Kerry, the Writer

I have written this story as part of Esther Newton’s weekly challenge, Monday Motivations. I have particiated a couple of times in her challenges but haven’t put the stories on my own blog. This week’s task was to write a story or poem on the themes of “Sleep”, “Misery” or “Gold”. I had a go at incorporating all three, and I hope you enjoy what I’ve managed to come up with; I’m sure that all of you writers out there will identify with it!

I’m looking to get involved in more fiction challenges hosted by my friends on WordPress, as they are always a lot of fun and work wonders when I’m stuck for inspiration!

I’ll have a longer story to post soon, once I’ve finished editing. Here’s hoping that this offering will be enough until then. Thanks for reading!

 

Kerry, the Writer

By Adam Dixon

 

Kerry stared at the blinking cursor on her screen, her jaw working and her eyes narrowed. It was taunting her, that cursor, and the half-empty page, too. They knew she was tying her brain into knots over her next paragraph and they just waited, smug and superior. Kerry hated them. She rubbed her temples, groaning with fatigue. She blinked her dull brown eyes rapidly and took a long swallow of the cheap energy drink she had purchased on her way home from work. The too-sweet, slightly chemical flavour rushed down her throat, leaving her grimacing with the bitter aftertaste. The acrid smell of the sweeteners clung to her lips like moss to a cliff face. She didn’t like them, but they worked faster than coffee and she needed to stay awake.

“Kerry? Why are you still up?” Kerry started and twisted in her chair, looking sheepishly at the speaker. Jodie stood bleary-eyed in her pink dressing-gown, her raven-coloured hair in the disarray of sleep and her small hands barely containing an almighty yawn. Her face scrunched up and the glow from the naked lightbulb highlighted her freckles and dimpled cheeks. Kerry loved her when she looked like that.

“Hi, babe,” Kerry said. She frowned and bit her lip. “I, erm, didn’t wake you, did I?”

“No, you didn’t,” Jodie said, leaning against the door frame, and glancing around the spare bedroom. It was a tiny space, but Kerry had quickly claimed it with her desk, chair, laptop, book shelf and stacks upon stacks of notepaper which bore her spidery handwriting. Jodie took it all in with disinterest borne from familiarity.

“It’s gone twelve, Kerry,” Jodie continued, trying to look stern; Kerry refrained from smiling at the attempt.  Instead she brushed a wayward blond curl from her eye and tapped the desk three times with two fingers. That was her habit whenever she was stuck with her writing.

“You’ve got an early start again tomorrow,” Jodie continued, folding her arms.

“I know, I know,” Kerry said, wringing her hands in her lap. She tugged at her jogging bottoms and adjusted her hoodie. “I just need to keep on going for a bit, I won’t be much longer. Promise.” Jodie sighed and shook her head in bewilderment. Kerry closed her eyes and held back a long sigh. Jodie didn’t understand, not really. Nobody close to her did; they were all wonderful and supportive in their own way, but they were not creatives. They couldn’t understand what drove her to write, even late at night when the loathsome alarm clock grinned from the wrong side of midnight.

“Alright then,” Jodie said in a resigned voice. “Just don’t wake me up when you do come to bed, ‘kay?”

“’Kay,” Kerry said, turning back to her screen and back to the mockery of the blank page and the cursor. She heard Jodie close the bedroom door and listened for the muffled creaking of their bed. I suppose I could go to bed, Kerry thought with longing. I’m exhausted and some sleepy cuddles sound great right about now… Kerry sat up straight and gritted her teeth, annoyed at her lapse in discipline. No, she needed to write, damn it! She placed her hands above the keyboard, her digits poised and ready. But nothing came. Kerry’s shoulders slumped and she laid her forehead on the desk, feeling defeated.

Why am I even trying? Kerry thought for the umpteenth time. I can’t figure out what to write next and everything I do write is crap anyway! Why do I even bother? She lay there in her silent despair, unmoving, for several minutes. She turned her mind this way and that, considering where next to take her characters and how to put the words on to a page before an idea hit her like a thunderbolt. She sat bolt upright, the straight edge of her desk imprinted across her forehead. It was an angle of her storyline that she hadn’t considered before, but maybe… Hardly daring to breathe, Kerry began to type the first sentence. Then she wrote the next, doing so with care as the idea began to struggle upwards, like a delicate flower moving towards the sunlight. After the third sentence, the idea blossomed.

Just like that, Kerry had it. She smiled a warm, excited smile and began typing with gusto; her second wind was guiding her along and she didn’t dare try to stop it. The wonderful feeling of relief and happiness flowed through her, like liquid gold coursing through her veins; she was more energised than if she had downed five of her cheap cans of pop! She wiggled her toes inside her slippers and an involuntary giggle escaped her pursed lips.

“I did it, babe!” Kerry whispered excitedly, clambering into bed and holding Jodie close half an hour later. “I found my golden words!”

“Mmm!” Jodie protested, wriggling. “I asked you not to wake me up…” Kerry smiled in the darkness, alive with the rush of her success. Jodie didn’t understand, but that didn’t matter. Whatever she had written was bound to be sub-par by that point, but the idea had been captured and fixed in her mind. The flow of gold through her fingertips had revived Kerry’s flagging courage and she felt as if anything were possible. She was a writer, and that is what it was all about!

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100 Followers!

Today I opened WordPress to the fantastic news that 100 people are

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following my blog!
This is incredible news and I am grateful to everyone who has decided to hit that button. I’m ecstatic that so many of you enjoy my stories and I am constantly encouraged to keep writing by many of you.
So thank you one and all! My pen will be working furiously and I’ll have a massive smile on my face today!

I Survived the A – Z Challenge

It has now been a full week since I completed the A – Z Blogging Challenge for this April. Being relatively new to blogging it was the first time I have taken part and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I set myself the task of writing a posting a short story for each day, with the word count set between 500 and 100 words. To make it even more fun, I wanted to include some of my new friends on the blogosphere and beyond and so I invited anyone who reads my blog or follows me on social media to suggest a prompt word for the letters I would be using. This turned out to be a great success as many lovely people chipped in and helped me out!

I stumbled a bit during the last few days, but I managed to pull it all together and complete my final three stories on the last day of April. It was quite demanding having to write even a very short story every day around my full-time job, but it was eye-opening as well. It showed me that if I have a set goal and I put pen to paper every day then I can achieve a lot in a short space of time. Although the stories were mainly thought of on my bus journey into work, preliminary notes scribbled on my lunch break and then written out in full once I’d finished work, I still managed to produce a variety of tales which my readers found engaging and interesting. I tried to avoid the more obvious connotations of each word and strove to come up with something which would surprise my readers. I ended up writing fictional pieces about a lonely dog, a calculating murderer, a perverted stone imp, a Dickensian double-act, a swarm of militant wasps and an invigorating love-affair, just to mention a few.  It’s given me a whole new confidence in my writing ability and my time management. I plan to print out these stories soon, so that I will have physical proof of the roughly 23,400 words I wrote in just one month…if that won’t drive me forwards with my writing, then I don’t know what else will!

If you’d like to revisit some of my stories, here are the links to the blogs and also links to the amazing people who helped me out.

A – ABANDONED (Niki’s Simple Life)
B – BOMBASTIC -(Kate McClelland)
C – CONCUBINE (Kate McClelland)
D – DRAGOON (Kate)
E – EFFERVESCENT (Kate)
F – FRAGILE (Kate)
G – GARGOYLE (Kate)
H – HESSIAN (Kate)
I – INKLING (Kate)
J- JACKASS (Kate)
K – KARMA (My partner in crime, Samwise)
L – LEGERDEMAIN (Sakina Hussain)
M – MALEVOLENT (Esther Newton)
N – NORTH (Sakina)
O – OVERCOMPENSATE (Sakina)
P – POLYGAMY (My younger brother and great sport, Ben Kenobi)
Q – QUISLING (Geoff Le Pard, the man who inspired this Challenge)
R – RANCID (My dear old Mum-well, not THAT old, obviously!)
S – SAUSAGES (My work colleague, Sarah)
T – TORRID (Mum)
U – UNREAL (Geoff)
V – VACUOUS (Esther)
W – WASTED (My work colleague, Jamie)
X – XENOPHOBIA – (Viki Allerston)
Y – YURT (Viki)
Z – ZANY (Viki)

Thank you to every single one of you who read my stories and gave me feedback. You’re all brilliant, wonderful people! Alas, I have been a blogger far too short a time to post among such excellent and admirable hobbits!

 

How did your own A – Z Challenges go? Let me know in the comment section!