My Weekly Writing Challenge

Thank you to Eddy, Alexandra and Jasdeep for the wonderful, emotive diary entries they sent in for my challenge last week. They’re published below. I’m sure you would all like to congratulate Jasdeep for her recent special mention in ‘The Global Short story‘ 100-word competition. Please let me know of any successes you have and I’ll put them on my blog to share with others.

This week’s new challenge looks easy but isn’t. If you found it tough to write a short story in 20 words (my challenge from a few weeks ago), then have a go at writing a story in 6 words – yes, 6!!!! I’ve seen a writing competition for a 6-word story so it can be done. Here’s my attempt:

Dawn broke. He groaned. Hungover again.

They say, short is sweet, but I’m not so sure! Let me have your entries by Thursday morning (19th).

Now, here’s last week’s diary entries:

Eddy shared his diary entry from a significant time in his life. By the end, I’m sure you’ll be thinking ‘wow!’ like I did:

02 Oct. 08
Dear diary,

The human brain is incredible. Philosophy, if you think about it, in the most basic form, is bullshit. Basically we are just animals. We were born. We will die. And in between our only purpose is to reproduce. If you look at life as one single organism then we are just a single cell of that organism. And it is that organism who is trying to survive not us. We are just a single cell, who has to reproduce and die, so that the main organism can go on living. Every living thing is part of that organism and has the same purpose. But the more evolved a species is, the more complicated it has made this simple purpose of life.

We humans are so evolved that we have actually become a cancer for the main organism. But that is a different topic which I don’t want to discuss right now. What I do want to discuss is that it is our head which has complicated everything so much that now we have to think about society and earning a living and finding love, instead of the simple act of reproducing. It is this head which has brought upon us the complications and it is this head which tries to give the solutions in ways of different philosophies.

The greatest marvel this head has achieved is the phenomenon of suicide. This head has been able to blind us to such a degree that we actually override the most basic code of life. Which is to live, survive, exist.

Why I am writing all this pseudo intellectual stuff is because a few days ago I was contemplating suicide. I have done that before but this time it was the closest I got to actually doing the act. I was so depressed that I kept lying in bed all day thinking and sobbing and resolving to die. I erased all my writings and my journals. I erased my profile from Facebook. I wasn’t replying to anyone, wasn’t posting anything.

And then just like that I got better. I only had to change my point of view. And I realized that I have lost two days of my life; could have lost the rest of my life, just because of the illusion this head of mine was creating.

This experience has scared the hell out of me because being a rational person you think that nothing can hurt you as long as you have your brain to reason and as long as you can use logic.

But what if your brain stops listening to reason? What if your brain loses the concept of reason and logic? Your best defense becomes your enemy. How do you defend yourself then? I guess I was just lucky that I hung on to that sliver of logic that appeared on the horizon of my mind. But now I am scared to let go of that sliver. I never want to be in that position again.

It was a good thing I erased all my writings. Now I can start all over again. I have started a new life so many times in my life. It is actually a good ability to have, to be able to start all over again. Now I am 24 years old and I have a job. I have a bank balance. And I have a whole life to look forward to. And I have that sliver of reason.

My goal from now on is happiness. The pursuit of happiness. There are many things that would make me happy. I have dreams. And the pursuit of these dreams is the pursuit of happiness.

Whether I achieve them or not is not important. The fact, that I live my life pursuing them and that I keep pursuing them till death or achievement, whichever comes first, that is important. My dreams can be summarized in one small description of a scene.

“A tree, of what, I don’t know, but green, swaying with the cool wind. Its leaves, making a black pattern on the wooden table below, with their shadows. A bottle of wine on the table and two half filled glasses, diffracting the sun rays to fill the black pattern of the leaves with the prism of light. A small house in the background, the red of the bricks and the yellow of the curtains, playing harmoniously, with the green of the ivy, scaling the walls. A women sitting in the shade, her head resting on the backrest of the chair, her hair long and flowing limply with the wind. A dog lying lazily at her feet. And me, sitting opposite her, playing my guitar, not to her but just playing, with my eyes closed and a smile on my face.”

That’s my dream. And the pursuit of this dream is the purpose of my life. This dream is obviously metaphorical. And its pursuit is more complicated than it seems. The most important thing that I have to do right now is to take control of my mind. I need to pull on the reigns and stay in control because if I let it take me on one more wild ride I might cross the point of no return. I have to stay busy and always keep that vision I just described in my mind.

 

Alexandra Ellul created a strong sense of atmosphere with her entry:

EVIDENCE FILE NO. 35630

Day 5

I started this journal with ‘Day 5’ because it feels like almost a week since I washed up here.

A month ago, I boarded the yacht for the adventure of a life time. Breaking the yacht on the rocks was unexpected. Waking up with my face buried in the sand at the break of dawn was a miracle.

I don’t know where I am, but it’s an island. On my first day, I climbed the tallest tree that lines the beach. There are about eight miles of jungle between me and the coast on the other side. No hills, no high rocks; just trees and wildlife that keep me up at night with their hooting and their cooing. And monkeys. There are a lot of monkeys!

I need to manage fire, somehow. I need it as a signal. I need it to keep the monkeys away at night. I need it to cook and to keep warm. But all my attempts at fire have failed miserably so far.

Debris has been washing up on shore every day. No survivors though. I salvaged some useful supplies. I created shelter from the torn dinghy and I’m using the tarp we had on the boat to gather rain water. I also found this scrap book. It took three days for it to dry enough to write on.

I haven’t been hunting yet, but the shellfish is easy to get and good enough to eat.

Day 8

I have quite a system going. While exploring the outer edges of the jungle I found rabbit trails and I set up traps using sticks and string. I caught two stringy ones, but without fire I can’t eat them yet. Still, it’s good practice.

Day 10

I managed fire! And not a day too soon. The monkeys took my knife last night. Sneaky little things. I fashioned a spear from a piece of metal that came with the debris, but it’s not half as good as the knife I had.

I keep a fire going at all times now. I discovered that if you cover it with leaves, the smoke becomes ticker and gives off a higher plume; hopefully high enough to be seen by passing boats. I haven’t seen any yet.

Day 11

I’m eating like a king! Fish is plentiful. Water is limitless.

Monkeys stayed away last night; at least nothing was missing this morning. Heard their footsteps close to the camp, but none came on the beach.

Will try to go further inland later today.

Day 15

Went inland and got lost. Had a rough couple of nights. Had no shelter and no light. Kept hearing footsteps. There must be larger animals than the monkeys, but I couldn’t see any; just heard their footsteps.

I’ll try to hunt inland again, but I’ll leave a trail this time.

Day 16

I can’t sleep. I don’t know if it’s the monkeys, but I keep hearing footsteps. They come close, just to the edge of the jungle then stop; like they are waiting.

I have fire surrounding my camp in a circle, and yet, I don’t dare go out to see what is watching me.

There they go again! Footsteps. Pacing up and down the tree line. Do monkeys pace?

Day 17

Reading last night’s entry, I feel like an idiot. Darkness plays tricks on the senses; giving the perception of danger where there is none.

My hunting trail worked. I can now come and go through the jungle as I please without getting lost.

No boats and no planes yet. I keep hoping.

Day 20

I swear something is watching me. I sit on the beach facing the trees. I don’t dare give my back to the jungle. I have a trail that leads directly to my camp, but, even in day light, the thought of crossing into the jungle to put down the rags is making my blood run cold. I haven’t seen anything, but I keep hearing these damn footsteps coming from just inside the tree line. They come close and stop. Then start pacing. Always pacing; moving branches and breaking sticks as they go.

Day 22

The fire went out a day ago. All the fire wood is inside the jungle.

The monkeys don’t come any more. Only the pacing.

Day 26

The footsteps won’t go away. I’m going inside. Must face whatever it is that watches me.

END OF DOCUMENT

 

Jasdeep Kaur captures a mother’s emotions superbly:

Mom’s Diary

February 11
Again she’s back cutting, cutting, and simply cutting the paper in so many bits. I wonder its creativity or just the feeling to destroy things. The house will soon be in mess. She will not spare any single room, as she always does. I feel like giving her the verbal lashing again, but no, I have to calm down. I don’t want to start the same battle again that stops in long periods of whining.

February 12
I was amazed to see that all the bits of paper were lying in the basket and not the floor. They were of all sorts of shapes. I wonder from where she got the glossy art paper. It must be her Dad. In spite of telling so many times, he keeps on wasting money on the things that will be thrown in the trash box. That’s his call. I won’t say anything; it’s of no use beating around the bush.

February 13
How could she do it? She incised my favourite new cushions. And she finally got it from me. Now she’ll be silent for some time.

Ohhh! But I don’t feel good when I scold her. I could have controlled myself. I think this devil, my anger, will kill me one day. It has ruptured the bond with my darling daughter. I could have told her nicely. I am a bad Mom. I know she must be crying. After all, she was just being creative. She had cut out beautiful A’s and B’s. Should I say sorry to her?

I think, I should wait, or it may give the message that it’s fine to spoil things.

February 14
She has gone with her Dad to the market. But they didn’t feel the need to ask me. How can people disregard others to this extent? Now I will become like them. I’ll just do my duties for the family, but be engulfed in my own life – my life.

Tomorrow, I’ll spend my day with my friends. It’s been so long and they always ask me to join their excursions. I’ll give the time of my special day to those who care for me.

February 15
I was late. I thought that they might have slept. So I didn’t ring the bell but called on my husband’s mobile. The door opened leaving me in astonishment.

My sweet little darling was holding a big card where she had pasted the same bits of paper and those A’s and B’s forming HAPPY BIRTHDAY. There was my favourite cake waiting for me, and the torn cushions were replaced with new ones of the same design. I could not help the tears that rolled from my eyes. I hugged her and told her that she was the best daughter in the world.

She indeed is!

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21 Responses to My Weekly Writing Challenge

  1. Born, grew, developed. Grew old. Died.

  2. eddy says:

    Great 6 word story! Here’s my attempt.
    Here lies Milo. Friend. Child. Jester.

  3. Steve says:

    Pillow depressed after their imaginary love.

    I had written a happy love story; however, when I thought about using a synonym for ‘indented’ I saw ‘depressed’, and that changed how I wrote about their love.

  4. Sanjukta Bhattacharjee says:

    Great diary entries by Eddy, Aleksandra and Jasdeep. Kudos to all three of you. I better get down to work on my 6 word story!

  5. Sanjukta Bhattacharjee says:

    Joel proposed. Sara accepted. “Just Married”!

  6. Jasdeep Kaur says:

    U dumped. I drowned. He revived!

  7. “Doctor who?” “No…I’m Doctor Jones!”

  8. gillswriting says:

    Hi, not a great 6 worder but it keeps going round in my head so here goes:

    Undies,steak,candles. Doorbell? Police? Nooooo,,,

  9. Sandra says:

    Here we go. Thought it was impossible, but it really isn’t!

    Title: Thrashed

    Smile.

    Crush.

    Wink.

    Hope.

    Rejection.

    Dejection.

  10. Sola says:

    Dad? Mommy? … All alone, yet again.

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