Lucky Day – Very Short Story

I met a nice man in the bar of the golf club, and he invited me for a round of golf. I said “sure James, that would be lovely.”

We walked down to the first tee. On the way I explained that I used to play as a junior but had not played since.” I haven’t any clubs” I said, “may I borrow yours please?” The first hole was a par four that went over a beautiful lake with trees on the far bank. He took his shot from the pro tees and I from the ladies. To be honest I was proud of my ball flying through the air and over the trees, I knew it would be near the green. His was further away. He took his second shot and walked towards the green, passing me a 7 iron on the way. I lined my feet up and addressed the ball, it landed right near the hole. This was clearly my lucky day.

Freewriting – Research Point 1.3

Rabbit Hide and Seek from exercise 1.6

Freewriting is something that I have never tried. It’s something that I look forward to trying. I’ve heard it said that it’s the best way to overcome writers block as it makes use of different neural pathways, and this in turn creates a shift in entrenched habits.

Some points to take away from Nina’s writing.

  • Build up slowly from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.
  • Many writers use this technique (it’s common because it works [sic]
  • Don’t give up if it doesn’t bring immediate results, it takes practice.
  • Writing upon waking is most successful but you can freewrite when ever.
  • If you don’t have pen and paper then use the notepad on your phone.
  • It’s about freedom to write.
  • It may help to have a prompt, a subject, word or sentence.
  • Keep writing until the time is up even if you write ‘I don’t know what to write’
  • It isn’t meant to be seen by others (although I probably will post the freewriting assignment on my blog [sic]).
  • Don’t correct you writing or add structure or form.

Reference

Nina; 2015; Go with the Flow: a Strategy for Writing; Online; AT: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/creative-writing/go-with-the-flow-a-strategy-for-writing/ (accessed on 29/02/2020)

Why Literature Matters – Research Point 1.2

Read what Cathy Baxandall, Vice-Chair of OCA Trustees and a trustee of the Ilkley Literature Festival believes about writing and literature at http://weareoca.com/education/why-literature-matters/

My favourite quote from Why Literature matters is “Literature is therefore much more than mere entertainment – it is a fundamental technique for the understanding of ourselves and our universe”. For me, the universe is ‘other’ and I can get to know a little more about you and I when I write or read. But there is more. I read fantasy as a way to escape from the pain of being alive, and this is really important for others as well. Baxandall expresses this with the following quote, “Literature breaks the continuum of everyday and makes us stop and think”. Although fantasy makes me stop and think, I often see myself in the Rome of one of the characters and I can become somebody else. I see in pictures when I read, I visualise the written word and I feel grateful for this.

Biography is important as literature to me also. I gain a new perspective when I read biography, and I get to work through and understand my own issues and qualities when writing auto-biographical snippets.

I can relate when Baxandall says, “Propaganda or saying something in an unreal universe that resonates in a real one, perhaps to better criticise the status quo or address a moral dilemma”. I do this with my photo essays, my writing about Extinction Rebellion and the Climate Emergency is a good example of this. Perhaps this is literature the explores by concept and fact at the same time. Literature that adds colour to concept is a way of bringing new or deeper understanding to the reader.

I’ve enjoyed reading the blog post and I feel that I’m gaining more understanding of my own need to write, as well as different genres of literature.

Reference

Baxandall, C; 2015; Why Literature Matters; Online; AT https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/education/why-literature-matters/?cn-reloaded=1 (accessed on 29/02/2020)

Making The Most Of Any Opportunity To Write.

This isn’t a long post, more of a reminder for me.

I woke up during the following a dream. In the dream I was writing furiously at a desk. My mum came into the room and asked why I was sulking. I explained that I wasn’t sulking, and that I was writing. She asked again “why are you sulking.” I replied “mum, I’m writing a novel.”

I got up and had a puff on my e cig and another part of Sophie Lives came to me. Just another short piece, but it’s helping with plot development. Sophie is going to have flashbacks of the domestic abuse that she suffered, and I wrote part of one of the flashbacks. Three o’clock in the morning is as good a time to write as any other.

03/03/20

Ive just completed my freewriting this morning, and an idea came to me.

Sophie is going to wear clothing which is black, or that is not feminine in any way as she does not wish to attract attention to herself.

Review – The Shepherd’s Crown

Terry Pratchet wrote The Shepherd’s Crown whilst he was dying, and fittingly one of his most loved characters, Granny Weatherwax died at the beggining of the story.

Her death left a gap in the barrier between Discworld and the land which the elves live. She past her cottage and roles as lead witch to Tiffany Aching.

The elf Queen, Nightshade, has her wings torn off and is thrown out of the elf kingdom by Peaseblossom. He did this because he felt that Nightshade had become to soft on goblins, and that she should be organising an attempt to take over Discworld now that the barriers were weaker.

Tiffany struggles with meeting her duties in Lance and on the Chalk. The Nac Nac Feegles live on the Chalk, and they also have a duty to look out for Tiffany. Nac Nac Feegles are blue, 7 inches tall, and they speak with a Scottish accent. They love to drink and fight.

The Nac Nac Feegles reluctantly agree to Tiffany’s request for them to guard Nightshade, who Tiffany refuses to kill because she is injured. She hopes to convert the elf Queen to understanding humanity and developing a cooperative attitude rather than a hostile one.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey, who left home due to bullying  from his father, wishes to become a witch under Tiffany”s guidance.

As the elves begin to prepare for war Tiffany calls all of the witches together to prepare to defend Discworld and banish the elves forever. Geoffrey unites the local men and they develop weapons to prepare for the war. Elves are harmed my metal, so they build a catapult and gather scraps of iron to fling at the elves.

As Geoffrey and the men defend Lancre, Tiffany, the witches and the Nac Mac Feegles defend the chalk. At the start of the war Peaseblossom kills Nightshade, but the are ultimately beaten when the King of the elves turns up, and overthrows Peaseblossom.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were believable and my imagination was gripped throughout. I could picture the different people and events in my mind. There were moments of laughter, excitement, compassion, sadness and dislike. I love the humour in Pratchet’s writing.

Pratchet, T; 2016; The Shepherd’s Crown; London; Corgi books.

Early Reflections On My Writing

The coursework arrived at my door around a month ago, and I felt no motivation to begin. Partly because my mental health is poor, but also because Studying for a degree in Photography was my first choice.

It took a lot of effort to open the coursework and read through the handbook and first chapter of the coursework.

However, a week in and I’m feeling entirely different about writing. I love having prompts for writing, they have worked really well for me. I’m feeling quite excited about having written several short pieces, and also about studying. I enjoy studying, the way it makes me think, contemplate and act. I work really hard to manage my mental health, sometimes it’s such a struggle, and my focus is on distraction. Writing hadn’t felt like this, it’s tapped into my creative resources, and I’ve felt proud, I’ve achieved something.

One exercise that I found difficult was Passion – Exercise 1.4. Writing about what I felt angry with was difficult. I couldn’t put my thoughts into words, and I found it hard to write off of the top of my head, without seeking academic research to write an essay on racism. Yet, I know that writing an essay and using primary and secondary resources to put an article together is well within my ability. What’s more there is a lot of research material available on this subject.

The piece of writing that I’m most pleased with is Sophie Lives – Exercise 1.3. Interestingly, I didn’t follow the brief, but the brief sparked my imagination. Although the writing was fictional and not my exact experiences, I have woken up following a failed suicide attempt feeling bereft. What’s more, I can see that there is potential to use this brief piece of writing to develop a short story or perhaps a novel. I have no idea as to how to develop this, it feels quite daunting to turn this into a larger piece of writing, but I did make some notes.

  • Sophie is a victim of domestic violence
  • Partner got her hooked on methadone to control her (back story)
  • Back story to be told via flashbacks
  • Forward story of recovery
  • Research literature and read novels about domestic abuse
  • IDAS

These are just initial ideas that have come to mind. There is a story waiting to be unlocked. My experiences are also a resource to draw upon, especially in relation to the feelings and thoughts associated with them. My personal experiences will help to develop the character of Sophie.

Reading is clearly an important aspect of creative writing. I’m reading most days, not perhaps as much as I could, but reading is s joy. It’s interesting to realise that there are so many words which I only have a vague understanding of. I always thought that I was highly articulate. I don’t have as broad a knowledge of words as I first thought.

Writing Is Magical – Exercise 1.5

Writing is magical – it transports us. As you sit ready to write this exercise, close your eyes for just a moment. Recall the last time you were out in the elements. Feel the wind, snow or pounding rain on your face, the chill in your bones. Open your eyes when you’re ready to write about this. Stay in the moment as you write.

The sky was bright, though it was cloudy. I expect the cloud must have been thin and the sunning burning bright behind it.

I sought out the winter flowering blossom. It brings a tear to my eye to think of it. It’s my beacon of hope. I’ve nearly survived this winter. I took out my phone, I had to take a photo, a momento of my being beggining to leave its dark winter home. I give thanks to a god that I don’t believe in. The signs of spring mean so much to me.

I heard the flutter of wings and turned my heard sharply, in time to catch a flock of pigeons urgently seeking flight. A predator must be around. Alas, its only a Magpie, no majestic Sparrow hawk for my mind to marvel at. There are people at the bus stop so I secretly salute the bird, with the saying “hello Mr Magpie, how are you and your family.” I realise there is only a single bird, “one for sorrow”, the words are an arrow to my heart, but I can’t stop the thoughts and fears arising. Suddenly a second bird appears, “two for joy”. I breath a sigh of relief. They briefly circle the tree then land. I notice one of them is preening small twigs. They’re forming a nest. Spring, another sign of spring. Yes. How marvelous.

 

Passion – Exercise 1.4

Passion can get us all writing. Write a short list of things that get you riled. Choose from the list something that makes you passionately angry and let rip on this subject. Don’t think of it as a letter to an editor, or any other form of special writing. Write for yourself, to express to yourself what you want to say about this. Again, read through what you’ve written but leave it for now.

My list

  • Donald trump
  • Racism
  • People with awful bad breath who don’t use mouth wash
  • People with awful bad breath who do use mouth wash (fair enough, it’s better than without, but it makes me shudder)
  • Injustice
  • Inequality

Racism is disgusting. Its not an innate thing to be racist, we’re not born racist, it’s a learned behaviour. It’s something that all racists could change if they wanted too. To treat others as being inferior is beyond me. White privilege. Bollocks. We are all equal. I am a human being from earth. I value your heritage, history and culture.

Institutional racism is shocking. People from a BAME background are disproportionately stopped and search, are inmates in prison and are over-represented in the mental health system, including more likely to be sectioned and restrained. How can we live in a world in which we can have a prime minister who has spoken using racist language and who is clearly an islamaphobe? I don’t just feel angry, I feel sad. I have friends who are people of colour, who have experienced racism regularly over the course of their lives. It’s awful that any human has to suffer in these ways.

Sophie Lives – Exercise 1.3

Get writing with emotion by choosing one of the two subjects below:- This lit up my day or This darkened my heart. Such writing may become very emotional, so before you begin remember that you won’t ever have to show anyone what you’ve written if you choose not to. It is always up to you what you send to your tutor. So you can write deeply… emotionally… without concern. As previously, read it through, enjoy your writing, but don’t try to change this for now. 

“Oh for fucks sake, I’m not supposed to have woken. Can’t i get anything right” Sophie thought. “I’m supposed to be dead”. She lay still underneath the cotton colours, a musty smell hung in the air. A tear trickled to her nose from the corner of her eye. She lay there empty, feeling defeated. Her heart crushed and barely beating.

Tears turned into breathless sobs, snot running down her face. She didn’t care how she looked, her mind with desperate thoughts of death. The room was beggining to get lighter as night turned into yet another bloody day. Death doesn’t come easy to some people.

She wiped her nose on the sleeve of her jama top, pulled her hands down over her forehead, ensuring her finger nails dug deep into her skin. It’s bizarre how trauma can leave the victim feeling an urgency to harm themselves. She didn’t care about the pain, or how others may react to the scars, not anymore. She used to be self conscious about the marks on her skin, the occasional stare, but now she was oblivious to it. Her life didn’t matter. Fuck it. Fuck off.

Sophie felt the urge to go to the bathroom, decided against getting out of bed. The sensation of warm urine turning cold against her skin turned to a fug of wet fabric against her legs. Depression. Overwhelming depression, wrapped in a venomous self hatred.

I’m not sure if I was meant to write fiction or prose so I just went with the flow. I’ve stopped at this point, but feel this passage is something that I may be able to return to at a later date. 

What Is Creative Writing – Research Point 1.1

What is creative writing anyway? Think about what you believe creative writing to be. Make some notes, then write a couple of sentences to define your thoughts on paper. Be sure to complete your thoughts before reading on. 

Isn’t it possible to see any writing as creative writing? Whether that’s people writing copy for a product, company policies and procedures, an academic essay, journalism, poetry, biography or a novel. All of the above involve creativity and imagination to various degrees.

However, I suspect that creative writing is considered to be just a few select genres, poetry, novels, play scripts and perhaps at a push, song lyrics. Use of the imagination to express ideas that may stimulate emotion in others is perhaps closer to the mark. But I also feel that journalism and biography should definitely be included.

Now search for further definitions, using encyclopaedias, dictionaries, books on writing and the Internet. Google the words creative writing + definition to see what you get. We’re your ideas similar or different? Remember, your opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s.

noun – writing, typically fiction or poetry, which displays imagination or invention (often contrasted with academic or journalistic writing).” lexico.com/2020/creative writing/Online: At: https://www.lexico.com/definition/creative_writing

Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professionaljournalisticacademic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novelsbiographiesshort stories, and poems.” wikipedia/2020/creative writing/Online: At: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_writing

I particularly like the Wikipedia definition stating “identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development” and I’m also pleased to know that feature stories fall into the bounds of creative writing. The photo essays which I write are not stories, but they are magazine features, just with the emphasis being academic rather than fiction. Who cares, I feel that they are creative writing, so there.