I am happy to report a surge in motivation since my last post. I’ve accomplished a lot today on one of my assignments and I’m determined to have a complete, 2500 word draft finished by today. I wondered if you might like to read the opening and tell me what you think. It’s a day in the life of a modern woman looking back at her life, with fairytale/folklore influences. I would love to read your comments.
There was an old woman who lived in a shack by the seashore.
She lived alone, blissfully happy in her solitude. When Martha Browning moved in to the bungalow by the sea, the first things to go were the clocks. Martha rose with the sun and slept in the moonlight, sometimes daring to extend her daylight hours by candles. The mirrors she was once devoted to were also shunned. Martha knew she was “portly” as her mother used to say, she could hold handfuls of flesh at various points around her body. The naughtiness of the rebellion always made Martha grin. Every day, she curled her arms around her own sizeable waist and tightened them. This daily affirmation reminded Martha of how lucky she is to be alone.
She awoke one morning from her nest of blankets and pillows. The skies were grey and the sea, like a stubborn sibling, resolutely matched it. Martha smiled as she rubbed her eyes. Grey was her favourite colour. She would never be disturbed on a grey day. She padded from her sleeping den to the bathroom, a miniscule room that could only cope with a basin and a toilet. But at least the running water was a luxury available to her in this house. There once was a time where Little Martha had to potter to an outside lavatory and find her way back using a length of string. Martha had aged several decades since then.
Martha was inclined to wash her hair in the sea, but only when she felt the need to, not this morning. There was no one within miles to berate Martha for having dirty hair. It was a blessing. She washed using the basin, soap and her hands. When Martha splashed her face with cool water, her fingertips lingered on the crevices around her eyes and mouth. She brushed her hair, pulling it in front of her gaze to see ever-increasing strands of silver. Sometimes, Martha wanted to see herself fully in a mirror, a mirror on the wall. But she quickly banished such cruelty from her mind and went in search of breakfast.
The third and final room of Martha’s humble house was her sanctuary. Although it led to the Outside, Martha still felt comforted by everything she held dear in this room. There was a tiny kitchen area in the corner where Martha would use her rudimentary cooking equipment to bake the day away. Bookshelves squeezed themselves against the remaining walls, some of their inhabitants spilling over into piles of books on every available surface. Martha spent most hours of the day in her cosy paradise, especially during the off-season. She would read for days and her knowledge garnered from books was vast. Nobody bothered to send electricity all the way up here, so Martha was not chained to the black box like others she used to know.
Firing up the gas stove to make porridge was an intrinsic part of Martha’s morning. She kept her perishables in an inherited dresser from her mother. The milk was still good so into a pan it went whilst Martha went to fetch the oats. The cupboard was fruitless. Each one she opened had the same empty space, occupied only by a pepper mill and a bag of dried herbs. The garden could offer no treasure whilst in the stranglehold of Winter. Martha felt glum. She liked the grey, but didn’t want to be in contact with it. Martha had never enjoyed grocery shopping.