… begins with a single step (said the Chinese philosopher Laozi).
Ernest Hemingway said: ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence.’
So… taking this very literally (and not, of course – before you contact me up-in-arms – how Hemingway intended it to be taken)…
Begin with one (literally) true sentence. One (literally) true sentence about something that happened yesterday.
This was mine.
Yesterday the moon was yellow.
And then you carry on.
Carry on factually, or carry on fictionally, or factionally. As you like it.
I did the exercise myself, and here’s what I came up with:
Yesterday the moon was yellow. I walked home with my shopping and stood very still on the pavement to look at the moon. There were people with cameras – around their necks, or even, in one case, on a tripod – and they seemed to be photographing the moon, and I wanted to photograph it too but I didn’t have a camera – except for the one on my phone, and photos on my phone, especially of the sky or moon, are always disappointing.
So I had to go home with the moon in my head, making special efforts to carry it, carefully, over the skiddy pavements – perhaps I forgot to say it was icy that day – as if it was one of the things in my shopping bags, as mundane as a pint of milk or an oblong of cheese – and in some ways, to some people, the moon is mundane – perhaps I forgot to say there were lots of people without cameras, not even noticing how yellow the moon was – or how round – but I will never be one of those people. I carried the moon home with me in my head, and unlike the photographs that others took I can pull the yellow moon out of my head again whenever I like and hold it in front of me on the palm of my hand.
And when I’ve held it in front of me for a long enough time I can tell you about it: how yellow it was, as yellow as beeswax or the flame of a candle, how round it was – just as round as a football that someone had kicked a little too high – and the sight of it tickled something inside my head. It woke up lots of other memories of yellow moons, and I remembered another thing too: I remembered that I’m never alone, even when it seems that way. I remembered that thousands of other faces being shined by that moon have felt the sorts of things I feel, that we’re all – always – together, whether we know it or not.
And now that you’ve had a good look at my moon you can carry it home, too, in your head, if you like.
© Lynsey White, 2015