with my eyes – is such a thing possible?  She seems overwhelmed yet somehow strong. Determined. I focus my attention completely on her, forcing her to feel my energy. I plead with her in silence.  Look at me! You are not alone! I am here!

I can tell she is frightened by the dark sea and the miasma that floats around her;  but she moves, her eyes searching for the source of empowerment lifting both her body and spirit. 

I realize that I am hoping. Surely this must be a sign that I am alive. I have hope.

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I don't usually put add explanations of my writing posts but perhaps this piece warrants one.  I have been thinking about genres of fiction, mostly prompted by the insightful writer, David Antrobus.  I felt it might be time to try out a different "voice" in my fiction, to ensure I have options available as I decide what stories I want to tell, and how I want to tell them. 

This piece was a challenge because the cadence is completely different than my usual.  The thread that ties this story to my others is the theme and the challenges of the protagonist.  No matter what era or sentence structure I employ, I hope the themes are personal and universal.

9 comments:

  1. Has an eerie gothic feel. I like!

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  2. I was thinking more post-apocalyptic world....very well done though!! I want to write like you when I grow up. ;-)

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    1. Thank you Donna and David for taking the time to comment.

      A gothic post-apocalyptic world perhaps? I could see the scene and words in my head but darned if I know what genre it falls into. Baby steps, baby steps!

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  3. Beautiful language, JT. I got to the end an thought about the tsunami in Japan. Surely there were people carried out to sea who were alive for a while? I hadn't thought of that, and your story brought that image forcefully to mind. And I love the final concept of hope as an indication of life.

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    1. Dear Lori, the crashing sea does bring to mind a tsunami though I think that it could be described as a tsunami of emotion also. I appreciate you taking the time to share your very thoughtful comments, my friend. :))

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  4. Very interesting piece, Jo-Anne, well penned. I like the way you describe terror as having taken your voice away. This is something I experience in dreams, where there is an emergency and there is paralysis. This piece evokes a dream quality to it, perhaps of nightmarish dimensions. I also get the feeling that the protagonist is looking at herself: the one looking on that has lost her voice is the same as the one being looked at on the raft.

    As for genre, I believe you should just write whatever you like and if people like it or love it, you might end up inventing a genre. The only thing that is important is to tell "your" story and if possible to tell it well.

    Loved it, as usual. :-)

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    1. Dear Quirina, thank you for your very insightful comments. You've mentioned two of the ideas I was seeking to portray in this piece.

      I agree what you say about genre, although inventing one isn't something I think I'll be able to achieve! Still, I am happy to try on various ways of telling stories as I slowly achieve the style that suits me the best. :))

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