I’m not sure what I have is called writer’s block…I’m not enough of a writer for that, but writer’s block has come up recently in a few alternative ways. Actually, not really recently, more I’ve just been thinking about them.
First, wanting this album by Peter, Bjorn and John not least because of its thought provoking art work depicting a ‘block’ inhabited by writers. How beautiful is it? I almost want to write a story about it. Ironic, eh? I also love their song ‘Young Folks’ made famous by a Homebase ad. It drove Mickey mad for weeks trying to find out what it was. You’ll be whistling it all day.
Next, I have this wonderful little block-shaped book called The Writer’s Block which I should definitely use more often. It has a prompt or photographic idea on each page to ‘jump-start your imagination’ for a new story. Looking through an old half-used pretty notebook (I have many of these) I found ONE mini story that I wrote in June 2010. I’ll share it with you, it’s not great, I kind of missed the point of the exercise, but what have I got to lose, eh? I kind of amended as I went:
A character phones a number on a toilet wall…what happens?
It was one of those awful nights out, one you wished you hadn’t come on. Fay glanced around the table- two groups, and her. The music meant you had to lean in and shout to be heard and she had ended up in the middle. Jessica and Rory were making good use of the leaning in, anyway. She smirked into her strawberry cider. All the lads were laughing about something, she didn’t even want to know…Had she really come hoping to impress one of these idiots? She slid off her stool unnoticed and battled a path through the chair and real legs towards the calm of the bathroom where she could figure out in the stillness if she was drunk or not. Sliding the latch on the middle cubicle she sat down and promptly deduced that she was almost completely sober. Disappointing. She took out her coin purse and wondered if she could even afford to get drunk. She just needed a little escapism from her invisibility, the loneliness that crept up the second she didn’t distract herself.
Replacing her purse, Fay’s mobile phone slipped from the silky interior of her bag and clattered onto the tiles. Fay winced, and stooping to retrieve it she noticed a ‘7’ scrawled on the wall of the stall, and then some other, subtle single numbers until she realised that she was looking at a local number widely spaced in small green digits diagonally down the whole wall. Any drunk, distracted girl would never see it.
Curious, she typed it into her mobile and her thumb hovered over the lit up screen, the glowing numbers and the ‘call’ button – and in a wave of bravery or madness she did it. At the same time four raucous female voices and pairs of heels came squawking and clacking into the loos calling for “Laura!” and hammering on her door. She ended the call, 3 seconds after it had started, having heard nothing, and wished she could step into the harshly lit tiled room as Laura and continue on her rowdy tipsy way with her fun, caring friends. Instead, Fay emerged from her safe little cube, forgetting the cryptic phone call as the girls faces fell and gazes slid past her as they realised she wasn’t their missing friend.
She reached the row of sinks and leaned towards the arching mirror. The girl in the familiar-but-different mirror bathroom had her chestnut softly bobbed hair, the green eyes and sparkly blue vest. She wondered if this girl was just as shy, just as weird, as this Fay.
Real Fay decided it was taxi time, and the muffled music roared and enveloped her completely as she swung open the heavy door. Behind her, the Fay in the mirror opened a similar door and disappeared into her own unseen adventure.