2012 Short Story Collab #7 & #8

Collaborative Stories #7 and #8 are the final two stories in a process that started back in March in honour of International Women’s Month. I began by writing the first 100 words of a story and then sending it to two other women, asking them to pass it along after adding onto the beginning. The only rules to this collaborative project were that each entry should not exceed 100 words and that the story had to cross international border after each writer added her part.
This story leapt borders a few times, and each time it did it changed in touch and feel.
These final stories in the series both began in New Zealand and then went to Jules Archer (US), Beate Sigriddaughter (Canada),  and Myra King (Australia). From Oz, Story #7 ended with Marit Meredith (UK) and Story #8 ended with Christine Nedahl (UK).
You can read the first six stories herehereherehere and here.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to the wonderful women who participated in this project.

* * *

# 7: Evaporate

Michelle Elvy – Jules Archer – Beate Sigriddaughter – Myra King ~ Marit Meredith

Speaking of flying. Dreaming, that is. The dreams are never the same of course: sometimes you float among cold choking clouds, other times it’s oily, hot and thick and you can’t tell if it’s liquid or gas suspending you above-ground. Sometimes you’re wrapped in whipped cream (never with strawberries, which you don’t understand because it’s your dream dammit and you love strawberries). Or you float through a watery world, where owls gurgle a greeting through kelp and tall poplars wave prettily while goldfish glup-glup by.

Awake, you peddle to market on Monday.

Your legs are tired and earnest as you hop off the bike. You chain it to the nearest streetlamp and give it a quick, reassuring pat on its banana seat for good luck. As you walk into the open-air-market, vendors hawking their wares, housewives buying up organic food for their families, bushels of bright flowers being pimped to errant husbands, a sense of disheartened meant begins to linger. The kind that makes you nervous and sick to your stomach. You look around and you wonder what on earth am I doing here? In a place so sunny and repetitive.

You came to celebrate, each breath, each motion, each taste of dream or cream or strawberry, each daffodil. But now you feel insulted. Everything is for sale, even your own dreams, which they are happy to sell back to you for a price. Nobody asked you if you agreed to this marketing of everything. It frightens you. And still you want to celebrate the perfect swirl in the center of a rose.

You can see your bike waiting for you like a patient pet. You think of your dream, some say cycling is akin to flying – gliding along. But there are bumps in your road.

You recall what Damian said to you before slamming the front door in a final protest. ‘Get your head out of those fantasy clouds, Cynthia; I’m sick of enabling you. For god’s sake, admit you’ve got a problem and find yourself some help.’

What does that mean exactly? You remember the times, the years, you carried him, while he studied to get his high-flying job. For a moment you feel resentment, but you straighten your back. You did more than was expected, and now the only expectations you have, is of yourself. You tie your hair back in a pony tail and climb onto your bike. Time to leave the Monday morning doldrums behind. You grab the handle bars, grab back your life. You take a deep breath, hold it, then exhale. As you breathe out, the past evaporates into the morning air.

* * *

# 8: Imperfect

Michelle Elvy – Jules Archer – Beate Sigriddaughter – Myra King – Christine Nedahl

Speaking of flying. Dreaming, that is. The dreams are never the same of course: sometimes you float among cold choking clouds, other times it’s oily, hot and thick and you can’t tell if it’s liquid or gas suspending you above-ground. Sometimes you’re wrapped in whipped cream (never with strawberries, which you don’t understand because it’s your dream dammit and you love strawberries). Or you float through a watery world, where owls gurgle a greeting through kelp and tall poplars wave prettily while goldfish glup-glup by.

Awake, you peddle to market on Monday.

Your legs are tired and earnest as you hop off the bike. You chain it to the nearest streetlamp and give it a quick, reassuring pat on its banana seat for good luck. As you walk into the open-air-market, vendors hawking their wares, housewives buying up organic food for their families, bushels of bright flowers being pimped to errant husbands, a sense of disheartened meant begins to linger. The kind that makes you nervous and sick to your stomach. You look around and you wonder what on earth am I doing here? In a place so sunny and repetitive.

You came to celebrate, each breath, each motion, each taste of dream or cream or strawberry, each daffodil. But now you feel insulted. Everything is for sale, even your own dreams, which they are happy to sell back to you for a price. Nobody asked you if you agreed to this marketing of everything. It frightens you. And still you want to celebrate the perfect swirl in the center of a rose.

You can see your bike waiting for you like a patient pet. You think of your dream, some say cycling is akin to flying – gliding along. But there are bumps in your road.

You recall what Damian said to you before slamming the front door in a final protest. ‘Get your head out of those fantasy clouds, Cynthia; I’m sick of enabling you. For god’s sake, admit you’ve got a problem and find yourself some help.’

Huh! If anyone needed help… . His face swam before her and the words gagged in her throat. Life had been simple. Responsible only for herself, no ties. Then that bloody man came into her life and the trap was set. What was it her Dad had said? You’re in control of your own destiny, Thia. You can only be manipulated with your permission. Well there you go, Damien: permission denied.

Why then were those hot tears stinging at the back of your eyes?

*

Somewhere between being born and raised in the backwoods of Montana, Jules Archer developed a craving for the written word. Today, she writes random stories of heartbreaking torpor and domestic bondage. She enjoys reading Playboy and sipping Blue Moon in her spare time. She writes to annoy you at jules just write.
Australian writer Myra King has written a number of prize winning short stories, including first prize in the UK-based Global Short Story Competition and a shortlisted story in the 2010 Glass Woman Prize. Her short story collection, City Paddock, was published by Ginninderra Press. Her novel, Cyber Rules, was published by Certys in 2012 and is available on Amazon. All royalties from her books go to support The Creswick Light Horse Troop and Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders. King has upcoming (or recent) work in Boston Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, Meat for Tea, eFiction, Red River Review, Fast Forward Press, Illya’s Honey Journal, San Pedro River Review, The Fiction Shelf, and The Foundling Review. You can find more at her website
Marit Meredith (aka Anna Reiers) was born and brought up in Norway, but settled in South Wales,UK, in 1972. Married, with six daughters and eight grandchildren, she’s kept very busy on the family front – but whenever she can, she writes, edits and publishes anthologies in aid of various charities under the umbrella of The Pages. She is a published writer, aiming to be a published novelist, and currently working on some very exciting projects. She was a reader/editor on the 100 Stories for Queensland project.
Chris Nedahl is a retired teacher with thirty three years’ experience in education. She has a master’s degree in educational psychology. She spent much of her career in the primary sector but for the last ten years was in special needs and alternative education. She lives in Spain for most of the year but retains her home in the U.K. She writes short stories and poetry and is editing her first novel.
Beate Sigriddaughter, www.sigriddaughter.com, lives and writes in North Vancouver, Canada. Her fiction has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. She has also established the Glass Woman Prize to honor passionate women’s voices. 

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2 Responses to 2012 Short Story Collab #7 & #8

  1. Pingback: Collaboration | martha williams

  2. Pingback: Another look at Collaboration « NorthWrite 2013: Collaboration

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