From November to December each year, a competition known as the Gary Grew Award (University of the Sunshine Coast ) is open for submissions. For Creative Writing Students at the University, this is the Holy Grail. I wrote two pieces this year, both very different. Because I could not make up my mind which one to enter, I tried a popular poll. Then I asked a couple of my peers for their advice. The jury was out 50/50. So I resorted to the time honoured tradition of flipping a coin. “Myrddin Wyylt” lost. This piece was originally written on a watermarked page. With drop capitals and different script. I am unable to reproduce this in the blog.The piece that I have submitted is called, “A One-Sided Conversation.” The theme of the competition is “My life began with the written Word.”. I will publish the other piece when the competition results are released in January in the meantime I hope you enjoy …………..
Slowly his trembling hand lowers the peacock quill into the ink. He looks at his hands. He is lost in thought. The quill, now forgotten, falls unheeded from his fingers knocking over the pot. Blood red ink bleeds across the parchment. Holding one hand in front of his face, he traces the thick veins under the thin skin with his finger. They remind him of the lines on the maps they once drew. His mind fills with memories of laughter and sunshine.
Myrddin stands by the river. The water makes a soft gurgling sound, pattering over the stones. Laughing, the young boy jumps from stone to stone splashing water everywhere. Bending and scooping the water into a ball, he tosses it to the old man. Myrddin catches the shimmering orb, it collapses sending water cascading like diamonds down his gown.
‘Myrddin Wyllt, Myrddin look at me! Look at me! Make me a frog! Myrddin pleeease’.
‘Wort, first you must tell me why you want to be a frog.’
‘I want to jump and swim, and know what it is like to live among the lowest in my kingdom.’
Myrddin laughs, ‘Wort, one day you will be a wise and compassionate king, but no frogs today. Now come, dry off, it is late, we must go home.’
Back in the darkened room, his eyes focus on the dais in front of him. Light spills from the tall white tapers, casting deep shadows and the golden armour glows in the wavering candlelight. He sits silently beside the man he has loved and nurtured. He sees the man and his worth, the others see only a king. He begins to scribe the words to send him on his final journey. In his mind, he hears an echo,
‘Myrddin… please, look at me, look at me.’
Memories of the boy in the sunlight who wanted to be an owl or a frog but most of all a good king, wash around him. He raises his head and the memories fade. His heart is empty. He sees the spoiled parchment and the spilt ink, the stains seeping into the velvet cuff of his gown. Taking a deep breath he sighs, waves his hand, and mutters a magykal formula, then scribes the words;
“My life began with the written word and so must it end. Le Morte Darthur.”