Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19. Clashing plates


Desperation, immense weariness, and lost hope, made her faltering spech inane. Drowning in the despair of others, she tottered on the brink of her own.

“But the shops would not even open. If they had opened, we might have been able to get the children water. That would have been a start, water. But they didn’t open ... “, her once confident voice trailed off. Her shoulders slumped, her facial muscles lost their usual vibrancy. Her eyes glazed over.

A bloodied leg dangled from the end of the pickup truck next to her, still encased in Nikes with the tag ‘Saigon’, a smeared beach towel emblazoned with a board-rider and ‘ Cap Haitien’ wrapped around its crushed head. She no longer noticed the stench in the air, the buzzing of flies.

Her brow fractured, “The wall still topples. I close my eyes and it topples again!” She stops mid sentence.

9 comments:

Vicki said...

Oh, Julie, please don't use quotation/speech marks on my account. I'm a genre reader and writer – you're literary. Two completely different species.

What I love most about today's riff is that you incorporate all the senses, imbuing it with a life of its own. Despair intensified.

Julie said...

Didn't quite do it for that reason, but to see whether I could use them, as well as not use them. I am still struggling to understand why they have become genre specific. Is it because genres (mystery, sci-fi, romance) have a lot of people speaking which I thought came about to break up long boring swadges of text?

I actually did not realise I had done that with the senses. I just had it in mind that living, for the Haitians, has become elemental.

Vicki said...

Yes, genre fiction does have a lot of dialogue. Richard Harland touches on it here: The Virtues of Dialogue

P.S. I also sent you an email.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Yes, I got the Haitian link but this makes out of sync with the photograph ... so confusing ... but evokative if I ignore the photo.

BTW. I've changed my blog habits .. I am only looking at blogs/commenting at nighttime in an effort to fit other things in my life ... including writing. It's your fault, this blog has been making me jealous.

diane said...

I found connecting the picture with the words difficult but I like both.I've been reading with interest your discussion with Vicki about speech marks. When we teach writing in school we explain that speech marks are unecessary once you have introduced the characters to the reader. So you can start using speech marks until the coversation is flowing and then you can stop using them and the name of the characters speaking.
I can't seem to find an email address for you but I was wondering if you would have any suggestions. Carol and David want to rent in Sydney and then look around for something to buy. They will be staying with Sonya (Carol's sister) at Bondi Beach until they find a place. Where are the good areas for renting? They want to be close to the CBD and Bondi and public transport. She is hoping to get a job with a firm in Darlinghurst. They hope to find a place for around $500/600 a week.

Julie said...

Joan, I select the photograph first. Then I sit and look into it. This one simply screamed at me how fortunate we are that we live where we live. That is the only link with what my mind then turned to. If I were to then come back and link with the photo, that would make me uncomfortable.

Good. I am glad that you are writing. Not work writing, mind you. What is laughingly called "creative" writing. As you realise, I spend a lot of time on my blogging, and commenting. But it all feeds into this current frenzy for the written word. And my time is more my own, than is yours.

Julie said...

Diane, Sorry to be so wierd with the photo in this Riff. That is interesting about the teaching of speech marks. I would find the two approaches within the one piece of writing to be a bit disjointed.

Now to the renting problem ... if that is the price they are willing to pay, then they are probably wanting a 2 bdr place. If I were them, I would get a map of the Eastern Suburbs and texta in in the 380 and 389 bus route, and look along that. I am on the 389, about midway from CBD to BJ. Many many people walk to the city each morning from where I am. They stream along Oxford street and around through my street. I used to live at Bondi Beach but would not do that again. I would not consider BJ. However, Woolahra, Paddington, Rushcutters Bay, Edgecliff, Surry Hills would all be on my list. Darlinghurst itself might be too dirty and too noisy. They should use the Domain part of the SMH online, locate the apt on their bus route map, and then walk over the areas. If they have a place to stay in the mean time, it is important to get a feel for the location that they want. Paddington any where is wonderful. Shops, cafes, transport, cinemas, parks ... got a wonderful ambience to it. And I feel safe ...

myletterstoemily said...

i am a mouse among great writers...learning and
gleaning.

...but this riff broke my heart.

Julie said...

But I too am a mouse ... I just have always wanted to do something like this, but without the self-confidence, guts that is necessary. Just do it without thinking that the doing is big-noting oneself.