You are a writer, they say. An author, in training.
I am a dreamer, I say. One lost in colourful worlds, where vibrant characters breathe life and love, fear and failure.
(more) I dream of finished works, of pages turned by adoring fans, of bestseller lists and awards to don my wall. I dream of seeing initials in print on the spine of my works, of running a finger along hardback testaments to my creativity.
But dreams are fleeting and dreams fade. Dreams are hard to grasp, and harder to pursue in the reality of every day.
Keep dreaming, they say.
Keep pushing, I say.
Reality's dreams may lack the lustre of our wildest fantasies, but what feeling compares to following a passion?
I may be mired in a maze, with every turn offering a new idea, a different variation on a theme, but I will strive on. And when I reach the centre and the open sky and sunshine bear down upon me, I will look up to the heavens and thank my maker for the steps that have brought me to success. (less)
They say it's lonely in the desert. The endless sand spans before your eyes in every direction, with nothing but a shimmering haze to break the vista. Any tracks of the camel's plod are swiftly removed by the biting wind, and so the trail of the nomad, the only(more) other person or persons for hundreds, nay thousands of miles, is obliterated.
The oasis. Lifeblood of the driest place. It should connect you to life again. It should put you in mind of other places where flowing water is normality and contact with humanity is restored. Instead you sit, your thirst momentarily quenched, looking out on the ocean of dust and knowing that on this small island you still float alone.
Perhaps a real island amidst the roaring tide would be lonelier still. The sea taunting you with its laughing lap of the shore, reminding you each day that there is no escape from its grasp.
Alas, I know a lonelier place still. Amidst the smashing bottles and drunken laughter, amidst the thumping music and lively banter, amidst friend and stranger, foe and lover. I stand in a whirlwind of humanity, and yet I am alone. (less)
I wonder how many times I've been here. It's my favourite place, a place that feels like home, despite being found hundreds of miles from my house. This was the place I ran to as a child, the place I cried in as a teenager and the place where(more) I mused about the man who I loved who would take me away from all of it.
It's nothing special, this place, just a park. No one would look twice at it driving past or consider that it could be more than a location to lose the kids for an hour, but this has been my refuge more times than I could count. And here I am again, swinging my legs in the hope I can fly as the tears dry on my face in the rushing wind. (less)
The Great Depression was nothing beside this new dawn toward which those men and women laboured. Now we sit and stare and wonder where it all went wrong. Now we wonder if the scant provisions in our hands will be enough to barter for those things we need to(more) keep on surviving. Now we wonder why we cling to survival at all.
This town is drowned. Drowned in its fears, in its tears and in its bars, where sweet release is found in the one commodity a man can purchase without forfeiting his all, only his soul. (less)
My foe is not a country, nor another person, and yet today I take up arms in this war that rages from my first to my last breath.
The battle lines are drawn. I can exist, enjoying happiness where it finds me and the life of mediocrity that(more) calls my name with its gentle whisper and promises of comfort and rest. Or I can live, take chances, take risks, push doors that feel firmly closed on the off chance a crack may open to a new path.
This is the life I want. But the foes line up before me, procrastination and doubt and distractions, and again a day fades fast, and a week and a month and a year. I cling to time as water slipping through my fingers, and before I know it not a drop remains.
But I will not surrender. Each day is a new world and I can shape it. This day I am up in arms to wage the war on self that would keep my future small.
It started with a pain in the back of the neck. The slight stiffness, the agitation, it was nothing really. But before long the pain had spread, down the spine and through the legs and even teasing the toes with a tickle that nothing could scratch.
(more) "There's nothing we can do," they say. "Your life can still go on," they promise. I don't believe them. Doped up on drugs to control the agony, I'm too tired to enjoy my last moments of mobility.
Sophie looks at me with a smile, but I see the pity in her eyes. She says she'll stay. I say she'll leave. A day? A week? A month or year? Time will tell. A woman so beautiful shouldn't be tied to the tasks of only the most dedicated nurse. What have I to offer her? What have I to offer anyone?
The pain in the back of the neck is dulled now but how I wish it were still here, to remind me that a bit of discomfort is far from the worst thing to face in this life. (less)
Gina turned slowly to face the man, his hands curled into fists where they had landed on the counter top.
'I did look after him,' she said, 'But I wasn't going to put the entire operation at(more) risk for the sake of one man, no matter what he meant to you.'
'No matter what he meant to me? He's my brother, Gina. He, he was my brother.'
Gina walked carefully around the kitchen island. This was a delicate operation. She couldn't afford to alienate Trevor; he was her best source of information on the whereabouts of the vigilante patrols, and yet she couldn't lie about leaving his simpleton brother, Jack, behind to fend for himself.
'We were under attack, Trev. There was nothing I could do. You know that,' she said, laying a steady hand atop his own calloused fingers. 'If I'd only known there was an inspection last night then perhaps I could have saved us both.'
Trevor's shoulders sunk as his body seemed to deflate. She had him. 'If only you'd warned me.'
A silence heavy with unspoken words greeter Gina. Trevor shook his fingers free from her grip and stalked away. 'You go too far, Gina. You go too far,' he turned and said before leaving the room.
Gina sat alone for some time pondering her options. Her associates were not loyal. She would need a new strategy to ensure that her commands continued to be obeyed. (less)
The lily is beautiful. I reach a trembling finger to touch its waxy whiteness. So smooth. So soft. So pure.
A red smudge mars a petal now. With a cry I strive to wipe away the mark but it only spreads. A petal apart from its peers. I(more) tear the flower from its stem and stamp it into the ground. I grind my heel until the petals are shredded to a dirt stained confetti.
I feel no better.
I am still alone. My crime-stained hands proclaim my punishment. Alone. A petal apart from its peers. (less)
Jack nodded as he slung his sack carelessly to the table.
'The third this week then,' Gina said, making her way over to measure the success of Jack's foraging. 'Not much here, Jack. You'll need to do better tomorrow if I'm to keep shelteri(more)ng you.'
Jack nodded again and took the sack from Gina's hands, retreating to a back room with his spoils.
Gina sighed. It wasn't that she wanted to be short with the simpleton, but she could only put up those who could pull their weight. She'd known from the day the riots started that life as she knew it was to change. Others had insisted it was temporary restlessness, but they were the ones stung by the lack of supplies in the supermarkets when they realised the problems weren't going away. Gina's larder had been full to the brim of canned goods and other imperishable supplies.
The supply was running low now and the vigilante bands patrolling the streets for the safety of the populace were a danger to a lone woman. So Gina had opened her door to a few comrades who could hunt supplies in return for shelter.
'Open up,' a raised voice on the other side of the door accompanied a banging that rattled the wood in its frame.
Gina's fumbling hands found her emergency bag and within moments her feet carried her to the back route out of the safe house.