More Examples of Creative Writing work

The Forestry Ponies 

Alison Douglas

Jess, hair askew, skipped down the loch road, then up the steep brae through the stinking bracken and balancing on a tightrope of rock edges she navigated the burn in spate. She could hear the buzz of band saws in the distance and the cracking of trees as they bounced to the ground along with the Gaelic calls of men to one another. She inhaled the smell of newly cut wood, the petrol smoke and the pungent sweat of the ponies that she loved.

“Hello lass’, the foreman greeted her as she crunched her way into the clearing of wood chips and sawdust and, as she slumped down on a tree stump, she spied her favourite pony, Bran. Her eyes stroked his wiry forelock and flapping mane, she watched his sturdy determination as he strained at his harness, chains rattling, and she was in awe as he pulled his quota of logs.

Jess perched there until a break was called, she then ran over to Bran and ran her fingers down his nose, slyly slipped him a couple of sugar lumps, after which he smacked her a wet kiss. The men slurped their tea out of tin mugs and ate sticky buns, whilst they swapped jokes, some of which Jess didn’t understand. Meanwhile the forestry ponies stood in shades of cream and peat, munching whilst swishing tiresome flies with their tails. Jess soaked in the friendship of man and beast this was a special time; it was uncommon to her, that feeling of camaraderie and family. Then off they would go again, up the worn, tired trail to haul more logs, making sure to avoid the witch’s stone, as a curse would befall anyone who moved it. Jess had touched the old standing stone to feel the magic but had been disappointed; the folk-memory had held more interest.

Dusk fell, the horses stood in wraiths of steam whilst the men hawed and wiped oily hands, they were ready for the off. Jess then got a leg up onto Bran’s back; her prize for waiting so long, the hug of the animal overwhelmed her, like a happy home. Ponies and men wearied down the tracks, whilst the loch below shone the way home like a lantern. Down through tall fir trees, which stood like sentinels guarding them against hidden foes until they reached the tear of the tarmac road.  After another mile, the ribbon of friendship reached Jess’s house, tucked under oak and beech trees, it lay anchored to the loch side. She slid from her friend’s back, her knees weak from clinging, she nudged Bran’s nose with hers to say goodbye. The foreman had winked ‘Be good’ but he knew that Jess had already failed; she should have been studying for her O’levels but preferred time spent with the ponies, the friendly foresters. She smelt of wood resin and horse but didn’t care; she ran home grubby and full of glee, ready for a ‘telling off’ and her punishment.

 

The Apartment  

By Evelyn Quek

When we first viewed the apartment, our words echoed, footsteps trailing on cool grey marble as we walked through. The cavernous living room dazzled us with its airiness but the five differently sized rooms were mostly dim and the kitchen pitch black. At the end of a long corridor was a large master bedroom with windows of concrete slabs erected on outside but offered surprisingly, an old sunken bath. I remembered once having a sunken bath, Sundays spent in warm scented water, sunlight streaming through windows and the sound of birds twittering. But this was spacious, along one wall, a blue white terrazzo vanity top four feet long held an oval ceramic basin. Opposite stood an almost child sized, pale blue toilet. Light streamed in through a long, narrow window. Far below people and cars swarmed, antlike on the streets.

We took the 3500 foot apartment bounded by city traffic and swilling crowds, the spaciousness perfect for the two of us who worked from home, its isolating silence on the 25th floor, a sheer relief. Built during the 70’s, Peace Mansion’s 36 floors of dirty grey and brown exterior glowered over costlier neighbouring condos, its height defying strict air regulations in a city state famous for stern governance. Long ago, an official enquiry over this building infringement took place leading to the tragic suicide of a minister responsible for its existence. Conceived as a thing of light and space the building had started badly.

The architect’s grandiose plans to build the highest skyscraper in valuable downtown Singapore failed to for see that once completed, concrete edifices would be raised across the magnificent views on its highest floors as these had the misfortune to tower over the Istana, the President’s residence. So our kitchen stood in perpetual darkness illuminated by harsh neon bars. The space was shared with a stained, rusting stove, two family sized refrigerators dating from when the rooms were sub-let to various tenants and out-of-reach decaying cabinets resting on a sharp, tiled floor. But we were surrounded by mom and pop cafes and food courts offering cheap hot meals so for much of that year, we ate out and hardly cooked.

Sequestered so high, we saw each day, the soaring shadow of an eagle against sheer blue sky and fluffy reshaping clouds, or a kestrel chased by a crow. Our constant neighbours were hardy pigeons with permanent broods established on concrete ledges outside our bedrooms. At night thick with sleep we heard their dream cries. During the day when the stupor of the noon heat slowed the air to almost a standstill, an inaudible hum sometimes happened. Once, alone and lost in reverie, above the vibrating air conditioner, I was startled by a resounding crack. Wood expands in the heat. But an imperceptible sensation dawned, of being watched, an anxiety increasing until my heart raced. Just as quickly the feeling subsided. Since then I have been watchful, a corner of my mind on alert.

 

Tedium

Imogen Stead
It was 8.06 am Harriet clocked in at the factory, six minutes late – this meant her pay would be docked by 15 minutes. How was that even legal she thought.
Harriet would now be on what was considered the worst job – “solitary in the dungeon” –
stocktaking duties in the basement.
Harriet could do the job with her eyes shut, and it allowed her to ponder distant memories her travels in Peru or the foothills of the Andes but it always came back to that acrimonious split with Jonathan, and the classic line about not being able to commit until he had ‘found’ himself which was code for ‘I want to commit but just not to you’ proven when he ran offwith someone 10 years younger than Harriet.
Harriet had arrived back in Blighty, 34, broke, with no real job prospects and alone. Harriet thought of asking Father for yet more funds, but decided against it not being able to bear another ‘I told you so’ lecture. Harriet registered with an agency and took the first position she was offered ‘packer’ on a production line, this will tide me over she thought but that was 8 years ago.
In the beginning it had been a challenge to distance herself from her moneyed upbringing and to think of herself as though she were in a Nell Dunn story – after all these were the ‘real people’ the working poor, the heroes in The Road to Wigan Pier and the Ragged Trouser Philanthropist, the people her newspapers and politics championed.
She always defended the proles to the hilt when at one of her father’s social gatherings.
But she’d soon tired of them. The way they prattled on, an incessant tape loop with little
variation in conversation, the favourite being what they were ‘aving for their tea’ which
always included marrow fat peas! or a blow by blow account of the previous night’s
episode of ‘Eastenders’ all in a ghastly bingo accent.
Finally the bell went indicating it was lunchtime.
Harriet entered the canteen and sat where she always sat. Madge and Rube came over
“Ere dya mind if we join you?”“Please do” Harriet replied.
Madge unwrapped a tin foil package revealing thick white sliced Mother’s Pride a sliver of pink processed meat hung out of the side.
‘Eugh’ thought Harriet as she bit into her avocado and rye soda bread.
’it’s only Tuesday, I’ve got another 3 days of this!’
As usual Rube was flicking through the Sun, only ever interested in a salacious murder or celebrity gossip.
‘ooh they should bring back ‘anging for the likes of ‘im’ was one of her well worn
statements.
Harriet meanwhile read her Guardian and an article on social inequality in Britain, agreeingwith every word about the injustice.
Harriet was now on the crossword,
“Beginning with G, 5 letters another word for ostentatious”.
Sylive’s quick response was
“eh I don’t even know what osten whatever means, ’ere you swallowed a dictionary?”
cackling at her own joke as though original, even though she herself had made it time and
time again and despite no response she still felt it ok to repeat herself.
They were joined by Pam, who told them Vera was leaving and there was going to be a
‘knees up’ at the Kings ‘ead after work. Even though Harriet never socialised with her co-workers, Madge never gave up trying to persuade her to join them. Nagging on, “it would do ya good, we ‘ave a right laugh” and to “come out ya shell!”
Harriet was reminded of the one and only time she had been out with them, ‘Christmas
Dinner on the Firm’. Pearl had billed the restaurant as “classy and ex-o-ic”, in reality it was a ropey old tapas bar in the High Street. Harriet had sat opposite Sylvie who held her
knife like a pencil, and Tracey complained on her first mouthful of gazpacho, “Ere this
soup’s cold!”

“No, sorry I’m busy” Harriet replied, thinking she would rather walk through diarrhoea in flipflops than spend an evening with them.
Finally it was 4.30 pm, Harriet clocked off and made her way towards the station.
Harriet passed the Kings ‘Ead, outside a chalked up blackboard advertising sports and
karaoke, the aroma of stale beer in the air, a man in the doorway with a large paunch
covered in a shiny nylon football shirt, ‘avin’ a fag.
Although Harriet had never been inside, she pictured the interior with its worn out
patterned carpet, now black and shiny in places. Speakers blaring out some ghastly
opiate for the masses, no doubt encouraging procreation.
A dartboard with a gaggle of overweight bald men with fat necks and faded tattooed
forearms – a rite of passage at age 16 that had limited their future and stereotyped them to their class.
Harriet paused for a second, but this was no experiment like Jack London in the Abyss,
this was her life too.Harriet despised and looked down on these people, as though she were so superior. Could Madge and Rube see through her? see her for what she really was? A sad little snob, who did not belong anywhere. Rejected by her own class the book club she’d tried to join, judged by her lowly occupation which was an embarrassment. Did it make her feel better to poke fun at them, but they did not care, they had purpose, families, holidays to look forward to, a sense of belonging, and they duly looked out for their own. What did she have?
Harriet pushed the door open.

 

Creative Writing Examples

Some examples of work student work from the Creative Writing Courses run at WMC by Tutor Lucy Popescu.

 

 

THE SEEKER’S PRAYER

 

I came from very far away

A miracle I’m here today

I ran from blasts, and bombs, and hurt

And trod a thousand miles of dirt

Wire and wolves across my path

Flying from the aftermath

These days that you call Christmastime

A muslim boy, they are not mine

Yet in the belly of the beast

My fleeing soul still seeks your peace

At your border, in the mud

My seeker’s prayer I make to God

Or fallen from the toppling boat

Where children drowned, who could not float

Or clinging to the lorry door

So frantic for the farther shore

The brutal guards fire in the air

To turn the tide of dark despair

I cry out from your TV screen

But God above knows what I mean

I hope you know, I really do

That I’m a person, just like you.

 

Duncan Reddington 2016

 

Mother’s Little Helper

by Imogen Stead
At last they were out the door and on the landing, Tyler eagerly pressed the ‘call lift’ button. The lift was out of order. They began the sixteen flight descent picking their way through black dustbin sacks that had been chucked at the rubbish chute and missed and now spewed out oily takeaway cartons, much to the delight of a rat that sat dining on chicken bhuna. Down, down, down they went, passing the graffitied walls, amongst the illegible scribbles someone had daubed ‘life is shit’ in human excrement, the stench was overpowering. At last they reached the bottom of the stairwell where they stepped over unconscious bodies in sleeping bags taking care to avoid the discarded syringes. Finally they were out in the open.
“I’m gonna get my money today and then I’m gonna tidy up and tomorrow I’ll take you out
somewhere, we could go to the zoo and see the monkeys, you’d like that!” Tracey declared.
“ You promise Mummy, like really promise?” Tyler said timidly.
They arrived at the school, the bell had gone, the playground was empty, Mrs Clarkson, the headmistress was there, Tyler gripped his mum’s hand, Mrs Clarkson scolded them for being late, and remarked on the fact it was the middle of winter and Tyler was wearing plimsolls.
Tracey saw Tyler to his classroom and then headed for the Post Office where she collected her child support allowance. Tracey then went straight to Kwik Save where she bought six pints of UHT milk, forty tea bags, a value bag of oven chips, a pack of 16 beef burgers five tins of baked beans, two tins of marrowfat peas, a large box of cornflakes and a carton of four doughnuts with pink icing and multi-coloured sprinkles – a treat for Tyler. That little lot will see us through the week she thought.
On her way home she bumped into Weasel, he was his usual furtive self. He ran his nail bitten fingers through his black greasy hair and grinned at Tracey, displaying his black rotting teeth.
“Looking for me love?” he leered.
The shopping bags a give away she’d collected her dole.
“I’ve got some great gear!”
“No ta, I’m steering clear this week, I promised me boy I’d take ‘im somewhere nice!”
“ Aww Trace you’re such a good mum!”
Tracey detected a hint of sarcasm.
“I know, ‘ave this on me – a sample”
Weasel handed her a small, clear polythene bag with some brown crystals in it.
Tracey hesitated for a moment but then hastily shoved it in her pocket and walked on, anxiouslylooking around to check no one was watching.
Tracey got back to the flat and started clearing the cereal bowls with the dregs of milk and
cornflakes from the coffee table, she took them to the kitchen, it was dim so she flicked the lightswitch, a cockroach scurried under the fridge.
Tracey looked at the dirty crockery piled high in the sink ………….

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

8 March 7pm

Waterstones Piccadilly

 

Lucy Popescu presents an eve of readings with acclaimed international authors Martina Evans, Wioletta Greg, Xiaolu Guo, Michèle Roberts and Meike Ziervogel

 

https://www.waterstones.com/events/celebrating-international-women-s-day/london-piccadilly

 


Martina Evans 
is an Irish poet, novelist and teacher. She grew up in County Cork in a country pub, shop and petrol station and is the youngest of ten children. She is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. She will be reading from her latest collection The Windows of Graceland, New & Selected Poems published by Carcanet in May 2016.

Wioletta Greg is a Polish writer and poet. In 2006, she left her country and moved to the UK. She has published six poetry volumes. Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance (Arc Publications, 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. She will be reading from her novella Swallowing Mercury, which spans her childhood and growing up in Communist Poland.

Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, published in 2008, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. She will be reading from her memoir Once Upon a Time in the East.

Michèle Roberts is the author of thirteen highly acclaimed novels. She has also published poetry, short stories and essays. Half-English and half-French, Michèle lives in London. She is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She will be reading from her latest novel The Walworth Beauty published by Bloomsbury in April 2017.  Exclusive early editions will be avail to buy on the night.

Meike Ziervogel grew up in Germany and came to Britain in 1986. Her debut novel Magda was chosen as the 2013 Book of the Year in the Irish Times, Observer and Guardian. Clara’s Daughter (2014) and Kauthar (2015), were published to widespread acclaim. She will be reading from her latest novel, The Photographer, to be published in May 2017. Exclusive early editions will be avail to buy on the night.

Tickets cost £5.00 (include a glass of wine) and are available online https://www.waterstones.com/events/celebrating-international-women-s-day/london-piccadillyand in store. Any questions or queries please contact: events.piccadilly@waterstones.com           Tel: 02078512400

 

Don’t forget readings from A Country of Refuge on Friday 24 February 7pm

and

Best First Novel Award: shortlisted writers in association with The Authors’ Club on Thursday 25 May 7pm

Feast Creative Poster Porject

The Visual Communications learners on the Foundation Diploma in art and design have been working on a live brief set by Simon Williams from Feast Creative. Feast Creative are a local design company working just round the corner from the college who work within the theatre industry producing posters and other marketing images. You may well recognize their work from “The Cursed Child” the recent Harry Potter production!

Simon visited the college and gave the learners a brief to produce a poster for one of two productions: Pygmalion or Macbeth, he then returned to do a critique with the group half way through and then again for the final presentations.

“Feast were delighted to be involved in a hands on project with the WMC Foundation Course students.

We were really pleased with the creative solutions that the students came up with for the theatre poster project. It was impressive to see the transition from their early sketches and ideas through to the final poster visuals and how they took on the constructive guidance we gave during the midway feedback sessions. Excellent work.”

Creative Writing Tutor Lucy Popescu goes to Westminster

https://lucypopescu.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/a-country-of-refuge-gift-to-mps/

 

A Christmas present to Members of Parliament hopes to change the tone of the debate on refugees and seeks a more compassionate response to a worldwide problem.

On Tuesday 13th December 2016 from 11.15 – 1pm at an event in the House of Commons, MPs will be given a copy of A Country of Refuge.  This book, edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, includes newly commissioned fiction, memoir, poetry and essays by celebrated writers and is intended “to make a positive and vital contribution to the national debate and to foster a kinder attitude towards our fellow humans who are fleeing violence, persecution, poverty or intolerance”.

The event will be supported by Lord Dubs, himself a child refugee who fled the Nazis, many of the writers who have contributed to the book, concerned individuals and refugees. The writers attending include Nick Barlay, Sebastian Barry, Amanda Craig, Sue Gee, AL Kennedy, Marina Lewycka, Hubert Moore, Courttia Newland, Katharine Quarmby, Noo Saro Wiwa, Joan Smith and Roma Tearne.

Says Michaela Fyson “On Sunday 16 October I opened A Country of Refuge which I had just bought.The book immediately struck a chord with me and I felt I must act. Friends came up with the idea of sending a copy to every MP, regardless of party, to read over the Christmas recess. The idea took off and we raised the money to buy the books (with a generous discount from publisher Unbound).  We hope that this will influence MPs to address solutions both at home and internationally in a more positive and humane way

Throughout history people have been forced to flee their homes and we are proud of Britain’s record in providing support and refuge. We believe that our strength is reflected in the way we care for the weakest, amongst whom refugees are perhaps the most vulnerable. We are all demeaned if we fail to act.”michaela-wrapping

Photography Competition

FE Week & me student photography competition 2017 – ENTER NOW

 

FE Week has once again teamed up with NCFE to find stunning pictures that portray learning in the FE and skills sector, through the eyes of students.

In 2016,  after over 500 submissions, FE Week and competition sponsors NCFE, whittled down the photography students’ entries to the competition down to 10 finalists. You can view last year’s finalists by downloading our finalists PDF – click here

This year there are two categories of entry: photography student and non-photography student.

This year’s prizes will consist of:

Category – Photography student – Nikon D5500  and work shadowing placement with a professional photographer.

Category – Non-photography student – Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60

The deadline for the annual FE Week and Me student photography competition, in partnership with NCFE  is Jan 6, 2017 at 17:00.

How to enter…

Brief: entrant’s photos need to portray learning in the FE and skills sector, through the eyes of students.. Photos can be taken on any type of digital photography kit. It is as simple as that!

To enter the competition students need to email their entry along with no more than a 100 word description of their photo and why they’ve chosen this shot to feweekandme@feweek.co.uk no later than January 6, 2017. Entries received later than this date will not be reviewed or considered for short listing.

Entrants need to provide the following information when submitting their photo:

Name

Category entering: photography student or non-photography student

Course studying

College or Learning provider

Email address

Mobile telephone number

Photo description (100 words max.)

Any entries with missing details will not be considered.

Shortlisted entries will be announced on January 20 2017.

Online voting will commence on January 20 2017. 

Voting will close at 17:00 on February 1 2017.

The winner will be announced on February 3 2017.

winnerpic

last years winners:

http://feweek.co.uk/2016/02/22/fe-week-me-student-photography-competition/