It’s been a bit quiet over here recently, hasn’t it? Sorry about that! The reason is that now I’m a freelance writer and editor, I’m concentrating more on my other blog, so all my writings are gathered in one place, as a kind of central portfolio. I’m hoping shortly to change the name of it to jenniepollock.com, too, which is pretty exciting!
So, in due course I’ll be inviting my lovely followers here to become lovely followers there instead, and moving all the content from here across to there, but in the mean time, to thank you for your patience (and because a lot of the followers of my fiction writing are here), here’s a little piece of fiction I wrote the other day.
It was an exercise at the creative writing workshop I co-lead, and I had so much fun writing it, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. We were looking at Point of View and tried writing the same scene in different voices and from different points of view.
The scenario was a baby being born on a train (picking up a story from this week’s news!), and this was my 3rd attempt (finished off just now, as I ran out of time on the night):
An Early Arrival
I hadn’t expected to be disturbed that early. I was snuggled down in the dark feeling very comfortable. We were somewhere new, it rocked a little and the sounds were different from any I’d heard before – a clunkety clunk, a rhythmic creak, occasionally a whump when all the noises seemed to crush together and roar, then vanish.
I could hear music, tinny and far away, just a metallic beat, really, not a tune, nothing anyone would sing to.
I had been surrounded by singing since the first moments of my awareness; soft, gentle songs that wove warmth and love into my very being.
There had been voices for a while; distant murmurs – “Welcome aboard this West Coast service to…” – and louder pronouncements – “Darling? I’m on the train…”
Ah yes, the train. We were going on a journey, a long, long journey, and at the end of it there would be a new home, and a family and a nursery. That’s why I had been made; I was a gift for the new baby – a granddaughter, my maker’s first. She had been crocheting me for months. I had grown in time with the baby and now she and I were finished and I was on my way to meet her.
So why were my maker’s hands reaching into my bag now, digging, searching, grasping? Why was I being drawn out into this carriage while it was still dark? What was all this jumble of voices and cries and, yes, screams?
My maker cradled me close, stroking me as her cool, dry hands had so many times. Then suddenly, as if coming to a decision, she plumped me onto her lap and pulled at the ends of the satin bow she had so lovingly tied around me just a few hours earlier.
“Here you are, dear,” I heard her murmur soothingly to the woman who seemed to be the source of the screaming and panting.
The next thing I knew I was being tucked behind this woman’s back, crushed and pressed between her and the hard corner of the ankle-height radiator.
I don’t know how long I was there, squashed and squeezed, consumed by the sounds of this woman’s pain and fear. All I knew was that my safe, song-filled world was being ripped apart and I was helpless to stop it.
At last, after an eternity, the noise and the commotion ceased. There was a moment’s stillness as all the world seemed to hold its breath, then a new sound, a baby’s cry.
My maker retrieved me from my torture chamber and shook me out. Oh, the relief! I thought she was going to fold me neatly again and return me to her bag, but she didn’t.
“Here, dear”, she said gently, and I found myself wrapped around the squalling, wriggling bundle that seemed to be covered with nothing more than an old t-shirt.
“Oh, but I can’t!” protested the voice, a voice I was going to come to know so well. “It’s yours, it must be for your grandchild, or…”
“Yes, it was, but I can make another. My granddaughter has so much and, well, forgive me dear, but it looks as though this little one arrived before things were quite ready for him…?”
The woman, the mother starts to cry at this kindness and generosity. “Yes,” she sniffs, “I wasn’t quite ready for him in my life, and I thought by ignoring him he might go away.”
He didn’t of course. It turned out that this girl was on her way home to her parents. She had very little, and I think they didn’t really approve of her, but by the time we eventually got to their home after a stay in a hospital and a long car journey, they seemed to have accepted this unexpected twist in their story.
As, I might add, had I.
I was treasured by the mother then by her son. I’m a little worn now, though recently another grandmother has done some repairs and once again I find myself folded, tied with ribbon and tucked into a bag, on my way to meet a new grandchild and be handed on to a new generation.