I’m not even going to bother writing up a plot-ish thing today. This is week two of the new era of the morning. I’m still working out the kinks for writing time and non-writing things. When a non-writing thing clings to your leg begging for cereal abandoning the morning’s writing happens with ease.
At a recent writers’ group meeting I’d not been able to attend Hemingway’s six word story inspired our April prompt: write a six word story. Prompts that restrict my writing in some way—word count, can’t use certain letters, can’t use certain words—rarely draw my interest. Right now I find value in encouragement to do more of what I want to do; less value in doing what others want me to do. I should probably get over that, but for now I haven’t.
So far all I’ve got is this character driven piece that doesn’t have a real ending:
John, Catherine, Larry; surgeon, blonde, geek.
A glimpse or calotype of the sunlit Spring-greened courtyard would give the impression a wedding or some other such happy occaision had just taken place and the crisply dressed participants disgorged from the event hall, but we had just slain a man.
In truth, a double-dozen or so men and women hadn’t all slain the man. The court hadn’t judged a capital crime in over a century of years—we had no headsman—so, we hooded up six men from the Livestock Guild and one from the Castle Guard, shuffled them around, and had them draw straws. The hoods did little to protect the anoymity of any of the men. We knew each by his shape or height or boots. Our work fell to a pig butcher. Hooded, the pig butcher, exercised our justice. Hooded, he’d remain above recrimination. Blameless.
In three weeks time no one brought their hogs to Karll. He had to leave The City to find work.
In the minutes following, while we gathered in groups no more numerous than three—you can’t speak of an execution in large numbers, if you can speak of it at all—the hood had worked. It had protected the pig butcher and distributed the blame on us, the judges and hangers on. We had killed the man.
I sat alone on a bench high flower terrace. I might have been sipping iced Chantacleise wine if it were a nuptial. Instead my hands hung empty and limp from the ends of my arms. Later I’d wash the guilt away like the grime gathered on open ride from The City to Sharba, but in that moment that hood and my secret meant my hands were bloody.
I am writing. I have written. I will be writing more.
The previous paragraph is self referential. I’m not telling you that I’ve been writing somewhere else and keeping it from you. The promise at the end of the first paragraph only guarantees that I’ll have written this paragraph and not anything more. Though I live in hope.
In the past I’ve had varying success at not laying blame on any particular aspect of my life that would have send me off my writing track. Leaving the blame squarely in my lack of commitment felt truer and more motivating. I can’t say doing so has been either.
Karen scrubbed the buttery velvet pile bordering a worn area on the arm of a Victorian settee. She pretended the exposed warp was a continent in a sea of ice-slick green. Then decided it was the ocean instead.