I am excited to be able to utilize Nothing Any Good as a platform, not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works and first takes. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essay, short stories, and musings–not only my own, but other authors as well–is a valuable commodity for writers. Here is our first short story.
An Empty Sky
by Marjorie Owen
It’s just as well I was never one of that curious band of women known as ‘window shoppers,’ because in all the years of my first unhappy marriage I was so hard pressed for cash that ‘window shopping’ would have been just an exercise in futility and frustration. Clothing, jewellery, and their allied fripperies never interested me, and they still don’t, although my second, wonderfully happy marriage is to a man who can afford to indulge me in every whim. He, poor darling, is the one who feels the frustration–he would like nothing better than to see me spending his money much more freely than I do. His sole aim in life is to try and make up to me for all the deprivations of the foregoing years and he nearly submerges me under a constant shower of gifts. Of course I accept them most gratefully because I know they are chosen with much loving care, but I would be just as blissfully happy without them.
Which brings me to this very odd story–the story that began when he refused to buy me something I had set my heart on?
Through all the dreary years, the two things which helped to relieve the monotony and cheerlessness were music and reading; tastes, which, thank God, my dead man shares with me. So now that I have the time and the means, I love browsing amongst books and in record shops, buying all my favourites to keep forever. Our house is full of books and music, not to be used anymore as an escape from life, but as things we can enjoy together.
Apart from these joyful pursuits, I also like, from time to time, wandering around picture galleries. Not that I know anything about art or the finer points of painting–I belong to the “I-know-what-I-like” school so derided by true aficionados–but I love beauty in all its forms and if my ideas of what constitutes beauty don’t coincide with other people’s, well I can’t help that! So there I was one day, pottering about in a smallish art gallery, more to fill in some time than anything, when I saw the painting.
It was in oils, signed by a name I’d never heard of before. In the foreground was a strip of deserted beach, the tide running out to a calm grey sea, where one small boat appeared to be at anchor. The remainder of the canvas, a good half of it, was just an empty sky. The only touch of bright colour was at the top, red reflection shading into pink, of the sun hidden behind clouds. Whether it was sunrise of sunset, I couldn’t guess. And that was all. Why it fascinated me so much I’ve no idea. I only know I loved it and I stood gazing at it for about ten minutes…
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This delightful excerpt was shared with me by Jesse Dee, who found this story (and over fifty others) in a box after her mother had passed away. Jesse Dee chose a select few to share with the world. You can find the short story on Smashwords and follow Jesse Dee at her blog.
Here’s the tale of her mother and how Jesse Dee happened upon the stories.
Marjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen was born on September 11th 1911 in England and endured the bombardment of World War II. She was born out-of-wedlock with an Irish Lord for a father and a Russian princess as her mother. Although her life before working is somewhat sketchy, her career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were amongst some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek out any recognition or fame.
Marjorie passed away on March 28th 2004, after a very full life, at the age of ninety-three.
Mum had told Mike that she had written a couple of stories and let him read them some years ago. She expressed no interest in having them published at that time. He was never aware of the amount that she had written until she passed away. Mike, being an only child and having no Aunts or Uncles, is the sole heir to Marjorie’s estate. He discovered the box full of Mum’s writings on clearing her flat in England and took them back to the USA.
As an avid reader Dee (daughter-in-law) became fascinated with Mum’s stories and books. All her writings were hand written on legal size paper or note books and on both sides of the paper. Dee began reading some of the short stories (there are fifty plus). After reading a few, she was hooked and decided to attempt, the monumental task of transcribing them to computer. Mum’s writing was not the easiest to read, however, Dee had set herself the challenge and was going to follow through. At first, her husband, Mike assisted her with the ‘translation’ of Mum’s hand writing. At times they became frustrated with each other and Mum. After a couple of stories, Dee became the expert, reading Mum’s writing and even improving her own typing skills and speed. As yet, Dee has not completed the task, with a few more stories to go and two novels, after several years of work.