Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Writers' Group Exercise.

Next month is our Writers' Group AGM, so there will be little time for reading out our contributions. The theme is a very short piece on either fantasy or science fiction. Neither of these appeals to me and they are both things I rarely read. So I am testing this piece on you to see what you think of it. Please be frank and tell me - I have three weeks to perfect it. So if it is rubbish please say so.

The Feather.

It happened one evening in 1974 in the garden of the house of Don Miguel in Santa Rosalia. Over the fence his neighbour, Don Pedrales, was mowing the grass, going up and down with measured tread, intent upon getting dark and light stripes which, at this time of the year - whilst waiting for the rains to come - were of a light and dark brown rather than the desired green.

Don Miguel did not care for such niceties and left his garden to its own devices. He preferred to sit outside in the late evening sun, a glass of good red wine in his hand and his sombrero tipped over his eyes to shade them from the sun.

He watched as the feather came spiralling down from the sky, lower and lower until it landed in his glass. He picked it up and looked carefully at it, glancing up into the clear sky to see what kind of exotic bird had shed it in such an unlikely place. But the sky was quite empty.

It was not any old feather. Think of the tail-spreading peacock and quadruple the effect. That is the kind of feather it was, curling back on itself and glittering with its richness.

Don Miguel laid the feather on the table and went inside to fetch himself some food to eat along with the last of his wine. When he returned the feather was in the wine glass again. Surprised, and not a little puzzled, Don Miguel took it out again and laid it on the table. Maybe he had been mistaken about taking it out of the wineglass in the first place.


Now, thirty five years, two wives and fourteen children later, that same feather lives on the mantelshelf in Don Miguel's house. He thinks of it as his good luck talisman (after all, both of his wives have been quite exceptional women). It lives in the same wineglass.

Sometimes he takes the feather out of the glass and lays it on the mantelshelf. But the moment he goes out of the room the feather returns to the glass. Don Miguel has tried peeping through the crack in the door in an effort to see the feather perform this magic trick. But it is as though the feather knows he is watching it and even after all these years Don Miguel has never seen the feather move.

He keeps the glass topped up with good red wine and has persuaded himself that that is why the feather stays with him. He hopes it will stay with him throughout his life now, for it brings him good fortune, even though it costs him a small fortune in wine.

16 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

I like it. Simple but effective. You could probably even call it a prose poem if you wanted... though it makes no difference to what it is!
x

mumasu said...

I really like this. I started following you just before Christmas and one of the first pieces I read was of the old lady knitting on the landing at the hotel. This has the same sort of vibe, to the point and just making you think without being way out there and wacky. Believable. :)

Heather said...

A mysterious and delightful fantasy Pat. I really enjoyed it.

Bovey Belle said...

Love the mystery, and how the feather answers to the call of the wineglass . . . That makes two of us then!

Gwil W said...

What a nice little tale. It has all the ingredients. It's almost a Roald Dahl.

Gwil W said...

..and as mumasu says: believable.

Rachel said...

Well it's different!

The Bug said...

I like it! Can I have such a feather please? I don't drink wine so it can have my share :)

The Solitary Walker said...

I think this is very good indeed, Pat. Really liked it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you like it - shall probably alter it a bit more in the next few weeks.
Mumasu - is there a way of getting on to your blog? I would like to leave you a comment but can't find a way in.

Eryl said...

Interesting idea, a wine guzzling feather, and I would like to know more about the relationship between it and the man who feeds it. Why does he want to keep it? I'd like to see a little bit of the time between the two periods, a little action, perhaps, or interaction between the feather and the man.

Pam said...

I like it! Short, quirky.. especially liked "after all his wives were quite exceptional women", nice touch I thought. I wouldn't change anything about it!
What I liked most was its brevity, structure, and the imagery it conjured up. It was very entertaining!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like this a lot, it reminds me of the magical realism of Isabel Allende (I'm rereading House of the Spirits at the moment)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. Interesting that some of you would like to see it extended a bit - the trouble is that it has to be a short piece for the group exercise. Also I do think it is nice when reading a piece to be able to speculate on what you think might have happened in those intervening years etc.

Golden West said...

I love that he attributes his good luck in wives to the feather!

MorningAJ said...

Neatly wrapped up story. And I like the idea of the feather - because it's not a motif that's been overused.