Last week’s creative writing course was tough for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. All the exercises were based around writing about yourself, which as it turns out, I’m not too keen on!
At the start of the lesson all the students were presented with a list of words to read through, pick six, and then spend five minutes writing about a time we had felt each of the six words.
I consciously picked two words and randomly circled the other four. Here is what I wrote about:
When my parents had said their goodbyes and left me stood at my Halls of Residence doorway I came to the sudden realisation that I didn’t know anyone around me.
There were four rooms on my floor but nowhere really communal. I needed to introduce myself, alert the world to my presence, but that was going to be difficult.
Fear of social interaction took hold, keeping me within the confines of my room. I had a fridge, a bed, and an internet connection. What else would I need right?
Initially, I included this piece of prose, but have decided to remove it because I do not feel comfortable releasing it upon the world.
Enlightenment is that wonderful moment when everything in your head meshes together and you see the bigger picture. A revolutionary time when you achieve perfect clarity of a subject.
For some, enlightenment is a rapidly occurring experience, for me it is a slow and steady affair. My mind will wander, plodding on through the world with my body in tow. It wonders about the big things, it questions the smaller aspects.
Eventually, over time, I become enlightened.
“You don’t like cucumber?”
“How can you not like cucumber? It’s just water!”
“It’s just horrible”
“Just try a piece”
The cold, wet slab of green lay at the side of my plate, half buried beneath a leaf of iceberg lettuce. It stared up at me, looking pitiful.
Looking back, I don’t remember being grateful. Sure, I’ve been thankful for things in the past, my friends have done things for me, my parents have bought me things, but I’ve never felt grateful.
Is that a bad thing?
I’m sure I should be grateful for many things, I have been well brought up, I do not have a bad life…
B-team. I made the B-team. County wide school hockey and I made the B-team.
They should have put me on the A-team. I’ll show them!
I stood in goal, timeworn cricket pads covered my shins, quarter spheres of steel strapped over my toes. Chest pad, helmet, gloves, all older than I was…
Five minutes isn’t a particularly long time to write about things, especially when those things are single words. Obviously I didn’t get much written, and I’ll be honest, I’m not too happy with the outcome.
Undeterred, I moved forward to exercise two. Fifteen minutes writing on each of 6 subjects;
- A shop you love to visit now, or a shop you loved to visit as a child.
- An unforgettable boss/An unforgettable teacher.
- Something you once wanted very much, only to be disappointed when you finally got it.
- A place that very few people know about.
- A memorable time when you had, or you were a house guest.
- How you met a former boyfriend, girlfriend or friend.
As time was running short and there was more content to cover in the session, we only wrote about two of the scenarios. I had more trouble with this one, my second piece of writing was the third option and I really disliked it so I’m not going to post it here. Here’s the first thing I wrote though, about I shop I love to visit.
The glass fronted display windows were almost too enticing. A life-sized Queen Alien glared out from behind the panes, snarling at the busy London street, teeth bared, protecting the scores of other merchandise littering the display.
A perspex column in the centre played perch to a plethora of brightly coloured novels depicting detectives, explosions, villains, superheroes. Intricately carved replica wands, propped within a cast iron cauldron surrounded by spell books and scrolls. Daleks, sonic screwdrivers, model Simpsons characters, Finn & Jake themed apparel, DVDs, wallets, posters, crockery. This was a fantasy wonderland.
Tom stepped through the double doors into the crowded store.
Yep, I wrote about Forbidden Planet, I do love that store! Interestingly, two of the other students also wrote about Forbidden Planet. Geeks clearly congregate without realising. I could have written a lot more. Considering that I had only just walked through the doors there would be so much more to tell about the shop and it’s wondrous content.
Part of the activity sheet asked us to think about whether it was easier to write about the subjects we liked most or least and to try and understand why. Clearly I found writing about subjects I liked to be the easiest, most likely because the undesirable subjects bring back undesirable memories and emotions. As Andy said in the lesson, writing can be used as therapy, it can be a good thing to write about the undesirable, even if you burn it afterwards. This is something I will try, just don;t expect to see the results here.
Moving on to the last section of the lesson, we had a choice of three further exercises which I completely failed at. The subject matter completely baffled me and I didn’t manage to write a thing. Disappointingly, I just stared through the activity sheets, reading and re-reading them, desperately trying to conjure up something about myself that would enable me to fill the pages.
I suppose writer’s block had to strike at some point. I’ve committed to keeping the activity sheets safe and sound so that once the course has ended I can come back to them and have another crack. I won’t give away the details of each activity just yet, you’ll have to wait and see…
As for homework for the week, I still haven’t written anything but I have some subject matter to put pen to paper about, details of the assignment are in my previous post if you’re interested in having a go.