Tuesday, 19 August 2008

A Pile of Old Clothes

When I lived in Paris in the early nineties, I had an idea for a short story based on an actual experience. I told it to my girls, then aged about twelve and fourteen, and they were both enthusiastic.

I made an attempt and showed them the result. Rebecca, my first and most forthright critic, declared it to be disappointing compared to my original description.

It hurt. I suppose your first rejection always hurts. There were tears and tantrums. (I am talking about me.)

So I abandoned the idea till the other weekend when Rebecca came to stay and I boldly told her I was going to have another go.

Last week I wrote it. The story takes place within a certain time frame, an hour, so I attempted to write it within that time. It eventually took me an hour and a half to write the 1,400 words.

I was very excited about the finished product. I sent it to Rebecca for her comment.

Her reply came, 'It's good but a little bit anti-climatic'. Or to translate to her usual, more concise, terminology, 'the ending's crap'.

Time has toughened me. There were no tears this time. I didn't stamp my foot once or jump up and down, screaming, "I hate you!" I reflected on her comment in a mature manner, mulled it over, gave it time. She was right, of course. (There, I've said it, despite the pain it has caused me.)

So I revisited the ending. It has made the story so much better. I sent it off to Rebecca and awaited her reply. I was nervous as a new father, pacing up and down my room, smoking cigar after cigar.

'10 out of 10,' came the reply. The champagne corks did serious damage to the plasterwork.

Now I have a short story, approved by Rebecca, that I want to get published somewhere. Any ideas? It is of a spooky genre if that helps. The title is A Pile of Old Clothes.

PS My other daughter, Emily, together with her partner, Danny, and children, Amy and ten-week old Katie, came for the day on Sunday. It was a joy to see them all.

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