After the release of my first short story The Ghost at Willow Creek, I wrote a post about the influence behind it. It had started life in the form of my first bush poem, which I had entered into a competition. I felt compelled and was encouraged, to turn it into a story.
Here, then, is an excerpt of the poem: –
A Mother’s Love
Magpies sang their mournful song as she stood and waved goodbye,
The blistering sun bore down upon her back amongst a clear blue sky.
She did not smile, or yell, or weep as she saw him ride away,
For she knew he would return to do it all again one day.
She watched him disappear into the distance, this stoic drover’s wife,
‘Alone; always alone!’ she cursed this God-forsaken life.
‘If only I were a man with freedom where to roam,
I would sooner go back to England, than call this country home’.
And so, she walked back towards the homestead with its walls of wood and stone;
A haven full of spiders with holes for vermin free to roam.
The furniture covered in dust; the floorboards of red soil,
No amount of cleaning could save her of its toil.
She stopped when she entered the cleanest room of all,
Her eyes took in every item ‘til she saw the picture upon the wall.
Her husband’s face in miniature, full of boyhood charms,
She felt her heart race once again of holding his dead body in her arms.
Growing up in suburban Sydney, I lived near Rookwood Cemetery, the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere. Generations of my mother’s family have been buried there and we would make regular visits. Graves and cemeteries had therefore become second nature; so when I spent a quiet, misty morning some years ago in winter at my local cemetery, I found it to be quite peaceful.
I’ve always been fascinated by death and the thought of an afterlife. It could explain my interest in ghosts and other spooky subjects. I found walking alone amongst the graves intriguing. Each and every one of them had a story to tell. I was surrounded by history; some dating as far back as the 1880s. I was surprised by the number of smaller graves – one child died the day it was born, either still-born or it was too late to be christened. One grave was of a twelve year old girl; another girl dying at eighteen. My curiosity aroused the writer within me. What happened to these children to die so young? How did they die? Who were they?
Some years ago, while visiting relations on their property, I encountered an old grave of a six year old boy. Apparently he had drowned in a nearby creek during a flood and straight away all sorts of questions came into my head. The writer within me thought of the many hardships encountered by our pioneering women and this idea became the inspiration behind my first bush poem.
I entered that bush poem in a competition, without success. Now I have dusted it off and begun to breathe new life into it (don’t throw anything out remember 😉 ). It had been suggested to me before that the poem could become a short story and I am currently trying to work this into either a long short story or novella. I am having fun using Pinterest to help with inspiration for setting, characters and undertaking some research.
So next time you’re struggling for a bit of inspiration, try your local cemetery. I’m sure the residents won’t mind you telling everyone their story.
What unexpected places have you found inspiration for your writing? Are you comfortable around cemeteries? What are you currently working on?
Throughout the Platform Building Campaign, Rachael is holding a couple of challenges. I didn’t partake in the first challenge, so I thought I’d try my hand at the second challenge. And what a doozy it is!
Here are the rules:-
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
include the word ‘imago‘ in the title
include the following 4 random words: ‘miasma‘, ‘lacuna‘, ‘oscitate‘, ‘synchronicity‘
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post. For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
So after searching frantically in the dictionary, I came up with something using all the requirements in the challenge. Here’s my entry:-
MY SWEET IMAGO
I struggle not to oscitate as I watch another one being wheeled in. It has been a long night; this will be the last.
I gaze upon the face of the man in front of me and my hands become clammy. The miasma emanating from his body fills my nostrils. His mouth is open; a dark lacuna releasing its final scream. That mouth had kissed me longingly; hungrily, the touch of his hands a sweet caress.
Childhood memories flitter through my mind of lazy summer days and melted ice-creams, of promises to be together forever, always. Recent memories of drug abuse and alcohol induced stupors; promises that they would never happen again. Tears do not form behind my eyes and cloud my better judgement. They did not a few months ago when I last said goodbye. They will not fail me now.
A slow smile creeps upon me; he would have loved the synchronicity of this moment. It’s like holding up a mirror; only his choice of drug was different to mine. Were they really the cause of all his lies, deceit and ultimate betrayal?
I take a firm grip upon the scalpel and begin to cut.
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Winners of this challenge will be determined solely on the basis of your votes. If you like my entry you can vote for it here, (I’m No.102), where you can also check out others. Best of luck everyone!