obsessive compulsive sunburns and other hazards of writing outdoors in july



ASHLEIGH has woken up at her sister’s place. BRIANNE having already left for work, she is sleeping off a late night spent watching random Michael Cera movies. That theme was accidental, not planned, total coincidence (but Nick and Norah is still ASHLEIGH’S favourite, even though he will always be George Michael Bluth to her). She tells herself she will have a cup of coffee outside in the sunshine, feed the cats, then be on her way. She has some errands to run, chores to do, a barbeque to be at later – this should a normal midsummer’s afternoon. While she sits with her coffee, she starts zoning out, thinking about a film premise that Jason and her had tossed into discussion a few years ago and relegated to the One-Day-We-Will-Expand-On-This Pile. So she grabs a single sheet of folscap paper and thinks she will jot down her one or two silly ideas.



BRIANNE has returned home for the last time that day, having gone to the barbeque-turned-Balderdash tournament without her sister. ASHLEIGH is sitting on the couch, using a Physics textbook for a lapdesk, piles of papers and drawings and notes stacked on the coffee table in front of her. Wired on coffee, sunburned across one half of her body from sitting at the patio table in the bright sun all day, right hand aching but powering through the cramps, (Fanboys on for the second time as background noise), literally and utterly unable to stop writing. She is possessed by some sort of demonic muse, surely. When she wakes the next morning the outside of her right pinkie’s knuckles will be swollen from being pressed against the table all day. Hands covered in smudged ink….

It was glorious. If only I can keep this up.

Author: Ashleigh Rajala

Ashleigh Rajala is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous journals, both online and in print. She is passionate about using story-telling to build community in Surrey BC, where she lives and works on the unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples.

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