Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Story About Lasers

Normally we stop the writers group for the summer, as the University gets very quiet and so many people are away.  But this year everyone agreed we should keep it going, so yesterday we met as normal.  With only 4 of us there it was a quiet meeting, but I did at least have something to read out this time.
Inspired by an article I’d read recently about capturing solar power in space and then using laser beams to bring the power to earth this is what I wrote:

As a race we have been in space all my life, but now we can’t even see the stars in the sky.
Today, and I’m only assuming it is day as it is light or as near as it gets these days, it is my turn to go to the power store.  We are all on the rota and although I dread coming up to this place, I also enjoy the escape from small rooms and spaces that always seem to be filled with people.
The landscape looks like it has snowed, although with this heat I know it can’t be snow, but I still pretend.  Kicking my feet, instead of spurts of frozen water, clouds of gray ash rise and soon my trousers are covered to the knee.  But with my face mask tight against my face I don’t care.  I can feel it sticking to my face as the sweat starts to roll, but there is no point in wiping it away as my hands are just as grubby.
I’m sure I can feel something watching me, but what could it be, there is nothing in the place except ash and angry clouds.  But I can’t help myself and keep checking behind me, the only thing to see a long messy string of foot prints leading into the gloom.
The laser when it comes makes me jump and I very nearly turn and run.  Imagine the sudden blinding glare of a laser dropping through the clouds only a mile away.  Not only the glare of the laser but the sudden reflection from the ash, so that it’s like snow on a sunny day.  But again I’m prepared and I pull down the ski goggles reducing the light to a pleasant blue summer glow.
I know I’ve still got a mile to go, and it will be finished before I am, but I still find it hard to walk towards it.  I must be so easy to see now, I have a large black shadow who stretches away behind me, using me as a shield.  And even through the blue of the goggles I can make out the red of my shirt.
I don’t know why the laser still works but we’d be dead without it.

It’s not a story but a description that may well lead to something although right now I don’t know what.  I imagine it might be the sort of thing that I will come across again in years to come and be inspired by, rather than just forgetting the image and loosing it forever.

The homework – to make personal dictionaries by timing yourself for 3 minutes and writing all the words you can think of beginning with a letter of your choice.  You can do this for as many letters as you want.

Once you have your list of words, choose your favourite 3 to inspire some writing.

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