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Posts Tagged ‘Writing Group’

A recent writers group activity was to create a character based on a collection of objects. My eyes were drawn  to an ebony pointer, reminding me of countless stories I have heard and read, where teachers have ruled classrooms by fear and intimidation, rather than generating a healthy atmosphere for learning.

My own schooldays are fondly remembered in most instances, with some teachers remembered for their creativity and others…….. Well, let’s not go there, not today anyway.

The piece written below is not attributed to anyone in particular, but a product of our group activity. Proving that sometimes an object can inspire us to create a credible character.

intrepid

 Class Rule

The wooden pointer is dark and foreboding, like the extension of an arm, with the ability to pierce to the heart. Its age is unknown, yet it feels Victorian, the kind you would expect to find in the hands of a school master back in the late nineteenth century.

***

Bernard conducted his lessons in every way, shape and form. The dark timber baton, ordering the classroom to perform to the tune of respect and authority, for the position he held. Chants bounced around the room to the beat of a tap, words repeated in multiples, if the annunciation was incorrect. Each child was terrified of the ebony stick, its power holding a greater influence, than that of Bernard Billings himself.

They didn’t see the wizened old man, with failing eyesight, arthritic joints and a balding head. Instead they felt intimidated, prisoners in their box like class room. A half drum roll on the ancient oak desk had the ability to bring a deathly silence, where you really could hear a pin drop.

When the tip was pointed in your direction you grew by inches, rather than centimetres. Decisive answers had to be produced in an instant and debate on current issues would not be entertained. Pounds and Pence have since become Dollars and Cents, yet Algebra, Fractions, Times Tables and Logarithms were everyday currency, during long tedious maths lessons.  It was an era where errors in factual information, grammar and spelling were marked in red, the pain of correction bleeding off of everyone’s page.

Then there was that heavy-handed thwack of the cane, which caused a global unrest. Where eyes stole glances over blurred pages, imagining the frightened faces of their peers.

Horror stories ran rife among the student population and even though no one knew of anyone who had actually suffered at the hands of this man, no one was willing to put those tales to the test.

Now I have the character. One day I may have to put him into a story.

©Sandie’s Snippets

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Ok folks it’s confession time.

A follow-up on my NaNoWriMo meltdown

After a good start in the NaNoWriMo stakes, I was feeling more than a little pleased with myself. My performance and what I was churning out day after day was giving me a great thrill as the NaNo’ graph had me finishing the 50,000 word count with days to spare. Caught in the grip of ‘NaNo Fever’ I lived, breathed and perspired (women don’t sweat) over the pages of writing that were amassing in front of my very eyes. I was excited, very excited.

 Then it hit me or did I hit it? All the things that I was putting on hold, just to reach this November thirty deadline. Important things like family and friends and my responsibilities towards the community in the volunteer programmes I’m involved with. I wasn’t even sure whether I had a book in me, but here I was pounding away at the computer and neglecting the continuity of love, respect and value that I already had from those around me. A crash was imminent.

 For me, I decided, that writing like this was indeed dangerous for my health. A day of feeling physically sick, wrestling with my fears and doubts had me bound up in a deep dark place. Unable to face my computer, not even wanting to go to Writers Group I decided that I had to stop, pull myself together and take a good hard look at what I was doing to myself.

 Then that still quiet voice challenged me to take a look in that mirror, and remind that person not to be too harsh on them selves. Resetting my goal to 30,000 was a compromise; I was not giving up, I still had a destination to reach.  Now I am thrilled to have crossed that line, with 2,000 words to spare, giving me something to work on in the New Year. Homework for writers group has been completed with pleasure, even writing a ‘Blog Post’ has seemed like a walk in the park, compared to the pressures of NaNo’.

So do I believe that writing is dangerous for you health? 

No, not really. On the whole I find it a cathartic time. A good place to reminisce with my past, capture lost dreams and navigate a world of fantasy. I believe it has the power to heal and bring restoration, as dark secrets are brought to light, then dealt with in the hands of characters and plots.

 I love writing. I love the quirkiness of having a single word or line, then having to wrap a poem or story around it. I love the surprise of reading the unexpected on a page and wondering who this Sandie really is.

 But I do need balance.I need to; walk those rhythmic shore lines, listen to the harmony in the sand and surf, scavenge the beach for little treasures of inspiration, then soar as I take flight and see what the future has to offer.

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

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What do you do with all the bits and pieces you have written over the years?

Apart from creating my very own ‘Writers Anthology’, containing all my short stories, poetry, quotes and random paragraphs for the year. I have taken to gifting a piece of writing, by turning it into an eight page booklet. This has been well received and given me a great deal of pleasure, so I thought some of you might like to give it a go too.

By folding a sheet of A4 paper or card, it is very easy to produce the background for your gift book. I found the design on the internet and have given you the link to a ‘youtube’ page where you can watch step by step instructions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEXYqRit9JY

Pieces of around 500 words are most suited to this and although I’m sure there must be a template out there somewhere, I have printed my story in eight columns, cut them out and then crafted them together. Some are more elaborate than others, as I have tied ribbons and used different materials and textures.

My favorite piece to give as a gift came about, when we were asked at Writers Group to write about what was in a box as a homework piece. ‘The Gift’, which can be found below, is given with an empty gift box, you will understand why when you read it.

THE GIFT

This box contains something unique.

It is very versatile.

You can; Do it.  Come to it. Count on it. Stop at it. Go for it. Or even wear it.

Hay Fever sufferers could sneeze at it.

You might even be able to make something out of it.

Some keen writers, have been known to write home about it

There are times you could love this gift or absolutely hate it.

 If it was a birthday, Christmas or some other special occasion you would not be happy to receive it. But if you’d recently suffered some health problems, you would consider it a joyful gift, to be given this as a result from your Doctor.

Have you worked out what this box contains yet?

 It is a box of nothing.

Nothing pronounced nuhth-ing can be used in many ways.

As a noun it means to have no thing, not anything, nought. It is non-existent, has no part, share or trace.

Loud noises can fade to nothing while something of value can lose its shine and show nothing of its former magnificence.

Our city streets are scattered with people who are said to have nothing and live nothing lives.

Yet somehow, nothing fits perfectly into this tiny box.

If we take nothing from something, it still leaves that something intact.

How often do we think nothing of it? Consider it nothing?

And accept there is nothing to it at all?

As an adverb, we claim it to be nothing like that, offering it no respect. While as an adjective; we can clearly amount to nothing, or be stuck in a nothing job.

This gift of nothing is for you to take pleasure in. For those days in which you are feeling stressed, unable to cope with the busyness of life.

Directions for its use are as follows:

  •  First put on the kettle and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
  • While the kettle comes to the boil, take the phone off the hook and turn your mobile phone to silent.
  • Next you need to shut yourself in a place where you will not be disturbed.

(You may need to develop a little attitude, scream, shout or turn on the water works to achieve this. Sometimes hints just do not work.)

  • Next sit in a comfortable position and open your box of nothing.
  • Breathe in the fragrance of sweet nothing, exhaling your worries as you go.
  • Continue to breath in and out until you create a nothing space, which is impenetrable by the cares of the world.
  • Once you reach this meditative state you are ready to enjoy your chosen beverage.
  • Once you have emptied your cup you should be in a state of nothingness, prepared once more to face the day ahead.

If you have not achieved this result you may need to repeat the exercise again.

This precious gift of nothing is gifted to_____________________________ and will never run out.

Please accept it with the love and affection with which it is given.

Now. What have you written that you could gift to that someone special?

©Sandie Snippets 2012

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