Firstly share a paragraph from a novel, or an extract from a poem, or a photograph that stopped your heart with a spectacular setting etc.
For this part of the challenge, I’ve chosen the opening paragraphs from Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton.
Describe how your chosen ‘setting’ spoke to you. Why did you like it?
The lush and verdant countryside of KwaZulu-Natal is beautiful. The world famous Valley Of A Thousand Hills with its signature rolling landscape, the layering of hill and valley, boasts a commanding view.
This setting does an excellent job of capturing mood/atmosphere.
But best of all – it’s on my doorstep, a 20-minute drive from where I live…
* * *
Then you have the option to:
a) write your own ‘setting’ piece in any genre, or share a ‘setting’ from your WIP, or…
b) write your own poem which highlights ‘setting’, or
c) share a photograph that blows you away every time you look at it and tell us why.
d) share an artwork that shows a ‘setting’ you love and tell us why you love it.
e) write a small playscript which highlights ‘setting’.
I’ve chosen pictures of a significant attraction in my city, and used this as a prompt to experiment with snippets of interior monologue via some flash fiction. This is something I haven’t tried before.
Moyo perches at the end of the pier, a gem set against the early morning horizon.
It’s a far cry from the skeleton of steel beams that marked the beginning. Like an ugly monster waiting for that magical touch to be transformed into the beauty standing before you – a vibrant, communal hive.
Moyo means heart.
It’s a place that holds my heart; a place where the heartache began. In another lifetime. When I was another person. No good dwelling on that now. All in good time…
At night, Moyo is a sparkling jewel, winking non-stop as hundreds of lights reflect on the surrounding water.
Today is a new day…
A new day means endless possibilites. Just like the sand grains stretched on either side of the walkway which extends to form the pier, jutting 150 metres into the Indian ocean.
The surrounding location is popular. Competitive vendors offer over-priced beverages, stale breadrolls and quick-congealing condiments. Accidents and near-misses occur between slow-moving pedestrians and high-speed rollerbladers. A bicyclist wobbles through throngs of walkers and joggers, his cell phone glued to his ear.
Sand sculptures dot the area, transporting it into a living gallery of artwork that is unique.
“Look at the sand sculptures! Can you believe it?” Familiar words uttered by a steady stream of visitors.
Faceless people, nameless people… aboard the conveyor belt of tourist living.
A new day.
The same routine.
A replica of countless moments.
Father smacks his crazy brat whose tantrum competes with the life-guard’s whistle. The high-pitched squawk of a lone seagull completes the trio of cacophony.
“Look, the rickshaw man. Let’s stop him. If you behave, maybe we’ll go on the ride.”
Bribery is a good diversion. It works with kids. Well, most times.
“But dad, I thought we didn’t have enough money? Plus you promised we could take a photo with the sand dragon. How are we gonna go on the ride and take a photo if——–“
A hot glare is the answer. It rivals the blazing midday sun, silences any further comments from the older sibling.
I feel a headache coming on. Hold tight. Why do I subject myself to this? Breathe. Slowly. In and out. Remember the goal. This is temporary… so close to finding out…
“Where’s mom? She’s taking forever…”
Breathe. In and out. Another day in paradise. The conveyor belt is in motion. Predictable, as usual.
“Dad, does he build these all by himself?”
… kid, you’re watching me with an odd expression. I don’t bite, you know. I’m not mute or deaf either, just in case you’re wondering…
“Wow. How does he get the alligator’s skin to look so real? The other sand guy built a rhino. I also saw the big five. The animals. Really cool stuff. We’re talking about poaching at school, dad. ”
You can show your admiration for attention to detail by donating something. A ten or twenty to have your picture taken next to the sculpture? Surely you can spare that?
“You got some cash on you dad? Whoa———– a wad of notes! Does mum know? You said money went missing from your bag…”
A five? You can’t be serious. What’s that in your currency? You ARE a foreigner, aren’t you? You can be more generous.
That’s it kid. Take the ten.
“Not a word to anyone, you hear?”
Ah, I see your wife. She’s waving. The one in the leopard print bikini? Oh, THAT’S your wife. Quick, pass the money. She doesn’t have to know. Can’t disappoint the boy now, can we?
“Dad what’s poaching?”
“Ask your mom. She’s the expert. It’s what she resorted to the first time we met…”
Cherry lips purse followed by a disapproving stare as she cradles a puppy who wiggles in an attempt to get loose.
“Mom, what took you so long?” Brat tugs at her hand while she inspects her facial artwork in a compact mirror.
You’re back madam. Mmm, I see your face has been painted. You went for the intricate floral design? Surprising choice. Lots of designs, patterns, shapes. Reminds me of life. It moves in unruly patterns… in circles… it’s never linear. The miniature paw prints… now that seems more your style. You strike me as an animal lover. No disrespect.
“Dad who taught them how to make these? How long does it take to complete one?”
A slew of ingredients such as sand, sea, time, patience, lots of love… that’s all you need to know. The process? Nothing special. You’d be bored stiff.
“Do you know the artists pay a monthly fee to the local council? But they don’t make much money from these works of art. What a pity we’re a bit cash-strapped.” A sigh flutters away. She gazes at the sand sculpture.
The older boy smiles at his father, who’s attention is divided between the brat and the puppy. A tug-o-war stalemate.
“Look. The Rickshaw ride. There it goes again. You said that we can go on the ride after—–“ but his brother scoops him up, swings him around and they tumble onto the sand.
No, the sand sculpting story is not very exciting. But I could tell you another story. One that haunts my sleep.
A story of skeleton beams and life before sand sculptures.
Now that would keep you riveted.
But look, the tide is turning.
“What happens to the sculptures when the tide comes in? Oh no, don’t tell me they’re washed away! What about night time? Do they just leave it?”
I sleep next to my creation, ma’am. No warm, cosy bed for this artist. Well not yet. But soon.
“Let’s walk to the end of the pier, honey.”
Run along. Cocktails at the pier bar is an experience you don’t want to miss.
“Boys, come, let’s go!”
Ah, new customers… step this way, sir. Would madam like a photo next to the sand sculpture?
Word count: 985/FCA
Be sure to read the other WEP entries HERE. It’s a word feast!