I was set a sentence that described an old photograph and asked to write a short story with it at the beginning. It was just a description of a tumbled down shack in the middle of nowhere but it got me thinking of this:
Which is the dust bowl from the Great Plains that occurred in the 1930s. More research had me watching documentaries and exploring a lot of pictures. One of which was this:
The hard worn look and the physical impossibility of actually living there got me thinking. Slowly a story began to take shape until I had written a survivor’s account of the Dirty Thirties. I thought it was okay but my support worker, who was checking my tenses and words, teared up. They got so absorbed that they read the whole thing and then had to go back and highlight my mistakes. They had just ignored them wanting to read the story.
I was a little sceptical, after all what do I know about living in Oklahoma in the 1930’s. But I have been in a dust/sand storm and I have been living in situations that I wished desperately I could get out of but couldn’t. So it was those feelings I put into the piece and I think it worked.
Anyway the story is now sitting on a submission desk for a competition and I am keeping everything crossed that it might make the long-list.