Archive for April 11th, 2013


Short Story: The Grindstone Cowboy

mqdefaultI mentioned a few weeks back that I’d enrolled on a 10 week long Creative Writing course run by Getsmarter in the hopes that it would light a fire under my ass to finish my first manuscript by August.

Good news is the course has definitely taught me a few tricks that will be seriously helpful over the next few months. Bad news is with all the course assignments, I have no time to actually write my manuscript.

Same goes for this blog, which is why I came up with the genius idea of posting some of my writing exercises on the site and in this way, killing two birds with one stone – SPLAT!

So the following piece of writing is for an exercise in writing in the second person, a point of view very rarely used in fiction. The instruction was to write a typical morning in the second person, so here’s what I got.

Grindstone Cowboy

Your cell phone alarm tone sounds at 4.30am, rousing you from a vaguely remembered dream about swimming at Dalebrook as a kid, summoning the courage to dive under the waves, your mom smiling and waving at you from the shoreline.

You hit “Dismiss” on the phone’s touch-screen and sink back into slumber, wrapped in a soft cocoon of bone-deep warmth and blissful oblivion.

At 5am the second tone sounds and for a few minutes you consider just rolling over, snuggling up to the soft, warm body of the woman you love and drifting back off to Dalebrook, but the mantra that galvanises you to action every day screams out in your head, “Do you want to be a world-famous writer or a world-famous sleeper?”

You pick your way through the darkness and disarray of the lounge, tying your dressing-gown up tight as you go. The seasons are turning, the cold bite of winter nips at your bare legs, a menacing promise of the bitter months to come.

You stretch as you fire up your laptop, your muscles sing and your joints click. You crack your knuckles and the world holds its breath as you begin to type, a holy silence interrupted only by the clacking of the keys and the distant sibilance of passing cars.

That old familiar energy starts to surge through you as you type. The hair on the back of your neck starts bristling and your heart beats faster. It’s strong today, very strong. You bend words into worlds as the collective unconscious flows through you, rushing through the rusted pipes inside, only to pour out in abundance, dirty-brown and flecked with pieces of you.

You read back through what you’ve written and smile. What a blessing to wield this power, to experience, if only for the most fleeting of moments, what it must be like to be a god.

Outside the sun has risen and the day has started. Your thoughts turn to the overdue client pitch you were supposed to have turned in on Monday and the bungled client interview you set up on some shit-hole community station or other. Your six-month review is coming up soon, with any luck you won’t get sacked for the poor effort you’ve shown over the past few months.

You sigh and shuffle listlessly toward the bathroom to shower and shave.

Another grindstone cowboy in the uncaring rodeo of life.