Assignment: Generate something new (max 350 words)

I found an entry in my journal, just one word: ‘understanding’.  I remembered writing it, after it occurred to me what the word meant: standing under something.  And I thought about how this might help, to look at a problem, or a question, or a thought, from underneath.  This was before I looked the word up and discovered that actually the ‘under’ bit is a corruption of ‘inter’, and it actually means to stand in amongst rather than underneath, which I think is really interesting.  This is what I came up with.

Understanding

She thinks perhaps it might help if she could feel she’s dealing with something concrete.  All these questions floating about in her head.  Not floating, whizzing, like a Smartied-up toddler in a crowded shopping mall, with the same accompanying panic at not being able to get hold of them.  So, she says, out loud.  That’s new, the saying stuff out loud.  Although she always used to do it – she remembers Mrs Sellars after class saying only mad people talk to themselves.  So.  Hands over eyes for a moment, to try to focus, collect her thoughts.  Ha!  Wouldn’t that be great, a thought collector?  With his high viz jacket and his long mechanical grabby-thing (‘cos there’s all those sharp, dangerous ones and slimy, disgusting ones that need to be kept at arm’s length).  He’d sort her out, no trouble.  Where could she get one of those?  She’s tried collecting them herself, but she’s like a child in a duffle coat chasing autumn leaves: first one, then another, then a glimpse of something interesting and she’s sitting on the ground with a beech nut case, stroking the velvety inside while the leaves fall neglected all around her.  So.  Concrete.

Or paper.  Torn or cut?  Cut is better.  Neater.  Shows commitment.  Although she’ll need different sizes, because of the different sized thoughts.  Quite fun, this, sitting at the kitchen table watching the pile of white squares get bigger.  Resisting the temptation to take one and fold it into an aeroplane, or one of those things you open up and get your friend to pick a number.  Kiss the person on your left.  Hop on one leg.  Eat your own sock, that sort of thing.  Enough now.

She strings the string across the room and only pings it once for fun. Twice.  Then she begins.  Blue curls on white.  Ritual-like, a muscle memory.  She pegs it to the string and steps back.  Sees it hanging there. A thought, caught.  Just a thought.

‘Sophie’

No full stop

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