On Sunday, Mother and I decided to take a gander at the Murdoch University Open Day. Seeing as this is where I am intending to go, I don't think it was the worst idea either of us have ever had. Thanks to the information provided by my friend W, I knew that there was to be a creative writing competition on campus, and this definitely peaked my interest. I was expecting to find lots and lots of likewise inclined future students also trying for the prize, but no, there were four of us. Two adults, a lovely girl from Iona, whose name I forgot to ask (but I suspect I annoyed her a little anyway) and myself. The briefing was simple. We were asked to write a short short story in which there is a beginning, middle and end, and the characters and their situation develops quickly. The winning story would be turned into a play.
To my absolute joy, mine was chosen, and later that afternoon I had the pleasure of watching my work on stage. I didn't even mind that most of the "adoring public" had better things to do, because I managed to impress several of my future professors and the head of the English department. My name is now familiar to them.
Plus, winning does feel a little great, even if the iPod they gave me is evil.
So here, for your enjoyment, I will include my short short story, entitled Boys Who Smoke.
"Kiss me?" he asked, laughing, and popped a cigarette into his mouth but didn't light it. Abbey remembered his lighter, lying in her pocket from before but made no move to return it.
"It was only a hypothetical!" Abbey complained, her cheeks flushing until they burned. Scott gave up on the cigarette and turned so that he was lying upside down on the couch. Abbey wondered how her living room looked from that angle. Could he see all the mess that had been so carefully hidden from the prying eyes of guests?
"Ok, so hypothetically, if I were to kiss you, then what?" Scott mused, rolling the cigarette through his fingers.
"Well we most certainly wouldn't have to get married!" Abbey snapped. She wondered what had come over her, asking Scott to kiss her. Who was she to him? No one, except perhaps the girl he cheated off on his maths homework... which was what they had been doing until Abbey had ruined everything. She folded her arms crossly and sat on the chair farthest from his.
"Abbey, look..." he said, awkwardly, paying more attention to the cigarette than to her.
"No, I don't want to hear it."
He sat up properly, almost falling off the chair in the process.
"Why me, Abbey?"
She thought about this for a moment.
"I don't know. You smoke, and we fight all the time. You couldn't do your own maths homework if your life depended on it, you track mud through the house and I get the blame for it."
"So why then?"
"I just wanted to know what it would feel like." Giving such an honest answer made Abbey feel exposed, cheap. He came to stand beside her now, and offered her the box of cigarettes.
"You know I don't smoke, Scott, that's disgusting," she said quietly, trying not to cry in shame. He continued to point the box at her until she took it.
"I know you hate them. So take the box away from me."
She looked at him, puzzled and he grabbed her by both shoulders. Abbey was a little frightened; she did nothing but stand there dumbstruck as he kissed her on the lips.
"So what was it like?" he asked, his face milimetres from hers.
Abbey thought for a moment, her eyes scanning the shleves of the living room, searching for a polite way to say what she had to say.
"Like kissing an ashtray," she said quietly, and they both laughed. He grabbed his backpack from where it had been dumped on the floor.
"I better go, Teach," he said, and she waved flippantly. Then, as always, he let himself out.
Abbey slumped into the chair and locked her arms around her knees as though she were on a plane about to crash.
"Oh. My. God!" she whispered, and smiled.
So that's my piece. I hope that you didn't find as many questions as I did just then when I was typing.
Some things I have learned about writing from this experience:
1) Know your purpose and target audience
2) Memories are a great place to find inspiration, even if you distort them horribly
3) Doing writing courses will sometimes get you free stuff.
thank you, and good night.