Return to WEA Creative Writing

Q: Create a six word story. Try to hook your reader so they ask what? Why? How? Examples of this;

  • ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ By Ernest Hemingway
  • ‘Dad called: DNA back: he isn’t’ By Helen Fielding
  • ‘Megan’s baby: John’s surname, Jim’s eyes’ By Simon Armitage

My attempts…

” ‘Student party Tuesday, get here!’

” ‘heard your call: come home soon’

” ‘You’re gay so? Come home son’

” ‘Lost her: taken from Kidderminster 10:15’

” ‘Cracked it! Quick phone Major Black…’

” ‘Held hostage…can see number…192.’

Liked this one even if I couldn’t get it below seven words; ‘Dog for sale: eats anything loves children’

Week 8 Creative Writing with WEA

Q; Chose a picture of a character. In your mind, try to think like the person (or animal). Then working in pairs, ask questions about them in a type of dating game. With the information write a short story introducing the character you have interviewed.

Me and my shadow

My father and mother took the job in Berkshire because it came with a house.  I was born the year after and they called me Randall. It soon got changed to Randy and my brother just called me Rad. Thomas was older than me by six years, he loved trouble.

The best thing about your dad being the caretaker at your school is that late in the evening, when everyone has gone you can play in the hall and art room. Thomas even skateboarded down the corridor, well until Mom caught him. She made him clean all the floors in the school.

“Be thankful your Father didn’t catch you and that Curridge Primary is small” she lectured him. It was that night I first saw George Randall Levette.

Thomas was angry with me for not spotting Mom on the approach and for blabbing about his new girlfriend having a nose piercing. I decided it was best to stay out of everyone’s way and hide in the cafeteria.  Mom and Dad didn’t bother with cleaning there unless Mrs James the cook asked them.

I had fallen asleep while reading my comic in the ever fading light, the cold floor where I sat had travelled up my spine and down into my knees so both were stiff.

“Get up boy; you cannot sit there in the dirt. Think of your mother having to wash you and your clothing” the voice was not my father but a man’s, the tall squared jaw man stood in the kitchen looking down at me. My eyes tried to focus wearily but still he seemed blurry, not altogether real. Only then did I hear my Mom’s voice calling me, the concern almost panic in her tone much clearer than even her words. I called back knowing it was more than my life’s worth not to answer her at this moment. Mom burst into the cafeteria as I left the kitchen and the man behind. Her voice enveloped me as it bounced around the curved end wall then her arms followed.

“Good lord where have you been I feared allsorts when we couldn’t find you” I still don’t know how long they had looked for me, but it was the middle of the night and I was exhausted. My limbs, every one of them, were painful and I had a cut on my head that I didn’t recall doing.

At breakfast the next day I had to give my Dad the explanation he had been waiting for. He was always a calm man but very firm with his rules and enjoyed the satisfaction of a well done methodical job his eye for detail evident in all things. I knew my account of the night before would be less than satisfactory but lying would only make things worse as I said my Dad had an eye for detail.

“Tell me again son, what man?” he asked in disbelief

“Tall, dark hair tightly curled with a parting right down the middle, kind of old, but that was his of his jacket too. It was old looking, like in history books and one of those floppy bow ties. Not like James Bond, the other ones.” I rambled in desperation. The fact my Dad had no idea of whom I was talking about scared me more than having woke up to find a stranger in the room.

“Rad mate there ain’t no Charlie Chaplains’ around here, you’ve gone mad from that knock to your noggin” Thomas taunted as dad shuck his head still in disbelief. Of course at the time I didn’t know it was George, not even the second time did I know.

Only a week later I was running down the hall to lunch, the sunlight flickered as I sped past each window chasing my friends. I didn’t see George at first, I heard him

“Slow down Arthur!” he called to me; I knew he was talking to me even though it was not my name. I glanced over my shoulder and saw him half absorbed by the beam of light from the near window.

“Brace yourself Arthur. Put your hands out boy I’ll help you down, stay calm and breathe” it was that moment my mind burst into all colours and sounds. The stiffness hit my limbs in seconds then out like a fuse had blown. When I woke two paramedics were over me and I was exhausted. Every part seemed to ache, my mouth was full of blood and my ears rang with a piercing pitch.

Epilepsy the doctor explained as I lay in the hospital bed. I couldn’t care less at the time what it was called I just wished it would go away. I didn’t even mention seeing George.

In the four months that followed I had to endure a further seventeen fits while the right medication in the right amount was found for me. Each and every time George Randall Levette was with me, I yelled at him to go away thinking he was the one to blame. George didn’t leave; the strong well dressed handsome man stayed and comforted me.  I began to trust his calm even tone like my Dad’s voice, I could tell that he too had worked hard to care for the ones he loved. He called me Arthur and spoke of Marie, Ethel and Olive, sisters I should know. One thing that always stuck with me was how once or twice I wasn’t sure but he asked had I found Lillian? Did I meet Amelia? Over time I thought this all some crazy dream from my Epilepsy a sort of coping or my brain trying to make sense.

Some years later while helping my Dad clean at the school I saw a picture displayed as a project by year five pupils. Well could you believe it? There in lovely sepia was George; turns out he was my great- great grandfather. In 1881 he had been the schoolmaster living in the same house my Mom and Dad now inhabited. I’m still waiting to see him again.

Week 7 Creative Writing with WEA

Q Write a short story introducing characters to the reader, please use the theme of spring.

Spring into action

Paige sat waiting; the sunshine broke through the clouds right into granddad Gordon’s living room. She watched as it showed the dust in the air floating slowly “maybe it’s magic and not dust at all” she wondered to herself.

Gordon wasn’t really her granddad Paige knew that, he was someone mom knew. Paige was here because it was a teacher training day. Her mother had already read her the lecture on being very good for granddad Gordon and being respectful. This was because he wasn’t just nice. He was a hero, a very special kind of hero.

Gordon limped from the hallway to the living room door and as he opened it in bolted max the collie dog. He ran strait to Paige with excitement and began his little dance asking her to fuss him.

“Good it’s you. You’re lucky not to be a burglar you know?” Gordon’s voice was still broken a sort of croaky sound. Paige knew this meant he had only just got out of bed. She gave him a smile and continued to fuss max. “that’s right you hold him back whilst I make a run for the tea pot, make sure you have him tight I don’t want to have my leg ravaged in an attack” Gordon pretended to be fearful he rolled his shoulders as if to limber up and licked his lips in anticipation before miming a sprint for the kitchen.

Paige laughed and shook her head “you say the funniest things granddad, Max is so gentle and far too smart to be an ordinary dog” Gordon retuned her smile as he lifted the tea pot down from the shelf. How right she was about his dog, but she didn’t know that, she would never know truly.

Paige fed Max, carried Gordon’s tea and breakfast to his table next to the old blue chair he always sat in. She ate some toast and sipped the bitter tea. There was no sugar in granddad Gordon’s house because he was diabetic so not allowed any. Paige waited quietly for Gordon to finish.

“So Miss Paige what are we reading today, Black beauty, White fang? Or would you like to read some of the Michael Morpurgo you mother sent me for Christmas? They are nice tell her, Max read two in one day. Didn’t you Maximus?” Gordon settled into his chair ready to read to Paige. He loved to read, reading to Paige was especially good fun he liked to do funny voices and add dramatic sounds he so enjoyed her company she wasn’t like others.“No, she wasn’t a spoilt like those little brats with their head permanently attached to a mobile phone” he thought to himself “there the reason we can’t go outside anymore, nasty roller boards and villainous spite”

“Maximus, is that his name today?” she asked Gordon with a jolly tone.

“Maximus Speedius” Gordon proclaimed “he was a gladiator in his puppy days you know? Just like in that film on the telly”

“Is that before he was a shark wrestler? Or after he was the first dog to climb Mount Everest?” both broke into laughter and Max barked joyfully. “We can make a deal. If we cross the road to the park together I will walk Max and clean the whole yard, even give him a wash and you can then read us any story you like. Deal?”

“Outside?” Gordon wasn’t laughing anymore

“Yes, just for a while. Its spring at last, the park is truly pretty with snowdrops and crocuses. I saw them on the way over. It isn’t far to the bench I promise. Please Granddad be brave just this once.” Paige begged, to make matters worse clever old max did the same putting his head in Gordon’s lap.

Gordon looked out of the living room window, it was sunny, and it was spring. Paige couldn’t know how he feared the outside. It wasn’t the weather, the cold, or how far it was to the bench. What kept the retired Search and Rescue handler, and his wonderful Red Spanish collie at home, it was people. Gordon and Max had saved countless lives over the years in so many different natural disasters and war zones, that it had cost them their own life in away. Injured, old and unable to find suitable work. Life in their home country was not what they had hoped for. The people outside these doors now were horrid monsters, judged and evaluated your whole being on what you looked like. These were not the relived faces of trapped individuals, without his uniform he was just an old man with a shattered knee.

“Please? I will go with you, I we will stay with you if you want. How about just ten minutes out on the bench then we will read?” Paige’s tone was calm and sure. It reminded him of the day he had to talk a little Mexican boy into crawling out of his broken home. Gordon’s Spanish was terrible back then. It was no use trying to explain to the little lad, Gordon had to risk it, he had to get close and worse he had to send his beloved Max in to a hole that could collapse at any moment. Calm and trust that’s why Max when in, that’s why the boy came out safe.

“Ok Miss Paige we will take the air for a bit, it’s time to feel the sunshine again. After all spring is Max’s favourite season”

Week 6 Creative Writing with WEA

The Argument

“Looking for something” he says

“Please not again” she silently prays

My confidence he sways, masterful in the role he plays

“What a mess” he grumbles in annoyance, as I don’t have the gift of clairvoyance my reaction is delayed and to him this my guilt displays

“Why are you snooping? What is it that you seek” he shuffles his paper, his eye on me

“It is not me” I plea “may be the children in their swooping or they curiously peek” I don’t know what else to think.

We stand upon the brink of yet another debate our course now innate as I have taken his bait.

“Laundry piled high some effort you might apply, stuff in the sink what am I to think? You know a lesser man than me would be driven to drink.

Common sense you need, what a pathetic weed and out all times of day with my work pay. What have you to say?!”

Nothing of course, I’m too full of remorse.

My aim should be to serve it’s no more than I deserve.

“It’s all your fault” his continued insult “why can’t you be like a real wife” directed like a knife

I’m the prisoner at the bar wearing love as a scar, might I be exonerated or to this authority I’m fated to fix in his box and wash his socks

I wonder how it will all end, how much more my will can bend

Promises broken with so many hateful words spoken

Some sign I need for my hope to feed and grow a little stronger, my love to last a little longer

Thanks would do just a few, a gentle glance, a second chance, a touch of romance

No riches required, no help hired simple gratitude less the attitude.

My capital now freeze, his temper appeased.

Woman and children now in his possessions yet his own family in abscission

They look out into the world seeing his lies that had been twirled becoming uncurled

Supremacy is his indeed but love deficiency caused such need that they cry to be freed.

 

 

Hating

Blackness

Darkness

Rottenness

Sickness

Distress

Dizziness

Hatefulness

Sinfulness

In a mess

Hopelessness

Forgiveness

God bless

Week 6 Creative Writing with WEA

Q; Write a short story with Lent as the theme, explore the use of monologue and/or soliloquy to tell the story.

This Lent

– “I forgot to put ash on my forehead this morning, what a wonderful example of Christianity I am. Not that anyone outside would care. They would think I’d just forgotten to wash my face this morning, or worse think I’d fallen asleep whilst smoking and landed head first on my cigarette in hand.

I haven’t even chosen what I’m going to be fasting. It’s no good giving up chocolate again; the PMT was so bad last year. Not that it hurt me much it was everyone around me who had to do the suffering. The point is for me to be in a type of sacrifice, I’m supposed to feel and resist temptation; I need to prove that despite being mortal I can understand the point God made.

Who am I kidding; I don’t understand being human let alone God.

I could give up blasphemy and cursing. Oh but dad did that a couple of years back, I don’t want to end up turning blue while holding my tongue at work , poor old dad.

Maybe I could do a Katharine? She is so pious only eating when the sun is down, now that’s true penitence. Only I know I’d pass out whilst driving grandma and chasing after my demented two-year old, not to mention being my crazy self. Oh god I’d better get a move on, she’ll be waiting. See what I mean, I’m just not good at being a Christian.”

-“Ash yes, prayed yes, bible notes check. Great I hope Marie is on time Jack, it’s been hard since you left. I’m fasting again this lent I’m going to do it this time too, no sneaking snacks, only water in the day this time, I will make you proud of me.

I’ve volunteered at the coffee shop with Marie so god will be more pleased with me now. I know I’m not as good as Marie; she manages to be nice, cheerful and do loads for people. I can’t stand people Jack god knows that. Especially the foreign people living in our country. I don’t know how they can honestly expect me to go to a doctor about private matters when I don’t even understand a word they say. Things are harder for me than her. She has her little family, and her big family have been at that church forever. Marie can just be a Christian it’s in her blood. I have to work at it. I will show them you will see and if god is happy with me maybe he could make you come back to me.  Be more than just an old photo.”

Week 5 Creative Writing with WEA

Q; Write a scene in which two people engage in a heated quarrel, include both dialogue and descriptive body language, try to portray feelings as well as telling the reader about the characters.

He was in the house again. Sophie could hear the heavy steps of her father in the hallway, she could hear the soft scuttling of her mother in the kitchen. Tonight was going to be different. He had promised them, no more, no more arguing or fighting.

“Kristie did you need something?” David could see the papers, his papers, on his desk, they had been moved.

“No, I’m fine the children are all in bed. How were Frank and Grace? Did you fix their computer?” Kristie asked as light hearted and natural as she could, although in the back of her mind she wondered. Had she moved the papers? Had she been cleaning near there today and knocked them? Or had the children run past the desk when playing, maybe they had moved them accidently?

“What? Do you really want an answer to your stupid questions? Would I be here now if I hadn’t fixed the god dame computer? Frank and Grace are the same as yesterday when you saw them in the supermarket. They thought that I would like to hear all about the wonderful afternoon they spent talking to you in Wal-Mart” He dropped into his office chair and put his black leather bag beside it. He looked at the coffee rings on his desk, typical he thought. she’s out shopping all day and hasn’t even wiped the desk over. He dared to look over at the sink, yep washing up still waiting on the side from dinner. He had been able to fix a hard drive and explain office 2000 to an old man yet again since dinner, but what had she done? Not even the dishes.

“Would you like a coffee? Have you got much more to do?” Kristie thought it best to just change the subject. She realized too late she done that double question thing he hated so much. Her heart began to beat a pace faster she clenched her teeth. Had he noticed? Of course he’s noticed but will say anything?

David rolled his eyes to the back of his head. Why did she do that? She didn’t used to that dumb, babbling question after question. Kristie used to be funny and smart, most of all she used to be helpful. He took a deep breath in and spun his chair around to face her. Oh god she was doing the face, the face told him she was either going to walk away or start crying for no reason.

“How about you answer my question first” he began

“Sorry, which question?” Kristie couldn’t recall not answering a question, she was always careful to listen. She knew how important it was to David that you must listen. His eyes were beginning to burn into her, best look at the floor. I mustn’t give him cause to be angry with me. I mustn’t wake the children.

“Why were you snooping in my papers?” he was sure now, Kristie was defiantly up to something. She couldn’t even look him in the eye that said everything he needed to know!

Sophie hugged her legs behind her bedroom door, she listened in the darkness. Yes, he was in the house again.

Week 4 Creative writing with WEA

Q; Today we visited St George’s church Kidderminster use the experience to write a short story or Travel piece about the church. (Include word count and header)

 

She stood at the bottom of the long sloping drive once more. Her collar turned up against the cold January wind, the bells were still ringing. Good she was not yet too late for Sunday service.

St George’s tower was a gray monolithic in the Kidderminster skyline. She pondered for the moment how the skyline had changed over the years, yet still he stood tall and strong against the winds of change. She wondered if he were alive, could he see his daughter churches of St Chad’s and St Cecilia over all the scurrying below.

Mandy had been to many places in her thirty years of life. Yet for reasons unclear she would always return to this cold old industrial town, middle England, middle class. She walked past the tall trees along the driveway, not as tall has the magnificent dark green pines of the Northern Rockies that she had lived with. Her heart ached a little for the huge openness of Canada. Mandy missed the clean air and the deep evergreen smell of those cherished days.

Pauls Jeep all shiny and black was parked close to the entrance; Mandy knew this meant Granny was already seated in her old hardwood pew. “Gann’s pew” Mandy smiled to herself, seventh from the back, not quite the middle, not too far away from where the clergy could see her presence but also not so close as to look un-Anglican. It was this kind of English behaviour that would have made her friends in Nevada and Utah laugh so much. There a jeep was used for the purpose it was designed for and very few where in the shinny category. Salty sand of the Great Basin Desert soon put nice paint jobs to brown work trucks. When it rained and snowed all that you could see was muddy wheels and snow covered hoods, not chrome alloys and a sun roof. Still it was good to know she was still going to church, it was reassuring to know that something’s in this world don’t changes as quick as the weather in the desert or the wind in the mountains.

Mandy paused in the towers entrance to straighten herself out a little before entering. How she wished mother had not insisted on her wearing a skirt to church, there was no written rule about this it was another of those “its what’s expected” things. It didn’t matter really she remembered how granny always used to tut at Ms Barkers huge bright colourer dresses and leggings. That lady’s floral patted scarf’s and mad curly hair were perfect for a Sunday school leader. She was brilliant and as good a reason for a young Mandy to have gone to church as any sermon they would preach to the adults.  How strange it was to think back now. Mandy’s mother brought her here on the day she was born to be blessed, here not straight home or to Granny’s house. Years on Mandy too bought little Jessica to show her to family and friends even though both were sick and weak. This entrance she had sheltered her when the big rain storm hit Kidderminster and Mandy had to wait for her farther to rescue her. It was so sad to see the huge gate that had to be install to keep vandals out no one would be sheltering here from the weather unless a service was on.

Mandy hurried along to Gann’s pew, it was one of the few that were left now. The back five rows had already been pulled out and replaced with chairs. Soon all the pews would be taken out and the choir stools too. The winds of change had blown in though St Georges old heavy oak doors, now in order to keep such history as a “Waterloo” church they had to gut it out and kit it up. Like the fire 1922 he will lose some of his history but be rebuilt for peoples use, and like the architect Sir Gilbert Scott they will rededicate stone by stone St George to His purpose.

Mother moved aside for Mandy without out words it was clear that she was expected, granny was waiting for her. “Sorry, I got delayed at Birmingham again” Mandy whispered discreetly.

Granny slowly lent over to Mandy’s ear “Lots of things change in years that pass, yet something’s cannot be changed only added to. St George’s is our family, our home we can return to. There can be no warmer welcome than the prodigal child’s return”

Week 3 Creative Writing with WEA

Q In 400 words or less write from the title “when i was twenty”

When I was twenty

Twenty at last I’m no longer a teen. Today I have gone out on my own, out into London’s busy streets. Like a bird I glide on the wind, my mind going on its flowing and I’m glancing at faces I do not know. I purposely did not make plans for this day; I wanted to see what being twenty would do with me, but I have walked all morning without reason and my function irrational leaves my brain numb. I see two young men sat in a small garden square on blue bench they seen happy to be there so I ask if I might join them.  It isn’t long before we commence a conversation about how we came to be sat on the blue bench together.

Tom (not his real name I could tell by the way he struggled to say it,) left home when he was 16 years old. He’s now 20 and is still technically homeless, relying on a hostel in London to keep him safe at night. Tom managed to survive the long cold nights and days on end without food, but he wouldn’t advise anybody else to do what he has done. He pulls his coat collar up but it’s no colder now than when we had sat, the same chill seems to nag at my fingertips also.

Liam, who is twenty and from Sunderland became homeless when things became too tough to carry on living at home, He spoke about how finding a bed for the night and food to eat became a daily struggle. Liam says being homeless was a shock. He talks about finding shelter from the cold and rain, about sometimes surviving without food for three or four days. Things are now looking brighter for Liam because he’s getting help to look for a job and somewhere to live thanks to a local hostel.

Small tiny drops of rain now fall from the sky and I say my goodbyes, Lonely and colder than ever before I don’t drift anymore homeward bound and thankful for it.

Week 2 Creative Writing with WEA

Q In 400 words or less describe or imaging your first memory, remember to develop your writer’s voice.

My First Memory

My hand was in hers as she led me along, all the while her summer dress white with little pink rose blooms fluttered behind and in my face. She was excited, I could tell by the way my feet hardly touched the ground as she lead me outside “Look what daddy has brought Sarah” Moms high tingling voice would always make me laugh. Then that sudden feeling I had of weightlessness. His rough strong hands lifting me high up, he placed me into something brightly coloured, this something I had never seen in our garden before.

The air on this day was warm and dry. They had sat me in the something which was full of warm soft dirt, the same colour as mom’s straw hat. Normally dad wouldn’t let me play in his dirt; he kept telling me something about the beans not being able to grow if I kept taking them out and if I wanted to stay out of the pram I needed to stay clean.  This was nice dirt I grabbed handfuls of it and wiggled my toes in. Mom handed me something equally as bright blue as the large something I was contained in. Mom held my hand around it under her own then made a motion to move the dirt from one place to another. She was so happy when I tried to do this on my own, “Gordon she got it already, she’ll soon be helping you out” dad was kneeling at the edge watching. I thought I’d better offer him some of the dirt as he always seemed to know what to do with it, but the summer breeze blew grit into my face, this dirt did not taste as good as dad’s and my eyes wouldn’t stop blinking, they were so itchy. I must have begun to cry because in the following moment, I found I was once more safely in my daddy’s arms.