Monday Motivations

I thought I’d have a go at Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations today. Esther says:

This week, to get your writing week kick-started, I’m going to give you the beginning of a story. What happens next is up to you.

There’s a visual prompt that goes with this, of two blue clay jugs full of daffodils, sitting on a windowsill.

“Lizze had known it was going to happen one day. But that didn’t make it any easier.

She looked out the window and peered through the rain splattered glass. It had been such a lovely morning, with sunshine streaming through the windows, falling on the golden daffodils on the windowsill. For a while, she’d thought everything was going to be alright.”

Lovingly, she glanced down at the two jugs of flowers, and recoiled in horror. Would this never end? She ran to the bedroom and threw a few essential belongings into a suitcase. She had only unpacked two weeks ago with such high hopes that she could put it all behind her, here in this remote corner of Wales. She had obviously had not covered her tracks as well as she thought.

Dashing through the living room towards the back door, she stopped. With tears in her eyes, she gently pulled out the decapitated daffodil, picked up her trowel, took it outside and, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, she buried it in the bare garden.

Back in the living room, she wrote a quick notice to quit, wrapped it around enough cash to cover the next month’s rent, and pushed it into an envelope. She would drop it through his letterbox as she cycled through the village in search of a new hiding place.

A horrible suspicion made her stop and re-open the envelope. She looked at the name she had signed: Lizze. It was as she had feared. She grabbed the pen and wrote her name over and over; it was no good. it came out the same every time. She dropped everything and fled, screaming, from the house, and sped off on her bicycle, with the empty trailor hitched to it.

Behind her the beautiful blooms, surrounded by blue shards of broken pottery jugs lay awaiting their inevitable doom on the sodden living room carpet beside a sheet of wet paper, with “Lizze Lizze Lizze” gradually blotting to green-inked oblivion.

Not only had the dread daffodil destroyer discovered Lizze’s hidden den, and decapitated another of her darlings; he had stolen one of the I’s from her name.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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25 thoughts on “Monday Motivations

    1. I don’t have any answers. I noticed Esther had accidentally left the letter “I” out of the name, and looked at the daffodil image, and instantly thought of a madman who beheads daffs and steals letters from names. I just couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with it. I’m a naughty, naughty girl.

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    1. Unfortunately he’s currently very illusive, but you’re probably right – It’s not a simple question of malice – he needs the letters. I have no idea of his motives. Maybe I should investigate the inner workings of my brain and expand on this ridiculous story.

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    1. Not as deep and dark as the prisoners grave at Newgate cemetary. that’s where I’m stuck right now. I expect you know that a lot of the got chucked in together. I wish I hadn’t written that gallows story.

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      1. Sorry it’s taken you to such a deep, dark place. I’ve just read ‘The Devil in the Marshalsea’ – a murder mystery set in the old Marshalsea debtor’s prison – and the conditions there were abominable, especially if you didn’t have any money. Weird that you were expected to pay for your upkeep in a debtor’s prison. Sorry, yes, these buildings were full of unspeakable horrors. I hope you can find some light in the day, some sunshine to pull you through.

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        1. Man’s inhumanity to man.
          I’ve had a sleep, and I’m ok now. I was referring more to my inability to write. It just happened that I was describing how the strangled prisoners untangle themselves from each other’s limbs to go and haunt the living.
          The hypocritical way we use sadism and call it ” Justice” has always upset me. Human cruelty is inevitable, even in a world that no longer has a need for it, but Governments should be above that. We rely on the law to keep us safe, and to keep us in line when we stray, but their shoddy example lets us down.

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          1. Glad you’re feeling brighter – dwelling in the dark’s no fun 🙂
            It’s funny. Since becoming a parent, I’ve realised I have it in me to kill someone, that love for your my son is so strong i would rip out someone else’s throat for him – seriously. But I still think capital punishment is abhorrent and would not vote for it if we ever had a referendum (though i think the majority of the population would – it’s only MPs that keep us from going down that road again). I always think of Timothy Evans who hung before Christie was caught and Ruth Ellis, driven to the edge by an abusive partner. But I also believe some people cannot be rehabilitated – some human beings are monstrous. It’s tough.

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            1. Those who can’t be rehabilitated need to be cared for in a safe environment. Their of us would take the law into our own hands and kill for our child, it’s only natural to protect our young, but nobody has the ethical right to stand in a court of law and pronounce the death sentence. Killing for your child is human, but a judge who accounces that someone must be killed is playing God – or the Devil.

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              1. Even thought I know I could kill for my boy, I still know it’s not the right thing to do. There’s a lot of people who can be rehabilitated and live a more productive life, and societies should be judged by how they treat their poor and vulnerable citizens and some of them become criminals. The worse we treat our criminals, the more it shows us up as a society

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                1. I could write a book about that, but I’m not going to. I’m you know how overcrowded our prisons are. And a About the increase in suicide. It was suggested that Lord Grayling should be prosecuted for manslaughter because he was responsible for the conditions that resulted in the rise in suicide. And now he’s offering his expertise in Saudi Arabia!
                  There was a suicide on my son’s wing just before he came out of prison. Everybody else was on lock-in because of it. They forgot Paul was off-wing on a course. When he hit the wing it was chaos. Prisoners were crying and shouting in their cells and there was a clutch of wardens outside one, with the door open. As he approached, a female warden saw him and told him to go straight to his cell. He didn’t know that the guy was hanging in there. He was popular, and seemed happy. He’d got new clothes through Amazon, and at breakfast he asked the others at his table what they thought of his new togs. They said he looked good, and he smiled and said “I want to look nice. I’m going to kill myself today.” They all thought he was joking, because it sounded like that.
                  Although it wasn’t the first one since Paul went in, prisoners and staff were traumatised by it. I can’t imagine how I would have coped if he had been my son.
                  Thanks a bunch,Chris Grayling.

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                  1. That’s horrific, Jane. Your poor boy, to have to cope with that. And to hear how traumatised everyone was – we get the wrong idea of prisoners through films, become persuaded that everyone in there is hardened to other’s suffering. I don’t know what the answer is – I know it’s very expensive to keep inmates, that we probably can’t afford to build more prisons, that their would be an outcry in the conservative press if we tried to reform criminals outside of the prison system. But as you say, something has got to be done – it’s not right to keep human beings in such a way. Horrific. I hope your son’s coping okay now.

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                    1. Some of the prisoners are hardened to it already, some toughen up while they;re ib there, and some pretend to be because it’s safer that way.
                      My son’d doing really well now, thanks. I see quite a bit of him. He;s about 40 miles away, but he’s able to come home every coule of weekends. I’m really proud of him. He’s come so far.

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                    2. People who’ve known forever don’t recognise him. When my sister saw him she looked at him blankly for a few seconds, then he spoke and she realised it was Paul. She was thrilled. It’s one thing for me to say he’s doing well, but it’s something entirely different to see him. She was raving about him afterwards – how much taller he looked, how muscular, how goodlooking, how clean…
                      It’s like a miracle, and now I’m hoping for another one, and I think he may bring it about. It’s early days, but I think his sister may be heading for recovery. It’s early days, and I’m afraid to be too optimistic, but if she gets better it will be down to Paul – and her strength.

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                    3. Such amazing news all round. As you say, for someone else to see it and comment so positively. It must be so wonderful for you, after everything you’ve all been through. Hopefully this new beginning will lead him from strength to strength, when he sees how his life can be so much better. Best wishes to you all

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