a little east of reality

Monday, July 13, 2009

ink notes #1

Amanda has posted details for the first Ink Notes challenge. The idea is to use music as a writing prompt: to listen to a song or instrumental piece and see what inspiration comes. The embedded video is the music she chose this time. If you'd like to participate there's still plenty of time as Amanda's allowing two weeks for people to blog their writing (story, poem, non-fiction, whatever) and provide a link to it at the bottom of her post.

My story follows after the video. I wrote it with the music playing and you might like to read it the same way. It was a pretty fun exercise. If you have a writerly bent I hope you'll give it a shot.

From the window

He watched her from the window, sitting to the side where the curtain hid him from view. She was kneeling next to one of the beds in the vegetable garden. Her fingers, pale and exact, reached into the rows of young vegetables to pull each unwelcome weed from the soil. Methodically she made her way across and down the bed, shifting sideways on her knees from time to time.

He tried to mentally record it all: the turn of her wrist as she threw each weed onto a growing pile, the curve of her shoulders and back as she leaned to reach the far side of the garden bed, the exact nut-brown of her hair and the tortoiseshell clip that held it tightly so it wouldn’t fall into her eyes as she worked. Perhaps she wouldn’t leave while there were plants still young. He sighed. He didn’t know what would keep her here; that much was clear.

Then she was done and reaching into her bag of gardening tools for a short, thin knife. She moved to other rows, to vegetables fully grown and ready to be eaten. She studied the beds, bending to each worthy specimen – two zucchinis, four or five spring onions, a butternut pumpkin; fat roma tomatoes, basil and coriander from the herb bed to the side. She turned with hands full towards the door that led to their kitchen, but then stopped.

A moment passed before she made her way instead to the outside tap. He had to lean into the window to see her hands under the rushing water. She lifted each part of her harvest to the flow, then shook off the water and placed it in a cotton carry-bag. So she wouldn’t be home tonight. Again. He wondered briefly what dish she would make with them. She was the gardener, the vegetables were hers. But he had often turned the soil for her back when they could not stand a whole afternoon apart and he still felt a pang as she placed the bag of produce into the basket of her bicycle.

As she led the bicycle out to the driveway, he pressed his fingertips against the cold glass. Even if he knocked now she wouldn’t hear him. She was already too far away.

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