Inspiration can leap out at you any time of the day or night. The floating states just before and after sleep are great creative environments, as are dreams. Top tip: write them straight down if they seem interesting.*
I was inspired to write THE MAGIC COAT while driving to work, thinking about how a tiny piece of magic from childhood can remain when we're all grown up.
*trust me, in the cold light of day chances are they're not!
The Magic Coat
Me, a little girl aged six.
Sifting seconds from richer cousins. Rifling through, while sister May pouts, ‘Nothing fits!’
I offer up a gappy grin.
'More for me then.'
'Try these jeans, this top, those boots,' says Mum, puffing on a fag.
A rag-tag fashion show begins. May laughs through her hand because
my top's on back to front.
Diving into trashy treasure, I catch my breath as flashy red shouts out from under muted grey. May snatches up a scarlet pea coat: fur-trimmed hood and silver buttons. I brim with fiery triumph when the narrow cuffs cut circulation.
Wrapped in silk-lined cherry richness, flushed face twinning crimson wool
and polyester mix.
Mum and May gape as I twirl.
That winter, strangers stop us in the street, remarking on my grace and style. I smile,
serene, from deep within the hooded warmth.
Next winter, howling in frustration because my special coat has shrunk. I plead with Mum to buy another; she shakes her head while sly May smirks.
These days I’ve lost that gap-toothed grin, but when I slick red lipstick on
reflected in my mirror mind—
a six-year-old in her magic coat.
Pen Avey 2022