Text 2 (July 14th) – Think of a character. This is somebody who was going to do something, or who wants something, or who needs to do something, but who has had to wait because of lockdown. What is it that this character wants or needs to do? Why is it important? (Even a little thing can have a deeper meaning behind it). Has the waiting shown them something unexpected about themself?
Long in’t tooth is our Bertie, stubborn at times, gentle at others, proud of his winning streak. He’s nearly ninety, not that you think it if you saw him heading for t’ allotments, pushing his ancient barrow, wonky wheel n’ all, like a spring chicken.
Still doffs his flat cap. Old school manners, never left him.
He and his beloved Elsie were your typical Darby and Joan. Sharing a passion they produced prize winning Chrysanthemum blooms for the annual Parish Summer fete. Judged by the W.I. Years of experience tucked under their belt made them regular winners. Row upon row of rosettes tacked on the shed door tells of winning blooms for over 30 years.
2020 was an exception, the Church’s centenary. They invited growers from across the County to compete, in the Flower Show. This promised to be spectacular, colourful and keenly fought. Bertie’s plant’s were potted and growing steadily, timing the essence, in readiness for Summer.
Then came lockdown:
Covid claimed Elsie,
Blooms left to wilt.
Our eyes met, both startled,
she stationary still, instinctively
saw a chance to take. Right she
might avoid me, attempting flight.
Lifted, maybe enough, maybe. Me
rapidly approaching saw fright
could I avoid her question, might, maybe.
Too fast, too late, too little height
to be safe, to be sure, she might
survive the moment, slow, show
me how. I might have missed her,
could have been consoled, had I not
recognised her; had not heard the story
she had told, had I not known, and loved
the voice in which the song of passion
without words is sung.
I might have even found it
easy to forget that coal black,
keen unblinking eye, had she not have been
a Starling. Startling, the thought strikes me
as I drive, slowly onward. Above me, wires, angled
against the winding road, their straight lines, empty,
devoid of starling silhouettes, carry silent hidden
words, threats, empty chatter. Startling to me,
how frequently we forget, things that used to matter.
Plodding, nodding without joy
The tiniest thing there to annoy
Lack of sparkle, dowdy dress
Able to live within a mess
Shying away from all life has to offer
Means more cash for already full coffers
Striving to recreate his past
Testing my patience till it snaps
Greying, braying, collar fraying
No apology for over-staying
I Need Another Dog
A: … but I need another dog.
B: We talked about this, it’s not on.
A: It’ll live outside.
B: Yeah, right! Last time I looked there was a dog bed in the kitchen!
A: That dog spends more and more time in this house and I’ve been using more and more inhalers. What’s more important to you, a dog or my life?
B: … or do you just want me to leave?
Text 4 (July 21st) – In public or TV select a person. Note a detail of something they wear and how they wear it; a detail of their hair; listen to their voice, how do they use it and what word choices do they make? Describe how they move.
Give them a name.
Now edit and condense your work until you end up with a single sentence description.
Cellophane is off, Action Man, with his Velcro hair, alabaster skin, perfectly proportioned body, delivers Government policy from No. 10 at the Podium, barely audible, breathy as a goldfish, whilst rolling a mint imperial.
His dark eyes and Persian, swarthy good looks tarnished by a moustache and buck teeth, but strutting around in lycra suits, belting out his unparalleled vocal range meant we forgave him.
She has stood the test of time with her long blonde hair and friendly character; when she speaks she looks you right in the eye and tells it straight; her tan is ever-present and she moves like an angel across the screen.
His soft-toned, Lancashire voice and relaxed, effortlessly casual, cool delivery makes me want to travel space and time with him, persuaded into thinking I understand everything he says as his hypnotising hands express the expanse and drama of the Universe from this blue dot, this speck in Space.