Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



Out Stealing Timber II

I want to say a little more about that short phrase, which at this stage is all we know from the blonde woman’s lips. ‘We share only a bairn, a dog and a car.’

It strikes me as a brave thing to say because it reveals certain vulnerabilities. It tells whoever is listening that she is alone, that she has a child to care for and that she has been abandoned by her partner or has chosen to live without him for whatever reason.

And we can also speculate some on the priority she gives to the areas in which they still maintain a common interest. The child comes first, followed by the dog and car in that order.

She and her partner may be able to communicate and co-operate quite well over the child, both being happy to contribute materially and emotionally to her well-being and development while willing to step back from continuous involvement from time to time and let the other take control and responsibility.

This being a fictional narrative, however, we are not required to stick closely to the truth, and should our purpose require we could remove that degree of rational co-operation from the woman with the smile and leave her an unconscious urge to punish her ex-partner, using their daughter as a stick with which to beat him. When she tells us she shares these things with her ex, she may not be truthful. For all we know she may sabotage the car, starve the dog and poison the mind of the bairn.

. . . . . . . . . . to be continued

One Response to “Out Stealing Timber II”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    Now, the question is, and I have no answer, how to get your reader to think as deeply about your sentence as you have. Or do we really want them to? If they analysed everything we wrote into the ground then where would we be? Sometimes a cigar is simply a cigar.

    jb says: Hi Jim. What is nice about that is that you can smoke it or not. If you decide to leave it, perhaps further along the path you’ll be reminded that it’s still there, and you can reassess if you want it now, in the light of perhaps being a little bit wiser than you were to start with.