Using this image write about an incident in an old alleyway. It can be a poem or a short story or a list of words that come to mind when you look at the image.
This is my response.
With my back pressed against an old wooden door in the weathered stone wall, I glance back along the alleyway. The early morning light shows the pathway clear of pursuers. I inhale in a bid to calm my beating heart and the fear crawling under my skin.
Why had I been so stupid? Walking alone at night is a really dumb thing to do. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a thing at home, so why here in this ancient town? My holiday mood had gotten the best of me, obviously.
The slap of running feet on the stones makes my head snap upward. It isn’t possible to press my body into the door any further. If I run now they will be able to see me. My eyes search the doorways on the opposite wall but all are closed. Praying for a miracle, I knock gently at the door behind me. The warm touch of a hand startles me. I turn to face a hunched old lady in black. Her face is wrinkled and brown from decades of sun exposure but her smile is friendly.
“Please help me. There are men chasing me.”
How do I make her understand? The footsteps are closer now. I don’t have time to explain so take her hand and close the door. With a finger to my lips we face each other in the dimness, listening intently to excitable chatter, halting steps and then running feet fading away. Once silence returns I take her hands and nod hoping this gesture conveys my thankfulness. She nods back and leads me into a kitchen with pots and herbs hanging from the ceiling. Motioning me toward a wooden chair, she places a kettle upon the stove and opens the oven door, releasing the scent of freshly baked bread.
My stomach grumbles and she smiles as she places cut tomatoes, olives and oil beside the sliced bread. The coffee is strong and makes me wince, my companion signals me to continue drinking whilst patting her chest slowly. So much caffeine may calm her nerves but to a confirmed tea drinker it is only makes my heart beat faster. I dip the warm bread into the oil and lay a tomato slice upon it before taking a satisfying bite.
I will have to return to my hotel shortly and deal with the ramifications of a police report but for now I am enjoying the peaceful surroundings and kind company after my misadventure of the night.
The literary genre climate fiction is commonly known as Cli-Fi. The narratives deal with climate-change and global warming, although not necessarily speculative in nature the narratives center on the world as we know it or in the near future. In essence it is an off-shoot of eco-fiction addressing the effects of climate change in short stories or novels.
Although the term “cli-fi” came into use in the late 2000s to describe novels dealing with man-made climate change, it is certainly not a ‘new’ literary topic as natural disasters have been themes to novels in the past. For example Jules Verne’s The Purchase of the North Pole in 1889 relates to a change due to the Earth’s axis tilting. His Paris in the Twentieth Century, written in 1883, relays a sudden drop in temperature lasting three years in a titular city. J.G. Ballard used persistent hurricane-force winds in The Wind from Nowhere in 1961 and melted ice-caps and rising sea-levels caused by solar radiation in The Drowned World in 1962 (somewhat of a prophecy!)
This genre has grown as scientific knowledge of the effects of fossil fuel consumption and resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations has become the global warming phenomenon.
Other novels include Susan M. Gaine’s Carbon Dreams, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake, the Year of the Flood and MaddAddam.
Have you written Cli-fi?
Did you know of this genre before today?
Your prompt today is: If you could live to see an event in the future, what would that event be?
This is what came to my mind.
Projecting my thoughts to think of a future event, brought to mind seeing my great, great grandchildren’s children. Where they might live, what they enjoy, who they marry and of course what their world would look like.
Would there be flying cars, and technological and robotic advances beyond our current thinking? Would the world still be lush and green or a wasteland? Indeed will it be a happy healthy place for them to live?
I hope my journey into the future makes me happy and that my heritage lives on with love and freedom. Would that I could see future generations making a difference to their world.
Seeing children with a genetic familiarity in blue yes and dark hair. Maybe even a writer or two – now that would be a legacy to be proud of.
What future event comes to your mind? Why not share it in the comments?
Your inspiration today is this fascinating picture. An old abandoned library. I wrote this response some time ago.
The huge facade of a building emerges among the trees, as we trek our way westward, hopefully toward the rumored survivor town. With the light fading, our small group welcomes the opportunity of proper shelter instead of the tattered tents we have been using for the last four months. Greg, Tom and Jacob lead us into the dappled shade of the building; we stand in awe at the sight that meets us, the remains of an old library with huge floor to ceiling shelves covered in books, dust and debris. The interior has a surreal quality with trees growing within the library walls and bursting skyward through the roof.
Discarding our back packs and bed rolls, we all start to explore the interior before the light completely disappears. Some books totally disintegrate upon first touch but others are sturdier, these we put aside but the remains of crumbly pages are piled together to start a fire, then topped with pieces of several broken chairs. Constructing our tents into canopies along the rear wall with the fire in front, we enjoy the warmth, whilst waiting for the rabbit meat to cook. We all enjoy a deep slumber within the security of the brick building, no sudden noises or movements startling us awake into fear of the unknown, within the blackness of the forest.
As the sun rises its light runs across the floor from the roof opening toward our enclave, rousing us. Gradually, one by one, we stretch and shake away the heaviness of a luxurious sleep and begin to look around the book clad walls. Another fire is started to curb the morning chill and heat water for a weak brew, whilst Greg and Tom go hunting. Carefully testing the staircases Alice and I climb to the upper walkways looking for treasure’s within the shelves, only to find more crumbling books and a few scampering bugs.
We both wish we could stay here within the security of these walls instead of continuing our trek toward an unknown future.
Have fun with this prompt. Please share your response in the comments.
Urban fiction is also known as street lit or street friction and is set in city landscapes. However, it is defined by the narrative’s content of soci-economic realities and culture of its characters as well as the urban setting. This genre is usually dark in tone with explicit violence, sex and profanity and is commonly drawn from the author’s own experiences. Largely written by African American authors, this genre covers the separation of their particular community and culture and the life experiences of its characters in inner-cities.
Earlier urban literature depicted low-income survivalist realities of city living, these included Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist (1838), Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893) and Langston Hughes’ The Ballard of the Landlord (1940). These narratives did not just relay African American or Latino experiences but stories of diverse cultural and ethnic experiences.
In 1999 Sister Souljah’s narrative The Coldest Winter became a bestseller and with Teri Wood’s True to the Game there became a standard for entrepreneurial publishing and distribution of contemporary urban fiction.
Urban fiction has experienced a renaissance from 2000 boasting thousands of titles, which include the new Latino fiction novels. There is also a literary wave of hip-hop fiction and street lit, which take a more literary approach using metaphor, signifying and other literary devices. These books are also used for socially redeeming or classroom capacities, while maintaining love and positive outlooks.
In recent years, some urban fiction authors have joined with hip hop artists such as 50 Cent to further promote the genre by penning the musicians’ real-life stories.
Have you written urban fiction?
Have you read urban fiction?