Deadly Writers

Submitted for Contest #46 in response to: Write a story that takes place in a writer's circle.... view prompt

20 comments

They tell me about rivers; declare it so wild and urgent until I, too, become like the river, restless, wild, important. It isn't obvious but sometimes the feeling sparks inside of me and when it does, I climb up to the hill and watch the sky and humans who look like tiny dots on the ground. There, I spread out my hands and wave out to the world and dangle it like flames, untamed.

They tell me about life; call it a current that drives through humans like a fire, twisting and turning and pushing. They define life as tragic and they clasp their hands in front of them, praying for redemption but not really wanting any. That's when the music stops and at the hill, I drop my hands to my side and stay silent because the tiny dots of humans on the ground know more about life than me.

Writers tell me about addictions; call it hidden emotions and restless winds. They do not define it, instead, they keep it locked down and written and displayed, hiding it under a kiss and a wave, never enough.

Many nights I've fallen asleep to the sound of a dog barking and each time I find sleep so mesmerizing, I remember the deadly writers at the group. I hear their voices, barking, talking, telling me about war and heartbreak and disease. I am a good person, no, not a good writer, but I'm a good person. Its funny how good is defined as something hanging lifeless in space; funny how the writers all merge together to contrast the idea of good and bad.

But I am a good person.

So when I sit in their gathering, I do it because I want to hear the next story, want to hear about things like wolves and kids and old men. In the room where each one of us declares ourselves unfit to carry on the dreams of the past, we read out stories and comment and find it lovely but not enough.

Secretly each one of us refers to the others by the way they write. Maria smiles a lot when she gets called up to read her story. The smile changes until she begins chewing her lower lips as if suppressing the need to spill out more details. Maria. I call her Tragedy and like the wind, it stuck. She is the one who writes about deaths and accidents and bad men. It never changes.

Then there's Suzan who we call Romance. And Paul the Self Reflection Therapist. Suzan, Paul, Maria and I are the only people I know although there are nine of us in the group.

I don't know what they call me. I write about dogs and cats and red wines, nothing too sincere.

Again we are seated around a large table -all nine of us- watching the other shuffle their papers. Maria is smiling again, knowing she will probably be the first to be chosen. Suzan's eyes are dull, empty, half searching through the room. She coughs and looks at me. We look away.

"Welcome back." Amy is saying.

A year ago, she tells the group, she stood behind the counter of a shopping mall and smiled at a woman. The woman came up to meet her and say, "I just got the inspiration I needed for my novel. Your smile was what I needed." And so AmyG. began. The story is probably exaggerated or made up but still, we listen, awake.

This time, it isn't Maria who first starts the evening and its a relief when Daniel stands up.

"He only writes poetry," Suzan whispers, searching my eyes for attention. I smile then I look away.

Daniel scratches his head and looks at his papers. He says, "Its a bit short. It's a poem too."

"Said so." Suzan leans in again, "He doesn't write stories. Isn't it annoying?"

"Perfect," Amy says.

Paul closes his eyes. Amy cracks her knuckles. The rest of us sit and listen.

Daniel says: I sit and stare, 

perhaps that's my biggest fear...

Suzan whispers again, "It's quite good. But still."

So when poetry is done, us deadly writers look around the room and pass serious smiles. They say it's perfect; calming, like a young child until I, too, begin to nod my head, believing the poetry to be perfect. I find myself in an ocean unable to prevent the cold water from drowning my thoughts and beliefs. 

The writers are the ones who define life in stories they shuffle about, feigning intelligence and wonder. They write about the stars and I envision it, softly blocking out all the other things that strive to provide me with a delicate balance.

Next, Maria stands and smiles. She keeps saying, "Oh, its just something I wrote last night." So that everyone is in awe and keeps complimenting her. Another tragedy, I can tell.

She says, "It's titled the Same Thing As Dead Birds."

And in my head, I can congratulate myself on guessing right again.

She continues, "I admit I was at a loss for the title after writing. I kept asking myself what would be the perfect title for my kind of writing and then I thought about Kim and her stories about Animals and the right title just came."

She is looking at me, eyes thanking me for another steaming inspiration. I know now what they could call me when I stand up to leave. She would have made it up and told the others and congratulated herself later for the perfect name: Animal Girl.

"You are a wonderful writer," I say to her.

She smiles. Then starts reading:

The monsters were not comfortable under the bed so they came forward and sat beside the boy and they patted his back, calmly like a parent. The boy's eyes were restless as the wind, got tears like fine diamonds etched on his face. The monsters held him so close and effortlessly, the child relaxed into the loving embrace. He wasn't to know the monsters had grown weary of the dark and were now ready to be the same thing as dead birds...

Amy claps and weaves her hand, afterward, into the braids of her hair. She says, "That was astounding. You are a great writer."

They say writing is neither blue nor white, colorless with the right amount of color. That's exactly how the writers put it when the moon has begun to shine through the closed curtains.

I have nothing to give. If I had, it would have been about cats and dogs and broken promises and I would have titled it Sun Rays because there is no book name that sounds more made up than that. But I haven't written anything for days as they are all aware.

When we part and I am walking back home, I see Maria by the corner of the street, holding her papers and laughing. Poetry stands with her but doesn't say anything.

I call them. I don't.

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20 comments

Elliott Laurence
22:12 Jun 28, 2020

Enjoyed it. Good job capturing the hidden conversation that exists within the group. Also, makes one wonder how their writing might reflect a part of their personality they need to suppress and do so by writing about it. Maria makes me chuckle; Maria might be kind of violent. But then I guess that's why the title. Well done.

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Anja Z
18:54 Jun 25, 2020

Beautifull story :) sorry to self promote but can you check out my stories too .

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06:48 Jun 26, 2020

Thanks. Of course, I'll check them out.

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Beth Rodner
17:01 Jun 25, 2020

Your writing is really powerful. The images you evoke are great. I have to admit it was a bit confusing at first and I didn’t understand who was talking until halfway through the story. Maybe I would’ve liked to understand a bit sooner, but that’s just personal preference. :)

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06:51 Jun 26, 2020

And it's acceptable. I will likely work on that aspect on my next stories

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Jonathan Blaauw
13:54 Jun 25, 2020

For me, some of the most powerful pieces of art are those that pose more questions than answers and allow one to draw their own conclusions. Like this story. The language is beautiful and the imagery powerful. Enjoyable read all round. Thank you for your story.

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14:10 Jun 25, 2020

That's really nice. Thank you so much

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00:09 Jun 25, 2020

This is about like reading a poem which makes me wonder if you normally write poetry. I love the imagery, you have a way of describing things in a way I would not have thought of, and visually you see the story happening. I really like your writing style

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Evanlyn Green
13:39 Jun 24, 2020

Cool story! I like the river analogy at the beginning. Would you mind reading my story? It's called "Starlight City".

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Laura Clark
21:27 Jun 22, 2020

This is very abstract, which is part of its charm. I must confess that I found it hard to follow at times but the emotions are clear throughout. One thing to think about are your semicolons - there were a few of them that weren’t quite right and as the sentences concerned were long and detailed, getting the semicolons right would’ve given you more control over how the reader understood them. You have some beautiful imagery in this and a real sense of how to combine words to make beautiful phrases. Thank you for sharing it.

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Kathleen March
00:48 Jun 22, 2020

This is a rather unsettling writing circle. A lot goes on, but very little happens. That takes some doing. The only that that puzzles me is the ending.

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Brita Sherren
18:40 Jun 21, 2020

You write very poetically. that's what caught my attention from the first. The first three paragraphs, while beautifully evocative images, don't feel like they lead into the piece. I didn't know where you were going or where I was as the reader until "so when I sit in their gathering..." The characterizations are fantastic. The deadly writers indeed. I'd enjoy it more, perhaps, if I could get a more concrete sense of who the narrator is. Not that obscure is bad. That's something I like about this piece. It's just hard to balance cla...

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14:36 Jun 21, 2020

My goodness, your story is so abstract and thought-provoking! I really adore the way you describe not the writing itself, rather the way it makes your narrator feel. The powerful imagery and metaphors you use really help take the reader on a visual journey that lets the imagination run wild. My only critique would be to review your use of semicolons more carefully and be cautious with your grammar usage (I saw a few "its" instead of "it's" and minor issues) so I'd go over it again to just weed out some small grammar mistakes, nothing major. ...

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A.j Blink
10:57 Jun 20, 2020

This story is superbly intriguing. I really enjoy the way Maria reflects on things. Somehow, I see a huge similarity between you both. I really admire your writing style Abigail. Innocent words packed with deep underlying meaning. Thanks for sharing and also for liking my story. Blessings. Live love!

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18:58 Jun 20, 2020

Aj, thanks again. I am glad you loved it and thought about Maria. Thanks.

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A.j Blink
13:55 Jun 21, 2020

My pleasure darling

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Jn Park
14:46 Jun 19, 2020

This story itself is the analysis and the poetry about writers. I loved the witty descriptions about those writers and those deep metaphors. Amazing story! :)

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18:59 Jun 20, 2020

Thanks. That's exactly what I feel about writers and we are all one right? We create words and spread them out before shadows. I am glad you loved it.

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Arya Preston
13:57 Jun 19, 2020

The introduction really caught my attention and the descriptions were amazingly written! I'm actually curious to know the rest of Maria's story... :)

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19:00 Jun 20, 2020

Curious for Maria's story? Really, Arya? Lol. Thank you.

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