Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Just in Time?

You know when you know you’ve got to do something but don’t do it immediately, because you’ve got ages before it needs to get done? While this is often my ironing pile (!), today it was a small, short competition entry; one that I’ve known about for a few months, brainstormed (to ensure I don’t pick the obvious angle), planned and even First Drafted...and yet forgot all about the closing date!

Imagine my horror at my disorganisation this morning when I realised the deadline is in 2 DAYS! Oops. Imagine my relief, though, that I’m on a day off and had time to scrabble together a couple of rewrites and then the Final Draft...and that I’ve caught the last post of the day. Phew!

Who knows if it’ll make the judges desk in time?!

If it doesn’t, it’ll teach me not to leave things to the last minute (though you would’ve thought I’d have learned from all those school homeworks and uni essays...!)

But if it does, I might very well be in with a chance to win a book called ‘The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas’ by Linda Lewis. It’s a 365-day collection of writing prompts, triggers and nudges that might spark off a piece, or even simply act as a warm-up to the day’s main writing. I’ve always fancied books like this and made a few mistakes in buying ones that don’t quite match my expectations – but, hey, life is a gamble, right? And if I can win a copy, that’ll keep my bank manager happy...!

So, the competition was to write a 250-word fictional passage in which “a bottle perfume [one of the prompts from the book] plays a major part” – and, as I’ve been Blog-Absent* for absolutely ages, I thought I’d share my entry here with you:

The bottles line up on the shelf like optics behind a bar. It was her addiction, collecting these scents; her alcoholism. Each morning she’d take a nip, spritzing her body, selecting which aspiration to buy into that day. It no longer exists, not for her.

Now it is my turn. I’d yearned for this once; coveted the delicate crystal unicorn, the elegant ballet slipper, the iconic square bottle with the interlinked double C. Never mind the perfume inside, never mind the allure it promised. For me, it was always about the shape, the artistry of the glass itself; pushed and pulled in its making to the brink of collapse yet still surviving.

I look again and see used-up femme fatales; spies with no intrigues left to report on. Some have scent left, so old it has become jaundiced; jaded. Others are empty, the life sprayed out of them. I remember the power they had, the gulp of her taste as she passed an unwelcome intimacy. They are mine now and I no longer want them. The glass that sparkled with her reflection seems stained; surrendered.

Unlike her, I can make my own Twelve Steps. One by one, I take the bottles down and pour their perfume down the sink. I consider sensibly putting them in the recycling bin, but it is not enough of a spectacle, a ceremony.

Instead, I smash each exquisite bottle and cherish the delicious crunch of glass which punctuates the “goodbye” I never got to say.

Hope you liked it – self-centredly, I’m pretty pleased with it! Let’s wish it good luck for the comp.

*Apologies – it isn’t that I’ve been neglectful because I have thought about my Blog and its purposes a lot, and made attempts at posts that haven’t worked. My absence has been because I’ve been working on and crafting the background ideas to Novel Number Two – and this has taken priority. I hope to share some of this with you as time goes on, but I need to do it first to know what’s worth keeping and showing, and what’s just for the wastepaper basket!

Ta ta for now!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! Your take on the bottles is fab; loving the perfume/alcohol thing and what a finish, smashing them is such a great and different idea. You are right, it is different and not the oh so obvious tale you could have wrote. Well done lovely! Debs strikes again Zo xx


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