I always feel so squirrely when I haven't written anything creative for a while.
I don't have the time to work properly on any of my novels-in-progress at the moment - it is too frustrating to have to stop everytime I finally get into the flow... and poetic inspiration has been remarkably absent for quite a while now. It comes and goes, refusing to be forced - and at the moment it is decidedly gone. Despite all this, I need to write.
Deleting my spam yesterday, I was amazed by all the fantastic character names that had been trying to sell me viagra, a mortgage or a job with an Israeli insurance company. They gave me an idea! Rather than flash fiction, which while short, requires a more polished product, I am going to write me some 'SPAM FICTION'. I am going to pick a name from my spam folder and a single paperbag fiction slip, give myself 5 minutes for brainstorming and plotting, spend 10 minutes - and no more - writing that character's story, and then another 5 minutes tidying and editing. I won't have much to show for my twenty minutes, but it will at least satisfy my creative urges without tempting me to ignore Wombat's needs while I write 'just one more sentence'. I will jump into the story wherever I find an opening, carry it as far as I can in the time allowed, and stop regardless of whether or not it feels finished. I will make no attempt to keep the stories connected or coherent. They will just be 10 minute windows into the character's world. Maybe I will come back and do something with them in the future. Maybe this is as far as they will ever go. I have no idea. A baby step is a baby step, and who knows what tomorrow will bring.
There is one name that popped up in my spam folder weeks ago. I scribbled it down on the back of an envelope because it seemed to be begging to be in a story... I will start with her. Welcome to the first entry in my Marvelous Spam Collection.
Sanity McRae added a shot of Coruba to her mocha latte and shuffled the papers in front of her as though seeing them in a different order would help them make more sense. Her blood-red manicured talons tapped a tango on the tabletop. The case was a strange one. The boy's body had been found in the bush, his head pillowed on a mossy stone and his legs dragging in the creek. It had been raining heavily for three days, and the dry creekbed had only recently started flowing again. Having had to fight her way through thick scrub to inspect the scene, Sanity reasoned that the boy (and his companions - if there had been any) had trekked up the creekbed, which meant any sign of their passage was now long gone. The boy hadn't been dressed for bushwalking. In fact, he looked more like an escapee from a fancy dress party, wearing a muddy lace shirt and Little Lord Fauntleroy knickerbockers of deep blue velvet. Sanity remembered listening to the celebrations of a thousand frogs as she inspected the corpse, trying to tune out the sight of her white-faced reflection in his polished silver buttons. Her pale blue eyes narrowed and she chewed her thin bottom lip as she pulled a photo from the middle of the pile. Out of all the strange details, this was the one she kept coming back to. She was sure that somehow, this held the answer. Clutched tightly in the boy's cold wet fingers - an empty wicker birdcage.