I did some writing!!!

This is not proof read or anything but I’m excited at having put words on paper so I’m sharing it anyway!

I used a writing exercise which generates three words for you to use to write something.  My words were: calm, canal, wheelbarrow


“bugger…” the old man grumbled to himself as the wheelbarrow caught on a jagged rock.  It wasn’t the first time that day that he’d wondered what on earth he was doing.  He was 82 for pete’s sake and here he was fighting with a contraption that looked older than he did just so that the young lass on the boat could get her fire going.  She was pregnant.  If she wasn’t, he’d have told her to put her own back into it instead of his which creaked and groaned.  He didn’t know where the father was.  He didn’t know much about her really.  Just her name, Michelle, and that she’d pulled up on the mooring at the end of his garden three days ago.

The mooring, which by the way, was supposed to be private.  Not that he’d ever used it.  What did he need somewhere to park a boat?  He didn’t even have a car…  it was a relic he supposed, from a time when the village relied on the canal for it’s essentials.  The barges were the high street back then.  Now the water was filled with middle class holiday makers and posh folk who’d paid through the nose just to be able to refer to their own moorings.  And michelle.  Now she was different.  She actually lived on her boat, or so it seemed to him.  She had a little terrier dog, dirty brown colour but friendly enough.  He supposed that it could get lonely by herself on the boat, having nowhere to really call home.  He didn’t get the sense from her that she had much in the way of family or friends… was that because of her chosen lifestyle or was her lifestyle chosen because of the lack of personal relationships…  standing upright and stretching out his back he wondered about her.  And when she would be moving on.  It wasn’t so much that he didn’t like her but he was used to his own company and of course, he could do without the additional chores… back in his day, a man would have stuck around to see his woman give birth… he should have been the one hauling about the coal… never mind… grumbling a bit more, George resumed the task in hand.

It was a calm day on board, Michelle stretched out her legs showing them off to the warming sun.  It was late spring but it had been a harsh winter and the air was just starting to heat up at last.  She sighed to herself.  She really needed to find some answers to the thousands of worries which were swarming around in her mind…  Seeing the kind gentleman approach, she heaved herself to standing and waved a grateful hand towards him.  He’d been generous to her.  Offering help which she desperately needed but her pride wouldn’t let her ask for.  There were so many things which weren’t as easy as they had been before she’d ballooned into a walking incubator.

As had become customary, Michelle offered George a cup of tea by way of a thank you and as had become customary, he’d declined.  It was strange.  They knew nothing about each other really, they’d only met a few days ago but Michelle felt there was something very familiar about him and the way they danced their parts felt like they were an old married couple.  George lived on his own.  She knew that much from watching the house.  No one had come or gone or appeared at a window whilst she’d been there.  She could ask him but somehow that felt intrusive.  No, instead she took glances at his ring finger; no sign of a ring or tan line.  Divorced? Permanent bachelor?  Or a widower who’d never been bothered with a ring?  Not that it mattered really.  She was moving on again soon and George would become just another faceless stranger who’d shown her some kindness.

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Historic Objects of Conflict and Desire

Today I went on a one day course with the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the Yorkshire Museum.  It was a writing course but the title was Historic Objects of Conflict and Desire.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all but it was a really good day.

We were given a short tour of the museum which focused on particular objects and a bit about the history of them as well as the people associated with them.  For example, we looked at a tombstone which was commissioned by an ex soldier in memory of his wife and two children, a betrothal pendent made from Whitby jet, the York Helmet etc.

One of the exhibits we looked at was made up from things found in the Roman baths that were used by the legions (townspeople used a different set of baths).  There was pieces of jewellery, a jet ring, grooming instruments, buttons and beads.  There were also gemstones which fell out of rings because the steam, and contrasting high and low temperatures, caused the glue to fail.

Once we’d looked at the artifacts and handled some of them we started to write.  After a quick warm up we were asked to choose one of the objects that we’d seen that morning.  I went for the gem that had come loose from a ring in the baths.  The tutor then guided us through some questions to develop a piece of writing from the perspective of the object.  I found the questions really helpful and will try and use them again as a prompt:

  1. What are you?
  2. What are you feeling?
  3. Where would you rather be?
  4. What relationships do you have?
  5. What do you dream of doing?
  6. What worries you?
  7. What would you like others to think of you?
  8. What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
  9. What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  10. What makes you feel guilty?
  11. What is your favourite time of night or day?
  12. What is the point of your life?
  13. How would you like to be remembered?

A gemstone in the sewer

I am a beautiful gemstone.  I am feeling lost, cool, dirty.  I would rather be surrounded by silver, not filthy sewage.  I am surrounded by others, also parted from their owner.  We are all discarded.  I dream of sparkling in daylight, shining in the sun.  I worry that I shall be stuck here forever, never be found, never reunited with my soldier.  I hope he misses me. I want others to see me, admire my smooth edges, the hues within me.  The best thing I ever did was bring luck to my master in the fight of his life.  I saw him glance at me, fiddle with me and his face grew braver.  The worst thing I ever did was relax.  I didn’t hold on tight enough and now I’m being punished.  I feel guilty, without me, how will he survive the next battle.  Without me, he has no luck.  My favourite time of day was the golden hour before dusk.  I would shimmer and glow and I know that makes my master proud.  He flashed me around, showing off his status.  The point of my life is beauty and luck.  I hope he remembers he.  I hope he remembers me with regret, with grief.

We then carried on to other exercises which started to bring in conflict.  It turns out I avoid conflict in my writing as much as I avoid it in my life…!