Unpublished

The wind whipped loudly, wrapping itself around the shivering trees. Boughs creaked, as bark is embraced by heavy blankets of lustrous snow. Hanging delicately, precariously, makes one hold their breath. This is pulchritudinous certainly, it overwhelms, invigorates…feeds the soul.

I rip it out of the typewriter, screw it up, and throw it on the floor.

I’m in the pine forest high up in the mountains above Covilha doing a Kerouac – fire-watching and trying to write. I’ve got something in my head which I want to set in the cold, in the snowy mountains, so I figured I’d get away from the coast and take myself into the right surroundings, like Turner strapping himself to the top of a mast to feel what it was like to be tossed around by a storm. It wasn’t working. Maybe because it was summer. Right surroundings, wrong atmosphere. I’d written nothing, well nothing that I hadn’t burnt in the fireplace.

It was serene and peaceful up there, and I was enjoying the solitude and the spartan living, but it wasn’t sparking anything. Maybe I was just thinking too hard about it. I gave it a rest for a couple of days and took long treks in the forest, going back to chop wood and drink wine by the firelight. I didn’t need the fire on those summer nights, but it kept me company after dark, and I thought that maybe I would get something from staring into the dancing flames.

During that lay-off I spotted smoke over to the west and ran back to the cabin to radio in. Nothing. The bloody set had packed up. I stood out on the balcony watching the black smoke billowing, thicker and thicker, the flames spreading, and it came to me just as though I’d breathed it in.

I dived inside to the typewriter and punched out page after page in a fury of inspiration – I had breathed it in – and knew that it was good; the best thing I’d ever written. It wasn’t long. The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber sort of length, but better than Hemingway.

I typed up the last sentence just as the flames were licking the walls of the cabin.

Currently unavailable for purchase


For an exercise in The wonderful world of words where we were invited to submit a phrase which someone else would then include in a few short lines, from which we had to write a piece.

Mine was pulchritudinous certainly from which LisaMM gave me this to work with….

The wind whipped loudly, wrapping itself around the shivering trees. Boughs creaked, as bark is embraced by heavy blankets of lustrous snow. Hanging delicately, precariously, makes one hold their breath. This is pulchritudinous certainly, it overwhelms, invigorates…feeds the soul.

I have already apologised for consigning it to the fire in my story!

Exercise initiated by rjpmcmahon

I paint watercolours and write short stories.

If you would like to pay me lots of money for my stories e-mail me

View Full Profile

Comments

  • LisaMM
    LisaMMabout 4 years ago

    Here is the original that I read…saw the link on Charlotte’s comment reply…I enjoyed this so much Ian, you paint the perfect picture with your vivid descriptions and the ending still catches my breath. So unexpected but sadly perfect. Great write.

  • Thanks again Lisa.

    – ian osborne

  • Betty Smith_Voce
    Betty Smith_Voceabout 4 years ago

    Great write – I can see the images of the bollowing black smoke and the flames licking at the cabin.
    Much love.

  • Thanks Betty. I seem to have some sort of obsession with fire – well, don’t we all? x

    – ian osborne


More Work

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.