Creative Writing Work

Some more amazing Creative Writing work from our learners:

A New Beginning

By Philippa Willis

February 12 in the year of our lord 1781

After a long and gruelling two-day journey from our old home at The Mitre Inn, Barnet, Isabelle and I have finally arrived at our new place of residence; a coaching house on the outskirts of London, in a little place called Highbury.

The last 24 hours of our journey have been difficult. As we were descending the hill just beyond the coaching house at Highgate, our coach hit a snow-covered rock and juddered into a frozen rut shattering its rear axle and wheel, throwing our luggage, and us, into the crisp snow. The coachman sent his boy scampering back to the gatehouse which stood at the top of the hill, but he didn’t hold out much hope of him returning with a replacement coach before sundown.

As us travellers huddled together, for warmth and tried to decide what we should do, I caught sight of the most wondrous vision ever. From our vantage point halfway down the hill, I could see for miles. The snow-covered fields appeared ethereal with the mists shifting and gathering over them. A shimmering body of water drew my attention to the distance, where, the pure white walls and pale green spires and dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, rose ghost-like from the dowdy browns of the surrounding buildings. 

London at last.

The river flowed directly towards the town before being swallowed by it. This must be the Fleet. Although I had heard from the many coachmen who had frequented my inn that it was filthy and contained the detritus of the town, from my viewpoint it looked clear and inviting.

Rather than wait, in hope of rescue, in the freezing winter air, where the possibility of us both gaining illness were great, Isabelle, my brave little girl and I decided to take to our feet for the final part of our journey. As we walked towards the town laid out before us, I allowed my mind to wander.

Oh, it feels like life has let us down of late, losing not only my beloved Jack to the pox, but also my home and livelihood to that traitorous thug Daniel and his men. Who says that a woman cannot run a coaching house? Whom is it that states that without my husband I am easy pickings for the men of our village? I am just glad that I was informed of the new position at the coaching house at the Highbury Barn by one of our regular drivers.

After walking for what seemed like hours, our bodies wrapped up against the biting wind, which howled unfettered across the frozen fields, to buffet against us as it sought entrance through seams and wrappings to chill our skins, we finally caught sight of our destination through the trees and bushes.

As we stepped into the bustling courtyard, the hard, frozen earth turned to sticky mud under our feet, its surface churned over by the continuous comings and goings of many hooves. The sharp bark of a male voice demanded my attention as a well built, short, stocky man dressed in thick woollen breeches and a cloak, stepped before me. I froze, gathering my darling Isabelle behind me as if to protect her, but I felt myself relax after stating my name and business. He smiled and thrust his hand forward, declaring himself to be the inn keeper and my new master.

Isabelle and I could now safely embrace our new lives as Londoners.

London Tales

By Susan Higgs

Letter Home 1966

Dear Lolli,

Well, here I am in London. I can’t quite believe it and of course, it’s very different from home!

I’m sharing this flat above a pub on Commercial Road with a  hirsute Polish guy, Voytech, Ray, a Cockney stall holder and Martin who’s Jewish and a fellow student at my Art College. I quite fancy him actually; he’s the proverbial tall,dark and handsome. His parents and Uncle Maury live just down the road near the London Hospital.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Petticoat Lane? I went there for the first time last Sunday with the Boys. The whole street is bustling and full of stalls selling, well everything you can think of really and people  loudly shouting out their wares. Whitechapel is a very Jewish area and so are a lot of the stall holders. There are lots of little, dark,cave like shops selling salt beef sandwiches, plucked chickens, fat, green Wally cucumbers and bagels, which are delicious! The Bagel shop is famous and stays open all night. What’s a Bagel you say? I’ll tell you, it’s a sort of steamed roll with a hole in the middle  and theyll fill it for you with salt beef or, my new favourite, smoked salmon and cream cheese. Yum!!!

I bought myself a mini skirt from one of the stalls, quite a bit shorter than anything we’ve been used to but all the ‘Dolly Birds’ are wearing them. I still love my old frayed jeans though.I was wearing them the other day  when an old Romany Woman accosted me outside the Whitechapel Gallery and tried to sell me some Lucky Heather which I declined.  “Ragged Arse Ranger” she shrieked at  me at the top of her voice.

Everyone turned to look. London is full of characters. I’m not sure what you’d make of  it Lolli but I am fascinated .

Theres so much more to share and I could go on for ages about all the new tastes and experiences but I’ll stop for now, maybe you could come and visit me in my new ‘Swinging London’ home in the hols? 

Next time I write, I may have something of a romantic nature to impart, fingers crossed.

Lots of Love, write soon with your news.

Your friend

Mabelxx

My Secret Pleasure

The Rabbit Hole is on Holloway Road with wicker chairs outside and small round tables. Just inside the door stands a small figurine of a waiter holding the menus.

On the front of the menu is a picture of a rabbit. As you go into the café, there is a striped padded bench on the right hand-side. The counter is at the back, where there are rabbit statues and piles of cakes. The coffee cups have small handles, and there are long glasses for latte. But the highlight is the rabbit shaped plates which you get with your toast.

There is a big round clock above the counter, the walls are cream coloured, the owner and staff are nice and friendly. They wear black uniforms.

I enjoy the fry up. I always get bubble, two sausages, egg, turkey bacon, beans, a latte and two pieces of toast on a rabbit shaped plate.

This is the description of my favourite café I share with my writing group of 30 people. Everyone commented on the rabbit plates. The next time I turned up at the café there were lots of familiar faces. This made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to go into my favourite café and indulge my secret pleasure in front of all these people. I peered through the steamy window and saw rows of bubble, two sausages, egg, turkey bacon, beans, a latte and two pieces of toast on a plate shaped like a rabbit.

By Peter Rabbit

More Flash Fiction from the Creative Arts Group

Flash Fiction

When I Was a Teenager

By Moira Flynn

  1. I found my dead mother at 8:50 on the morning of Saturday 31 March 1984. I was 13.
  2. My father constantly received letters wrongfully accusing him of not paying his bills.
  3. One year we used the gas cooker to heat the room.
  4. Social Services threatened to take me into care.
  5. Our electricity was reconnected in 1984. We had lived for nine years without.
  6. My father was made redundant in 1985.
  7. He refused to let Social Services take me away.
  8. I was bulled at school. In March 1985 my finger was broken.
  9. Our windows were smashed. We lived in poverty.
  10. I fell ill and nearly died in February 1986

Creative Writing

Another example of the great work produced here at WMC in the Creative Writing courses. (click here for course info)

 

Remember the beauty of simplicity. Great power resides in all those one-syllable Anglo-Saxon words.

Sebastian’s story uses only one-syllable words:

 

The Lone Shoe

by Sebastian Kola-Bankole

On the night of the full moon, I see the man in front of me get hit by a big red bus. I lean on the bus stop sign and hold my breath. My heart pounds in my chest and I know I should try to help him. I try to move but I freeze. I try to run from the scene but my legs say nay.

I watch as a pool of blood, the hue of good red wine, seeps out from the back of the bus. I heave and retch as the ooze spreads, slow and thick. I think I can see a shoe, his left one. It is brown and its heel torn. It lies on the side of the road, this sad lone shoe, right next to a bare foot, ripped from its leg. I can’t tear my eyes from this dire sight. I want to leave but I stand there, fixed to the spot, dead still.

 

 

…..and an

Acrostic Poem

by Sebastian Kola-Bankole

 

Stayed alive to tell the tale

Even when near death he lay

Beneath a truck, his bones were crushed

All feeling below did turn to mush

Still he fought to stay alive

Through it all, he did survive

In the time that’s passed since then

As he falls, he stands again

Never shall he ever doubt, from all that pain, his strength did sprout

 

 

Creative Writing

Here are some more fantastic examples of the Flash Fiction task from the Creative Writing classes here at WMC (click here for course info)

 

Waiting. I’m waiting. Always waiting.

The automated, robot voice on the end of the phone explains its dizzying array of options.

I’m waiting for my details to pop up on the monitor of a remote, invisible, call worker who just wants to go home.

I’m waiting to hear my personal details read back to confirm who I am.

Yes, I am me.

Twenty minutes later, the monotone, script-reading voice, finally asks for my payment details.

I’m going for a coffee I tell him.

He can wait for me.

 

Mark Bloom

 

It was that time in the festivities when bad dancing was rife on the dance floor. Perched on a spindly chair, I sipped at my cocktail. He loomed over me, red faced, swaying wet lipped:

“Wan’ dance?” he said extending a plump, pink hand.

“Rubbish dancer,” I said through gritted teeth. His hand descended, grasping my arm, forcefully lifting me, simultaneously spilling my drink and overturning the table.

“Oops!” he said. Now level with his chins and about to let fly with some righteous indignation, I suddenly registered his identity and saw over his shoulder, huddled in a corner in a froth of white netting and sobbing, the Bride. 

 

Sue Higgs

 

**

 

He smiled at me from platform 3, then the 10.30 Express passed and he was gone.

 

**

 

White dress and veil. Black suit. Ring. ‘I don’t,’ he said.

 

Kate Emmett

 

**

 

After the first day of the Creative Writing course she saw a light in her future. She was changing into a beautiful butterfly and flying into the sky.

 

Vincy Kam Wai Lau

Creative Writing: Musings on a Train

Musings on a Train by Sylvia Keogh

 

The train lurched giddily from side to side…gatchy-gatch-gah- gatchy-gatchy-gah, disallowing the usual hypnotic lure towards sleep which I have always associated with train journeys. This ear splitting racket thundered through the barred, glassless windows, prohibiting any conversation unless one had the habit of bellowing. The lurching allowed me to read only a few pages in short bursts before travel sickness demanded I stop. And so I sat there as the familiar movie that is India slipped by my window.

 

My travelling companion slept the sleep of the innocents. He could sleep anywhere, anytime and he did. I alternately admired, envied, or was resentful of the fact that Morpheus always came to his rescue but never to mine.

 

I drifted again into musing on the circumstances which had brought us here together. He was now resenting every minute of the trip and that resentment was seeping towards me.

 

After all it was I who had planted the seed with photographs and stories of a previous trip I had taken alone a few years before. We were acquaintances then, but had become firm friends very quickly despite our age difference, and so we had carefully planned this trip.

 

Now he was so discontented that he saw those photographs and the books I had shown him containing information on customs, religions and landscapes as some mendacious plot used to entice him to India to fulfil the role of my sidekick and rucksack wallah.

 

The poverty, filth and inhumanity towards animals got to all of us at times, but he became so jaundiced that he was blind to the beauty. That sense of slipping in and out of centuries, and the brilliant technicolored world which would not have seemed out of place in a Cecil B de Mille film, can be found everywhere in India.

 

I loved watching from the windows the story of India, the dawn ablutions by rivers and lakes of people and their buffaloes. The brightly-dressed women filling their various containers at the wells, to be carried home on their heads, their backs straighter than any catwalk model. Later, when the big orange sun was sinking, smoke from the cow dung patties drifted skywards and the aroma of curry was mouth-watering.

 

My lone travels seemed so easy now. Besides a few inevitable hassles, I had lost myself in the magic of the diversity I found in and between the Holy places, the Mughal palaces, beaches and the foothills of Everest. I determined then that I would not allow his resentment to tarnish my romantic memories or this trip.

We were on our way to an elephant festival. It would be a joyful, riotous affair of grandly caparisoned elephants and the mahouts would be almost as impressive. There would be the inevitable tinny music played on long trumpet style instruments. I was going to have a good time, I would not allow this parade to be rained on by his black mood. We would go our separate ways.

 

 

Creative Writing – The Past

Here is another great example of writing from the creative writing courses here at WMC. This is a piece by Sebastian Kola Bankole titled “The Past”

The Past

I shuffle out of the building, my pace at odds with my thoughts. It’s already dark but unseasonably warm for mid-November and as I head up towards Charing Cross Road, not even the pedestrians, armed with the most dangerous of weapons – a mobile phone – can dampen my exhilaration. I pause under the alcove of a restaurant and fumble in my coat pocket for my phone. I fire off a tweet – “The past is the foundation to our psyche.” Ne’er have truer words been said. #switzerland #patriciahighsmith #longlivethomasripley

 

I pocket my phone with a smirk and amble towards Tottenham Court Road station. I had known little about the play so had devoured the programme before it started. It was a one-hander about Patricia Highsmith, a writer of whose body of work I knew almost nothing, except that one novel was adapted into a movie starring Matt Damon. I was surprised to learn people had described her, almost universally, as unlikeable. She had endured an abusive childhood but boasted that it was what made her a good writer. The trade-off, one she gladly and unashamedly accepted, was that it also made her a bitch – her words. That certainly came through in the incredible performance of the lead actress, the one from Downton Abbey… Mrs Crawley? 

 

And then there was that line, the one that hit me like a freight train. Why did it stir me so; it was not even a novel idea! It’s precisely why I lie on my back five times a week, whining about my childhood to Misha. But there was something about how she phrased those words that really ignited something within me. I hadn’t felt like this for a while and couldn’t wait to explore this with Misha tomorrow. It’s funny how the strangest things can rekindle your desire to live.

 

I now realise I have walked past the station and am sweating under this heavy coat. I stop to take it off and a woman pushing a toddler in his pram, on her phone, almost knocks into me. She continues past but the boy drops his ball and it rolls onto the side of the road.

 

“Excuse me, you dropped something!”

 

She carries on, oblivious to my (and his) cries so I limp to the kerb and seeing no headlights, I step off to pick it up. The last things my eyes see is a bicycle wheel which, in a slow arc, transforms into a beautiful view of the night sky. And as I lie on my back, I also see myself. I am eight or nine, in the backseat of the old Toyota, leaning between the front seats and listening, for the millionth time, to Mum’s story about how I’d always loved to read. And once, as she drove past a billboard for Maggi cubes, five-year-old me had asked, “Mum, what is maggie cob-ez?” We both bellow in laughter. It’s funny how the past stays with you right until the very end.

 

Creative Writing tutor news!

Published to mark Refugee Week 2018: 18th-24th June

A COUNTRY TO CALL HOME

Edited by Lucy Popescu

 

PBO 14th June 2018 | £9.99

 

“A wake-up call to our blunted humanity” Francesca Simon

 

“Brilliant… I dare you to read and not feel empathy” Alex Wheatle

 

“An important book, but also a beautiful one” Anthony McGowan

 

 

From the editor of A Country of Refuge comes an anthology on one of the defining issues of the century so far; the vulnerability of refugees and asylum seekers, this time focusing on the fate of children and young adults.
There are tales of home, and missing it; poems about living in refugee camps and the struggle of making new friends; accounts of children confronting prejudice, but also stories of their fortitude, their dreams and aspirations.

 

Many young refugees have experienced unimaginable horror and endured dangerous journeys. They need our kindness and empathy in order to process their trauma. A Country to Call Home encourages us to build bridges, not walls, and to understand the plight of those seeking a safe place to call home.
The book includes stories, flash fiction, poetry and original artwork from some of our finest children’s writers: Hassan Abulrazzak, David Almond, Moniza Alvi, Sita Brahmachari, Brian Conaghan, Kit de Waal, Miriam Halahmy, Peter Kalu, Judith Kerr, Patrice Lawrence, Michael Morpurgo, Anna Perera, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, S. F. Said and Jon Walter.

 

Praise for A Country of Refuge:

 

“Full of powerful writing… Again and again, these writers argue for empathy” TLS

 

“Moving, poignant, sometimes painful but always enlightening” Literary Review

 

 

About Lucy Popescu:

 

Lucy Popescu is a writer, editor and critic with a background in human rights. She was director of English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee from 1991 to 2006 and co-edited the PEN anthology, Another Sky. Her book The Good Tourist is about ethical travel and human rights. She volunteers with Freedom from Torture as a creative writing mentor working with refugees. In 2016 she published A Country of Refuge with Unbound. Lucy passionately believes in the power of fiction to promote empathy. She lives in London and is available for interviews, features and events.111

Creative Writing – Flash Fiction

Here is an excellent piece of “Flash Fiction” from Veronica Poku. Veronica is a learner of the creative writing course here at WMC.

 

“As I turned onto my street, I noticed the police cars surrounding my house. My heart dropped as if I had gone over a dip in the road, driving my car too fast. Then it started to beat – rapidly. I felt a rising sense of panic begin to swamp me as I stood rooted to the spot. Dear God, not Sarah! Please not Sarah! From being fixed, as in aspic, mesmerized by the oscillating flashing blue light, I ran towards them. I could hear the sound of my shoes pounding on the ground as I raced, terrified, to the spot. Fear clutched hold of me, digging its nails into my mind so I couldn’t think straight. I pushed through the crowd, gawkers so rapt at the thought of seeing someone else’s misery, they seemed to just step aside. The front door was open and I could see the back of Sarah’s head, bowed as she knelt on the floor. I could her the sirens of the ambulance as it came up the street mixed with a sound that made my blood curdle. A strange animal keening sound was coming from Sarah. Oh my God! Sarah, are you hurt? I shouted rushing to her. Arms out to hold her and protect her. She turned around, eyes red, face warped with anguish. And then I stopped, as if slammed up against a brick wall. At her knees, I lay, staring up at nothing.”