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!
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.