The creative writing workshop on Monday was good! I got there too early but I always choose that over being late. I make allowances for getting lost, and I did get lost, but not lost enough to kill all that time. I sat on a bench outside and sweltered for a while before going into the pub where it’s hosted. They get the whole basement room, with all the tables pushed together. People drank stuff and we listened to six of the eighteen participants read from their work. Some of it was really interesting and gripping and I want to hear more of it! There were comments and discussions. It was casual but interesting. I hung around at the bar afterwards to chat to some of the people (I didn’t drink anything though because have you seen the price of drinks here?!), and it was good and I’ll definitely be back next month. I got home at around 11pm, and I only left because of the time, not because I wanted to!
As for my writing, I’ve been slacking! I’ve been unwell, but I’m doing better today. I’ve written a few paragraphs I’m reasonably happy with. This extract I’m about to post isn’t one of them, but it’s an important extract, as it introduces the character I’m probably going to struggle with the most. She has a complicated brand of magic and I need to impose limitations on it and wrangle it into shape so that it fits in with everything else. Her name is Fessi. She’s a Green. I haven’t explained what that means yet, but green is my favourite colour, so it must mean something good. I think.
Fessi awakes to the shrill chorus of night bugs. She lies perfectly still and feels out the room. There’s nothing out of the ordinary. Every object is in its regular place. Her plants, her driftwood carvings, her paintings, her Academy uniforms: one folded in the crate, one crumpled in the wash bag, one pinned up to dry in front of the window. The window is open a crack, but there’s no breeze coming in. A perfectly still night, the temperature inside and outside almost at an equilibrium. Fessi extends her range and feels the rest of the house. All quiet. All still. Her father Andish is asleep in the far room, dreaming about barkermonkeys who are learning to make rough strings to fish out of the lake from the tree tops.
Further, the island is quiet. Small pulses of life in the grass and along the banks. Something roosting on the roof. She pictures the surface of the lake. It’s like polished black stone reflecting the moonlight that drips through the leaves of the trees peering over the water like wisened brewers around a cauldron. Fish and snails and plants and wood decaying and water-smoothed rocks. Occasional bubbles and ripples. Nothing to explain her awakening or the strange tingle that still runs along her skin. It was a barely perceptible change, but it was a change. Her heart rate had increased slightly, her breathing along with it.
She’s getting uncomfortable, but she knows that if she moves, she’ll lose her focus and the clarity of her perception will break. She feels outwards beyond the lake into the first ring of trees, and then beyond that, into the forest. The space, the growth, the life, the flow of energy, on the ground, below it and above it into the canopy and the sky… Something out there is different. It’s too far away for her to figure out what it is, but it’s offsetting a flowchange. Something out of place. A broken space in the distance. It’s balancing out, but there are still shockwaves, more delicate than the ripples on the lake, like the effect of opening a tiny window on the far side of an expansive building. Particles mixing, invisible motes changing direction, miniscule differences, fractions of fractions. The senses are blunt instruments, but the magic mind is not.
Fessi reins herself in and exhales, shifting under the blanket and arching her back with a satisfying crunch of vertebrae. Her eyelids flicker against the drying surfaces of her eyes, which have remained open, unblinking for several long minutes. She allows her mind to reach out again, but in a slower, less focussed manner, like treacle spreading. Her heart rate and breathing are back to normal. In the absence of a clear threat, sleep returns to her and she joins her father in the little boat, yanking down the bakermonkey’s strings as they dip into the water. They howl indignantly but Andish howls back.
“It’s a delicate ecosystem! You can’t just eat them all at once!”