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January 25, 2011

ICW Week 3 Task

Writing about shoe–induced mania from another sunny day

This weeks ICW task is a short narrative from the 'other' perspective. The original perspective was lifted from Rebecca Payne's blog. How's that for intertextuality?

Annette seemed bent on bleeding the last watery saps of our anaemic conversations and taking them with tea. The Yoga class had been physically unbearable; my hips aching and my back involuntarily twitching throughout the lotus-to-half-moon-sunshine move that was supposed to engage my brain, soul and pelvic floor muscles in one invasive movement, but which actually consisted of me squirming around on a bed-mat like an armless prostitute trying to hold out a hand for payment, and even the simple moves were wracked with the guilt of trying to suppress and quietly filter digestive wind. Despite this, Annette’s conversation represented a new low. A patchwork of pointless memories and comments on our surroundings, she managed to bridge the gap between directionless and inarticulate. I could only pray that she would have no access to a conversational-source like television or, worse, the internet during our arduous rendezvous, as I assumed these would provide her with inexhaustible observational material and ultimately drive me to suicide.

Coming through her own front door she tripped on the mat. Attempting to impress upon her the importance of my schedule, and beginning to suffer from the effects of a caffeine and Ritalin binge I had engaged in in order to stick to this schedule, I talked quickly; pre-empting her, knocking off the last few words, literally talking over her until she stopped. Somehow, she kept on trying to talk, inanely, until I had swallowed her entire conversational repertoire and effectively communicated the fact that I was not much of a listener.

But instead of encouraging me to leave, she just went quiet. This left me standing, rattling away like an engine, talking about things I really didn’t give a damn about like schools, the Middle East and Yoghurt. I began to wonder whether she was in some way deficient when she got down on her knees and began staring into the fireplace, mumbling ‘my father... twisted ... to start ... to firestarters. hmm. lovely.’ Terrified that her new fireplace, which even I could tell was a cheap electric without a chimney and necessitated no firestarters, was resurfacing repressed memories of father-daughter fire abuse, and worried that I was about to be their first victim since some techno-induced spate in the early nineties (when at least most houses actually had chimneys), I turned my attention to the carpet. ‘Is this new, Annette?’, I said, my eyes wide with terror.

“What Jean? Sorry? No, no that came with the house.” She trailed back-off into what I could only imagine was a reverie about a Ceilidh in a barn that she had doused with petrol and lit with the cigarette-lighter from her arsonist Dad’s Ford Escort.

“It’s so plush, Annette.”

Come back to me Annette, you were boring before but now you’re too much to handle.

Annette mumbled something about Peppermints and wandered out to the kitchen. I remained standing.

January 20, 2011

Introduction to Creative Writing T2W1 Task!

The first of our ICW tasks. Here is the exceptionally generic text I generated in class:

A: You weren’t supposed to see that.

B: No. I didn’t...

A: You didn’t see it?

B: No, I didn’t mean /to

A: You didn’t mean to see it.

B: No.

A: Sorry.

B: No.

A: No I mean I’m sorry that I...

B: That you wrote it down?

A: That I did it.

B: Right.

A: Right. I certainly shouldn’t have left it in the bin...

B: Why would you write that down?

A: I don’t know

B: No.

A: It won’t happen again! Ha.

B: No.

A: It certainly wasn’t that I was proud of it or thought it was Ok to do that...

B: No I shouldn’t think so.

A: Right.

And here is my first draft of it translated into a third person narrative (and a lift.)

As A entered the lift, the predictable unpredictable happened. A gust of shaft wind, or an air conditioner's first gust, or the butterfly’s wings beating blew the piece of paper into the air. That despicable and ill thought-out note, written as an attempt to work out whether shame was really warranted, which it most certainly was, flicked in unpredictable wisps around the air of the lift, until the doors closed and the atmosphere stabilised and the paper tamely floated into the open hot drink, discernible by its smell as some bastard form of coffee, a fruitymachimoccalatte or something, of the only other person in the lift. B, a tall and pale but slight-figured girl, peeled it slowly from the liquid, pushing the flecks of shredded fruit from the now sepia paper, and ingesting the six words scratched onto it.

Ill advisedly but understandably, A did not snatch the paper from the fruity bastard drink immediately, thinking that perhaps there was still time to deny association. Realising that this was no longer possible, the paper having clearly originated from his breast pocket in the freak gust, A tried to explain himself.

You weren’t supposed to see that.

No. I didn’t...

You didn’t see it?

No, I didn’t mean to see it.

You didn’t mean to see it.


A short pause naturally occurred, neither perceiving anything further to be gained from the conversation but neither able to bear the silence.



The No seemed sharper than before. Perhaps B had become more sure of her personal indignation towards the new information she was privy to, A thought.

I mean I’m sorry that I...

This time she sliced through the sentence, quite uncharacteristically for someone so tall-yet-slight.

That you wrote it down?

That I did it.




Each time the word got longer, like dragging a whip before a lash.

I certainly shouldn’t have left it in my front pocket, vulnerable to freak gusts.

A thought that he’d thought that, but actually found that he’d said it.

Why would you write that down? And what’s wrong with this lift, why is it taking so long?

Pouncing upon an opportunity to express self-disgust and distance himself from his perversion, and confusing the answer of two questions into one, A loaded his next sentence with all the pathetic self-deprecation he could load three words with.

I don’t know!

The line became so overly emphasised that the lift shook and the exclamation mark took on its own sound. It actually only made A seem more maniacal. B responded in a manner she was beginning to perfect.


It won’t happen again. Ha!

A brief burst of horrific, echoing laughter that spilt some of B’s still-open-topped drink.


It certainly wasn’t because I was proud of it...


Sliced again.


The lift doors didn’t open.

More groundbreaking literature and tired irony to come.

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