I’ve just submitted it, so thought I might as well narrate it. This is the assignment:
Write about something ugly — war, fear, hate, cruelty — but find the beauty (silver lining) in it.
I wasn’t going to do it mainly because I’d seen it quite late in the afternoon and didn’t think I’d have brain space to invest in thinking of an idea. Also, I’d read Alan Levine’s (one of the lead DS106 instructors) blog posting saying it was hard. But then later, I was sitting at the table doodling some drawings while my kid was finishing dinner, and some words just came into my head that were compelling me to write them down. These were they:
She threw the potato peeler violently on the kitchen floor, angry
(I know, right? “Potato peeler”?! Anyway – those were The Words)
I knew this was going to be the start of my TDC (The Daily Create) submission. I continued writing The Words that compelled me to write them, not (consciously) knowing where they were taking me:
consideredsaw the glint of the kitchen knife shining, beckoningand gripped the handle tightly.
At that point, I actually did consciously start thinking about where this storyline might go. I recalled reading an article years ago about Jessica Rowe’s post natal depression and her admission that she’d felt like crushing her baby’s skull once when it started crying (or something along those lines. It was a long time ago). I remember being pretty shocked that post natal depression could get that bad to completely wipe out all primal instincts to protect your own child. But then (whether they want to admit it or not) – most parents will have been in a position where (due to exhaustion, stress, lack of sustenence or, usually: all of the above), a screaming baby has pushed them to hurt or want to hurt their child. But this is always fleeting, and your own children have the touching ability to say or do things that make you instantly forgive and just want to love the hell out of them. This is what this bit of writing is about.
She threw the potato peeler violently on the kitchen floor, angry. Fuming. She saw the glint of the kitchen knife on the bench and grabbed it, gripping the handle tightly.
She heard a pitter patter of tiny footsteps, and felt something tug at her shirt. A small voice floated up at her: “Mamma. Bubby’s woken up! She wants us to give her a BIIIIGGGG Kissss!”
Suddenly the baby’s cries, before so painfully piercing, incessant, and screeching, were now small, and fragile. A sense of yearning engulfed her, and she released her grip on the knife.