Experience Writing Visual Prompt for: Pulling Back The Veil
Brodie was on the bus ride home from his girlfriends apartment when the advertisement announced itself with a little ting on his phone .
He looked down at the screen and saw a raven with a pen clenched in it’s claws and when he clicked the icon and read the message he smirked. Then he tapped his email address into the box that looked like parchment paper and when he was done he had the same smirk on his face, only it was wider now.
Brodie decided to join the group that met at the Cafe /Bookstore /Art gallery that was within walking distance from his apartment not because he wanted advice or instruction or even support. Brodie decided to join because he wanted to be in the same room with any other writer who dared to trespass in his field. He wanted to be there, in the flesh to show anyone who wanted to play in the pasture that he had fenced, chained shut and hung ‘no trespassing signs’ on every square inch of available space that they would never – no matter how many words they typed, no matter how many people read their posts on their blogs or on line magazine- that they would never come close to replicating the genius that is Brodie Kaspin.
So on that first Saturday he sat in the back of the room with his notebook and laptop and his chesire cat grin and when some of the writers got up to read their work Brodie crossed his arms over his chest. Occasionally he would put his pen to his notebook and scratch some notes- making sure that the person up front saw him of course.
At the end of the sharing session some of the other writer’s offered advice, some said they enjoyed what they heard, others weren’t ready to read their work yet and then Brodie raised his hand and when Vic – who had organized the group smiled and asked Brodie what he would like to add, Brodie looked down at his Steno pad and with the skill and precision of a butcher with using a dull knife on a to hack at a side of beef, he sliced and diced every single thing that had been read.
Next, Brodie took out a meat tenderizer and he pounded the poems, the stories, the musings, until the dozen or so writers seated around the table were red faced. One woman looked down at her laptop with faded rock and roll band stickers on the cover and when she looked up she thanked Brodie of his input.
Brodie said of course- he was glad to help. Brodie knew thatthere was always a few like Rocker Chick in these groups. You could punch them in the face and they would thank you for taking the time to pound on their story to a bloody pulp because real artists could take criticism and people like Rocker Chick really wanted to be that person.
Vic thanked Brodie for his input and was trying to figure out how to wind this session up so that at least half the group would show up again after Brodie’s gutting when Sunny Longyear burst into the room.
Sunny was usually late, she always had something to share and if she didn’t she’d share why she didn’t have anything to share and that three or four minutes would be as interesting as the other stories that had been presented. She was the one who never said, ” I would have written it this way. ” she never said, ” I don’t get it-” Sunny would just sit there with her head tilted to the side and say, ” man that was a lot of words- kind of like when a bunch of cats that don’t live at your house bust in when they hear the can opener.”
Sometimes someone would ask her what cat should they chase out and when the group would break up for work sessions Sunny would listen and help that writer choose what cat to chase out and when they were done- the story was there and so was Sunny, with her face tilted down to the words on the page or the screen the way you or I would hold our face to the Sun.
Sunny sat right next to Brodie and introduced herself.
” So Brodie, ” she asked ” are you a beginning writer or- ”
” I’ve been published. ” he said crisply, ” A few anthologies, magazines I write horror and suspense. ”
Sunny nodded “and you are-”
” Brodie Kaspin. ”
Sunny smiled and if she had never heard of Brodie, she didn’t let on. ” I write stuff like that too. I mean. I try to branch out and tell a regular story, but in the end some old lady that was supposed to help bring her releatives together before she dies takes an ax to her family and after she goes to Greece and lives in a yellow house surrounded by olive trees instead.”
” What are you going to do.” Sunny shrugged.
” Focus. ” Brodie said.
Sunny laughed a warm laugh and she put her hand out and touched his forearm.
” Hey Brodie, look. I was wondering- she handed him a slip of paper ” If you’d take a look at my blog. Maybe chose a story or something that has a little promise. You know. Something I could develop. ”
Brodie held his hand out for Sunny’s website address and when the slip of paper was in his hand, it snapped shut like a steel trap.
After she and Brodie were done talking, Sunny had moved to the table where Rocker Chick was sitting.
Brodie saw Sunny ask Rocker Chick a question and when she shook her head Sunny put her hand on her laptop and Rocker Chick slid it away from her.
” Come on Mavis, ” Sunny said, ” that talking wolf is fab, he reminds me of my Mom- I wanted to see where he went this week. ”
Rocker Chick closed her laptop and when Brodie looked over at Sunny, she was smiling- but her eyes weren’t.
The group met again two weeks later- and in that two weeks Brodie had burned through Sunny’s blog and her stories and her poems like a swarm of locusts.
He devoured her stories, he spat them out and then he went back for more and by the time he had finished he was very much looking forward to doing the same to Sunny in person.
But of course Sunny was late for the meeting and Brodie saw her sitting in the corner with a cup of tea in front of her. ” Hey. ” she waved at him.
Brodie sat down across from her. He pretended to listen to pleasantries and then he took his steno pad out of his backpack. ” I have a few pointers for you. ”
Sunny nodded. ” I thought you might. ”
Brodie had chosen a half dozen pieces and halfway through his vivisection on Sunny’s stories, Sunny slid her chair back.
Brodie thought she was going to get up and maybe storm off. But instead she tilted her chair back on it’s rear legs and she said, ” you know Brodie, you do have a talent for getting words and ideas that don’t like each other to sit in the same space without killing each other. I can’t do that. And I’ve been writing for ages. And I do mean ages.”
Brodie smile was smug.
“But do you know what I think my talent is Brodie?”
Brodie shook his head. ” I honestly couldn’t say.” he said pointedly
” My talent is that my stories get under people’s skins.”
” Well. That’s charming. ” he said not meaning it.
Sunny rocked her chair a little.
“For example Brodie, my stories are under you skin right now in fact you could say I’m under your skin right now.”
Brodie felt his face get hot.
Sunny leaned over and put her nose right next to his. ” I”m not really here Brodie. ”
Brodie reached out for her and as he did the Sunny’s empty chair tipped back into place.