Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #803675
Writer's Cramp entry
Writer’s Cramp Entry –1/19/04
“ Say, Joe?”
“What’s the farthest you’ve ever been away from home?”
“ I don’t know? I guess probably back in 1990 when the Governor sent me to Calgary, Alberta. That would be the farthest."
“Canada? The Governor sent you to Canada? Why’d he do that?”
“He was probably hoping I wouldn’t come back. Actually when I think about it Calgary wasn’t the furthest I’ve been from home. The Governor sent me there for a conference and when it was over I rented a car and drove up through the Canadian Rockies. So I guess the farthest I’ve been from here is either Jasper or Edmonton, Alberta. I almost got an all expense paid trip from the Federal Government to Viet Nam back in the early 1970’s but that fell through. Can’t say I was sorry about it. If it hadn’t, that would’ve been the farthest I’d been from home, that, or someplace in Canada again. What’s with all the questions, Goose?”
“ Well, I was looking at this writing thing you’ve got on the computer and it says here you’re suppose to write a story about “The ferry from England, the Euro, and the train to Amsterdam”. I was wondering if you were going to do it or not. And then I got to thinking I don’t remember you ever talking about being in Europe, or England for that matter, so I thought I’d see just how far from home you’d actually been. I guess Alberta’s pretty far but I don’t think it’s going to help you with writing a story about England and Europe.”
“That’s OK, I wasn’t planning on trying. I like to write about things I know about and I haven’t a clue what they’re talking about with that prompt.”
“Oh, I don’t know Joe. You wrote that story about fly fishing a while back and we all know you can’t fly fish worth a darn, so maybe you should write a story about this Euro thing and a train and a ferry. What is a Euro anyway?”
“I’m not sure but I think I read somewhere that it was some kind of universal European money. You could use it, no matter what country you were in. It was suppose to help the economy. Goose, what are you doing on my writing website? I thought you were looking for information on which chainsaw to buy?”
“I was, but that got boring, so I started flipping through your favorites and ended up here. That Euro thing seems kinda silly to me. I thought that was what Visa and MasterCard were for. Ok, so you’ve got to write a story about European money, a ferry and a train to Amsterdam. I think you could do it.”
“Why don’t you write it Goose?”
“Me? Not me. You’re the writer around here I‘m just happy you let me hang around and surf the web on your computer. But if I was gonna write one I know just how I’d go about it.”
“Well, it’s obvious that since there’s a ferry and a train involved it has to have someone traveling and since the other component is money I guess your character would have to spend some money. Seems pretty simple. You could do a “Charlie and the MTA type of thing”. You know, he gets on the ferry or the train with a pocketful of them Euro dollar things and when he gets to his destination they won’t let him off because they don’t accept those Euro dollars. Of course if he had had his Visa card they would’ve taken that, but no such luck, so he’s stuck riding back and forth on the train or the ferry until he figures out how to pay to get off. That should make a pretty good story. Don’t you think Joe?
“You need more than that, Goose. You need to describe the character and the surroundings. You need to draw the reader into the story. That’s a little tough to do when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Geez Joe, it ain’t that hard. Take the ferry for instance. We’ve got ferries over here. They’re pretty much the same the world over. It’s a big boat full of people and maybe automobiles and stuff like that. It’s got to be on water because a boat on land would look pretty dumb and would have one heck of a time getting anywhere. So take the boat and plop it down in the English Channel. Describe the English Channel? It’s water for criminey’s sake, lots of water, and waves, some big waves and maybe a few birds. Do they have any of them albatross birds over there in England? If they do, you could put one of them in your story, if not, maybe a seagull or two, and a pelican. See it’s not hard to describe. You could do it if you wanted to Joe.
“Well, Ok, but what about the train to Amsterdam? Neither one of us has ever been to Amsterdam. How do you propose I describe that?”
Look, I admit that’s going to be a bit harder, but I think you could still do it. Trains are a lot like ferries. They’re pretty much the same the world over, too. Of course I think I read somewhere they’ve got those high speed trains over there in Europe. They get you where you’re going before you know you’ve left where you been. Say, there’s your answer. The train was traveling so fast to Amsterdam that everything was a blur. Couldn’t tell the difference between a cow and vineyard, they were goin by so fast. Yep, I think that would work.”
“But what about the plot? Why was your character on the ferry and the train in the first place? Why was he heading to Amsterdam? You can’t have a good story without a plot.”
“I suppose you could do a “Murder on the Orient Express” plot. You know, dark and mysterious, work in a spy or two, maybe see if you could involve the CIA and those British guys, you know, the James Bond types. And when you get to the continent Inspector Clouseu could join the fun. I think that’s a possibility. What do you think?”
“I think he was probably going fly fishing.”