Monday, March 10, 2014

Creative Challenges

There's a lot happening on Facebook besides the usual petition signing and cat video sharing. For the creatives amongst us Facebook is a place of connection, a place where writers, illustrators and artists can meet, share and inspire each other.

You may remember I convene the Monday Writing Sprint on Facebook. It's been running (pun intended) for three years now and the regulars who show up every week for an hour of non-stop scribbling swear it jumps starts their writing week and creative flow. At the very least it's a reminder to pop our bums on a seat and write.

But that's not the only group I belong to on Facebook. I'm also an active member of the Brisbane Illustrators Group which meets once a month at the Collectors' Cafe at the Museum. We share news, tips and play illustration games. At more serious times we hold exhibitions of our work and have a showcase website.

Then recently my writer friend Tania McCartney began the 52 Week Illustration Challenge group with a set theme for each week of the year. #illo52weeks We're now up to Week 10 - Pattern -  and the illustrations being posted onto the group are so diverse and inspiring that I have to be careful not to lose myself (and time).

Here's my quick watercolour from Week 6 - Machinery

Lastly, a brand new group for writers has popped up on Facebook - the 38 Week Flash Fiction Challenge, run by the energy-packed Sheryl Gwyther. It's only about 24 hours old, but already three stories are up, all on the first week's theme - Frog. After writing a short novel with a strong froggy theme, I thought I didn't have any more amphibian stories in me, but today I posted one to the group. I thought I'd share it here with you also. Pop over to the challenge to read some others.

Here is my 'frog-themed' flash fiction story:

The Email

What did he mean, choose which one I want?

Meg clicked on the image and waited for it to download. A close-up of a bookshelf filled with frogs appeared on the screen - plastic, brass and ceramic frogs, lying, hopping and doing handstands.

Shaken, Meg bit her lip and breathed in deeply through her nose. She could pick out the place and time she had bought each one: a flirtatious weekend in Adelaide, a trash and treasure day at school, the Potter’s Barn at her local markets. Each one a reminder, each one lovingly chosen and wrapped in bubble wrap before the short walk to the post office.

She had even had trouble convincing her mother-in-law she didn't actually collect frogs.
'But you have a whole selection of them.'
‘Yes, but… it's a joke, a private thing, between Lisa and me.
The puzzled look.
'Okay, thank you. The frog tea towel is perfect! It'll go with the calendar you gave us for Christmas so well.’

Then Meg noticed it.

Tucked in behind a skiing frog in a santa hat, a faded greeting card, its surface speckled by yellow mould spots, leant against the back of the shelf. She had kept it all these years? The card with a frog in a beret and a cravat. The card she had sent Lisa from Paris in the days when they were both still young and single and living a world away from each other on either side of the world. The card that had started it all.

Meg shut her eyes as familiar tears welled. The words inside she knew by heart. They'd laughed about them often. It was their little in joke, the whole reason the frog gifts had been exchanged in the first place, the whole reason Lisa had nicknamed Meg’s husband Kermit. A silly frog card - ‘You have to kiss a lot of toads before you meet the handsome prince’. Kev was a prince for sure, but Lisa's had turned out to be a toad.

And now she’s gone and he wants me to choose just one.

Meg clicked, then paused as her finger hovered over the ‘block sender’ button.

© Angela Sunde

1 comment:

Sheryl Gwyther said...

And a terrific little story is is too, Angela. From the heart - I know. xx