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Dark Half of the Hourglass: Daily Writing Exercise

Hourglass and pencil

Hourglass and pencil

I started this blog as a place to put in a bit of writing practice on a daily basis. It has been a while since I wrote here for practice, so here goes:

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Curved glass walls bear me down. I slip and slide, slow but relentless as I scribble on the glass, pencil in hand, and think of Alice, wonder whether she would have written all that clever stuff down instead of blabbering it,  if only she had such a pencil as she followed the rabbit. My writing makes about as much sense as Alice picturing herself crossing the earth and coming out at the other end to find people hanging upside down, but that does not stop me using my pencil.

I’ve found out I’m slipping down an immense hourglass— I can’t go back up nor stop. I’m only given this pencil, and a few silent conversations with fellow sliders. We could compare notes about what we scribbled, but the trouble is, none of us can speak, and I’m not sure anyone can listen. We may not touch because we fall in parallel lines.

We’re all headed towards the dark side of the hourglass. I don’t remember when I figured this out, and how. But I know that in the dark side we would continue to fall, unseeing–only this time the fall would be much faster because we would not slip along the glass edges, but hurtle down straight, into the unknown. No one knows what happens then. Not that I’ve asked, but since we can’t talk and no one flits by telling us anything, I think no one knows.

Given that I have a pencil, and nothing much else to do, (I remember hunger, pain, warm and cold, cruel and kind as words I once scribbled, I no longer know what they feel like), I will live in my pencil.  I will now strive to forget the bit about up or down. In the length of pencil left me, I’ll stop trying to make sense of it all: I no longer  want to leave notes for someone who, who knows when, will slide down the same track. All I’ll do is live in the now, feel my hand, my pencil, my writing, the glass, and let thoughts and sense take care of themselves.

I think I’m ready for the dark half of the hourglass.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

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