The following essay is my attempt at answering The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 4
I struggled with this exercise. Everything I began writing felt contrived, I think because I was revealing too much of myself, in an undisguised way.
I am a writer. Writers write. Publicly, writers must possess the skin of a rhinoceros; privately, they need to be able to peel back their own skin to discover what is really going on underneath. Which is easier said than done. And writers read. They read copiously. Reading relaxes me, even if the story jolts me or jars me out of the fictive dream, or offends my wordsmithery. Yikes. I have said it aloud. I am standing up. I am hanging my head. Yes, I am a wordsmith.
Writing gives me pleasure.
Living brings me pleasure.
Being alive in the moment and listening to those sounds around me: the birds’ dawn chorus as I take our dogs into the garden for their pre-breakfast ablutions; the cars growling past me as I cycle uphill around our village at dusk; and every crazy sound in-between, from the church bells’ incessant ring to the softest ting of our doorbell, sending our dogs crazy, and that contented noise they make when they relax, upside down, paws drooping in the air, bellies and bits on display as they relax into those ridiculous banana poses.
Helping people creates pleasure.
From supporting a friend as they walk that lonely and scary journey from cancer diagnosis, through chemotherapy to surgery to radiotherapy… to listening to a neighbour yesterday venting off about work frustrations… to empathising with an elderly man I do not recognise at the recycle point today who tells me he lost his son recently.
Holding all these daily occurrences, and more, then lifting them up as I struggle to find the best way to pray for them is strangely soothing. Genuinely interceding for others helps me live a less fragmented and more thankful life.
Thankfulness relaxes me.
Being thankful for who I am, what I have been given – my health, my happiness, my sadness, my ill-health, being married, being lonely. Knowing my limits. Pushing my limits. Not being afraid. Of myself. Of change. Of people who use anger to mask from themselves how they truly feel.
There are so many facets to this diamond-shaped moment of pleasure, this shining moment of relaxation.
In true writerly fashion, here is a one hundred word flash fiction story that tumbled from my fingertips on the 16th January this year.
DEATH OF A MOMENT
Kelvin M. Knight
I am the death of a moment. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m no celebration arsonist; I despise fire and pain – mine not yours. Your pain and frustration, your hurt and anger, I cherish as I move around, never touching but always surrounding you to become a drain for your heart and your head. A drain which fills your heart with passionate pride, and stirs this white noise in your head. I am your fear, your greedy envy, your forgotten forgiveness, your guilt avoidance strategy. I am all this and more. I am the death of this moment, if you let me.