Liz does Creative Writing Course #3

Hello All! It’s Thursday, which means time for another update from my creative writing session. This post might be a bit longer than the first two but I’ll see how I go along as I write this.

Previous posts:

Liz does Creative Writing Course #1 | Liz does Creative Writing Course #2

For session #3 we had to prepare a piece as homework which I thought I might also share with you. I’ll start with the homework bit… It is the 1st draft, left unchanged as I read it out in class.

Prompt: Sum yourself up in a ~150 word autobio. Concentrate on the first 12 years of your life. Try to be different. What were you dimly aware of as a kid? What was your family like (quirks, myths, anything that shaped you). It should read like the beginning of the autobiography or memoir.

Here’s what I came up with:

Cash clutched in my mitten covered fist, I look up at the black sky dotted with millions of stars. It’s the 20 degrees below zero but also the deep-rooted fear that has nailed me to the spot in between the cold, dark sky and the soft, glistening snow. Stuck in between two fears.

I can see the shop, a measly 100 metres away. Sour cream?! Why did Dad have to forget to buy sour cream?

I glance up at the sky again, as far as the eye can see to spot any moving lights. I know I have been marked by the aliens. My parents told me this. They were laughing when they broke the news to me, so the aliens must have been friendly. But I have seen pictures of them in my Dad’s magazine and secretly read stories about them. They certainly didn’t make me feel safe.

I look at the shop again and I imagine I could get there quicker if I took a shortcut running through the snow covered garden. But I can’t. It’s forbidden by my sister. She does not like to see my messy footprints in the carpet of fresh snow.

So, what now?

Do I face my mother’s disappointment, anger my sister or risk getting beamed up?

Yeah, me and aliens go a way back! hahaha…

Session #3 started with a writing exercise to apply sensesย  (smell, sight, hearing, taste, etc).

Prompt: Think of an important moment in your life where something changed (job loss, breakup, loss of something or someone, a broken promise, etc). Go to the location where the moment occurred- feel it, sense it, see it. Write about it in present tense.

We got about 15 minutes for this one and I started writing this over about 3 times, but as we ran out of time I went with the version which was the most complete but nowehere near ready. To show you how NOT ready I was with this because I had so much to say, here’s a picture of my scribbles:

IMG_20181025_102930

Now, I do not expect you to read my story from this picture. I swear, all this information technology age and being stuck to devices 24/7 has really messed with my handwriting!

Anyway, a bit of background- I didn’t write about the actual tragedy. I couldn’t- I wasn’t there when it happened. I wrote about a moment that surrounded the tragedy. If I was to edit my below – again, raw draft- I would make so many more changes and in my head I can imagine turning it into something more, something worthy. But,ย  draft 1s are the deal here…

A shuffle of boots on the tarmac- the only sound interrupting the shocked, defeated silence. We are hundred of us, going to accept the truth.

Even the sea we are walking towards, the sea we currently despise, is glimmering calm in the distance. Daunting. Your watery grave.

The past 3 miles have been guiding us all into the darkness. The salty air beckoning us to bitterness.

A young man steps out of the line to gather bright blue cornflowers by the side of the road. He hangs his head, his shoulder shake.

All of a sudden, from the haze of denial I hear crickets. They are everywhere- in the rye fields, in the surrounding forest. Hundreds. Thousands. Filling the air with a lively, vibrating hum in this moment of death.

And I don’t understand why it couldn’t have been one of them instead.

This moment that I wrote about came to me in a flash the minute I heard the prompt. It is something that always haunts me, has always stayed with me. It was a tragedy of a young life lost and it was – is- heartbreaking. I will never forget the manner with which the whole of student body reacted that day. What followed. What was said and done in honor of a young man. A tragedy that never should have happened… I wanted the whole of 2 hours of the workshop to write something of a dedication in memory of Taivo. I wanted to write something to describe to him that we cared and that the echos of his name shouted across the sea were our desperate attempts to bring him back…

Taivo was a brilliant young lad! He always had a smile and a good word for everyone. It didn’t matter if who he spoke to was a geek, a metalhead, a popular girl or just a country pumpkin… He was humble and he wanted to write songs. Back then, I was in a school band and he always showed up just to see us cover Liquido- Narcotic in the ‘Underground’ because he liked our version so much. I wish he was still among us, achieving great things. Writing lyrics and playing guitar and being sporty and making someone laugh.

**

For next week’s session, we have homework:

  1. “Why I Write?” – guidance, get a bit psychological (whatever that means!), what writing means to you? – I admit, it’ll be a difficult one for me. I really have to sit down and think this through.
  2. Make a list throughout the week of the ordinary things you do, and see if there is a pattern or a habit that you always approach in the same manner. – again, my daily life is really quite boring, so *shakes shoulders*- no idea! An example that the tutor brought was that he noticed he always dries himself the same way after a shower! I expect there will be expanding on that particular habit to turn it into a story during the workshop with a detailed description. Maybe I should get creative and make up a ritual for myself to have fun with it!

If any of those prompts put your thoughts into gear, as always, feel free to share your own stories, no matter how long or short, in the comments! ta la!

25 comments

  1. Nice work! We are creatures of habit so I’m sure there are some habits you have but you might not realise it ;-). Maybe you do have bookish habits too, it would be cool to write about that! It sounds like you are having fun with your course and you’re a natural at writing.. you’re doing great !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your story about important life moment really touched me. You say it’s not ready, I say it’s perfect. It gives me feelings, raises questions. What happened? Why it happened? When it happened? Though so short story, I really felt like I was there, I felt the summer, the smell of warm tarmac and the sound of the crickets.
    The only things is, I firstly read the last line accidentally little bit wrongly: “And I donโ€™t understand why I couldnโ€™t have been one of them instead.” Why I couldn’t be one of the crickets. Why I couldn’t be free. Bittersweet.

    You really have talent, Liz. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate it and I am happy that the feeling of the moment felt real.
      The way you accidentally read the last line is actually a really good last line! Fits with the story perfectly, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems I wasn’t the only one who had an intense phobia of aliens when they were a kid ๐Ÿ˜› I too also thought I had been ‘marked’ by them ๐Ÿ˜› Also, I can’t even begin to imagine living in a place where it gets 20 degrees below zero!
    You did Taivo’s memory justice in the piece you wrote in class. I can understand why it took a few attempts to get started, it’s such an emotive, heart wrenching topic โค I like how you show the reader the emotions of the people within your piece as opposed to telling them. "He hangs his head, his shoulders shake"…I can see this, it takes me to that moment in time. It feels real.
    You're a natural writer โค

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, them bloody aliens, hey! I remember one night my brother came home, it was winter and he told us all to go out and look at the sky, now! I remember my arse falling our ๐Ÿ˜€ hahaha, thought that was it, they’ve come for us all… in reality, the northern lights were in the sky that night! not aliens ๐Ÿ˜€
      -20 is actually quite bearable! ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s the -30 that tends to get quite bloody crispy! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thank you so much for your feedback on my writing. it means a lot and I am glad I did Taivo justice with this short piece… some moments in life just never will be forgotten…
      โค

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lashaan, for your feedback. I got the feeling in class that night that as I read it out, people didn’t understand what was going on… but it was a moment in time! When I said I wanted to write more about this moment, it was really how a tragic event brought together all the cliques… popular girls were hugging metalheads and metalheads were sobbing openly… and yet it was no good, as it didn’t bring our friend back. I think it will be a piece I will expand on in the future…

      Liked by 1 person

    • ๐Ÿ˜€ thank you… and it was easy to write because it’s from reality, that actually happened ๐Ÿ˜€ hahaha… my paerents still fondly remember my alien fear and get a good laugh at how they got the fear in me ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

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