Friday, 1 October 2010

Friday 1 October | Exercise 6

Write on one page only. There must be a beginning, middle and an end. The first line is:

Blue. Green. Blue. And blue again. Where was the yellow one? 

"OMG! I can't believe this. She'll go RADIO. I'm telling you now I can't be the one to tell her!" Jayson was working himself into a full scale purple kniption while Jaymee watched in delighted glee as his nemesis realised that just five minutes before The Diva arrived there was no yellow M&M in the carefully laid out tray.

"Ohmigosh, Jayson" Jaymee was struggling to strike the right not of concern mixed with innocence. He knew damned well where the yellow sweetie was - in his back pocket.

Jayson-tight-jeans-Parsons might well be the grandson of the most feared fasionistah in London, after all you don't get cheekbones like that without some serious in-breeding. But, he'd have to crawl further for longer along that red carpet before he slithered over Jaymee to grab the coveted assistant to The Diva name badge.

Jaymee hadn't licked the nap of her suede Gucci heels flat for the last year and a half to see his prize handed over to this willowy wannabe. NO WAY Ho Jay!

Jayson is really panicing now, his perfect sharkfin retro doo has flopped, his cute detailed blingybling broach has sagged as he's sweated undecorously in his teeny weeny tee.

Oops here she comes. Jaymee is smirking.

"Dahling..." The Diva purrs in pleasure. "Karl told me only last week, that the horrid little yellow ones cause your teeth to stain. Too too awful. Jayson, how clever of you - you are always so fash ON!" Chris is next...

Friday 1 October | Exercise 5

7 ways to use a tortoise...


1. Keep breeding your tortoise until you have six and then train them to pull  small cart.
2. As a hard hat. For military purposes would be good.

3. Garden markers. Paint information on his back. Place near a supply of lettuce. This may not work.
4. If the tortoise has gone on holiday, maybe back to Madagascar to see their relatives. Use as heavy gloves.
5. The following suggestion is not suitable for vegetarians. Kill the tortoise and gouge out it's body, use it for a bowl to serve nibbles in at your 'I'm a vicious tortoise killer' party.
6. Also not suitable for veggies or tortoise lovers... Make tortoise foot soup and serve in bowls made from the left over shells. (3 large tortoises will feed about 6 people as a starter).
7. Shave small amounts of the shell and grind into a smooth paste - spread on toast and feed to hyperactive children. Sell this remedy for a lot of money.


1. Road crossing Patrol (i.e. lollipop lady for a local school)
2. Frisbee that can hang onto a surface it lands on
3. Goods transportation inside a warehouse
4. Line painter for roads
5. Tester of treadmills for the elderly
6. One brick at a time brick mover
7. If using a turtle, automatic coffee stirrer...

We're off to the cafe

Me and Chris decided to do some writing excercises together today - his are frankly way better than mine, which is galling. Podgey set us a whole load - and just as soon as I get myself sorted with more pages on this little blogspot I will create a little writing resource for anyone else that needs a bit of a push to get going. Ms Bartley take note - soon you will have no excuse.

I can't quite get my head around the hard return issue of this blog tool. I can't just hit return I have to slap it twice and then down arrow it to the place I need to be - which seems odd to me.

I will post our exercises next...

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Thursday 30 September | Exercise 4 (part two)

What does memory foam mean? Is the poor chair doomed to remember every arse tht has plonked down and depressed it's seat cushion to the depth of a cheese toastie? Lord how awful for it. Can it remember granny? No the foam didn't arrive until after granny snuffed it - only the wings will have a chance of remembering her and the arms. Maybe the old parts of the chair remember  her with fondness and the new parts will sigh...

"There they go again. On and on about the good old days and watching the telly...".

Before it ws granny's chair the old chair will remember her hubby, Wilf. Who sat in it every night at 6pm, after his 'arrive back home wash'. "Just a lick and a promise for now love" he'd say but he never did lick and it was only a promise.

He'd lower his tired old backside down gingerly and pick up his pristine copy of the Daily Mail, turning to the sports pages after the briefest of glances at the headlines. Wilf was never one for keeping up with things and other than his beloved team and it wasn't often they made into the back pages of the Daily Mail. Still he read about the other clubs with interest and he settled himself in with a cup of tea and two rich tea biscuits - to whet his appetite before teatime proper.

"What's for tea love?" as granny bustled in, fussing about with his slippers in one hand and a tea towel with a picture of a London bus in the other - damp with the dishes.

"Egg and chips do ya?"

"Oooh lovely"...

As my good friend megsie would say... "That's it the end"...

Wednesday 29 | Exercise 4 The Chair (part one)

I planned to write for five mins at a time, observing. Practising writing the detail to buld a character or atmosphere. I could start with that chair opposite, because I've positioned myself in the cafe such that I can't actually see anyone really.

It's an old wing backed chair that has been recovered in a hideous 'baby shit' brown velvet. The seat is foam and it has curvy, stumpy wooden legs - I'm not clever enough to recognise the period.

Wednesday 29th September | I've god a cowd...

Holed up in my favourite cafe nursing a cold and a mug of hot chocolate, there's three council workers in blue overalls wielding a formidable looking piece of kit around the floor. The bleeps it emits sound out a warning. Expensive disruptions ahead. Things don't look good as they take it in turns to emit their own sounds. The universally understood sucking of air over teeth to achieve a long drawn out musical tut of doubt. I trully believe that every apprentice in every town in every country all over the world is taught this sound on their first day on the job.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Thursday 23 September | Exercise 3

the little felt hat ...

She hadn't read that letter in a few years. She wasn't really sure why she still kept it. For a few moments her hand hovered before dropping back to her lap and her gaze unhooked from the gay little robins darting about on the wall paper and drifted.

Shed been so delighted with herself when she'd ordered it online just a few weeks ago now. Browsing through hundreds of pictures of wallpaper patterns she'd spotted the little union jack breaseted robins and felt instantly happy. She'd kept on searching for an  hour or so but every now and again - her heart snuck back to peek at the cheeky little fellows until finally with a rush of devilment she ordered 3 rolls sing the joint account credit card.

Frank made a face when it arrived but she knew he was more bothered about how difficult it would be to hang than he was about how daft they were. He chastised her for not making allowances for a repeat pattern and tutted.

"You'll be lucky if there's enough paper, you've left me no margin for a mistake". He grumbled. Frank never made mistakes.

God if only life left you some margin for errors. She was thinking unkindly.

She'd write a few notes in those margins to remind herself that she used to have fun. She used to wear racy undies and high heels and get her hair done every week at Deadlock and Barnet's on the high street.

She'd write his name in the margins too - over and over again like a magic spell. The more times she wrote his name the more real he would become.

Maybe that's why she'd kept the letter, as a talisman of hope, you never know maybe he's still around and still thinking about her - all these years later. Wondering about her, remembering her lovely smile and that silly hat she used to wear.

Suddenly struck by a feverish need to try that hat on for size 40 years later she jujped up from where she was sitting at the end of the bed and lumbered over to the big chair in the corner. Her first attempts to drag it half way across the room met with cussed resistance from his mother's tatty old persian rug. He'd dragged that thing from house to house claiming it was an heirloom. The one time she'd tried to pass it on her son's wife had politely batted away her suggestion it was time to receive granny's legacy.

If only she'd been bold like these warrior women she saw in the cafes and on the bus now-a-days. They wouldn't have settled... They'd have no need for margins. They'd be writing their stories in block capitals across clean white sheets of paper, not trying to map out their life on the back of a gas bill. Making domestic to-do lists to occupy their time.

She gave the rug an unnecesarily vicious little kick to move it out of her way and returned to her panting effort to moe the chair close enough to her wardrobe to better reach the hat box at the back of the top shelf.

She'd wanted a beautiful built in wardrobe like the ones in her catalogues with drawers and two types of hanging space and special dividers for socks and even a place to hang up your silk scarves. Not that she had any silk scarves. He said it was too expensive so she'd settled for a couple of units from Ikea and he'd made a few more shelves at the top for her storage boxes. It looked ok, quite good really. It was just she had dreamt of a beautiful expanse of oak laminated wood and soft sprung doors opening like whispers and revealing a wonderfully neat and organised life.

What she'd got was cheap and cheerful, like her little robins. Although at £50.00 a roll they were emphatically not cheap. (She hadn't told Frank about how much the robins had actually cost, and he would never in a million years believe she'd pay £150 to wallpaper a chimney breast).

She managed to drag the chair, another hideous relic from his mother, a woman with little taste and less money and she wondered about fetching her proper shoes to climb up onto it's sturdy back to reach her box.

She'd got this far, without them and besides she didn't want to stand on indoor furniture with her outdoor shoes. She clambered up onto the chair in her slippers and reached for the box.

Pulling off the lid she spots her old hat immediately and reaches in the felt feels a bit stiff under her rough old fingers and as she touches the lace fascinator she sees his face as clear as it was back then - smiling at her, without a word, just letting her know that she'd be the one, if she smiled back.

She's lost for a moment, confused by the powerful jolt of memory and the ridiculous ache of emotion that grabs her low in the pit of her stomach. As she puts her hand out to steady herself she misses her mark and tips over the back of the chair headlong into the wardrobe, taking armfuls of her clothes with her. Her good mac and her best weddign outfit all rip from the hangers as she clatters forward in a heap, crushing her precious little hat in her fist as she lands and ruining it forever.

She lets out a gasp of anguish at her folly and lays quietly in a heap at the bottom of her horrible wardrobe in a pile of matronly tweed and silently begins to cry....

Short Excercise

 Waiting for iPodge in my favourite cafe, I started a little observation excercise - What if?... while watching a couple who clearly were not lovers or friends ... It doesn't go on for too long, but I will do more of these for fun and to work out the rubbishy cliche that always creeps in when you haven't been writing for a long time. It's like stretching before a race...

What if his photo was 10 years too late and he's banking on English politeness to get her through at least one date with him...

What if she's just happy to be out of the house away from her lonely day for an hour or so. She's dissappointed he's not the young, slim picture date but she'll take this grey haired tubby and a decent cup of coffee over instant alone - again.

What if he keeps leaning in and his proximity reminds her of an old love - he somehow smells the same, maybe it's his aftershave, maybe it's just man101 smell - Man Number 7...

What if the smell and the closeness of him makes her want him. Not him so much as a man, and he's offering - or he could be.

What if hes banking on it. He chooses online carefully, he knows exactly what to look for. Too thin, too self deprecating, no mention of kids or a current man. Lonely. He knew she'd be lonely.

What if she feels safer than she should because it's daytime, he's chubby and smiley and she is overwhelmed by the smell of him and she allows herself to flirt - tentative at first but he responds carefully. To build her confidence.

He fills the whole space with loud conversation, keeps talking, keeps flinging himself across the aquaintance line.