alfie lee writing



Charlie was in Capetown. She's traveled all over. She's journeyed to some of the most beautiful destinations on earth seeking inspiration but all she wrote was shit.

Not long after she had made up her mind to devote her life to writing fiction, Charlie spent many hours and made some considerable attempts and eventually honed her writing to a retrofittable formula that gave her a track record of a seventy-four per cent acceptance rate at the innumerable writing programmes and residencies made available by funding from corporations and governments looking to prove themselves champions of the arts.

As Charlie cast her eye over the tiny, threadbare room at the cottage where she will spend the month seeking inspiration composing her next application, she thrills at the sight of the narrowing wedge of sunlight jammed into the far corner containing in it glittering dust motes languidly swirling on lazy upswells like lava in a lamp. "Delightful!" said Charlie. And later, reaching for a more rote-worthy adjective, "Splendiferous!" she tweeted.

A week on, in the throes of a beautiful, golden, long-shadowed, late afternoon, banal for that time of year in that part of the world, perched on a bench in the delightfully overgrown backyard of the residence, drowsy with flies, poised delicately between deciding on her next writer's retreat, Bali or Bruges, why not both? Charlie's gaze comes to rest on her glass of sangria. It was beading profusely. And next to a sliver of flotsam fruit sat a solitary piece of disappearing ice. Pity there aren't any retreats to the Antartic, thought Charlie. That would be too cool. That would be something to post about. An isolated but insulated and immaculate and well-provisioned colony under the rugged sweep of towering grey andesite formations scoured smooth with glaciers. A blizzard is raging. Inside her private wood-stove cabin she is feeling all warm and fuzzy. Across the bay, fleshing through the whirling snow, a ghost of cream on cold, a bear adrift on a rug-sized piece of floe, its black eyes blinking, looking not a little sad.


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