The Brief; You already have a body of work – congratulations!
Get out all the work you’ve done in Part One and read through it carefully. This will include:
- The work you’ve done for the exercises in projects 1 to 4
- All your extra freewrites
- Your notebook work
Choose two or three pieces of work from this. They don’t all have to be the same length but they should be the pieces that resonate with you the most.
You don’t have to write a story, a poem, or any specific form for this assignment. You just have to show your tutor your writing – what you’ve already been doing.. If your writing by hand, you now need to transfer your work to a Word Document or similar. Submit approximately 1,000 words for this assignment. Use the word count facility to check how long your pieces are. Use the spellcheck too (but with care, as it can substitute a completely different word from the one you intended!). If your chosen pieces don’t make 1,000 words, you now have the choice of extending them. Only do this if you have some good ideas though. Otherwise, include a fourth piece to make up the word count.
Submit your work as soon as you have a fair copy. You may be surprised at the words of encouragement you receive, even if you thought your piece was not all that good.
Sophie Lives, from exercise 1.3
Sophie was horrified with the reality that she was in A and E and having to wait for a psychiatric assessment, she felt ashamed of herself and guilty for wasting so much of the doctors and nurses time. She had thoughts that other people were seriously ill and that they needed the medical attention that she had taken away from them. Waiting for the psychiatrist was daunting, seconds seemed to drag by. All she could do was think. She had never tried to end her life before, despite thoughts of this being a constant companion for many years. How could she explain what she had done, or the harm that she had suffered at the hands of Mark. Initially she hadn’t considered it to be domestic abuse, like thousands of other women she had always believed Mark’s words about how useless and pathetic she was, and how he had to put up with her failings. Deep in her core she knew he was right, and these beliefs were so intense tonight. Only a failure of a human being would try to end their own life. She knew the psychiatrist would judge her and believe it was all her fault.
Winter is a Bastard, from exercise 1.6
Spring is most definitely in the air despite the periods of relentless rain. Crocus and daffodils are pushing their necks out of the ground, and they are adding glorious pockets of colour to my days. Such joy. My mood is improving slowly but surely, I’m isolating less, and I’m having more clarity of thought. Gratitude is what I’m feeling as I write this short piece of freewriting (I adore freewriting, it’s shown me that I do have lots to write).
But winter is a bastard, an effing c of a nightmare that I often struggle to get through!
This year my mood dropped at the end of December, and my thoughts darkened. I began to obsess about suicide, and I researched methods on the Internet, and purchased some pills which I believed would end my life.
Motivation and pleasure from activities deserted me and I felt hopeless. Situations which involved close contact with others was a struggle and I avoided people. Ultimately I was overwhelmed and tried yet again to take my life. Disappointed that I didn’t succeed, but the disappointment that I tried to end my life pushed me into accepting help. I’m now attending a therapeutic day unit. It’s a short term program for a few weeks, enough to get me through until I am able to keep myself occupied and productive.
My energy always improves in the spring. If only I could hold back the self destruction long enough to get me through to the lighter, brighter and warmer days.
My thoughts are much clearer now, and I am enjoying my studies. I had my coursework for over a month before I could even open the folder. Eventually I realised I had to just begin the first exercise, I couldn’t wait until my motivation returned, I had to simply take action without expectation. I’m so grateful that I did because I find it has brought joy and satisfaction into my daily life.
I’m looking out for signs of spring now. I’m not waiting for motivation I’m acting as if I’m motivated, and I’m finding signs of spring right now. Recovery is action. Hope is important but I can’t hope my way into feeling better, I have to put the effort into hunting for joy and gratitude.
Rabbit Hide and Seek, from exercise 1.6
I was running through a dark forest when
A rabbit did appear
A ball of white cute fluffyness
I’m sure his look was queer
He bounded right up too my feet
And then he looked at me
And beckoned me to follow him
And hid behind a tree
“I can’t play hide and seek with you”
I really don’t have time”
His face became so sorrowfull
I said “oh dear, yes, fine”
So we played a little game or two
The rabbit he did win
I thanked him for the game we played
And his smile became a grin
Book Review – The Shepherds 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.