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The last trip


Sum: forty tales from the afterlives, By David Eagleman

In the afterlife, you sit on the cracked mud banks of the River Styx, just waiting.

The dirty waters flow past you, carrying small, black boats. They are all empty, like you have picked the most unpopular ride in Disneyland, on the quietest day of the year. So, this is death?

You stand, stretch your arms over your head and then roll up the legs of your jeans. You’re guessing you’re supposed to wade in and pick a boat? You study the boats, which one to pick, like this is a life-or-death decision. Right. You choke out your last laugh.

Week 11

Seeing week 11 written down in my notebook, and how it looked like a double 1 (11), made me want to return to my Week 1 challenge.

My week 1 was a ‘Mirror Game’ – a writing challenge set by Maggie Stiefvater, Anna Bright and Sarah Batista-Pereira on a retreat I attended (in a Scottish castle!). The game was to take someone else’s writing and use that as the stylistic jumping off point. In week 1, I chose David Eagleman’s ‘Sum’. In it many of the stories start with the line, ‘In the afterlife you…’. And they are written in 2nd person.

For week 11, I added a 2nd game for myself, which was to try and write it in exactly 100 words. (Inspired by the Reader’s Digest 100-word short story competition.)

It was a really fun constraint to try out.

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