Heidi Ball, Illustrator and Writer, who graduated from the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice course in 2013 has won the 2016 Iceland Writers Retreat (IWR) writing competition with her short story ‘White Light’. The competition to win a spot on the retreat has been running for three years and attracted over 350 entries from around the world.
The IWR will take place in April this year and is a space for writers and those who enjoy the craft of writing to retreat and to foster their creative spirit. Over the course of the retreat participants can choose to enroll in small group writing workshops led by internationally acclaimed authors, Q&A panels, numerous readings, social functions and the opportunity to explore the Icelandic countryside.
Heidi says “I’m really looking forward to the IWR 2017 retreat in April – there are some amazing speakers and I’ve been lucky enough to book on five of the workshops, with; Claudia Casper, Sara Gruen, Bret Anthony Johnston, Madeleine Thien and Meg Wolitzer. Goodness, what a line-up. I cannot wait!”
White Light, by Heidi Ball (471 words)
The old man watched from the dryness of the shore. On black sand in a black night. He tilted his head upwards, waiting for the clouds to pass.
He would always come here, he knew that. This was where his heart was held. A tiny beating thing. The land was so vast, so strong, and only here he remembered his place.
This time, he stood with his family, his son by his side, a man now. And they gazed together, waiting for the moon.
He had always told him on each return, that you should never fear the moon, but only fear what you find reflected there of yourself. The only true advice he could think of, as he doubted again what he himself might see.
The moon slipped silently into vision. Its light fell upon them. He tried to remember to breath. The whiteness slid along the ground, over the water and rocks and over their own small frames.
His wife, slipped her hand through the shadows and grasped his. Her hair greyed, as had his, but she hadn’t aged. Her eyes spoke of youth and the chilled air had awoken her complexion.
They aligned themselves, ready to see, ready to understand. This was the land of the moon, created in its likeness and only here, it felt like a homecoming. A resting place for the eternal.
No words were spoken aloud, they were quieted in time. Their annual trip to this place brought that moment of peace. He thought of the next year and the next, and wanted to be here to see them all. His grandchild would make the trip and he could tell her about, it all, you had to feel as well as see.
He closed his eyes to soak in the light. Then opened them wide to see what would be revealed. He was consumed by that moon. Its detail etched into his mind. The variations of its surface, pitted with memory.
His wife turned to him, squeezed his hand one last time that year. She nodded at the moon and smiled. He wondered why, always wondered how it could be, them standing here.
The gentle wind pushed back the veil and he found his hand empty once again. The moment had passed. He appreciated his son’s company with a glance, and turned for a final look up to the sky. He mouthed his thanks.
This is where he’d remember her, his wife. Her laugh, her voice whispering to him. He felt his son’s hand on his shoulder. She had slipped away, but he couldn’t bring himself to let go. This is where they had met, this is where they came each year, and she would always turn up, like tonight, when the light was just right. On the black sand, under the white moon.