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Category Archives: Creative Writing
Once again, even though the Creative Writing Group has now closed, I thought you might be interested in the following which was first written in May, 2017.
I’m not a good sleeper; I either go to bed very, very late or at a reasonable time but can’t get to sleep and then wake at least twice in the night with typical old lady’s complaints. These are obviously all factors which are down to me, but every now and again outside (literally outside my bedroom window) a problem arises which is not of my own making but of nature itself. I first noticed it when I once went to bed very late, in fact after 2.30 am. As I opened my window, I heard chirruping from the trees about twenty feet away. “Whatever’s making that noise so early in the morning?” I asked myself. Not being very knowledgeable about birds, the next day I asked friends, who suggested it could be a nightingale but it was too early in the year for them. So, I Googled it and found in fact that it was a robin. Apparently, they are the last to go to bed and the first to wake up! (Rather like me, so I may have to change my name to Robin!).
But the best sounds are around four thirty am when the blackbirds start their conversations. The first is in the nearest tree to my house, about ten yards away in the school yard. His co-respondent is in a tree around fifty yards away, across the school playground. I just have to get out of bed and open the window a little wider to more clearly hear their conversation which I imagine goes something like this:
“Morning Peter, are you up yet? Are you up yet?”. “Of course I am, Paul, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well I heard you had a late night last night. Chatting up Belinda, I believe?”. “Well, you’re only jealous. You’re only jealous. Just ‘cos you can’t get yourself a lady friend!”. “I’ll have you know I do very nicely, thank you.” “I’ll believe it when I hear it” responds Paul.
And so on it goes. Occasionally Peter will repeat his sentence twice, just for emphasis but Paul will then change the subject of the conversation and alter his tune accordingly.
In this age of technology, I can’t believe that scientists haven’t studied the blackbirds’ songs and been able to interpret what they are saying to one another. Their phrasing is so conversational, sometimes a little wistful, at other times questioning or indignant. It just cannot be random notes; it just has to be a proper conversation, which is often quite lengthy, not like the occasional squawk, chirrup or chirp of other birds, such as sparrows, seagulls and crows. Just this morning as I lay awake planning this piece of writing, I suddenly thought of the wood pigeon and, just as I thought of his name, he started his chant. Sporty Warren is the wood pigeon who sits on a corner floodlight, high above the school playing field behind my house, chanting “Come on United! Come on United!”.
The only sound I can well do without is the chatter of the magpies; they’re so loud, clattering and argumentative. I just have to shut my window when they begin, but usually they start their racket when I should have been getting up anyway.
I love the blackbirds’ song so much that I even bought myself a CD of birdsong which I play very loudly when I am just relaxing or reading a book, because the birds don’t usually sing all day, just at the early morning and evening shifts. But strangely in these awful times we are living in at the moment, I’ve noticed the blackbirds are singing nearly all of the day! So, you scientists, knuckle down to cracking the blackbirds’ songs so that we early risers can follow their conversations.
Check out the blackbird’s song on Youtube: https://youtu.be/EB1lgjg9e4Y
Once again, even though the Creative Writing Group has now closed, I thought you might be interested in the following which was an exercise given to us by the leader, Janet Gibson, who gave us the line “It was a coincidence…..” which we then had to complete.
It was a coincidence but every time she caught the tram into Nottingham, there sitting across the aisle from her was the old man. Well, I say “old” – he must have been around twenty years older than her. She didn’t go into Nottingham that often but when she did it was always at different times of the day and on different days of the week. After she had seen him twice in three weeks (once on the 11.40 am tram and again on the 2.25 pm tram) she thought it was rather strange that he was always there, sitting across the aisle, hands on his knees, staring straight ahead. Occasionally he turned his head slowly to the left and looked at her for a few seconds then slowly turned his head back and looked ahead again. When it happened every time she caught the tram and at different times of the day, she began to feel rather uneasy so she started to sit in a different part of the tram on every occasion but after a few minutes the man moved through the tram until he was sitting once again on the seat across the aisle from her.
He was quite an unassuming man, dressed smartly but appropriately for a man of his age, with grey pressed trousers and a navy anorak type coat and wearing a flat tweed cap. But she became so unnerved by his presence that she stopped catching the tram and took the bus into Nottingham when it was necessary for her to go there and to her relief, she never saw him on the bus on those occasions.
Then, about five months after she first spotted him, she had to make an emergency trip into Nottingham to pick up a book she had ordered from Waterstones to take to her Reading Group the next day. It never crossed her mind that the man might be on the tram but there he was, once again sitting across the aisle from her. After three or four stops, she plucked up her courage and leaned across and asked him “Excuse me, but do I know you?”. “No, you don’t” he said “But I know you! I used to live in Old Lenton and I knew of you then”. Old Lenton was where she had been born and brought up by her mother, who had died about ten months previously. Her father had been killed at the end of World War II, just before she was born.
He turned to her again and said “Your mother thought I should make myself known to you and I have been waiting for the right opportunity. I just wanted to let you know she is happy and glad to be reunited with me after all this time”. And with that he suddenly faded away and was gone. She frantically looked around but no-one else seemed to have noticed. So, it hadn’t been a coincidence after all.
Once again, even though the Creative Writing Group has now closed, I thought you might be interested in the following which was an exercise given to us by the leader, Janet Gibson.
“Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the poem”.
The following “found poetry” was taken from an evening course prospectus. It’s something you could do yourself just for fun.
Tells a story.
Something about us.
Songs are important
The joy of movement
Transcends to an audience
The joy of words
Bursts on the scene
The opportunity to change
Spinning and weaving
Tells a story
Dancing….. Dancing….. Dance all your life!
Unfortunately, the Creative Writing Group closed last year due to insufficient membership. However, one of our exercises was when Janet Gibson, our Group Organiser, put a pile of estate agents’ flyers on the table, asked us to choose a property and write something about that property that no-one else knew. As soon as I saw the photo of the Crown House, North Muskham, I knew I had to write about that one. I did a bit of research on its history and came up with the following; hope you like it! Sandra Green
The Crown House, North Muskham
“Oh, ‘ere we go agin!” Josiah thought to himself, as the estate agent’s car pulled up outside. He watched from the bedroom window as the estate agent got busy erecting yet another “For Sale” sign by the front wall. The day before someone had pushed a newspaper through the letterbox and he had spotted the estate agent’s description of the property. He had continued to read the newspaper. “A stunning and high-quality conversion of a former public house” he sneered as he read it. “High quality living room, four bedrooms, three bathrooms” he continued. “Huh, why would anybody need three bathrooms”?
He remembered a time when you were lucky to have a water closet in the back yard, never mind three bathrooms! He drifted off in thought, reminiscing about the former public house in which he was standing. He remembered its original maze of tiny cluttered rooms, linked together by an uneven passageway, the slabs of which had been worn smooth by the metal-studded boots of ploughboys calling in for a thirst-quenching pint of ale on their way home from the fields.
“Landscaped gardens” he had continued to read. “’Twer a cobbled backyard then, wi a small lean-to against the owd back wall” he said to himself. Beyond the back wall there had been a field where Silas the Shire horse chomped his way across the grass. Half-hidden at the far end had been the old plough that Silas had pulled across many a local field, ploughing furrows ready for the farmer to set his seeds. That old plough now stood in newly-painted splendour in the middle of the village green, with a neat but vibrantly colourful border of flowers set around it.
He chuckled to himself. He wondered if the incomers knew about the house’s secret history. In 1597 ten local plough boys had been summoned before a court after a vicar complained because they had ploughed up his churchyard. They had done that in response to the vicar’s disapproval of a Mummers’ play, which they had performed for beer money and to cheer up the villagers after Christmas. The plough boys had appeared in court in their costumes and the judge allowed them to continue the tradition saying, “The plough boys have an ancient right to do this and nobody can stop them. This goes back to fundamental English rights to do as you please as a free-born Englishman.”
Some months later that same vicar had disappeared from the area. Some people said he had gone to another parish to hide his embarrassment at losing the case. Others wondered if something more sinister had happened. Only the ploughboys knew what had occurred.
One drunken night at The Crown, the vicar had been lured inside on some pretext or another and in the resulting melee he had received a stunning blow to the head whilst being shoved along the narrow-slabbed passage. Only Josiah and the plough knew where he was now and every year Josiah marvelled at the wonderful display of flowers on the village green, which seemed to thrive better there than anywhere else in the village. It was Josiah’s ghostly destiny to return on the anniversary of that event, just to make sure that everything was still neat and tidy……and so it was!
Unfortunately it has been decided to close the Creative Writing Group due to insufficient membership. Should members be interested in re-starting the group in the future please let Sandra Green (Co-Ordinator) or Siobhan Lee (Groups’ Co-ordinator) know and this will be reconsidered.
Many thanks to past and present members who will hopefully continue to write for their own pleasure at home.