It’s that time again, the time when I take The Writing Book’s challenges – and they are myriad, they promise glory to the victors – the time when I have randomly (although apparently no human can be truly random) chosen to schedule this. Maybe I’ll use a random number generator to select dates and times. Maybe not. Haven’t decided yet, and if I tell you I have, you’ll have no choice but to take my word for it…
Anywho, back to The Writing Book’s second Exercise (as they so euphemistically call these challenges.)
Exercise 1.2: Self-Portrait: write about yourself as you are at this moment, using all five senses. What are you seeing? How does it look, how much of it can you see, what colours are there, what kind and quality of light is there? What are you hearing? Is it a constant noise, what causes it, what else might cause it? Is there another noise behind it that you only hear if you listen especially for it? Are any of these sounds like other sounds, do they remind you of anything else, do they make you feel a certain way? What are you touching, is it smooth, hard, cold? What else does it feel like? Do different parts of your body feel different things? Are you comfortable? What would make you more or less comfortable? How are you sitting or standing? What mood does this posture indicate? What are you smelling? Are you tasting anything? Can you describe that taste? If something distracts you from writing, write about this distraction.
Wowsers, my fingers hurt after that, certainly is an eyeful (but not in a good way. Is there a good way for something to be an ‘eyeful’ of something? Other than an eyeball of course.) Are any of you still here? I was in a type of trance as my fingers danced a frantic jig across the keyboard. Ugh. It doesn’t give a time or word limit, you could just going doing this challenge, writing about sitting in front of a computer screen, the vague warmth of a winter sun slowly evaporating as the afternoon wears on, as it follows its inevitable and triumphal march across the skies. Could write about staring at hundreds of pages of stream-o’-conciousness prose while your wife/husband/dog/sex robot stares in contempt, his/her/it’s eyes and hollow voice angry but whispered, that quiet rage he/she/it feels knowing that he/she/it is right, that his/her/it’s choice has been vindicated. The sudden blast of pollen carried in on the biting breath of Spring as he/she/it finally leaves. The food has run out – the rumbling stomach, the unpaid bills blocking the mailbox, the debt-collectors banging on the glass sliding-door only feet from you head, but you cannot turn away from the text… It’s a TRAP!
I’ll just write five hundred words or so, one hundred per sense, how does that sound?
I stare into a blank white screen that disappears as my fingers stroke the keyboard, destroying as I create. The ink black of size 12 Courier New scars what had been empty, yet full of potential. I turn to the open glass door, my eyes devouring a dragonfly as it flits through the miniature window of its life – I can see the kookaburra turn toward it, completing a cost/benefit computation before deciding whether the dragonfly may live for today. A gentle breeze stirs the top of a frangipani tree as honeyeaters alight on its slender branches. Clouds obscure the sun.
The canned laughter and the almost-too-quick banter of Black Adder clashes with Maximo Park for my aural concentration. Black Adder will win, in the end. My mind seems to run free as distractions clamour for my attentions, as plot-lines for long-form short stories come and go – as I struggle to write a Self-Portrait (I believe that would be called an Autobiography.)
The warm kiss of the sun angles through the doorway, as the day’s cool breeze chases the sunlight and evaporates the heat of its rays. The strain of my back against the computer chair, the strain on my eyes, staring into the dull glow of the computer screen. My feet ache, as they always do after a week’s working on my feet for eight hours a day. My neck aches. I feel the cracking pop of the joints in my neck as I twist it first one way, then the next, releasing that addictive hint of nitrogen into my bloodstream.