A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2015 Week One

Posted on: June 28th, 2015 by Shannon Fay No Comments

Last Sunday the Clarion West Write-a-Thon began. I’ve posted about taking part in 2013 and how I found it surprisingly motivating. Well, this year isn’t off to such a rosy start.

Last Monday I took an overnight bus from London to Amsterdam. The pros of overnight bus travel are that it’s cheap (doubly so if you consider that it saves you from having to pay for a night’s accommodation in a youth hostel somewhere). The downsides are that you barely get any sleep. Oh, and people steal your stuff.

When I was first getting onto the bus I went to heft my huge rolling bag into the storage compartment under the bus. A man helped me lug it on with a smile. “I’ll help you and you help me,” he said, and I helped him lift his bag into the belly of the bus. He sat beside me on the bus and we chatted. We were both a long ways from home. When we were going through Dover he woke me up so I could see the white cliffs. At one of our break stops he insisted on giving me a fish sandwich even after I told him that I don’t eat meat (fish included). I took a few tiny bites and secretly threw the rest out in the woman’s washroom. He got off at Den Hague, the stop before mine. He was a nice guy.

I really hope he wasn’t the one who stole my bag.

When I got to Amsterdam the driver opened the bus’s storage compartment. People grabbed their baggage so quickly it was like watching a flock of birds take flight and scatter. But my big green monster was gone. The bus driver was no help. He was a bus driver who had just driven for over ten hours, not a magician that could make missing bags reappear. I complained at the bus’s office and was redirected to a woman whose job seemed largely to be making crying travellers calm down by giving them tea and meaningless paperwork to fill out. Weirdly enough, it worked.

What was in the big suitcase? Pretty much all my clothes except for what I was wearing. Some notebooks, some work stuff. A hairdryer. Honestly, what brought me to tears was the sheer relief that nothing of true importance was in that suitcase. Everything truly important I keep close to me. I even did it subconsciously. For example, a few days after the suitcase heist I found a little usb stick in my jacket pocket. This little thumb drive has the back-ups of stories I wrote on my old computer. For such a tiny thing it has so much packed inside it. There’s no reason that it would be in my jacket rather than in my suitcase, and yet there it was, still with me. On some level I knew that I wanted it close to me.

Of course, even if I hadn’t lost anything irreplaceable, it still sucked having no clothes. I had to barter for woman’s underwear at an Amsterdam market. I combed through piles of 1 euro clothing trying to find stuff that would fit me. I bought new dresses and slept in them. I bought socks so cheap I could make out my toes through them as soon as I put them on. I bought one of those square, plastic bags to keep all my clothes in. I bought a touristy ‘AMSTERDAM’ shirt when the weather grew warm. I found a woman’s top in my youth hostel’s ‘Free stuff box’ (aka the lost and found box) and wore it despite the fact that it smelled like weed.

Anyway, this is just a long, roundabout way of saying that I didn’t get much writing done this week. And it’s not all doom and gloom either. I was in Amsterdam so I could meet up with my sister and her boyfriend as they travelled around Europe. We had a blast: we went on canal cruise, a Heineken brewery tour, a walking tour of the city. We drank beers along the canal and went to a sketch comedy show. We went to the Van Gogh Museum and ate family-style at an Indonesian restaurant. We even visited a green café, though we didn’t smoke anything (we did split a very expensive brownie three ways).

And then I was on the bus back to London (this time I kept all my bags up in the coach with me). Back in London and my friend Rebecca and I continue to look for a place to live, which also takes a lot of time and energy. Luckily, we’ve found a good-sized room to rent, so that’s a huge relief.

Also, if you like my blog, you’ll love Rebecca’s:


My goal for the Write-a-Thon is to add 40k to my novel. This week I only managed to write 3k. I also wrote a 1000 word story for a flash fiction contest, so at least there’s that. I hope that this week I will have more time to write. I mean, the only big thing I’m doing is moving into a new place. No big deal.

If you want to support me in this year’s Write-a-Thon, please go here.

I just released a collection of short fiction! Please check it out here.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply