The Venus Flytrap

This is a piece from a prompt called Mimosa. We were told to write a non-fiction piece by our Creative Writing teacher, and this is it. Not really much to say at the moment, I’m currently still writing the commentary, but that should be up soon. I hope you enjoy this though.


 

Venus Flytrap

They were the biggest fascination when I was a child sticking small fingers into the traps to make them close. Venus flytraps. Their discoverer likened them to the Goddess of Love, Venus. Darwin considered them ‘one of the most wonderful plants in the world’. I saw them as toys, existing only for my pleasure. Watching as the spikes closed softly around my fingers.

They are most recognisable by their fleshy petioles and hinged traps, which resembles a gaping and bloody mouth, with fangs bristling. They are most recognisable for their carnivorous propensities. The trap closes with a speed of 0.3 seconds or faster, and with a suddenness that screams of premeditation. Like how we use traps when hunting, so it is with the Venus flytrap. It is the flora equivalent to a bear trap. The snapping jaws of primal animals, which have waited centuries for the chance to bite. The pre-emptive strike. Go for it before they can.

It can be said that there exists something of a Venus flytrap in our minds. One brush of a mental trigger hair, and we’re poised, just waiting for the next time that same probingly light touch is felt. First strike. Second strike. You’re out. Instantly doors lock, but instead you’re on the outside. Any gaps left are chances for apologies and reconciliations. For the small excuses and attempts at recon to worm through. The plant has the same associations as ancient temples and forgotten cities. Enter at your peril. Abandon hope all ye who enter. A pressure plate which triggers a rolling boulder. A trip wire that closes the walls in around you. Here there be monsters. Demons within, demons without. But there’s always a chance to go for the treasure. The only reason you entered the bonelittered tunnel. Who would do anything if not for what they can gain?

It is the leading lady, the top femme fatale. Enticed in with honey and nectar and trapped, staring through bars. They are love embodied. Venus, the Goddess of Love. Dionaea, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. Men come from Mars, and women from Venus. Venus is the second planet from our Sun, and with an atmosphere consisting largely of Carbon Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide there is no way that Venus is the birthplace of women. Is it due to a caustic attitude thrust upon us by men and popular stereotypes? Men are from Mars. The God of War and Men. The planet has low atmospheric pressure. Venus has an atmospheric pressure 92% stronger than Earth. Doesn’t that say it all?

You talk to me. I don’t know you, you don’t know me. You don’t know what to say or what not to say. You start off badly. I’m unresponsive, monosyllabic. I’m just waiting for that brush of the trigger subject, for you to overstep boundaries that aren’t clearly identifiable. ‘Don’t you think that that she has a really balanced voice, though?’ You say about a singer I don’t know. ‘Your sister is a good singer, isn’t she?’ Strike of the trigger. Timer activated. ‘I’m really sorry. It must have been hard.’ Timer stopped. Five seconds. The trap snaps shut, and we are on other sides of a wall, a wall I imagine to be green, and with angled barbs on the top. His garbled apologies can’t make it through the cracks, and he is lost to me. I move on, and the mind trap loosens. The two barbed halves are like two hands clasped together, only to be ripped apart by time. When the trap is laid open and bare, that is when my grief and pain will disappear for the time.

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Metal and Nature Prompt

This was based off a prompt that I brought in for my class. I was originally going to do it so that there would be three prompts, so nature, then metal, and finally joining the two together. However, there wasn’t time, so I only gave them the final prompt to do. My first thoughts was that the scenario was going to be similar to the one in Hybrid, where a virus makes machines merge with human flesh. However, I thought that my current idea would be a lot better, so here it is. I hope you enjoy!


One day a troupe of men came marching through a forest. Despite being hungry, exhausted, battle-scarred, not one lingered or fell behind. Their feet seemed heavy, as if they were being held down by the sins of war, by the numerous dead, and their arms hung low, as if they were finally leading the children they hadn’t been able to save to safety.

They had seen horrors, these men.

And they had learnt, through the cruel experience of war, that these horrors would continue, regardless if they were there or not. The mutilations. The destruction. The look of death in the eyes of those still alive. This was the reason that the men couldn’t sleep easily at night. Well pressed uniforms contrasted against blood crusted hair, with mud under bitten fingernails, with filthy rags covering many wounds. They wore bandages on their heads to show that the main cause of their suffering was in their minds, but they would be regarded as heroes by loved ones and strangers nonetheless. They were on leave.

They moved quickly and clumsily, filled with enough visions of the future to dull and warp their present. They were careless and on leave, and not yet on safe soil. They were wounded from injuries that couldn’t be fixed, would never heal. However, all the other side saw were enemy soldiers, and their response was customary of those at war.

The shells ripped through the trees, ripped through the dazed men. Shrapnel flew like arrows in every direction, plunging into human flesh, plunging into the trees, plunging into the birds that had flown too low. The merging of the natural and metal to make strange creatures, twisted into awful shapes. Metal dust covered the green foliage, and glittered in the shining blood of the fallen and relieved.


I quite liked this one. I did find it quite difficult to do, despite having chosen it, but once I’d decided on an idea it was a lot easier, as I just went with the flow, and made only minor changes as I went along. Normally when typing a piece up I end up making a lot of changes, but I found that this wasn’t the case with this one. I like the imagery, such as the ‘metal dust’ and ‘shining blood’, and also the fact that I only  linked nature and metal right at the end. I thought that the ending gave a real sense of pathos, by the fact that they’re so relieved that their suffering has ended.

Reminiscent

This came after our other teacher asked us to write a short story based on Erosive by Ali Smith, which can be found here http://textualities.net/ali-smith/erosive. It had to include:

  • an oblique title
  • a thread not linked to the main event
  • dialogue without punctuation
  • intro, middle, end and beginning in that order
  • a broken relationship
  • everyday activities which show state of mind
  • a motif

I wasn’t sure what to do about at first. I’d originally done a piece on an ‘unusual voice’, so I wondered about doing it from the perspective of a cat, whose owner has died. But I didn’t think I could include all that I was meant to, so I had to look elsewhere. A friend gave me inspiration, and I began to think of how isolation could explain the broken relationship. It’s one of my best pieces, and I hope you enjoy it.

(Although my Creative Writing teacher completely disagreed…)


Reminiscent

How long have I been here? Has it been too long, or not long enough? Time has become the constant disorientation of white, like up until now my life has just been a dream, and now I’m awake and trapped by the tangled sheets and unable to breathe. I look out the window. It is too dark to see and so the glass reflects my face back at me. The reflection is intersected by the decaying leaves and framed by the drooping flowers of the plant on the windowsill. I move into the bathroom, comb straw hair and brush grey teeth. They notice these things here. It hasn’t changed anything, but they’ll see it as an improvement. It seems like I’ve been asleep for a long time. I leave the room; leave the medicines and instructions on the bedside table. I bring the plant with me, look for water. You cannot drink the bathroom water, so I go looking elsewhere. Dead leaves fall off and float to the ground behind me.

Middle

I am about to water the plant at the sink in a kitchen when I am stopped by a man.

You can’t do that here, he says, the water has special chemicals in it. It’ll kill your plant instead of saving it.

Uh, I say.

Have you tried the bathroom in your room? he says. The water should be fine for the plant. You’re not supposed to be here either, are you? he says.

He ushers me out, and I keep walking, confused. I remember that the bathroom water isn’t drinkable, but I’m too late and the man has gone. I continue following the corridor, past an open door, through which there are many people talking and drinking tea and eating biscuits. One rushes out upon seeing me.

Hello dearie, I thought you weren’t meant to be out today? she says.

Flower, I say. Water.

I see, she says. Anyway dearie, how are you feeling?

Uh, er, I say.

What she says is: any problems? but what I hear is: do we need to increase your dosage again?

Er, I say, but she’s waiting for an answer. I shake my head tentatively, look down at the ground.

Come on then dearie, she says, grabbing my shoulder and pushing me back the way I came. Let’s get you back. She marches me back into the room, leaves me standing in the middle and loosely holding the dying plant.

Oh, naughty girl, she says as she looks at a clipboard, you missed your scan this morning. I’ll have to book you a new one. That’s what you get for wandering off, she says.

Flower, I say. Water?

Leave the plant! she says. I’ll water it in just a bit. Wait for me to come back.

She leaves and I continue to stand. The plant was a gift from my friends. I don’t want it to die. I stand like this whilst the whiteness creates spots in my eyes, still holding it, until I’m certain that she has forgotten. I step forward and try the door that she locked behind her. I move to the bed, place the plant against the pillow and fish around the floor under it. I come up with a dusty key that I had found under the bed a month ago. It’s not mine. I unlock and open the door, look back. Slumped against the pillow, the two remaining two withered flowers look like the drooping eyes of a friendship nearly dead. I pick the plant up. As soon as I exit the room, turning right this time, it is like I am transported from not unfamiliar surroundings to a maze of gleaming white and squeaking shoes. Blue lines lead me to a large room filled with people sat on chairs. Below the sign ‘reception’ and behind the counter are two women, one of them the person who forgot. She stands up, but it is the other woman who comes to me.

You alright love? she says. Do you need any help? She says that, but what she doesn’t say is: we were just talking about you and your plant. What’s wrong, the asylum full?

Flower, I say. Water.

Please, I say.

Yes, I’ve heard about your flower, she says, looking back at the other woman who is now sitting again. Let me have a look.

She wrenches the plant out of my resisting hands, tuts at the defiance shown.

Well love, she says, I think it’s one of them desert flowers. They don’t need water.

Dying, I say. Help.

You might actually have given it too much water, she says. Maybe you’ve been drowning it.

I look down at the flower. As she’s been talking three petals have drifted to the floor.

Why don’t you sit down there love? she says as she points at a chair. Don’t move until we can sort you out. Alright with you, who dini?

Who’s dini?

End

I sit hunched up, staring at the plant. I ignore the curious stares of the strangers on other chairs; flinch when a hand brushes my arm. I’m an anomaly to them. They are unaware that my brain still functions, if not well. Even if it doesn’t look like it, it still works. I keep watching the plant as people come and go. It dies in front of me, and I’m left holding an empty shell. My newly broken mind feels its loss keenly.

Beginning

I’m in a hospital bed, telling worried friends that it’s for the best, that I’ll get better soon. I don’t tell them that it’s the kind of thing that will only get worse. The doctor enters, tells them that it’s just in case, hurries them out. One of my friends, a girl whose name I do not recall, has left a little pot of bright purple flowers by my bed, the name of which I have also forgotten. I ask the doctor and he doesn’t know. But he may never have known, whereas I (used to.) have just forgotten the name briefly. They are my favourites though, I remember that. Blank time on, and I still don’t know, until it has just become nothing, and nothing has ever had a name, not any that I remember.


When I was writing this one I put a bit of myself in the character. As someone who has depression, I felt that as I was writing I could be seeing my own future, if it goes really bad. I wanted to show that, despite outward appearances, the person is not stupid. It was kind of my small attempt to end the stigma against mental illnesses.

I tried to use a lot of symbolism throughout the piece. The attempts to keep the plant alive were like trying to keep a friendship alive. Looking for water, with which to revive the plant, was like searching for a way to keep a friendship going. The solution that they do find could end up doing more harm than good, and they are advised not to do it. In a case of ‘if you want something doing, do it yourself the nurse gives the easy option of letting someone else take care of the problem, however it does more harm than good. By not taking care of their own  issues, they end up adversely affecting the plant’s condition, and it would also be likely to have a large impact on a friendship that is already on its last legs. By the end they adopt a laissez faire attiude, with the belief that things would improve if left alone. There is also the suggestion that it is an overabundance of care that has caused the problem, and the result of this is the plant and the friendship dying. However, the subsequent death of the plant gives the impression that it would have been better to take a chance and water the plant at the sink. It would have meant that at least something was done to remedy things, and so promotes the idea that ‘what’s worth the price is always worth the fight’. (If Today Was Your Last Day, Nickelback)

Other Points:

  • No pure water – the water in both the bathroom and the kitchen will likely kill the plant, so we wonder why both the bathroom water and the kitchen water would have an affect on the plant’s condition. If it’s not fit for plants, then how can it be fit for humans? Promotes the idea that the place is an unhealthy one for the person, especially with the forceful and unkind nurses. By linking the beginning section to the plant dying, we wonder if the person is also fading away from their time in there, which again shows the poisonous element of the hospital.
  • They are genderless and ageless – I kept the character completely anonymous so that people would find them easier to identify with. They could be an elderly man with dementia or a teenage girl with severe depression. They could be in a care home with abusive nurses, or their own minds could have distorted what they’re experiencing. The section labeled ‘beginning’, by showing the start immediately after the ‘end’ section, means that the reader is given a sense of what might happen in the future, from normality to severe problems. The lack of a timescale also makes it easier to identify with, as we are unaware if the decline happened quickly, or was a slow decay.
  • Only describes their body possessively – up until the ‘beginning’ part they only use possessive language when they are talking about themselves. This provides a sense of detachment from their surroundings, as if they are moving through a dream land. This also helps to give the impression that they are the only thing they trust in the situation, whereas before, in the ‘beginning’ section, it is clear that they had accepted what was happening, and could therefore deal with it appropriately. This contrasts to their future, as they seem to be rejecting what they once recognised as being their fate.

Please let me know if you see anyhing else of interest!

A Script to Make You Laugh (Hopefully)

I was looking through my old pieces of work when I found this little gem. I obviously didn’t take this one seriously, as can be seen by the basic character info. It’s a script, but I don’t think it was based on a prompt. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that this was a prompt driven piece of writing. The question was How do we produce an engaging script that includes a change and allows us to connect to the characters? I think I failed.


Character plans

Sandra ‘soya’ Bean

  • Married to her work at the soya milk factory
  • Hobby is wine tasting
  • No close family
  • Lives in a flat above a shop
  • She doesn’t drive, but bikes everywhere
  • Her secret: not actually lactose intolerant, she just loves the taste of soya milk

Heidi McCaw

  • She’s single, but looking for love
  • Works as a bird of prey handler
  • Hobby is cactus gardening
  • Close to her sister
  • Lives in a semi detached house
  • Drives a small car
  • Her secret: she stole an owl once

Script

(Two women are sat either side of a table at a coffee shop. Sandra has short brown hair, cut in a stylish bob. Heidi has long and tangled black hair, and a bright red bandana keeps her hair out of her face)

Heidi: So, where are you working now?

Sandra: I’m at that new soya milk factory. It’s just out of town.

Heidi: Oh yes? Enjoying it?

Sandra: It’s the best job I’ve ever had! Are you still into birds?

Heidi: I’ve never been out of them. (Pause) Can I get you a drink?

Sandra: Sure, thanks. Do they do soya lattes here?

Heidi: I think so. I’ll go see. (she goes to the counter, and comes back a minute later with a latte and a small glass)

Sandra: Thanks, I needed this. I’ll pay you back. What did you get?

Heidi: This one’s on me. And I got a shot of the Famous Grouse, which is one of the best I’ve ever had. Speaking of this, are you seeing anyone?

Sandra: (tosses her hair) I’m married to my work. (She sips her latte then spits it out) This isn’t soya!

Heidi: Sorry, they didn’t have soya milk, I just got you a normal one.

Sandra: I’m lactose intolerant, you mewling quim!

Heidi: I thought you weren’t, you always used to drink milk and stuff at school.

Sandra: People change, Heidi!

Heidi: Sorry! Sorry, I’ll get you another one.

Sandra: No no, I’ll be fine without.

(Long pause)

Heidi: Do you like birds?

Sandra: It depends on the type you’re talking about.

Heidi: Do you prefer greater tits or eagles?

Sandra: I don’t really know.

This Is How I Spent My Time: Twilight Fanfiction

Our Creative Writing teacher set us the homework of rewriting the end of a story, so I treated it with my usual seriousness and wrote an alternate ending for Breaking Dawn. To be honest, I much prefer my ending, but you can make your own judgments. Enjoy!


Then Bella woke up, and it was all just a dream.

Epilogue

‘Doctor, I’ve been having these dreams recently. I dreamt that I married a vampire, who ended up nearly killing me by getting me pregnant, and then I became a vampire, and then my werewolf best friend, who used to be in love with me, started lusting over my newly born child.’

The doctor looked sternly at the scrawny teenager. ‘Bella, tell me. This vampire, did he sparkle?’

‘Yes doctor. He did. In the sun he sparkled almost as much as the oversize engagement ring he gave me to show off his superior wealth.’

The doctor sighed, and looked away. It was a moment before he spoke again. ‘How long had he been seventeen in these dreams?’

‘A while, he said. I later learnt that he’d been seventeen ninety years. But he always treated me right, I never felt threatened. We had a connection, and we destroyed buildings, beds and pillows in showing it.’

The doctor shook his head, as if in horror, and seemed to struggle for something to say. ‘Don’t worry Bella; you’re not alone in this. Other people have suffered like you. Of course, many of such patients have been found with two puncture wounds in their necks, completely drained of blood, but each time it was ruled natural causes. You’re perfectly safe, vampires don’t exist in reality. Did he ever appear threatening to you?’

‘One time he told me to climb on his back, and he called me ‘spider monkey’, but I told him to stop objectifying me, and he never compared me to a monkey again.’

The doctor sucked in a breath. ‘It’s worse than I thought.’ His fingers drummed the highly polished marble of his desk as he attempted to process what he’d just heard.

‘He also ripped off another vampire’s head in front of me. But they were trying to kill me, so it was alright. I was also bitten on my arm.’

‘Can you show me?’ the doctor asked pleadingly.

The teenager pulled up her sleeve and the doctor winced in disgust. She’d certainly been bitten on her freakishly pale arms, he could tell, but not by a vampire. He made a mental note to prescribe her a flea remedy before she left. ‘There aren’t any marks… made by a vampire. You’re certainly not a vampire, so far as I can tell, either.’

‘Edward sucked the poison out of my arm, and his very wealthy and talented family took care of me after. He’s very noble.’

‘One of those.’ The doctor murmured, making a note in stereotypically awful writing.

‘Tell me what to do, doctor.’

He looked the strange looking girl straight in her bulging eyes. With her stringy black hair and living dead complexion, complete with a greenish tinge, she could well have been Samara from The Ring. ‘I’m going to write you a prescription for a great many pills, classify you as insane, and leave you to people who might actually care. Ok? Any questions?’

‘Uh…’

‘I’ll take that as a no. You should be glad that we’ve caught this now. Any later, and it’s likely that you’ll have been transformed into the main character of an intensely debauched novel called Fifty Shades of Grey, which would have been the foundation for other works bearing the categorisation of ‘mummy porn’ to crawl out of the woodwork. So. I won’t be seeing you later.’ The doctor waved goodbye as she lumbered out of his office, then locked it just to be sure.


This was just a little bit of fun, and a bit of a rebellion against being asked to write fanfiction. I was going to treat the work seriously, but then a friend suggested Twilight, and this came into being. It was also a bit of relief, as at the time it was written in between long pieces of coursework. It was only really for my benefit, but I hope that anyone reading it will also enjoy it. Feel free to let me know what you think!

I’ve Given Up On Work…

I gave up on work, so began to type up some of my prompt driven work from Creative Writing. Here’s one of them. Recently, our lessons have been led by a different person each class, and on our last such lesson the prompt was a drawing of an elderly man. I hope this is ok, I was challenged to use a different style of writing, so my descriptions may be a bit off…


Old Man Drawing Prompt

It’s as if he had been there always, and would always continue to be there, through the end of the last universe, to the beginning of the next. His clothes, covered in dirt and mould, seemed almost to have grown from the Earth herself in order to cover him and protect him. His mournful voice, creaking as the oldest of buildings, had the tendency to stop partway through a sentence, as if he was remembering history too big to be conveyed through words and hands, through pen and paper. His eyes shone with the blaze of the most fervent of believers, as though they had been replaced with suns. He believed. He was a beggar, only a beggar, yet still believed in his salvation. He held out a plastic cup, empty of coins, with a steady lined and spotted hand. It was said that the lines were the paths history might have taken, and the liver spots the worlds he had lived through. The length of his grey beard was reminiscent of those of the finest Kings and the care and quality of it equivalent to the hides of the mangiest curs. He’d been there through every birth and every death, and it was widely considered that he was an immortal being.

Until he stopped passing through the present, and consigned himself to the history he had lived through. People wondered if he’d been called back by God, if he’d gone to richer pickings. No one wondered at the mound of dirt beneath his degrading coat. He was only a beggar after all. And time passed on without him.


I have a friend whose descriptions are amazingly beautiful, so this was my attempt at seeing if I could write in such a style, especially since that friend had commented on my sticking to the one style. So I decided to challenge myself, and this time it wasn’t thinking of what to write about the prompt that was difficult, but instead trying to phrase some parts to make it more fitting for what I was trying to achieve. I really liked some of the descriptions, such as the quote ‘seemed almost to have grown from the Earth herself’, as it backed up what I really wanted to be a comment on contrasts within the story, such as the pagan and modern religious aspects in the story. Another similar point was the difference in the ‘steady lined and spotted hand’ which obviously shows both youth and age, especially since shaking hands is often seen in the elderly, though his are still. I’m waffling on a bit, but i quite liked how the story turned out, for twenty minutes of writing.

Short Story

I wrote a short story for Creative Writing a while ago, and I quite like it, so I’m putting it on here. If you like it or not, please let me know.


A Human Mountain

Come, I am working on a new painting. Do sit down. Oh, it is about humanity. It is about life and death. I have yet to finish it though, which will be why you are confused over this. What is my idea? I will let you know when I become aware myself. However, the focal point is most likely to be a mountain. That is what I can picture clearest. Well, many cultures see mountains as being holy, or sanctimonious, or as something other than they are. Ignoring the primitive nature of the worship, I am hoping to incorporate these elements into- Hush! I can see the ending, you need to be silent!

I watch the man work feverishly on his easel. They call him mad. I can understand that. Despite this, there is no greater delight to life than watching a genius at work, so I shall not talk. An ambiguous shape takes life upon the canvas; this must be the mountain he seems so fixated upon. He pauses for a moment. Mixes a new colour on his board. Applies the bloodcolour to the painting. It seems rather a strange colour for a mountain, yet I say nothing.

The mountain is the end and the beginning! What else better links earth and sky? So, if I see the earth as being the start, and the sky the end, can I see this as life in action? What do you think? Ah, no, you do not have the artist’s eye, you are right. Like Death, I shall have my mountain of bodies. Do not ask stupid questions, you will distract me. However, still talk to me. Talk to me as the painting nears its end. I shall not answer, but talk nonetheless.

He’s adding the bodies in the painting now. How is it that, at the start which is meant to be the start of life, they look more dead than at the end? Perhaps it portrays the ascendency into heaven. Suffering on earth, up to relief and enlightenment in the clouds. He has a truly brilliant mind. Many say he’s mad, that he claims he paints what a spirit tells him to. They are right about the madness. He never listens to my guidance.


For this short story I used a prompt, which was a painting showing people progressing up a mountain. For the piece I tried to put myself in the shoes of the painter, but like a stream of consciousness or dialogue from the two perspectives in the story. It made sense when I first wrote it, but it has been a while, so I don’t remember much of my reasoning towards it.

For the quote ‘like Death, I shall have my mountain of bodies’, I wondered if perhaps Death wasn’t a permanent position, but instead one that could be passed down as soon as the quota is hit. I pictured the amount of lives that each Death would have to take as increasing with each heir. Using this, natural disasters and killer diseases could be seen as an impatient Death trying to hasten their turn to be released from their duty, and the ‘mountain’ being a kind of record of where they are and how far they have left to go, height and width wise. I wrote a short story from the perspective of Death after this one, using another prompt, but the same idea of Death trying to reach a quota. If I can find it, and if it’s any good, I’ll put it on.