Time For Some Serious Dreaming #3

Read Part One here and Part Two here.

We continue down the towpath. My feet are getting sore in the wellies, though, and when we reach the common, I let Aristotle run around without a lead, and I sit on the stile for a while. I’d briefly forgotten about my exam, and now I’ve remembered, my stomach starts to flip about like a fish.

Why am I so nervous? It’s only an exam. My life doesn’t depend on it (no matter how much the teachers make us feel it does). I could not show up for it, and the world wouldn’t end.

Once the idea is in my head, it’s hard to shake it.

I could miss the exam. I could disappear for the day. Yes.

I have about half an hour before Dad and Clare will get up for work. I make a plan in my head: get dressed, find some money, and get a bus into town. I’ll hide for the day. I could find a quiet spot in the central library, and read. I could sit on the common all day. The sun’s shining. Come to think of it, a few hours of Vitamin D seems like a better use of my life than sweating it in an exam hall.

Yet Dad’s voice keeps shouting down these thoughts. Even in my wildest, silly moments, his voice is always there. He’d be saying something about sixth form entrance requirements, or UCAS, or my CV. All things that sound far too grown up to actually apply to me. It’s the tone of voice that gets my attention. The tone of disappointment.

So maybe I should take the stupid exam. It’s English Lit revision in the afternoon… I could also bunk that. After all, everyone needs their Vitamin D.

Time For Some Serious Dreaming // #2

(Read the first part of this narrative here.)

canal houseboat.PNG

I slip on Aristotle’s lead and he pulls me to the end of the crescent, then up the familiar snicket towards the water. The air smells of impending summer. Full of promise.

Aristotle took his usual route down the canal tow path, tail in the air, nose close to the ground. I followed him, passing the usual hotchpotch of houseboats. I noticed Greg already on his deck, smoking, eyes on a book. He’s wearing two jumpers, both with holes in them. He looks such a mess that I barely think about the fact that I’m in pyjamas.

Everyone on Moseley Crescent knows Greg. Dad pays him for maintaining our garden, and other odd jobs. He’s handy. There’s a sculpture on the roof of his houseboat, a fox; he made it himself out of scrap metal. It sits among troughs of homegrown veg: carrots, turnips, potatoes.

‘Morning, Miss Murphy,’ he says. I think he me calls this because he can’t remember my first name. ‘A bit early for dog walking, isn’t it?’

‘A bit early for reading, too,’ I say. ‘Hey! Aristotle! No – drop it!’

Aristotle is trying to eat a cigarette end he’s found on the tow path. I rush over and prise it out of his teeth.

‘Ugh. So disgusting. Is this you, leaving fag ends everywhere?’

Greg shrugs. ‘Sorry, Miss Murphy.’

I have no idea how old Greg is. He hides behind a beard and a layer of dirt. He could be in his twenties – he could be much older. Something about him makes me feel like he’s not a proper grown-up.

We continue down the towpath. My feet are getting sore in the wellies, though, and when we reach the common, I let Aristotle run around without a lead, and I sit on the stile for a while. I’d briefly forgotten about my exam, and now I’ve remembered, my stomach starts to flip about like a fish.

 

Time For Some Serious Dreaming // #1

Image result for early morning light through curtainsWatching the black of 4 AM turn to indigo, I can’t quite believe I’m awake. I can see the shadow of the trees through the curtains. Morning light is far too early this time of year. My eyes itch and ache. It must have been the thought of the light that woke me, the thought of the birds squawking, the cockerel crowing next door but one. My sleeping anticipated it all and unconsciously decided, ‘hey, why not wake up RIGHT NOW?’ Thanks, body. It’s fine. It’s not like I have an exam or anything important to do today. Oh, wait. I do.

If I were the right sort of daughter – the self-motivated type, the sort parents brag about – I’d be getting my biology textbook out in bed right now. I’d think, hey, I’m up already – why not do some last minute revision? After all, Dad said over dinner last night that he’d read some study about the benefits of last minute cramming. But that was typical Dad, spouting crap from the broadsheets, thinking that had more power than just your nog-standard usual nagging. He thinks of me like a broken bicycle, in need of a good push and a kick to get in gear and climb that final hill.

Well, I’m not a bicycle. And I won’t be pushed.

And I said as much.

I felt sort of bad about it. After all, Mum had cooked her speciality – turkey mince lasagne (sounds sort of weird, but its delicious, trust me). I’m that weird sort of kid who genuinely enjoys sitting down to dinner with the parents, and I killed the entire evening.

Still, I didn’t feel guilty enough to revise Biology.

I decide to take Aristotle for a walk instead. He’ll appreciate the fresh air of early morning, the pavement still cool beneath his little paws. Mum said this latest heatwave might actually kill him. He’s pretty old, but I still hope she’s joking. She groomed his coat yesterday, rolling him over on his belly for a good trim of his excess clouds of black fluff. Poor Aristotle. He gets so hot and miserable.

‘You coming, boy?’ I whisper through to the kitchen. He scampers out of bed, skidding on the tiles. He doesn’t care that it’s 4:30AM: he’s still happy to see me. He nibbles at my PJs as I pull my wellies on. No socks. Don’t care. We won’t go far.

I slip on Aristotle’s lead and he pulls me to the end of the crescent, then up the familiar snicket towards the water. The air smells of impending summer. Full of promise.

Is It Possible to Blog a Serialised Novel?

Image result for creative writing
Venturing forth without a map, can I blog a novel?

The answer is: probably not. Still, I’m going to give it a try, and here’s why:

  1. It’ll be fun.
  2. I can’t go back and edit things forever. What’s done is done.
  3. I might get a draft of something out of it, if not the finest piece of literary fiction known to man.
  4. Dickens did it. Conan Doyle did it. OK, not on a blog, but they wrote serialised stories, and they were pretty good.

So I’m going to give it a try. You don’t even have to pay for it. You’re free to read the trials and tribulations of this experiment, and since it might turn out terribly, I’m certainly not going to charge you any cash. I have no idea where this story will go. I want to be free of a master plan and just see what happens. I’m hoping that my intuition will give it some structure… but it might end up one big old mess. I’m OK with that.

The parts will be short. Super short, sometimes. I think that’s best for reading on a screen. Think of it as something you can dip into on your phone.

Also, I might learn something here. Leave me a comment if you’d like to help. Make suggestions for plot points or improving the prose – that’s fine with me.

It’s called Time For Some Serious DreamingYou can read Part One right here.