A Memory of Ordinariness

I recently came across a piece of writing I’d emailed to a friend five years ago and forgotten all about.

Reading it again was an interesting reminder of the headspace I was in at the time. I was also glad to have captured that bit of my every day life. Even though it wasn’t the most amazing and wondrous adventure filled with drama and intrigue it has meaning. In the same vein as my other post about finding the pleasure in simple things, I believe ordinary experiences are worthy of being acknowledged as an important part of one’s life just as much as spectacular experiences are. 

My writing coach Cathy Eden often refers to short pieces like these as vignettes. It’s in all the little details of the scene and the way they’re described that briefly captures the atmosphere of an observation or experience. I find recalling all the details of a situation quite a centering process and love putting all the snippets together in a way that creates a collection of sights, smells, sounds and tastes that can be conjured up in the reader’s mind to evoke a feeling.

If it doesn’t do any of that for you, please say so! All feedback is welcome. Really. I’m not just saying that. (I’m trying to learn not to be afraid of failure/rejection so throw me a freakin’ constructive-feedback bone here)

I called it “A break”:

The miffness was catchy. The day bred more starts than it finished, so I headed for fresh air and as the door opened with a metallic gasp I followed suit, slowing my pace down to a less desperate stroll.

 

I needed space to write so my pen could hop across the unsteady page on the way to the corner shop, just to have a destination.

 

Oh. I am here. “Fresh Stop”.

 

Through the metal turny thing and into the aisles, eyes gliding over preservatives, chemicals, zombifying ingredient lists. I settle on corn chips and the cashier makes my trip worthwhile with her smile and giggles. Her long painted nails make small change slippery which gives her time to tell me how she likes hot food because we all need a good cry sometimes. Don’t we?!

 

I crunch on spicy tomato staleness, perched on a small white wall near the petrol station.
My treat! I entreat you! Send forth your juiciness! To no avail. I chew and chew dryly, watching a pidgeon sip from a littered pavement puddle of stompies, straw sleeves and Coca-Cola labels, the poor chick preyed upon by passing feet and courting males. Even our birds live in the mire.

 

What in the world is there to admire?

 

Adaptability?

 

Resilience?

 

Hope?

 

On the way back a dove roosting on the carpet of a furniture showroom winks softly at me through the glass.

 

Or maybe the sun was in its eyes…

Photo Credit: Kerry the Mac

 

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve heard somewhere that a good writer is someone who can keep your attention when writing about something mundane. I so agree with this. One of my favourite authors (Robin Hobb {actually a she}) can make me want to eat food I don’t particularly like, such as porridge or stew on bread, after a description of the tired hero sitting on a wooden bench and eating his lunch.

    • Totally agree. There is great power in well-arranged words. I haven’t read any of her books. I quite like porridge and stew so I’d probably be at the stove before finishing those sentences.

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