‘As our carriage trundled towards Wimbeldon Park and the Circus, I gawped out of the window; it had surprised us both when I’d won the customary scramble with Alfi for the prime seat and I was determined to make the most of my achievement, especially considering his continuous angry prodding.
The air around me was crisp like the autumn leaves and I pulled my coat tight as breath escaped my mouth in ghost like waves. For a moment my ghost’s fogged the lights of the circus as it appeared on the horizon and by the time they’d departed the eccentric mirage had swollen in size. We began to overtake bundled up walkers, their faces glowing unanimously red in cold anticipation. Children younger than the girls peered into the carriage from their father’s shoulders before we passed them.
Still furious at his seat position, Alfi shoved his face past my own as I exhaled at the sight of the crowd; their thronged mass had blotted the front of the red and white tent that was glittering brighter than our tickets. I yelled as my head thudded against the carriage side in the scramble and mother shrieked at the disorder until Alfi pulled out his lower lip and retreated. I rubbed my head to make a point and settled again to my examination of the circus growth.
It loomed; fairy dust dominated the skyline, sprinkling promises of escape into the November north wind. They whistled past the faces of the walkers, enticing them before continuing into the city.
My legs wriggled at the thought of what awaited and one brushed against fathers. Having in the moment forgotten today’s version of father I framed my apologies as I looked up towards him. Except, he hadn’t even seemed to notice. The stern lip and furrowed brow were absent. Instead his moustache was lifted by a smile that made him look young. His composure was as straight as when he read our reports but his eyes glittered with fairy dust.’
Extract taken from my 2013 short story ‘The Circus’.
Brenda Assael depicts the Circus as a ‘spectacular and gaudy dream’; whilst I wouldn’t presume to refer to my own writing as spectacular, and I hope it won’t appear gaudy, there are traits of the circus, such as the figure of the Ringmaster, which I do aim to emulate in my blog. By convention a Ringmasters task is to conduct audiences through a dizzying medley of acts, ensuring a seamless display and enticing excitement. One might consider this role as none too distant to that of a writer’s, for similarly to the enigmatic leader, a writer has the ability to put on a show that entices and excites the mind of an audience. However, the acts that he or she conducts into seamless performances are not clowns and acrobats, but words plucked from the jumble of our language and arranged into ‘the best order’ (Samuel Coleridge). A great writer’s ability to do this, and thus create stories with the power to transport readerships to alternate realities, is a talent that has always appeared to me as one of mankind’s greatest magic tricks.
Whilst I don’t pretend to be a master of this act yet, as you might assume from to the title of my blog, it is a talent I am attempting to learn. Perhaps The Ring Lady in training would have been a more appropriate title?
But that just doesn’t sound as good.
So without further ado….. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages…… Welcome to the circus!
Bucholz, Quint (1985) Man on a High Wire