Codsall Writers Group:
homework for reading on 17th January 2017.
Brief: look at the picture and use it as a starting point for a piece of writing = apply a bit of lateral thinking and see where it takes you.
This is the picture we were given. Everyone accomplished the task - we never cease to be surprised by the diversity of the results.
A Bag Full of Limericks
"There's a brown paper bag on the table,"
Said Fred to his wife, name of Mable.
"I've bought all the stuff,
I trust there's enough,
P'raps you'll do it as soon as you're able."
Mabel looked at her hubby somewhat curious
Hoping he planned nothing spurious.
Fred could be such a drag
And that mysterious bag,
Or has he bought something luxurious?
Mabel perked up and smiled ear to ear.
"Oh Freddie," she purred, "you're a dear.
If I close my eyes
You can reveal the surprise,
Quick! Pass that brown bag over here."
Poor Freddie realised his faux par,
He knew he'd gone much too far,
As a bag full of sugar
Is a bit of a bugger
When your wife's thinks its a tia-raaaa. (well I had to make it rhyme)
"My darling," he said, "you're a dream.
These metaphorical jewels brightly gleam
Golden fruits for a star
And you're good with a jar,
My marmalade maker supreme.
Codsall Writers' Group
Homework for reading 19th January 2016
Brief: Take inspiration from one of the given pictures and write a piece of flash fiction 50 - 500 words.
In The Bag
"What will Dave say if he finds out?"
"I'll make sure he never knows."
"But the kids are sure to drop it out, we're only ten miles from home."
"Yes, but I've told them this place is called Brighton."
"You'll never get away with it. He's given you a thousand pounds to take the kids away for a week while he attends a business conference. It just won't work."
"Of course it will... I've brought last year's buckets and spades, they're happy dabbling in the water... look at them."
"Wem is hardly Brighton."
"You worry too much... I make a point of referring to your place as 'the hotel' when we get home the girls will talk the talk... hotel, paddling, buckets and spades, ice creams, tea shops... the usual stuff."
"Maybe, but a week here just instilling the right words and keeping them amused will get me a Louis Vuitton handbag. Er... maybe when he has to go again we'll get one for you. What do you think."
"Oh well if you put it like that..."
The water was uninviting, alien. She stared into its murky depth, her heart heavy. She had to do it; there was no way out. Face set, back rigid, she steeled herself for the final plunge, consoling herself that he had telephoned and would be here tomorrow to repair the dishwasher.
It’s warm and safe in here. I’m not sure about leaving, but somehow I feel compelled to go. No, not yet. The walls are closing in, yes, it’s time to get out, I must get out. I’m scared. Not so fast, I’m so tired. Soon, very soon, I shall scream.
The metal bar struck without warning. The sudden pain shooting through her body. For a moment she thought of her babies, felt panic, helplessness, but the pain took over. Her life was draining away. Why had she been tempted? Such pain – sheer hell – and all for a morsel of cheese.
with Jane Seabourne - Theme 'Water'
the rain Gods
to people’s prayers.
In the west
for fashion’s sake.
just don’t care.
HOMEWORK for reading 3rd September 2013 - Book Review
The Vanishing Act
of Esme Lennox
by Maggie O’Farrell
A cleverly structured novel – it took me a chapter to two to get into the unfolding plot and the leaps back and forth through time. At the core we have Esme, her sister Kitty and Kitty’s granddaughter, Iris. It is Iris who unravels Esme’s story whilst simultaneously dealing with her own problems.
Very early in her childhood Esme has been traumatised by the death of a sibling – no one understands and she becomes ‘difficult’.
The family move from their cosseted Colonial life in India to cold, draughty Edinburgh.
We begin to feel Iris’s growing outrage as she learns how 1930s upper middle-class society imposed bigoted rules that had a damaging and adverse effect on people's lives. Young Esme is gifted, creative, a free spirit – her parents see her as a rebellious naughty child. Her talents are unappreciated and squashed. Esme and her sister are urged to aspire to a ‘good’ marriage – anathema to Esme.
Esme continues her rebellion and is finally “put away for her own good” - consigned to a mental institution. Her elders are satisfied and Kitty lives her life within the confines of society.
Iris ferrets away unearthing the past and we realise how social etiquette affected actions and decisions – Esme's story is revealed, leading us to the shocking conclusion.
HOMEWORK for reading 3rd September 2013 - Book Review
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I read this book only because it has been prescribed. I baulk at the thought of reading about the holocaust. However: it was our homework piece and so I read it and loved it.
This is another book where the story unfolds retrospectively. Although Hanna is the main protagonist we hear her story through the first person narration of a very young intellectual who embarks on an affair with an older woman - Hanna. The woman is uninhibited and inevitably the boy is held in her spell.
The narrative is unusual in that it is not bogged with reported speech, or there is very little, but is has pace and so we are quickly drawn into Michael and Hanna’s story.
One would expect such an affair to be transient, a growing up thing, but although Michael finally moves on; university, marriage, divorce, a career in law, thoughts of his past and memories of Hanna haunt him through the years.
At the height of his studies and as part of his research he has to attend a trial. In the dock is Hanna. She is accused of abusing prisoners at a point in time before Michael knew her, a point in time when the Jews were herded into concentration camps and Hanna was a prison guard.
Michael deals with this awful matter by confronting it to the point of obsession. He attends the court daily, watching, reasoning, philosophising internally.
As I read the book I wondered if the author is a philosopher as he gives plausible account of cause and effect of events upon his characters’ actions. Happenings are so well reasoned that one almost, and I stress almost, begins to have a smattering of empathy for Hanna despite the horrors of what has happened in the camps.
In a Eureka moment Michael discovers the flaw that has blighted Hanna’s entire life. He is convinced it is the reason for her alienation from society in general, something that had been evident but undetected in their early association. Something that contributed and may have been the reason for her actions – but can it be considered an excuse?
Despite this story being related in a non-graphical, non-salacious way and having little direct speech, it remains thought provoking, and has lingered in my mind. I think that Michael's intense affair with Hanna all those years ago affected the rest of his life and caused his inability to form lasting relationship in later life. Was she his gaoler too? Conversely Michael is guilt-ridden and feels duty-bound to do the right thing when Hanna is released from gaol into a world now alien to her.
This book is something of a revelation – I think it can be read and accessed at different levels – i.e. read the story for its worth as a good tale: or, whilst reading, take time to consider the brief philosophical and analytical aspects within the text, it’s so easy to skim over them when keen to digest the plot.
I wrote this poem some time ago when I was having piano lessons, giving a little insight into my unsuccessful "piano years".
STRIFE BEGINS AT FORTE
Not being the type that's sporty,
Not too highbrow, nor too haughty,
I'm learning' pianoforte - drat the scales,
But my battering of the ivories
Is shattering to Clive, he is
My much tormented tutor - hear his wails!
When playing pizzicato
I confuse it with legato,
And my grandioso tends to be quite small,
I can't do a tremolando
D'ye think he'll smack me hand?- oh!
Before I drive us both right up the wall.
I'm sure he feels quite weary
When he's teaching me the theory,
Dreary demisemiquavers won't behave,
They don't fit the acciaccatura
And cause a big furore,
Poor Chopin's turning over in his grave.
Just a middle-aged beginner
And a great harmonic sinner
Hubby's dinner's never done when he gets home,
As I thump the old 'pianner'
In my unmelodic manner,
Neighbour's bangin' on the wall's my metronome.
Though I send them all quite frantic
I intend to be pedantic...
Continuing this antic just the same,
While husband, son and daughter
Might threaten me with slaughter,
I’ll regale them with my 'music' - what a shame!
One day my great cacophony
May turn into a symphony,
By Jiminy! I think that pigs might fly,
So, whilst I'm still a duffer,
The world will have to suffer,
But, I'll get the hang of it before I die!
an old smile
a young scowl
give no clues
one quite young
one quite old
but same hair
and same stare
Exercise: write a piece of prose or poetry prompted by a photograph
This form is called concrete poetry. No particular rhyming scheme - it's also about the shape of the words on the page and trying to make the shape relate to the message - my idea is that I'm on the downhill run.