Recently I went to a creative writing workshop and we were challenged to write about part of our life in the form of an adventure myth, using metaphor and symbolism and allowing strange things to happen without holding too tightly to the facts. So here’s what I wrote and my illustrations to go with it. Here’s part 1…
A grandmother perched on the edge of the bed to tell her two grand daughters a story. They were tucked up and warm and pleaded with her to tell the story of flying to paradise, even though they’d heard it before, a thousand times.
So she began…
There once was a girl who lived in a very busy, grey city. It had tall buildings, a small sky and not much light but she’d lived there for a long time and had got used to it. She had many friends and knew many people and sometimes dressed up like a princess and went to balls, to be spun around the dance floor by the handsome princes, none of whom asked for her hand, even for a walk let alone for marriage.
The streets between the buildings were conveyor belts, moving very fast, taking her to work, to see people, to church, to parties and past the treasure stores which had magical powers to make you desire more treasures.
The girl had an invisible best friend, who was in fact more real than she was.
They went everywhere together, hand in hand. She trusted him with her life. Her invisible best friend liked to walk slowly and so sometimes, when she stepped onto the conveyor belt and got whisked away to ‘the next thing’, her hand slipped out of his. When she slowed down their hands reconnected and they both smiled.
She worked in an underground cave. Everyone in the cave worked very hard; sometimes late into the night. Their work was significant and worthwhile. They worked with giants, trying to make sure they didn’t tread on the little elves working in their gardens. Sometimes she went to speak to the giants and sometimes she went to speak to the elves. Sometimes she tried to help the giants and elves to talk to each other but that wasn’t easy because they spoke different languages.
Despite the lack of light in the cave and the hard work, the girl was happy because she believed in what she was doing and she stayed there for many years.
Then one day a sense of unease grew. She thought maybe her invisible best friend (who as more real than she was) was whispering in her ear that she shouldn’t be there anymore. At first she tried to ignore him. But after a while she had a strange sensation in her feet. Every day when she descended the stairs into the dark cave her feet became itchy, so itchy she could hardly bear it.
ALL IMAGES/ILLUSTRATIONS ARE COPYRIGHT HILARY MURDOCH 2012