Published!

July 31, 2012

I published the Wordsmith blog! Well, the 50 or so best. You can buy the e-book here at Amazon or the hardcover here at Lulu!

 

It was an amazing ride, and I had a lot of fun writing all these stories. I hope you all had fun reading them! The support I received was incredible, and I cannot thank all my readers enough.

 

For someone who wrote so much in such a short time, I find it hard to believe that I don’t have much more to say. But I don’t! Thank you again! Stay tuned to the blog for more news and stuff, and hopefully many more stories.

 

Oh, and to all the visitors from reddit, I’m very sorry but I had to mark all the stories as private! Please enjoy the, uh, 3 pages that are left. AND GET THE EBOOK! IT’S FREE FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS!

 

-cg

I Would Fly You to the Moon and Back

January 2, 2012

“I don’t think the moon is real.” It was an odd statement. Not something you’d hear every day. I looked at her, my eyes wide. She looked at me, her blue eyes glittering with the stars.

“It’s…it’s right there,” I said, pointing up at the night sky. “We’re looking at it.” There isn’t much one can say against a comment like that. Instead I wanted to kiss her.

“Oh, I can see it,” she replied. She smiled, as if she was patiently explaining something to a preschooler. I briefly felt rather foolish, but I couldn’t understand why. It was as if she knew something I didn’t, a great secret about the sky that she was about to reveal. I kept staring at her, bathed as she was in the lambent moonlight.

“That’s not the moon. It’s a fake. It’s painted on to the sky. Just like all the stars.” My heart skipped a beat. Her confidence made me, for a second, doubt everything I knew about the universe. She ran her lithe fingers through her golden hair, frowning as it got caught on small knot. She tugged, gently, and the strands untangled. Then she smiled again. I knew nothing and she knew everything, I was sure of it.

“But…we’ve been to the moon!”

“Oh, I’m sure we’ve been up there. Someone had to paint it on.”

“But…why?” I felt my brain shutting down. I was beginning to believe. She was so sure about the fact, and I was so sure about her.

“It simply can’t be anything else. It’s impossible that the universe is infinite. Not a single person on this planet can comprehend that the universe is infinite. Therefore, it isn’t. That’s all there is. Paint on a roof.”

“I understand that the universe is infinite!” I protested weakly.

“Nope. You’ve been told that. You don’t truly comprehend that. Nobody can. It makes a lot more sense that it’s paint.”

She was right. It made a whole lot more sense. Right then, I believed. I truly believed that the universe was paint on the sky. I truly believed I wanted to kiss her.

“It’s paint,” I said.

“I know,” she said.

“I want to kiss you,” I said.

“I know,” she said.

—–

cg

Cottage

December 31, 2011

It rose out of the savannah, a lone white mark in the expanse of yellow and green. The dusty red road lead to the front door, and that was where she stood as she waited for the news. Her long dress, white as the painted walls of the cottage, moved imperceptibly in the evening breeze. Even as the great inferno travelled below the horizon the heat rose from the ground, its waves obscuring the red dust cloud moving slowly up the road. She didn’t feel the heat, not any more. Her face, once as pale as the moon, was now brown and freckled, her wrinkles matching the shimmer of the road. And so she stood, her stillness and silence towering above the bushveld, waiting for the night.

He was a tall man, like all his people. His black skin glistened with millions of beads of sweat as he ran along the road. It was a long loping gait as was favoured by the hunters of old. The bag slapped against his naked back as he hastened along the red path.

He apologised in his thick accent, bowing deeply as he produced an envelope from his bag. It was yellow and curled, damaged from its long journey across the plain. She took it from the long outstretched hand and slowly opened it. The paper wilted in her grasp, but the letters and words were sharp. The messenger watched as the paper escaped her grasp and flitted away, dipping low across the cracked ground before lifting up, high into the darkening sky, over the white cottage.

A beat of sweat ran down her brow. The dry air caught in her throat, sucking the moisture from her bones. She became aware of the dress, constricting her body, trapping in the heat, that immeasurable heat. She felt it now, the long swelter. The messenger bowed again and left the cottage, kicking up the red dust as he ran.

She watched him leave. Then she was alone.

—–

cg

Missing

December 23, 2011

I didn’t notice she was gone at first. As I trudged up the stairs to our apartment I didn’t suspect a thing. I should have, the first clues were there. Our neighbours, perennially unemployed, always heard me come up the stairs after work, and always greeted me through their open door. I should have been surprised when their door was closed, when instead of a cheerful hullo I was met with uncharacteristic silence. They already knew, but I was tired, and I didn’t notice.

At first glance, nothing was out of place. I think I would have noted if the television had been missing, or if the furniture had vanished. Instead when I opened the door I saw nothing out of place, and as I threw my bag across the couch and placed the mail on the kitchen counter, I didn’t see that her favourite couch cushion was missing.

As I pulled a jug of milk from the fridge and rummaged through the kitchen cupboard for a cup, I didn’t notice the space where her favourite mug used to be. “Little Miss Sunshine”, it used to read, emblazoned with a smiling cartoon. I gave it to her after the first week. She’d loved it.

I wasn’t completely unaware. As I sipped the milk and ruffled through the mail, I noticed her mother’s fruit bowl was not on the bench. It had been a moving-in present, the red stained glass adding a touch of class to the usually messy apartment. I glanced across at the dishwasher, my assumptions prepared. I would check it later, I thought.

It was then that I saw the letter, placed in the downstairs letterbox with the rest of the mail, hidden inconspicuously between the bills and the advertising. No stamp or address, just my name in her handwriting. Even then, as I stared at the envelope in confusion, I did not realise something was amiss.

If someone went into your house and took small items, would you notice? Items that individually hold little significance, but together tell a wonderful story. How long would it take you before you would see one picture out of five gone, a pair of salt and pepper shakers absent from a dinner set, a folder on your computer missing? In the moments after I read her letter, I saw the items that were gone. The apartment was empty.

How could I not have noticed? Perhaps if I had paid more attention. Perhaps if I had noticed. They wouldn’t be gone. She wouldn’t be gone.

—–

cg

Voice

December 19, 2011

Mild yet still NSFW Language Warning.

—–

“I think that was the last question, so I think we’ll end things here. Ladies and gentlemen, can you all give a big hand to Polly Alexander! Thanks for coming to speak to us!”

“Thank you Dean, thank you all very much, you’ve been wonderful!” said Polly, grinning, before she walked away from the lectern. The students in the hall clapped loudly, and Polly felt a rush of pride as she stepped out into the corridor.

“They’re probably only clapping out of politeness,” said Voice.

“Polly!” The Dean had followed her out. He was a short man, covered in layers of tweed, with a subtle air of desperation of someone who has been in the same job for far too long. Polly had known him when they had attended college together, although back then he had hair.

“That was fantastic! You’re a really inspirational speaker!” he said, opening his arms for a hug.

“He’s smelling your hair right now. Big deep breaths,” said Voice.

“Thank you Robert, it really was very kind of you to invite me to speak at your Literature class,” Polly said as she carefully disentangled herself from the eager Dean. “It’s been far too long! We must catch up, you must tell me all about how you are running this place now!”

Robert’s nostrils flared in anticipation.

“Absolutely, Polly!” he enthused, stumbling over his words. “If you’re in town for a little while, maybe we could have dinner some time? Say, tomorrow night?”

“He only wants to fuck you. He always has. He’s been waiting his entire life,” said Voice.

“Ah, I’m so sorry Robert, I’m leaving tonight! I would have loved to catch up, it has been so good seeing you after all this time.” Polly smiled apologetically, while Voice gasped.

“Liar!”

“Of course, absolutely. I understand.” Robert forced a smile. “I should be getting back to work. You know the way back to your car?”

Polly nodded, and the two parted ways, with Robert glancing over his shoulder at her several times as she disappeared into the throng of students.

“He’s going to go home and cry,” said Voice. “All he wanted was a hug, and you made him cry. You’re such a bitch.”

“Shut up!” hissed Polly as she exited the corridor to the main lawn. The midday sun shone down upon the bustling students as they pushed past Polly, chatting and laughing. A large white van was parked on the lawn, delivering pallets of soft drink to a campus café. Polly caught her reflection in its side mirror as she passed.

“You look ridiculous,” said Voice. “Bright yellow heels? Really? Didn’t you say in your last interview that you didn’t want to be known as that chick-lit author any more? Nobody is going to take you seriously in those heels. What were you thinking, with the green mini-jacket? Too many buckles, people will think you’re an escaped mental patient. Your hair doesn’t help, of course. Looks like you just woke up in it. You did, didn’t you? There’s no way you spent two hours styling that. You’re ugly, you’re just ugly. It’s no wonder you don’t have any friends.”

“Ms.-Ms. Alexander?” She was startled by the timid request, her heart skipping a beat. In front of Polly were three female students, each wearing similarly garish clothes. In their bracelet-obscured arms they each clutched a different copy of one of Polly’s novels.

“We-were-just-wondering-whether-you-would-sign-our-books?” gasped one of the students, refusing to take a breath. Polly composed herself and flashed a winning smile.

“Of course!” she said, taking the first novel in her hands.

“‘Dear Diary’,” said Voice. “Possibly your worst novel.”

“Did you enjoy the presentation?” asked Polly, fumbling around her bag for a pen. One of the students thrust a pink marker into Polly’s hand.

“Oh-my-god-it-was-amazing-you-were-so-good-so-funny-your-stories-were-just-so-empowering-you-know-I’m-going-to-be-a-writer-when-I-graduate-but-first-I’m-going-to-meet-a-man-like-Oxford-from-your-third-novel-we’re-going-to-get-married-like-Penny-and-Oxford-did-in-Heartbreaker-it’s-going-to-be-so-romantic-please-tell-us-is-Oxford-based-on-someone-you-fell-in-love-with-please-please-tell-us!” The student gulped down some air and launched into another stream of words.

“Wow,” said Voice, “I bet she gives great head.”

“You know, ladies,” Polly lowered her voice conspiratorially as she signed the other two books. “I was a student here when I was your age, and the character of Oxford was based on a man I met here, on this very lawn! Who knows, you might meet someone like him right here too!”

The students squealed and shrieked in delight at Polly’s words as she walked away.

“Talk about unrealistic expectations,” said Voice. “What about telling them to focus on jobs and careers instead of hunting poor men with spears made from your badly-written words? I bet they’re all lonely tonight, just like you. All that advice, and who is the one who is alone? What are you going to do? Masturbate yourself to sleep again?

“You know what, Voice,” said Polly as she reached her car, “fuck you. Seriously. I was invited to talk because I’m entertaining, damn it. They loved me in there. And my books let girls know it’s okay to want someone, and teach them that even in this crazy world, romance isn’t dead just yet.”

Polly slammed the car door shut as she got in.

“Oh, and one more thing, Ms. High-and-Mighty Know-it-All Voice: I don’t need your shame. If I do masturbate myself to sleep again, I’ll damn well enjoy it!”

—–

cg

It Goes Like This, the Fourth, the Fifth

December 11, 2011

They appeared on the horizon one day. Shiny silver boxes with little black wheels. They made loud noises and spat out poison air. Inside were big men with black glasses and prickly beards. Papa told me not to go near the big men.

They visited houses often. Sometimes when I walked to school I would see a silver box outside a house. There were always loud noises, but they weren’t from the boxes. There was shouting and smashing and banging from inside the houses with the boxes outside, and all the other houses were quiet. I once heard Papa say he never saw the people in those houses again.

I was at the market with Mama one day when the big men came in their silver boxes. They yelled a lot, at people Mama was buying fruit and vegetables from. They took away lots of food with them but the shopkeepers looked sad. I asked Mama why they were sad, and she told me the big men did not pay for their food. I asked why they did not have to pay, and Papa told me that sometimes in the world big men can take things from other people.

I was playing in the field with my friends when we saw some big men on the road nearby. They had one of the teachers from my school with them, and she was crying. One of my friends asked the big men if she was all right, because she looked hurt. They laughed at us, and patted us on the head. She was fine, they said, laughing. She cried harder, and one of the men gave her a big hug and put her in their silver box. Another of the big men gave me his black glasses. When I took it home, Papa threw it away and yelled at me for a long time.

One day, a shiny silver box arrived at my house. It had little black wheels, and it made loud noises and spat poison air. Inside were big men with black glasses and prickly beards. The big men came into our house and started talking to Papa. He shouted at them, and they shouted at him. Then the big men took off their black glasses and began smashing up our house. Mama took my brothers and sisters and I to the basement while she cried. Soon the big men left, and they took Papa with them. I never saw Papa again.

—–

cg