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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Short Story – Week 1: Icicles

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
-         Ray Bradbury

My blog is not a writer’s blog, per se. I don’t share any tips on writing, publishing, grammar, etc. However, I do consider myself a writer, and have set a goal to write more, and more consistently, in 2015.

To that end, I have taken Ray Bradbury’s advice to write a short story a week. I will be posting these each Thursday, and hope you will drop in and read some of them. I may live to prove him wrong, but at least it will keep me on track.

Now, a disclaimer – this short story was written several years ago as an entry into a postcard fiction contest through The Writer’s Union of Canada (The exact details escape me, but judging from the word count, the contest likely had a two hundred-word maximum.)

Although it was not a finalist, it did make it to the second round which represented the top ten percent. As it was the first (and, to date, only) piece I had submitted to a writing contest, I found that encouraging.

Because the contest was back in the time before social media, I have not shared this piece much. The start of this new venture seemed like a good time to do so, as well as give me some breathing room as I incorporate this new routine into my schedule.

Icicles
Photo courtesy of Tanzania via Wikimedia

ICICLES
As the sun rose above the roof of the office, I watched the icicles melt off the building next door. The building itself was less than a thing of beauty, metal roof and siding - coloured functionality grey. But the icicles hanging from its eaves on this particular morning were a row of sparkling jewels. The surface of each was glistening. In the sunshine, many were shot through with tiny rainbows. The uniformity of length of these frigid stalactites must surely have been the work of Jack Frost with a tape measure, though all his effort was in vain as they started to drip slowly onto the ground below.

There, on the ground below, lay a branch hung with its own set of tiny icicles. As it was in the shade, this scene seemed so much more still than that of the lively dancing diamonds in the sun above. A frozen sculpture in the gloom, forming a wondrous contrast. Amazing that both scenes were created by the same miracle of Nature, transforming man-made drabness into a spectacle of beauty with just a little frozen water.



P.S. spoiler alert – next week’s story is also going to be a bit of a cheater – not quite as bad as this one. Check in again next Thursday, to see what and how!


21 comments:

  1. I loved this Donna! I think that you painted such a vivid picture with words, especially given the constraints of how many words you could use. I could actually see it in my mind and it was beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Rena! When I wrote it, I had in mind creating a word-picture rather than a story (Jeez, that sounds pretentious - but true!), so I'm glad that's what you took from it.

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  2. This is a lovely piece of writing Donna. Having recently swapped the warmth of Kuwait for a short visit to friends in the chilly depths of Kazakhstan, reading this brought back lovely memories of a day in the mountains. Your writing is powerful and evocative and I'm really looking forward to reading more throughout the year.

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, Caroline! I'm glad it was evocative for you. Kazakhstan sounds like such an exotic winter vacation! However, as I am currently experiencing winter in Canada, the warmth of Kuwait sounds better right now!

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  3. I can see why they selected it as part of the top 10%! You describe things so well and so eloquently! For a short story it creates a great image!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment! I appreciate it! Now I'm not sure it was the best piece to start with - I don't think I can keep the pace for a whole year!

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  4. Truly beautiful. And it brought up quite a few emotions for me having just moved from the east coast to the west, while not missing winter I am missing it's beauty shimmer and light and the darkness that comes along with it

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    1. Thank you Amy, for the compliment. I'm glad it touched you. I lived in the foothills of the Rockies when I wrote it, and no, I don't miss that level of cold, but it could be beautiful.

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  5. I have never actually seen ice or snow. I love your words. They conjure a detailed picture for me as how the icicles look and feel and they emotions they inspire

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    1. Thank you, for your kind words. I can't imagine never having seen snow - here in Canada it comes with the territory!

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  6. I have never actually seen snow. Your words paint a perfect picture for me to see and feel the icicles

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  7. Very visual writing with great metaphors. No image is necessary as you painted it in words.

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    1. Thank you for the compliment! I'm glad I was able to convey the image with words.

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  8. Love your writing style. So descriptive. Great way to challenge yourself for the year too.

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    1. Thank you - glad you liked it. The year is going to be a challenge, but hopefully I can keep them coming and that they are as well received as this one has been.

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  9. This made me think of where I live (Oregon) and how winters get pretty crazy. No matter how rainy and oppressive things get, there is still beauty in it all. I have some photos of lovely icicles hanging off the barn outside my house. I do love your writing style. Pretty, funny, and easy to read.

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    1. Yes, no matter where you live or the season, there is always something of beauty to be found. Thank you for the comments on my writing style, it is much appreciated.

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  10. Thank you Donna! Very poetic and wonderful picture. You know, it's only you that know that you are "cheating" - it can't actually be cheating when you have written it yourself and when you let more people enjoy! Love your writing!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, Eva. Because I announced my goals so publicly, I feel I need to keep myself honest, hence the 'disclaimer'!

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  11. This is a good exercise. I'd like to improve my writing skills tremendously. Thanks for shring.

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    1. Thanks, Toni. Writing seems to be one of those things that we never stop learning or improving!

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