Sometimes during the writer’s group you get a prompt and immediately know what you’re going to do with it. Everything clicks into place. You start writing without hesitation thinking to yourself I’ve got this.
Other times, you get the prompt and all the words you’ve ever known drain from your head. You stare at the blank page willing it produce a story for you and thinking to yourself Why do I even come to this writer’s group? What are words? But no amount of wishing will whisk you away, and the longer you sit there the less time you have left to come up with something. Everyone around you is intensely focussed on their piece. You watch them all writing so easily and the energy starts to flow. With no goal other than to somehow use the prompt, you start writing and hope that the rest of the group continues to cast off excess creative energy for you to pick up. This was me on Tuesday, and this is what I came up with.
By Genevieve Clovis
Lisa stood in the hallway looking at the painting. A young girl on a swing, alone in the playground, the sun setting behind nearby buildings. The detail was incredible.
Lisa shifted her weight and the hardwood floor creaked beneath her drawing her from her thoughts. She felt awkward in the big house, misplaced. She’d have to join the others eventually but a few moments more wouldn’t hurt.
The hallway was lined with paintings and she’d only had a chance to take in a few of them when she heard footsteps coming towards her. Lisa looked up. Thomas stopped beside her and handed her a glass of wine.
“Thanks,” she smiled and took a sip.
Thomas didn’t reply. He just stood beside her looking at the painting.
Lisa fidgeted with the wine glass as the silence stretched on. She’d only just met Thomas earlier that evening and didn’t know much about him. Her palms had begun to sweat as she desperately tried to think of a way to start a conversation without sounding like an idiot.
Her heart pounded. Why wasn’t he saying anything? Why did he come join her in the hallway in the first place? She was way out of her depth, but this silence needed to be broken. Lisa’s mouth opened, and she half turned towards him. Thomas’s piercing gaze fell upon her.
Shit, she thought, I don’t have anything to say. I have to say something.
“I once tried to paint a beautiful garden.” He was looking at her with interest now, but Lisa was panicking and could only think of the truth. “It didn’t turn out so well though. Just a mess of colours, so when anyone asks I say my niece painted it, even though I don’t have a niece.”