750 words: hay bales

As I said previously, I’ve started the 750 words challenge. I’m hoping this will get me back into a writing frame of mind. Normally, I would not post anything from that since my ramblings are usually drivel or personal: anything to get the 750 words out as quickly as possible. But yesterday, I decided to see if I could write a story in the time/space allotted. The rule was that there was to be no revision or significant thought involved. Just stream of consciousness, one sentence following another. I’d already had the idea for the story based on something I’d thought of doing the previous day so just kicked off from that. It was interesting to do this: I wish I could do it for writing that I’m serious about instead of procrastinating and dithering about every word and phrase. Anyway, here it is…


James was struck by the sight of bales of hay in a field just outside the village as he was leaving for work. they’ll make for some great shots, he thought, and vowed to get his camera out after he’d got home. the day passed predictably but for flashes of the hay bales that crossed his mind at points during the day. he thought about sketching in some likely shots during lunch but decided, instead, to just take the shoot as it came. he did, however, decide to take only his 50mm lens out with him. it made getting the shots more challenging but so much more satisfying when they worked out.

he looked out for the scene again as he reached the village that evening. for a change he welcomed the slow moving traffic that crawled into and through the village to the motorway junction just beyond it. it gave him a chance to check the field again. at one point he was stopped where one bale was just the other side of the fence. it towered over the hedge. he had not realise how vast the cylinders of wrapped hay were and decided he would need the 18mm wide angle lens as well. that was annoying; he was hoping to leave the camera bag behind.

James’ wife had not yet battled her own way through the motorway traffic so he wrote a note and left it on the kitchen table. ‘gone shooting,’ it said, with a smiley and multiple kisses. he did leave the camera bag behind. it was a mild evening, promising coolness later on so he shrugged into a battered old linen jacket with pockets large enough for whichever lens he happened not to have on the camera, picked up camera, lens, mobile phone and his keys and set out.

the day was still bright and it would be a couple of hours before the sun went down. James wondered what Kat had planned for dinner and whether he might risk getting home after dark so as to get some sunset shots in. he would ring her later if the light looked promising.

he was breathing heavily as he climbed the slight hill that led from his house to the centre of the village and lectured himself on the need to get exercise more regularly. maybe he could do a year-round series of shots of the environs of the village. it could not be called picturesque, by any means, but the village had some interesting old houses, a school, shops and a few businesses so that a series of seasonal changes would be interesting. he made a mental note to discuss it with Kat. he relied on her instinct for knowing which of his photographs would be most likely to sell from his online gallery. he added a rider to that mental note that he ought to tell her how much he appreciated and valued her advice.

the roads through the village were still heavy with slow-moving traffic so it was easy enough to walk through the near stationary cars to get across the road. the only danger might come from some risk-taking motorcyclist but even they seemed hemmed in on that evening. perhaps there was some delay on the motorway, an accident perhaps. the fuming cars and their equally fuming drivers lent the village an alien air. James usually only came into the village on the weekend or at night to pick up some item Kat had forgotten she needed for dinner. at those times, it was safer to use the pedestrian crossing than dodge the cars ignoring the safe driving speed limits.

he walked between the small supermarket and local curry house where a narrow gap between shops and houses led from village to countryside. the jitty was dark, overgrown with stinging nettles and littered with crisp packets, chocolate wrappers and other detritus that James preferred to ignore. it was hard to believe that anyone would design such a difficult thoroughfare into a town plan, easier that it resulted from an error of measurement or dispute between two medieval neighbours. but the jitty went from village centre to back road where it started again on the other side to another back road and so on all the way out of the village. it was a higgledy piggledy route but it did get a person out of the village without having to cross any major road. the only problem would come if anyone was coming in the other direction or moving too slow for James to follow comfortably. one or the other person would end up with nettle rash.


The one thing I do like about this, and something to think about working into proper writing, is the way it hints at possible story directions every now and then. I wish I’d done that deliberately 🙂

No idea if I’ll follow this up tomorrow. See how I feel in the morning.

Posted on September 1, 2011, in Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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