Monday, June 7, 2010

The Picnic

Today will be my first public submission for Creativity Boot Camp!  I've chosen writing as my medium, but specifically, fiction writing.  Short story style.  I won't promise myself to always go with fiction for the boot camp, but I'd like to come close.  I'm excited to snoop around at some other participants' creations, as well, so leave me a comment if you're here from CBC so I can be sure to stop by your place as well!


The Picnic

She held the old blanket by its worn corners as she stood on the small crest of a hill.  There was shade here, but rather than serving to cradle or shelter her, she thought the shadow seemed to blot out her existence.  As if she, not being highlighted by the sun, were hidden entirely. 

Stretching out her arms to let the air lift and arrange the blanket's weight wherever it pleased, she had an instantaneous daydream: Her skirt, blue and papery thin against her legs, would gather just as much air as a flung-open blanket.  Her hair, brown and coppery in turns, would billow out on the wind.  And lighter than any blanket, she'd drift lazily across the sky.  The air would be tender around her ears and fingers, strong under her back and waist, fluttery beneath her legs.  She would float.

But then, she realized, the sun would touch her.  She'd be spotlighted against the green and gold grass.  Noticed.

Feeling her heels planted into the ground as firmly as any stone, she shook off her fleeting desire to be carried away.  The blanket spread itself over the land, but crookedly.  She liked the asymmetry.  The imperfection of quilted squares being folded and wrinkled on one edge, while the opposite side was beautifully spread.  She stared at the blanket for a moment before turning away towards her basket.

It was old too, and far from perfect.  She was using it today as a basket to hold a picnic, but that wasn't its purpose many years ago.  Lifting its sturdy heft in her hands, she wondered what it would have been like to live in a time where a plain basket served as a baby's bed.  Simpler, she decided.  The times would have been simpler.  Or less secure, depending on your point of view.

Setting the basket down next to the crooked blanket, she pulled items from it quickly.  Time wasn't short, but she placed food around her knees as if the day were hurrying past.  She left a bottle of wine in the bottom of the basket, wrapped by a linen cloth.  A napkin.  As if that would save the glass bottle from shattering against a rock. 

Stepping back to view the arrangement, she was somewhat pleased.  Although she couldn't think why it mattered to her, she wanted the picnic to look nice.  She tilted her head, letting her eyes go soft and unfocused, to take in the whole scene.  Eternal blue sky above, jewel-green grass below, the lone tree rattling its leaves in the wind, and the blanket, separate from all of it, planted to the ground with the basket and its once-contained food. 

She squared her fingers in front of her face, capturing the picture in her mind -- like a stolen postcard -- and then walked away. 

The sun was hot on her back.  It hurried her on, pressing against her with more force than the wind could counter with.  Her skirt seemed to beg for flight, and her blowing hair agreed.  They promised to carry her away where the sun was gentler.  Where the shadows were longer.  Where she was hidden.  Leaning into the childish imagining, she threw her arms up, tensed her legs, and pushed away from the earth before landing heavily back on her feet.

She had stayed on the ground, once again.  Planted and secure and expected.  Just like every day before.  She lifted her face to the sky, closed her eyes, and filled her lungs with warm air.  It was okay, she decided.

Before getting into her car and driving away, she allowed a thought to step one foot ouside the limits of her imagination: she'd float away on a different day.

18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story. Enjoyed reading it.

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  2. Beautiful. Very brave of you to choose to write through CBC :)

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  3. Great story, I really enjoyed reading it!

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  4. I agree that it is very brave to write! It takes a lot of creativity, that's for sure! Excellent job!
    Feel free to stop by my blog to to check my boot camp work... It's just too much fun!

    Happy creating!

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  5. I almost felt like I was there!

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  6. oh, you're a writer! that is so brave! and i would think time-consuming for this course? well done!

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  7. Oh Sarah...I was totally taken away by your story and almost felt the warm breeze on my own legs! Great work!

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  8. A lovely read right before dinner. I am astonished by the talent shared the last couple of days. Really enjoyed your "uplifting" story :)

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  9. I loved this Sarah! Especially the last line :)
    (I'm totally intimidated to start on this now... thanks ;) )

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  10. That was so nice! I wish I could write... especially like that! Looking forward to more you do with CBC!
    http://makemesmilemakemehappy.blogspot.com/

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  11. That made me feel like I wish I was writing instead of taking photos. Lovely and descriptive. Thank you for sharing....I hope you will again.

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  12. Oh, Sarah. This story. The beauty of your words. The feeling on my heart while reading. It's all so beautiful. One day, we'll all float away, won't we? Loved the images and the words and just everything. Really, truly loved it.

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  13. Very beautiful imagery, and I really like the character you've created, also. She seems quirky and introspective. I wish she could have floated away like she wanted to!!

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  14. love this, must be wonderful to be able to write :) You have a beautiful talent!

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  15. Your story has given me goose-bumps.
    x

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  16. You are so very, very 'with the words'! I love all the imagery you used!

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  17. Such an interesting smash of emotion--and so pretty to read, too. I like it when you post your fiction!

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  18. You have such a gift for storytelling. I felt as if I was standing right there watching her.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?