As we made our way home yesterday, my husband turned to me and said: you look good.
This isn’t an unusual thing, I’m happy to say. I’m a lucky girl. I married well. My husband’s full of compliments, most of the time ones I don’t really deserve. But anyway.
‘Oh, yeah?’ I said. ‘Why’s that?’
‘You look relaxed,’ he said. ‘Happy.’
That, friends, is probably because I decided to take yesterday off. I pushed myself away from my desk. I went into Dublin city for a few hours. I took a long, long walk. I saw some friends. I – *gasp* – bought a book.
It was great.
I’ve made a few significant submissions in the last few weeks. I’ve been working hard. I plan to make some more submissions next week – short stories to magazines, entries to competitions, some more research into agents who (I hope) might like my work – and I’m glad I decided to take a day to myself yesterday, because this is the thing about writing, or indeed about anything at which you want to succeed.
It takes hard work, and not just for a day or a week or a year. For always. Relentlessly.
But that’s also the beauty of it. Working hard at something you love is the best feeling in the world. Having said that, though, sometimes you do need a break, and it’s okay to take one.
However, today it was back to the grindstone. It’s Friday, and for the first week in a few weeks I am able to take part in Flash! Friday’s weekly challenge. This week, the fiendish gamesetters decided that the compulsory element – which has to be included in your story somewhere – was ‘A Detective.’ The image prompt (I can’t find a usably small version of it anywhere) was the interior of a bus carriage – which I interpreted as a train carriage, but let’s not worry too much about that! – showing a pair of feet clad in admirably shiny black shoes leaning up against a pole.
You’ll just have to scoot on over to Flash! Friday to see it for yourselves, I guess.
In any case, I managed to find a story which I could fit, just about, into the wordcount, and which met all the requirements, and with which I was reasonably happy, and here it is:
In Her Footsteps
Day 214. Da and me get up early. Since we sold the car, we’ve been takin’ the train to school, and that sucks.
‘Got your spyglass, buddy?’ he says as we leave the house. I run back to get it, and my notebook. Can’t believe I nearly forgot ‘em! Gotta be on duty, all the time, if you want to be a real detective.
I flip through my notebook once we’ve found our seats. “Day 87: No siteings. Day 176: No siteings, no trale.” I’m better at spellin’, now, but there’s still no sightings, still no trail.
Then, I hear somethin’. Clack-clack-clack, real fast. I flip my glass to my eye. My mouth tastes funny as I look low down, at people’s feet.
There! Black, shiny, creased across the toe, just like Ma’s favourite shoes. The only thing she took with her when she disappeared.
I’m up before Da can stop me, but the lady’s not Ma. She never is.
So, there you have it. Far from perfect, but that’s not the point. The point is, you get back up on the horse/into the saddle/lace up your boots and start again. You keep on heading for that goal, and you keep on finding words and putting them down, and you never stop searching for your personal best.
Happy hunting! Oh – and, have a wonderful weekend.