Assignment Part 1:
Start a story using:
A List of other people’s problems:
PROBLEM: A THREE YEAR OLD CHILD DISAPPEARS AND IS FOUND INJURED WHILST SPENDING THE WEEKEND WITH HER FATHER.
STORY STARTER 1:
Had he not tied the laces himself that morning, he may not have instantly recognised the tiny red shoe that lay on the road. The commotion outside had pulled him from sleep and instinct driven him to his daughter’s room, where fear balled in his gut when he found her bed empty. The indent of her head was still visible on the pillow.
He bolted toward the shouting and screaming taking place on the street, his chest heaving sobs of terror. He shoved his way through the crowd that had gathered, catching glimpses of a man leaning over something small and motionless on the ground. He wiped at his eyes to clear them but the image before him still blurred. As his vision returned, he noticed the shoe. The tiny red shoe, the laces perfectly tied.
PROBLEM: SHE HAD THE PERFECT JOB LINED UP. TRAVELLING AROUND THE COUNTRY DOING WHAT SHE LOVED UNTIL…
STORY STARTER 2:
“One more, you’ve hardly had any,” she said.
I contemplated, doing the maths in my head. We’d been here for nearly three hours. I’d be right for one more drink. And besides, it was me we were celebrating, nailing my dream job. In a week’s time, I’d be driving around the country, promoting my favourite band. What the hell. One more never hurt.
“Sure,” I said and we jostled toward the bar.
That was one of the last things I remember. I have a flicker of a memory. I’m lying metres from the car, which is on its side. I can taste metal. It’s warm and liquid in the back of my throat. The wheels on the car are still spinning and someone is crying. Then the flames. The big orange ball that crackled like hell, itself.
Assignment Part 2:
Start with a title: The end of the snow
I threw the old hearth rug over the verandah railing and began beating it with a broom. Months of winter dust escaped into the early spring air, a million tiny particles zinging madly like kids let loose on the last day of school. Michael and I watched a show the other night. It was about quantum physics. About how everything is connected and vibrating and how we take on each other’s energy and by the end of the night I was wondering if all this was true then where did I start and finish? Michael finished the night with a six pack.
As I bashed the dirt free, I wondered what all the dust motes had made of a winter’s worth of our fights. And the ensuing sessions where we made up. I wanted to move to warmer weather. He liked the cold and neither of us wanted to compromise. We only ever fought in the winter. We made up because it kept me warm and kept him happy.
I rested the broom against the rail and looked across the land still smattered with the final patches of snow. It would be gone in a day, taking with it the best and the worst of me. I did my best writing in winter. My heavy moods stewed and simmered in my work, giving it a flavour all of its own. I churned words in winter like mother nature churned snowflakes. And whilst I was always happy to see the frost drizzle away, it frightened me for I feared my muse would melt along with the end of the snow. And that our fights would stop and there’d be nothing worth making up for. I picked up the broom and began bashing again. Trying to shake all the best parts out of winter.
Assignment Part 3:
Start with a character:
A florist who looks a lot younger than he really is.
Abby packed the last of the groceries into the back of the car. She fished the crumpled shopping list from her jeans pocket and checked it as she buckled herself into the car. Pushing the key into the ignition, she breathed a sigh of relief. Only one more stop to go and then she was done. From her purse, she pulled out the card Joanna had given her last week at the gym. Tall, beautiful Joanna with the stunning eyes and the charmed life. With only two years between them, Abby wondered how she had gone so off kilter in her own life. How did Joanna manage to have everything. “Here, my Dad owns a chain of florist stores. There’s one near you. Give them this and they will do you a good deal,” she said, scribbling a code on the back of the card.
Abby hadn’t known Joanna very long and her generosity touched her. As did her tolerance to take on all her woes of a failed marriage and a neurotic mother. In trying to please her mother and husband over the past decade, Abby knew eventually one of them would leave. Liam walked first, and it burned her insides raw.
Abby forced the bitterness down with a spoonful of regret everyday, concocted by her own hand, and taken from her own toxic pharmacopeia on life. She knew it was time to move on. She just didn’t know what she should be moving on to.
She drove to the address on the card. It wasn’t far from her house. At most, a long but pleasant walk past the park that led onto her small shopping village. She’d never taken much notice of it before. It was tucked around the corner from the main shops. And buying flowers wasn’t one of her things.
A sign hung from under the shingle. Govindas ~ Flowers for the Divine
She questioned the motive. Divine was not a word she would use where her mother was concerned. The shop was quaint and as she pushed the door, a bell above her head tinkled, announcing her arrival. Inside was another world, and she instantly felt transformed.
The heady perfume of lilies and stocks made her head swim. It was divine, just like the sign said. It lifted her mood and she felt like rolling among the collective petals, drowning herself in the scent. Antique cabinets displayed enormous bouquets, and bucket after bucket brimmed with flowers and filled the centre of the store.
She moved slowly around, taking in all the colours, breathing in the earthy dampness and floral tones, all the while flipping the card over and over in her hands.
“Good morning, can I help you?” She turned to see a man standing at the rustic counter. He blended perfectly among the surrounding beauty. His eyes, piercing green, locked onto her mala beads, which had worked their way free from inside her shirt.
“You’re a meditator?” he asked. She dropped her eyes to where his focus lay and grabbed at her beads. It was an odd question and it took her off guard.
“Oh, yes, I am. Probably not as much I should do…”
“Bit the same, actually,” he smiled.
“A friend gave me this, she said you might be able to help me out.” She showed him the card. He flipped it over like he knew exactly what he was looking for.
“Ah, Joanna. Yes. Certainly.” His face lit up at the mention of her name. He handed the card back. His hands were doer’s hands, not smooth and unused. They looked strong and certain. She caught a hint of patchouli as he came and stood next to her.
“Tim. What’s the occasion?”
“My mother’s birthday. Think you can rustle up some magic?” She gestured with a sweeping hand toward the buckets.
“Let’s give it a go, shall we?” he asked. She met his gaze and perhaps held it a little too long. He was a little older but rugged. He looked like he had lived a wild life but had landed squarely on two feet.
“Anything take your fancy?” She could feel the heat of his body beside her.
“I love these,” She moved away slightly, sensing he could feel her attraction.
“Agapanthus. Secret love,” he smiled at her, and then bent forward to reach for the flowers. His arm muscles flexed under the weight of the bucket. She pressed her lips to suppress a smile.
“Any other suggestions?” She asked.
“Lots,” he said, finding her eyes, again. He set the bucket down.
“These are Joanna’s favourites,” He pulled up a bucket of Oleanders.
“And what do they mean?” she asked.
“Caution,” he laughed.
“How do you know Joanna?” She was intrigued by their connection. He set the Oleanders down beside the other flowers.
“She didn’t tell you?” his eyes widened in surprise.
“Not that I recall,”
“She’s my daughter.”