And so the sun does set on the month of September. Clouds gather and the nights begin to close in, but still summer ardently clings on with all the anthropomorphised might it can muster. Twenty degree days see-saw with fog so thick it hides every facet of the world. Summer cannot hold on forever and soon we will find ourselves in thunder, lightning or in rain. Already I have seen the drifts of curling brown leaves begin to form in the nooks and crannies of the village. Whole armies of conker shells lie shattered upon the ground, their shiny brown charges spilled and exposed. The year edges ever onwards into its twilight and into darker times. Times where mystery, magic and the possibility of things distinctly other does not seem quite as far-fetched as it did at the height of summer. It is the time of witches, it is the time of The Crone.
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Today is a bit of a special day. Today sees the commencement of September 2013 and with this the Pictonaut Challenge enters its 25th month. It is now 2 years old. The enormity of that fact still hasn’t quite sunk in. The original idea was something of a fleeting fancy, a passing idea, something I thought I’d give a bash and see where it went. My readership remains tiny and close-knit but I have accomplished considerably more than I originally intended. For two whole years I have kept this little exercise going and for a man who has a singular lack of motivation or perseverance this is a rare and truly beautiful achievement. It also shockingly means I have something that could be referred to as “a body of work.” That on its own is a terrifying thing to realise. A thousand words? Every month? For two years? I’m quite proud of myself.
Since I am a scientist by profession and trade I can’t help but be drawn to the statistics of this little endeavour. And even just a cursory glance at them boggles the mind. The 24 stories (or wordascopes as I have taken to calling them) which I have written come to a total of just over 28,800 words, an average of about 1200 every month.
But of course I haven’t been alone in grappling with this particular challenge, others have joined in too. Our combined efforts have spawned a total of 71 short stories. Based on my average output this places the total cumulative wordcount at around the 85,000 mark. Just let that sink in for a moment. Eighty. Five. Thousand. That is an achievement not to be sniffed at.
So what image have I chosen to usher us into our second year? Behold The Crone!