What gets me writing?

Dear Sir, she typed, I am not one to complain (she lied), however I feel I must write to express my deep disappointment at finding this sticking plaster (enclosed) in one of your ‘quality’ fruit cakes.

I was deeply embarrassed by this discovery, since Mrs Johnson from next-door-but-one had already consumed two slices and found herself ‘taken short’ after the revelation. I suspect she will decline any further invitations to my afternoon teas, which will have a detrimental effect on my, hereto not insignificant, standing within the Bower Street community. I would like to be reimbursed for the faulty confection and recompensed for the stain on my, hitherto immaculate, reputation.

She signed off as Margaret Rutherby, Professional Writer.

This was Margaret’s three hundred and fifty-ninth letter. When her friend, Betty had asked, “what gets you writing?” she had replied,

“What gets me writing? Well, it started with some slightly off bacon about a year ago, I received a ten-pound voucher for that. Then there was a pair of shoes with some loose stitching, I got a replacement pair for them. It’s carried on from there.”

Margaret’s description of herself was entirely accurate. She wrote religiously every week, mostly to large corporations, and had been compensated for that writing, often generously, on more than two hundred and fifty occasions.

She sealed the envelope, glued on the stamp she had steamed off her sister’s Christmas card and put it on the side table, for posting.

With a pair of tweezers, she pushed the dead beetle into the half-eaten sausage roll, wrapped it in some cling film and placed it in the padded envelope. She sat back at her computer and began typing, ‘Dear Sir…’


16 thoughts on “What gets me writing?

  1. This is a brilliant story, Jess. You have created such a strong character and vivid story world in so few words. I particularly love the voice you’ve chosen – the exact right style and tone for the story. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best part is the not-wrong but slightly awkward uses of ‘hitherto’ and ‘hereto’ and, in fact, the entire vocabulary used in the written letters.

    The worst part is that it is too short. Which is not to say that this should be a novel, but the concept could go on twice as long without ruining it (probably) – the conversation with Betty could be extended, her house described etc. – giving it more detail. If that’s what you wanted, obviously.


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