26 January 2009

Collision of Cultures

An excerpt from the story that I'll be submitting for the Writers & Artists Yearboook 2009 Short Story Competition:

The monsoon season was raging. The dirt roads were soft and soupy; having collapsed under relentless waves of overloaded traffic. Catherine was on her way to the office and her senses were being freshly assaulted.The alleyways were liquid messes of caustic garbage and mud; the air a mass of poisonous droplets.

In a space that should accommodate three lanes of traffic there was a chaotic explosion of vehicles and animals. A truck veered too closely. It was caked in mud and its bent axle struggled with an unbalanced load. Her polished hotel car was a poor match but still her driver beeped and pushed in front of the truck. The truck beeped and pushed ahead. The beeps became louder and more frequent. She heard them not as simple traffic warnings but as raised voices shouting at each other. These vehicles appeared to be arguing and taunting each other and she was frightened by the persistence of her driver in the face of such threatening opposition. After a few very long minutes, her driver capitulated. Catherine felt her ribcage relax as she resumed breathing.


  1. I can visualise this on many of your 3rd world escapades. One comment in general regarding recent articles: Consider that you may be over-using adjectives. Some paragraphs seem to be just a bit over-loaded in this regard. You certainly need adjectives, but sometimes a more graphic phrase may get your message the impact you seek. Cyclist

  2. Hi 'Anonymous' (Dad?)
    Yes, you're dead right. This is something that I get critized for all the time in my study. In the 'industry', they talk about 'tight writing' which means 'cut the crap and get to the point faster and with greater impact'.
    Point taken. I will try to tighten it before I submit it.


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