Writing Exercise #5

I think writing exercise #5 was meant to be a bit surreal–write a story from the viewpoint of a freshly scrubbed floor, 15 minute time limit. Heh. You’re not going to throw an old animist with that one.


I’ve heard of something called “planking,” but I don’t think that’s what it meant when my tree went to the sawmill. It meant planks. Literally. They turned my graceful, beautiful old alder into planks, and since I was of the tree and in the tree, I went along. It’s not as if I had much choice.

I’m not sure what I was being punished for. I bet it was Zeus. “King of the Gods” and all, sure, but he never handled rejection well. I mean, I could have said yes, it’s not that I would have minded so much, but then there was Hera to contend with. Believe me, being sawn into lumber isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person.

So I thought, fine, I’m a spirit that inhabits a stack of planks now. No more wind rustling my leaves. No more dodging the satyrs in the sacred grove…well, now that I think about it, the situation wasn’t all bad. And most of my planks stayed in the same bundle, which kept my spirit more or less intact and not very much changed. I was hoping to be made into a nice boat, perhaps. I hadn’t seen much of the world, there in the forest, but the nymphs talked about it all the time, and sometimes the nereids visited. I thought I should like to sail on the ocean, if I couldn’t live quietly in my grove, but no. Apparently, Zeus held a grudge.

Now my tree is a floor, and in a sense, so am I. In something called an “apartment.” A man’s apartment. it’s a lively place, I’ll grant you. He has friends, and I like the parties, even though people drop things and he’s not much for cleaning. I could overlook that. After all, he’s kind of cute, for a mortal. It’s taken some adjustment, but I’m learning to work my spirit free again so I can roam as in the old days, but I can’t meet him like this. Not yet, anyway. I’m filthy…

His mother is coming. There’s a sense of urgency, but I’m not complaining. He’s straightening the place up, and wonder of wonders–he’s actually mopping. Not a professional job, but not too bad. I’ve got a bit of a shine. Much better. I can do this.

Maybe he’ll think I’m a ghost. I sort of am, in a way, but I am also his floor. And I am, yes, very much real, and alive, and perhaps I will show him. Once his mother leaves, of course.