I begin with this confession. I did have a Second December rough draft post at the ready, which I decided not to use. The problem is that its main feature is the first draft of a poem with the working title Second December. Unlike the doggerel piece featured in yesterday’s post, this is a poem with some potential – one which I might consider submitting somewhere in the future. Publishing it here may prevent me submitting it to certain places so I dare not risk doing that. As a substitute I offer you what would probably be considered a piece of creative non-fiction which was published on a Scottish Book Trust site a few years ago
It’s summer 1990. Fate has uprooted Annie in her ninetieth year of bloom.
Replanted in a Coatbridge care home, she’s napping on a padded commode chair within the allotted bedroom. A silent television flickers monochrome ghosts on yellowing wallpaper. For a few moments the setting sun rose-tints the room. Annie’s plump little silhouette squirms in the chair. Teary cataractous eyes open. Above her stubbled chin, lips tremble. Dust motes floating in the dying damask light are scattered by a sigh and thoughts become words.
The surgeon at Monklands General said replacement joints are a modern miracle. He promised I’d be able to dance the cha cha. That would’ve been a miracle … I couldn’t dance the cha cha before the hip broke!
Annie chuckles to herself, setting off a phlegmy coughing spasm. She takes a couple of draws on an unlit dowt; no smoke to inhale but the taste of tobacco seems to calm the attack. You’d approve of this, Joe; they don’t allow matches in the room! You wouldn’t let me smoke even though you had your pipe; I had to slip into the scullery for a fly puff…
[A further confession: I apologise to anyone who wished to read this as a complete piece if I have spoiled your enjoyment. I mistakenly stated above that it was published previously on a Scottish Book Trust site. In fact I discovered almost immediately thereafter that it is an unpublished piece, an unsuccessful entry submitted some time ago to a local newspaper short story competition. So it might require a bit more editorial work. In any case, with apologies, I was able to publish here only the beginning of the story as a short extract or ‘taster’; so there is still the possibility of submitting the complete piece, after further editing, either as fiction or CNF to a competition or other publishing opportunity]