I started this blog in the hope of writing more, as encouraged by the wonderful Weekly Blog Club.
It has certainly helped me to do so: the deadlines, a readymade structure and community and the unexpected, delightful supportive comments.
I’ve been writing professionally for decades as a reporter and in varying press office posts. No matter what some might think of journalists and PR people, all this writing has been factual.
Fiction is new to me and it’s what I want to work on. So this week I am stepping outside my comfort zone and posting a very short story. There are varying lengths of flash fiction: this is under 300 words. 292 without the title, to be exact.
It mentions notebooks twice. I have a slight notebook addiction. These are next on the shopping list.
Giving It All Away
Sarah decided to give two pounds each day to the homeless and hungry for a month. Four people each day: the first to ask, no matter who, would get 50p and so on.
‘They’ll only spend it on drink,’ her husband said. ‘And you already give to the dogs’ home.’ He poured more Prosecco. ‘Save your money. My money.’
She bought a notebook, wrote ‘December’ on the front page and ruled neat columns. ‘This will show to whom I gave money, where they were and what they said.’
She didn’t show him the back pages, where she would write about her feelings.
Her first entry noted that the man outside the Barbican Underground station was thin and that his clothes were grubby. ‘He didn’t thank me, just said: ‘The mental health team asked if I let my egg and chips touch each other on the plate.’ He utterly stank. This is a simply stupid idea.’
Day Two described a blank-faced girl outside Waitrose, not much older than her youngest at boarding school. ‘She was so small, so alone. Could Milly ever end up like her?’
Sarah was exhilarated on Day Ten: ‘He must have been 80. He beamed at me and laughed: so much gratitude for so little. ‘
A week later: ‘I was the first person to speak to him for three days. He wants to go back home but his wife won’t have him. I went around the corner and cried.’
As soon as Sarah woke on New Year’s Eve, she thought about giving more money away. Their holiday savings account was primed for a fortnight’s skiing and spa in St Moritz.
How lovely to give people £20 notes rather than 50 pence pieces. She would need a new notebook.