Take the first line of whatever you last read...Magazine Article. Blog Post. Newspaper. TV Guide. Doesn't matter what. Write the line on a piece of paper. Take that piece of paper outside. Leave your screen behind. Wait until you have been outside for at least 15 minutes (an important part of the exercise) and then use your prompt to begin writing. Choose to write a 5 minute stream of consciousnesses or take it slow and write a 500 word piece.
This is completely unedited. I'm aware that it needs a huge amount of work - it's too wordy, there is some repetition and probably it needs to be half the length it is.
It's written in my familiar spaghetti splat straight from my head onto the page ;)
But, I don't want to look at it again right now, maybe some time in the future if Gill suggest a re-write.
The story is fact rather than fiction (and I did get a VERY bad photo)
Whistling up the dog and pausing only long enough to pick up a lightweight fleece she headed out in search of open space, of air to breath of a different kind of silence.
After days of torrential rain the day had been bright and sunny.
Small clouds had chased their way across the sky like tiny white sailing boats on a vast ocean.
Exhausted from digging and weeding, emptying pots and hanging baskets. Sowing seeds and gently easing tender plants from their pots she had lain on the sun warmed decking watching the endless race her head filled with equally endless questions and a multitude of answers.
The river was a raging maelstrom of brown swirling water.
Eddies and under currents had torn away the limbs of trees, debris littered the path and crashed against the barrier of the weir.
A futile swirling mass seeminly at the end of it's journey with nowhere to go.
Walking past the scene of devastation she headed further up the river.
The swans she had observed each time she walked this way sat bedraggled, muddied and bewildered.
Exhausted at their efforts to rebuild their nest. Reeds and sticks lay all around them, a testament to their determination to carry on, to not give up.
Seemingly unaware that their eggs had already been washed away.
The questions in her head became even louder at each new discovery.
Each new piece of devastation wrought by the forces of nature.
Each broken nest, each broken tree, each shattered dream.
Crossing the bridge she took the path that led to the canal which ran parallel to the river and was instantly soothed by the peace, the slow flowing water.
The gentle pace untouched by the elements that had wrought such devastation only a few yards away.
If only the swans had thought to build their nest on the slow flowing banks of the canal ...
For a while, as the sun, still warm in the late afternoon shone on the stillness of the water she walked along the tow path.
An otter broke the surface, briefly looking at her in surprise before disappearing leaving in its wake a line of bubbles.
She followed the bubbles and, every now and then the otter surfaced, studied her for a moment seemingly unafraid before continuing on it's journey.
The canal and the river met at a lock, it's gates tightly shut and unused for many years.
On one side the calm, undisturbed water.
On the other, the unpredictable, sometime turbulent, ever changing river.
Loosing sight of the otter she assumed that it had met the dead end and decided to turn around and head back into the safety of the calm waters.
Leaning on the wooden arm of the lock she took the piece of paper from her pocket.
Written in bold black ink on thick cream vellum were the words:
"When did we forget out dreams?"
A movement caught her eye.
The otter had climbed out of the water and, so quickly that she didn't have time to take out her phone to capture the moment it headed over the bridge and down the other side into the river and disappeared.
Scanning the water she saw it briefly raise it head above the water, it looked straight at her and then it dived and she saw it no more.
Again she looked at the words written on the paper.
Poised between the slow flowing canal and the tempestuous river she paused, uncertain for a moment.
But what do we have if we forget our dreams?
Her fingers released the scrap of paper and dropped it into the river where it was carried away on the current, following the path of the otter.