Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turning litter into literature?

I've always been intrigued by the fragments of stories that you come across as scribbles on paper - a shopping list for a party; an unfinished love letter; a message passed surreptitiously from hand to hand during a boring meeting. So when I saw on the '26' writers' website that Andy Hayes was proposing to distribute 26 of the handwritten scraps he's collected over two years from the streets of London, I put my name in the hat. And it was duly drawn...

When my scrap (above) arrived, I had 26 days to write a short story that included the message, or was inspired by it. With quite a lot of other things on my plate, and much less of a personal message than I'd anticipated, I had to beat off panic! I've written before about the length of time I take to write a short story from genesis to completion, with all the layers bedding in, and a purpose emerging over multiple drafts. I did not have the luxury this time. But part of my reason for taking it on was because I sometimes find it useful to have external prompts, deadlines, restrictions imposed, in order to make sure that I write something. And so I did.

A new story will be appearing on the 'throw-away-lines' website each day between 25th November and 11th December, each inspired by a random piece of litter. And what diversity!

As for mine... (do take a look)...on this occasion I can assure you that, yes, it's rubbish, and be proud of it!

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