The Perfect Green Life

Outline for a Creative Writing exercise based on the following structure:

  1. This is how things are
  2. This is what I tried to do about it
  3. This is the obstacle I faced
  4. This is how I overcame it.

Write a story in four parts with each part being based on one the four stages above.

Incorporate green values into your story but try not to make it about saving all of the world because you’ve only got 5 minutes per part (a total of 20 minutes) to finish it.

Starting …

… now!

Born

I drop from the sky incognito, fresh, new.

‘Hang on for a second,’ I say, ‘let me get my bearings.’

Looking around I take in the gentle river and the auto-vending mango trees.

A veeman rises silently from the low shining buildings over to my left accelerates across the cloudless sky and my eyes follow its course until it is obscured by a face with eyes as wise as diamonds.

I recognise my father and my arms, as if unbidden, stretch toward him and, with a smile, he reaches out and picks me up as I gurgle in happiness.

I’m home.

Being Head Hunted

I started watching a movie the other day called Most Dangerous Game which was about someone being hunted across a cityscape for which he would win 24 million dollars if he lived sunrise to sunrise over the course of a day.

I’ll not spoil the movie for you by telling you if he lived or not because that’s not what I want to write about here.

After the first few minutes of the movie I went for a walk and all I could think about was what I would do if I was in a similar situation. What would I do to enable me to survive?

The terms of the hunt were that the prey would be hunted by five people (if you can call them that) who would be alerted at hourly intervals of the location of their prey by means of a cellphone that he must carry on him at all times. Other than the prey not being allowed to go outside the city limits and no-one was allowed to use guns, that was the extent of the rules.

So, what would you do?

I would move randomly. No sense in giving those hunters a predictable path. I would avoid the places I normally frequent. No way would I allow them to sit and wait at my favourite beauty spot for me to happen along. I would make sure that I was away from people when the phone was giving my location away. I would make sure I had ways of travelling between the hourly pings from the phone. I would pick up a means of defending myself from somewhere like a baseball bat or something like that. I would sleep in the bushes in the day so that I wouldn’t get exhausted in the night. I would find some way of disguising my appearance, such as changes of clothing, a different way of walking, a wig, a latex mask or anything that would make me look different. I would climb a tree and live, hidden in the canopy for a while. I would get on a tourist bus and go around and around and around. I would get some money from somewhere to make these things possible. I would turn hunter and wipe out those nasty people from the face of the earth. I would offer myself to god and resign myself to my fate. I would turn my experiences into a bestselling novel. I would … heck, I’d just do the ‘normal’ things that anyone would do when faced with such an abnormal situation.

Again, what about you?

Here’s a recording of me reading this article:

https://record.reverb.chat/s/h8Qu1SEomsnwnic9EWEi

For Me

Walking by the lake, passing parents and children in various states: excited, tense, sleepy. It was an idyllic scene streaming by. Calming. Reassuring. The world was as it should be.

Exiting this oasis I came across a small child being held by the hand by his father.

This child was in tears. Angry tears. Fearful tears? “GET OFF. GET OFF! GET OFF, GET OFF, GET OFF.” Screaming at the top of his voice.

This was the school run. The father’s face was set like concrete. The other parent’s faces showed a certain kind of mixed tension: resentful, understanding, condemnatory.

You can’t interfere in scenes like these. You just can’t.

You can only replay it later in your mind.

You stop the man with a stern glance and a forefinger held before him: one minute. He stops and the child is pulled to a halt beside him by that hand holding firmly. You crouch to bring your face level to that of the child. In wonder and surprise his tears vanish like mist in sudden sunshine. You take the child by his shoulders and, seeing that his progeny is safe in the presence of this mysterious stranger, the man releases him into your charge. You share a moment of calm knowing with this extraordinary child then, as the flicker of a smile reaches his face, you bend towards him and whisper in his ear: “the thing you are afraid of does not really exist.” He nods as you pull away, hesitantly smiles as you give his shoulders a warm squeeze through his coat and then grins shyly up as you stand and hold his gaze. You step aside and the pair: father and son, now in harmony, resume their journey to school, walking side by side; together and yet independent. You smile and walk on.

Or…

You stop the bloke and whisper in his ear: “the thing you are afraid of does not really exist.” His face undergoes a radical transformation as he realises the role of a father in the life of a son. Visibly shrugging off his rigidity he looks down into the face of his beloved son and then, deliberately releases his hand. Finding his longed for freedom finally granted the boy stands for a moment, caught in indecision: run back or move forward? Looking up into his father’s face for the guidance that he had been rejecting just a moment ago he found a smiling face of acceptance and love. He smiled, reached out with his tiny hand and took that of his father. You step aside and the happy pair step forward into the future.

Or…

You walk on and after a few minutes of deep reflection stop for a moment and say quietly to yourself: “the thing you are afraid of does not really exist.” Then, a hesitant smile working it’s way towards your heart, you resume your journey home.

Learners

Just after I started meditating I went to a spirituality fair. I walked around for a bit and looked at the various offerings: tarot card readings, Indian head massage, aura photography, that sort of thing.

One stall struck me as interesting. It was simple. A card table with a candle in the middle, a sign that said free introduction to meditation and a young Indian lady wearing a colourful sari sat in one of the two chairs set at opposite ends of the table.

I sat on the other chair and we chatted for a few moments, warming to each others presence. We then started to speak about meditation, halting and yet with a refreshing honesty. We spoke of the different kinds of meditation, each sharing from our own experience and then we came on to the specific practice of meditating whilst focusing on the flame of the candle.

I remember thinking how much I was enjoying this subtle yet effective introduction to meditation before I gave myself over to the flame. Then, as we, by mutual assent, broke out of our trance states I was given assurance by the Indian lady that she too had found benefit from the session.

Sensing the lesson to be almost over, I exchanged further pleasantries with the lady and was just about to rise, noting that she seemed about to do the same, when the meditation teacher arrived back at his stall, from a comfort break, in order to greet the two customers sat waiting for him.

How Not to Write Stories

If you want to be innocent of something then you damn well better make sure that you don’t do it!

Garry heard his father’s voice echoing inside his mind; coda to all his daylight hours; dropping through his thoughts with infuriating regularity; as inconvenient as a hanged man at a dinner party.

Still, at least Garry was alone in his nighttime hours. Sleeping pills made sure of that. Until one day, or, to be more exact, one night, they didn’t work.


Tell me what happens next.


I’ll tell you what happens next in this story: absolutely nothing. It’s a made up thing, the product of a mind in a strange, warped mood. Garry does not exist, his father does not exist and this means that there was no-one to have such thoughts.

And in case you’re thinking that the author (or his father) had such thought: nope, no, no way, nothing doing there either.

So, yeah, thay puts that to bed.

I’m going to eat crisps and watch a movie now.

Wetware

Imagine your loved-ones living on after their death as pbotorealistic (videorealistic) holograms you can talk to and teach.

You could teach them all the things you remember about them and encourage others to teach them things about themselves too. In that way they could, in the manner of an artificial intelligence (AI), build up a facsimile of self and then express that self in audiorealistic conversation.

Imagine that a parent, a sibling and a child of yours died and were then brought back to ‘life’ in this way.

All it would take is a smartphone with a holographic projector. It would remember what it was told, access other information from its memory or from the internet, project its likeness into the air in conjunction with its surroundings and speak whilst syncing words to image, principally in terms of lips and other facial expressions.

Imagine if you taught these projections everything you and other knew about the dead people they represented. Imagine they could detect your presence and turn themselves on in response. Imagine you went out of the room on some errand; perhaps to make a nice cup of tea and they turned themselves on and began to talk amongst theselves about the things they had been taught and whatever they could extrapolate from those informations.

What would make these artificial presences any different from real people? Are we really any more real than this?

Discuss.

A very busy M&S at the self-service tills

A young woman in a fetching M&S uniform asks “cash or card?” Some of the tills were card-only and others were cash-only.

“Both, please,” I replied.

I could see the word eh? forming in her mind from the way her forehead took on the texture of corrugated cardboard.

Generously, I saved her the time it would have taken to vocalise her question: “I’ve just been to Butllins, you see.”

Her corrugated forehead deepened in complexity. “Wha?”

“They have an arcade there, you see,” I explained.

“Not with you,” she countered.

“Not important,” I counter-countered kindly.

She looked worriedly behind me at the queue that must have been lengthening and so I said “Allow me to get to the point.” I paused, waiting for her expression of relief to form. Strangely, it didn’t.

“Well, go on then!” Her voice had raised more than half an octave over the duration of the pause moving it from a rather fetching alto to a distinctly tremulous soprano.

“I’d like to pay for this loaf of bread …” I waved it before her for clarification. “… with thirty-six pence in two pence coins and (quick maths) one pound sixty-three pence in, erm, that is to say: on my card.”

“Ah, okay,” she said brightly, ” you can do that at the service desk.” She smiled and looked behind me at, one would presume, the next customer.

I headed for the service desk as “cash or card?” rang out behind me. I knew exactly where that desk was because I’d visited there before. Do remind me to tell you about those times.

Swimming

Standing in the foyer of the swimming baths listening to the back and forth banter of the punters streaming by (as you do) waiting for madame to finish whatever she was doing.

A family headed in herded by a bloke weighed down by a bag bulging with towels and swimming costumes.

“You going swimming, then?” enquired the attendant cheerfully; more a well-worn phrase than a genuine question.

“Swimming or sinking,” replied the bloke with a half smile as he passed by.

The concerned voice of the swimming-pool attendant chased the guy through the turnstiles: “Hopefully swimming!”

He continued towards the changing room without a reply, his family of tiny tots running before him like a scattering of goose-lets.

We’d done our research: free entry, a pound for the lockers (refundable) and fifty pence for two minutes on the hairdryer afterwards (non-refundable); sounded like a bargain so we signed up and here we were, towels in hand, costumes on under our clothes and undies safely in our pockets.

She finally arrived with a flustered smile on her face and we headed into the changing room: a long, wide corridor with cubicles down each side and lockers banked in the middle. People walked purposely about, some in swimming costumes, some in outside clothing, with every shape, size, sex and skin type represented and we briefly joined the inward stream, peeling off as we spotted a matching pair of lockers.

Once inside I stood on the bench and peered down at her over the shared wall. “How you doing down there, chicklet!” I grinned to tell her I meant no harm and she smiled back and told me that if I didn’t get down immediately then she would call the morality police and have me arrested for etching. I told her I had no idea what that meant and she said something about ignorance being no defence on judgement day and I told her that that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. A polite glare told me it was time to get down and get changed. I got down.

Anyway, the swim was great and ABBA is on now so I gotta go. Laters, potatoes.