Number 36. Thirty Six. It’s not just a bus I didn’t like to get in my Uni days (they wanted exact change only.) This is the 36th time which the Pictonaut Challenge has sallied forth into the grimy, forgotten places of cyberspace. So this iteration will see the closing out of the third year that I’ve been doing this. That is not an inconsiderable span of years. For three whole years I’ve cranked out a horrid and wretched wordascope once and month, every month, without fail. It’s an achievement of sorts, an achievement which is now a vast sprawling behemoth of some forty seven and a half thousand words. So I think I’ve earnt the right to blow my own trumpet a little. But I won’t. Mainly because I don’t know how to play the trumpet. Also it sounds vaguely like a sex thing. Some how I’ve kept going, though I fear my creative juices may now be running low. I fear that I may have to go scrounging around in the Junk Yard.
I could do with a cave right about now. Some where cool and dark, not too humid, not too dry. Somewhere I can hide from the oppressive and malign rays of the Day Star. A place where I can pass the worst of high summer in something approaching comfort. By now you will all be well aware that I talk a lot about the weather and that I cannot abide the heat. But it reached a new level the other week as I sweated through my shirt and my trousers until I was unpleasantly damp in all the wrong places. I yearn for winds both sharp and cold; for air crisp and clear; for the ability to wear one of my many nice coats or many good jumpers. On the upside we’ve had some cracking thunderstorms. Which is nice. Now on to the fiction.
Do you hear that sound? That high-pitched whine just at the edge of hearing? The wail whose source you just can’t quite find, every time you try to focus your hearing onto it, the sound just slides away to somewhere else. It’s the sound that’s making your dogs ears bleed and your cutlery melt. That sound is me. It is an exquisite requiem rendered in panic, anxiety and failure. For you see, I forgot to write the blogpost for the beginning of July’s Pictonaut Challenge. Now it’s gone 7pm, the post should have slithered onto the internet seven hours ago. But it couldn’t, because it did not exist. I should have written it last night but I got distracted. I could make my excuses, there was a THUNDERDOME, some faeries, boots which were made for thinking. But so much of it is a strange and incomprehensible blur of which I can only grasp loose and vivid shards. And so I am lost in a thick soup of panic as I frantically hammer away at my keyboard, desperately trying to finish this blogpsot before anyone notices that it’s missing. that soupy, black panic pulls me further into its fathomless depths, it swallows me, I cannot find The Way Out.
So the weather eh? We’ve been having so much of it haven’t we? All that vast and oppressive heat thundering across the void of space to bathe our fair globe in its radiance and brown our pale and pallid man flesh (or is that just me?) And interspersed with the assault from our parent star there has been rain, great torrents of it being vomited forth from clouds heavy and gravid with sky juice. Oh and this week I deemed the weather pleasant enough to start wearing shorts again. You have been warned. Gather your loved ones, say goodbye to your friends and flee immediately.
But that’s enough preamble for today, I have no doubt that you grow weary of inane chatter and insufferable small-talk. So I should probably get onto the stories.
There was a time when I hated summer. Summer meant be forced outside to participate in “sports.” Things which I neither understood or enjoyed. In my mind the two things began inseparable from one another. So I came to loathe summer. The heavy, stifling heat became and the bright, lustre of the day-star became harbingers for prolonged periods of not-fun. But things change. When the last spell of good weather visited us I found myself looking out of an open window and a clear, bright world that seemed so very inviting. Thoughts came into my mind. Thoughts like: “I really feel like going for a bit of a cycle today” and “walking six miles seems like an entirely sane and rational thing to do right now.” Perhaps it is because living alone and a general absence of commitments mean that for the first time in my life, I am truly my own master. Free to do what I want to do and be what I want to be. Perhaps my blind stumblings through life are finally beginning to bear fruit. If so it is a fruit I intend to savour. A fruit with crisp skin that yields easily to teeth; a fruit with sharp, yet sweet flesh and juice that runs freely. Perhaps this fruit is an apple. And we all love Them Apples.
Yet another month evaporates away like mist on a late spring morning. The great and titanic majesty of summer begins to stir itself from its slumber, serpentine coils sliding and uncoiling. It readies itself to strike, be it with sun-fire or unending rain, Summer is a fickle beast and we are never sure with which weapon it will strike. Let’s face it, summer’s a bit of a dick. But on this day, the last before summer awakens I bring you stories. Tales of derring-do, of wonder and sorrow, tales of a place which is not here. Tales of a girl, standing on a mountain.
The astute and observant amongst you (by law of averages there’s bound to be at least some) will be aware that since January I have been suffering from vague and mysterious pains and generalised agonies, in and around my hip. This has led to thoughts of DIY amputations or the acquisition of slightly lethal quantities of painkillers. In the last month my strange and nebulous bodily torments have fallen under the purview of a physiotherapist, who now valiantly quests to sort out my gammy hip once and for all. He has, however, been extremely reluctant to use advanced military cybernetics as a solution. (What can I say? He’s a traditionalist.)
So as you read this I will be, in all likelihood, barely clothed, sprawled out on a massage table being subjected to the eye-watering agony of “treatment.” Last time, when I asked what he was doing his response could be summarised as “Oh, I’m just poking your tendons so hard that the connective tissue starts to dissolve.” I shall count myself lucky if I can stand once he is finished, and doubly lucky if I can manage walk properly afterwards. But as the old saying goes: “You can’t make an omelette without pain so intense that it makes your nerves melt and your bones howl.” (This is a lie, that is not how the old saying goes.)
This (as always) tenuous segue leads us to this month’s Pictonaut Challenge and the grotesque flexibility of Yogic.