Inspiration can strike when you least expect it. For my woeful tale of mechanical mishaps, Catharsis, I am afraid to say that I was inspired by true events.
So what do you do when your car is falling apart around you? Do you weep or wail? Do you thrash the bonnet with twigs – I favoured this option for quite a while – or do you take the tale and weave it into a story? Add a bit to embroider the tale here, introduce a dash of make-believe there, stick a soupcon of fiction in the middle and lo, a story has materialised. The words no longer looks like your truth, but it is still there. The truth is the skeleton around which we have built the muscles and the skin of the story.
If I am honest, the title is the most truthful part of the whole thing. For this was a cathartic experience. A chance to laugh at the misfortune to which I had been subjected. And, also, a chance to try a different type of tale: dialogue-only and aiming for the nonsensical and the ridiculous. Ghosts, one of the first short stories I wrote, was a two-hander (or was it?), but this new story is definitely something new for me: a conversation, the back and forth of two old friends. The sorry saga of the car that wouldn’t behave.
Hopefully you find it funny. But, even if you don’t, I feel a hell of a lot better for having written it.
You can read Catharsis here.