Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Night of Suspense

By Belinda

In from the bone chilling cold and dark of an Ontario January evening we all stumbled, in to the hospitable warmth of Bonnie's house. We came shivering and with bodies tensed against the icy grip of winter, ready for tension of a different kind--an evening sharing writing on the topic of "suspense."

I had racked my brain intermittently for days but failed to come up with any inspiration on the topic, so I went empty handed, but looking forward to listening.

There were nine of us; women whose ages range from 40s to 80s on this particular night. Who knew that such gentle female souls hid talents in the macabre vein?!

We sat on the edge of our seats, gasping as we listened to each cleverly woven tale of suspense. We whispered under our breath, "No, don't do it; don't go down those stairs; stay in your room!" And we sighed in frustration as the main characters seemed determined to ignore our urgings.

I am prone to getting carried away by stories to an annoying degree--at least to judge from Paul's reaction when we watch a movie together. I am used to hearing, "Belinda, it's just a movie!" But I can't help it; from the first scene, or the first word, if it is any good at all, I am right there, cringing; crying or laughing out loud.

So tonight my palms were literally sweating as these writers wove their magic words into a dark cauldron of impending doom. There were creaking doors; squeaking stairs; power outages; feet dragging along a floor downstairs--even a vivid description of the London blitz from someone who'd lived through the terror of the dreaded "doodlebugs;" bombs that flew on motors then fell from the sky. By the end we were thoroughly and deliciously spooked.

One of our number, and I am serious; arrived after having just been interviewed by the police for an hour. A dead body had just been found in one of the apartments in her basement and they were doing an investigation. Our eyes widened at this news. How in keeping with the tone of the evening.

Next month I'm quite relieved that our assignment is to write a children's story!


Dave Hingsburger said...

how about a childrens' story with a creaky door, a squeaky mouse and a sneaky cat? two, two, two themes in one! i'm like you, well in one way at least, i truly get into stories. i've been known to shout out loud in surprise while reading! it can startle others but on the other hand, let them be startled!

Belinda said...

Oh, Dave, and I am sure that like me you have embarrassed yourself by bursting out into laughter in a public place, book in hand! :)

Yes! One of the poets in the group read a deliciously scary poem that we all immediately said, "Children would love that!" Children love the thrill of a "safe scare!" Thank you for that confirmation.

storygal said...

Suspense, as you were feeling while watching that movie, can have one gripping the arm of a chair, hanging on for safety. Good suspense writing can do that. Reminds me of looking in every corner after an Alfred Hitchcock movie when I was a kid.
Good luck on that children's story.

Belinda said...

Oh, Cari, there is something funny about watching Alfred Hitchcock when you were "a kid." :) I mean "Psycho" "The Birds!" :) But I understand. Mum, Robert and I used to watch the his movies once a week on TV when Rob and I were in our young teens. We loved them.