Memoir

My life really isn’t that exciting. I don’t do much, I don’t see much, I don’t really do anything at all. The only thing interesting I can say about me is the fact that I moved from one end of the country to the other. From South London to the North-East of England, when I had just turned nine.

My mum, dad, sister and I had made the trip up country numerous times.  Venturing anywhere between 4 and 9-hour car journeys, to see my dad’s family, who live in the north-east, in a place called Hartlepool. Visiting there for 1 to 2 weeks at a time, 1 to 2 times out of the year was all I needed.

Even at the age of eight I knew I preferred the busyness of southern life. I preferred the large groups of people, who would walk past you not even knowing your existence. But now, here, in the friendly north-east, everybody talks to you. Whether you want them to, whether you know them, or not.

The first time I rode on a bus, I was 12, with my Nan (my father’s mum) she knew everybody, she even knew the bus driver. Unfortunately, this meant everybody on that bus knew her, and therefore, everybody on the bus wanted to talk to her. But for southern-bred, anxiety riddled preteen, this was the worst thing imaginable.

This happened a lot when we used to go out with her and my grandfather (my father’s parents). I even remember that, when I was around 5, we went on holiday with my them to Turkey, I believe. And even then, we found around about five people that my grandmother new!

When parents told me that we were moving to the partially familiar land of the north, I remember feeling uneasy. I had to leave the school I was currently at, as we thought the people buying the house were going to move in fairly quickly. However, to my mother’s disappointment the move fell through, I remember her being on the phone when she got the call. She nearly passed out. So, for the next 2 to 3 months I had to go to the dreaded state school nearest my house. This was a place of ruin, the first mixed sex school I had been to, and I was continuously tortured for being tall. There is one child I remember mostly. His name was Miles. Everybody thought he was a bit weird, because, when we’d sit on the mat and listen to our teacher, he would sit behind the chosen person of the day and pull out individual threads of our hair from the back of our heads… and then play with it.

Yeah, I remember him, I didn’t really like him that much.

I detested the time I spent at that school so much. So much so, I remember it going on for months and months, however my mum tells me now that I was only there for about two or three. When we finally found somebody to buy the house, and my mum and dad was sick of being pulled into the Headmistresses office; because I was getting in trouble for being the victim of abuse from other class mates (which made no sense). My parents decided to pull me out of the devil’s primary school and my mum, who was a teacher, would home-school me, for the last month or few weeks of our time down south. I don’t remember much in between then and the day we moved.

I remember a lot of boxes, a lot of arguments from my parents, about where the china bowls and plates and mine and my sister’s toys would go. I remember having to hold the ladder still for my dad, whilst he climbed into the attic and threw down bin bags full of whatever junk my mum had bought off eBay, those 8 years of us living there. And finally, I remember sitting in the back of the car, it was a hot day. It was around April time if I remember correctly, as I had started my new school just after the Easter holidays. The car had leather seats, it was very hot in there. I remember it smelling really weird because of the heat coming from those seats. Like some form of melting plastic. Even thinking back to it makes me feel a bit sick.

My sister who would been about 4 at the time, screaming continuously during the 5 to 6-hour journey. The only thing that would get her to stop would be one of my parent’s hands in the shape of, what people would class as a puppet, and she would rest her head on it, hugging it between her shoulder and ear. This creation was known as “Handy.” Very original name. Very uncomfortable for whichever parent would have to lurch their arm through the back of the car and have it rest there until she fell asleep. But I guess that was better than having her screaming the roof down for hours on end.

I think we stayed at my Nan’s house for a little bit before we eventually moved into a house in Middlesbrough. It was a big house. By far the biggest that we’ve been in since we’ve moved up here. We all loved it. It had an acre and a half garden, and orchard, strawberries that grew on the patio stairs that led up into the orchard. A massive games room that came equipped with a full-size snooker table, a large swirling staircase, many bedrooms, enough to make to into a play room for me and my sister. Four bathrooms and an en-suite in my parent’s bedroom, they also had a balcony. My mum recently told me that if had stayed in the house, she probably would’ve given me her room and she would’ve taken mine. I remember my room being absolutely massive, looking out onto the back garden. However, it probably wasn’t that big as I was only a child at the time.

One of my main memories from that house was when my sister was around five or six. It was the day before picture day at school. She had long, thick, dark brown hair that curled down really nicely. My mum had decided to trim her fringe, just to make it look presentable for the photographs. However, I don’t think my sister liked it, as she decided to take scissors to it and chop off her fringe to only a millimetre or two. I remember the little tufts sprouting from her forehead. As well as this, she decided to cut whatever she could reach at the front of the hair, off to about shoulder length. Well, the forgotten her at the back stayed in tacked, curling all the way down to her coccyx. I remember her coming into my bedroom to ask me if I liked her new haircut. I also remember my surprise when I saw her idiotic face that night. I knew she couldn’t have done it so I asked her “did you cut your hair?” she said “no mum did it.” I called her a liar and we shouted at each other for a bit. She went back into her room, and I, wondering what had happened, ventured downstairs into the living room at 11:30 at night, to see my parents sat on the sofa watching TV. I asked my mum “did you cut Maddison’s hair?” And I remember my surprise at that moment when my mum said, “yes.” This left for minute being a bit confused. So, I asked her “well why did you cut it that short?” to which my mother replied, “what do you mean?”

I didn’t even get to reply to that before she ran upstairs into Maddy’s room. The second later my dad and I had a shout from upstairs. We both run upstairs into the bedroom and saw my mum sitting on the bed, crying, my sister standing in the middle of the room looking terrified, and masses of thick brown curls sitting on top of the Wicca bin. Easy to say my mum was fuming.

But we laugh at it now.

 

 

 

 

Memoir commentary;

The information on memoirs on Wikipedia explains the history of the memoir.

Memoirs have been documented through history since ancient times, one of the earliest is said to be written by Julius Caesar. His first and second, documents the various battles he fought in, fighting in the Gallic War  and the civil war against Gnaeus, Pompeius and the Senate.  Also, Libanius, a teacher of rhetoric who was alive in 300AD, used his life memoir as one of his literary speeches, which were written to be spoken in the privacy of his own study and home. These types of memoirs refer to the idea in ancient Greece and Rome, that memoirs were similar to pieces of unpublished documents, which the writer could use as a help finishing another piece of writing in the future.

The site also states that during the last half “of the 18th through the mid-20th century, memoirists generally included those who were noted within their chosen profession. These authors wrote as a way to record and publish their own account of their public exploits. Authors included politicians or people in court society and were later joined by military leaders and businessmen. An exception to these models is Henry David Thoreau’s 1854 memoir Walden, which presents his experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond.

Twentieth-century war memoirs became a genre of their own, including, from the First World War, Ernst Jünger (Storm of Steel) and Frederic Manning’s Her Privates We. Memoirs documenting incarceration by Nazi Germany during the war include Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man, which covers his arrest as a member of the Italian Resistance Movement, followed by his life as a prisoner in Auschwitz; and Elie Wiesel’s Night, which is based on his life prior to and during his time in the Auschwitz, Buna Werke, and Buchenwald concentration camps.”

Initially, I found writing my memoir difficult as attempting to remember an interesting moment in my life to report on, proved very hard. I could not think of any major memory in which I could tell a story about. However, I was able to recollect more interesting memories around one big life changing factor; my family moving across the country.

I had found a web page which linked to some people’s memoir articles, http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/keyword/memoir, in these, the writing style of most writers was more informal, as it is a personal life moment being shared. The texts that were written more informally were usually discussing happy or funny times in the writer’s lives, those who did not write about positive memories took a more formal approach.

For my memoir are used an informal style. As my memoir included stories that I find a museum now. However, I do mention One negative experience that I had however I did not want to mention it in a negative way I wanted to write it still in an informal style to fit with the rest of the text. I did not want one specific situation to bring the tone of the whole text down.

When writing I did not stick to just one story. I have used my family’s move has a fixed point to talk around, attaching various other tales of my childhood, which I believe brought humour to the text as a whole.  When writing I did not only just talk about myself but included family members and people I have met, in the situations that I have talked about, and detailed descriptions of old settings I remember. I had involved these to allow the text to really show personal experience and try and add a sense of realism.

 

 

 

 

 

Novel chapter.

 

Accidents.

 

“I didn’t mean to hurt him. It was an accident. An accident I swear.”

A thick fog winds its way through the darkness of an empty town. through The trees, the leaves, The pipes of the houses of people who are worried and mourning. It covers the damp cobbles of once lively streets. The fog now it’s only civilian. Window shutters locked, doors bolted and still The bite of the cold, seeps through. Penetrating cracks inch by measly inch. Searching for a victim, hidden under covers. The light of a half crescent moon choked by the cover of obedient clouds listening to their master, Night, who demands “let there only be darkness.”

Yet, in the midst of these lowly cobbled streets, flickered an Orange glow of a burning lantern. Echoing foot falls decorate the streets with its eerie rhythm.

‘Clack, clack, clack, clack, clack’

Bouncing off walls and stones and broken street lamps. The sound winding down alleys and through gardens and crevices in the building indentations.

‘Clack, clack, clack, clack-‘

Static Breath. Hard and heaving, replacing the sounds of movement. Hidden in the darkness of doorways the body darts to the next. To hide for a second. Then continue.

 

A boy, not even fifteen, tumbles through the doorways of his mother’s home, slamming the door behind him. Inside, the walls are grey, unsuccessfully impersonating a richer beige, a simple oval wooden table; one of its legs replaced with one from a shorter table, even a large stool maybe, once creating a lean due to its difference, but now, balanced by an old book, long forgotten by its readers. A fire place ungenerously burning in the corner, allowing just enough heat for the old metal pot of water suspended above it, to boil slowly. Above this, a mantel piece, holding a thin vase, no flowers, and a framed photograph of the monarch George V, and a holy cross made of some form of metal, one of the families only expensive possessions.

“It is four o’clock Joseph! where have you been? I told you to come straight back from school did I not?” the woman scalded her son, ‘you better not have been round those soldiers again, they have a job to do and you’re not to interfere, you hear me?”

“Yes mum” Joseph mumbles, as he trails through the room, past the fire and table, and through the doorway with no door, out to the partially rotten stairwell up to the bedrooms.

“And wash up before supper” he hears his mother shout back “gawd knows how he gets that filthy”, she didn’t have to shout for him to hear her, sound travels through these thin walls like the paper they are probably made from.

‘I’m not that dirty’ the young boy persuades himself, wiping the crusted dark mud from his once pale but now grey face.

Doing as most young boys do, he grants his mother’s wishes by washing off the remaining dirt in the wash basin in his mother’s room. Splashing his face with water with his now clean hands, he gazes up into the dust covered mirror above the basin, feeling the cool tickle of the dripping water, following the race between two water droplets fall from his hair, to his forehead, down the bridge of his young freckled nose where two became one in a collective murky droplet, headed over the cupids bow of his pink upper lip and resting in the crevice of the mouths parting. He licks the water from his lip and runs his hands over is face once again. Drains the water.

His attention is taken from the clockwise swirling of the disappearing whirlpool in the sink, to the sound of joyful shouting and hard, heavy footsteps, strong enough to shake the walls of this paper house. In his suspicion, the boy peers through the window, down to the cobbled streets of mud and piss, and sees them. Those soldiers. Those men. Those men who had been chosen to be the defenders of his country. Who serve only to King and God.

‘I will be one of them one day. I’ll be respected, out of this bloody village. No school, no homework, no nagging from mum, it’ll be great.’ With his thoughts, his admiration grew, noticing the trucks, helmets, horses and their sleek unformed riders with their funny lapels. Women, children and older men who were unfit to fight, waving them off with pride and hopefulness. ‘I’d do anything for that.’ However, the age restriction for this privilege was eighteen.

 

The soft voice of the radio is overcast by a loud banging at the door, vibrations ricocheting through the enclosed room with its power. The distraction turning Josephs mother away from her reading and Joseph from playing with the embers of the fire, attempting to get it to re-light. His mother rises from her chair, leaving the open book page down in her place, and stalks towards the door before the stranger should knock it down with their insistent pounding.

Joseph turns his attention to the mysterious visitor, his mother’s hand reached forward for the handle, the click of the lock sounded, all was still for a minute. The boy’s imagination takes control. The door should open and there could possibly be a high army commander stood outside, too tall for their doorway, his bight suit decorated with lapels and badges and ribbons. He’s holding his stern round cap under his arm. Here to call Joe to duty! His mother couldn’t stop him then!

“Erm, hello” His mother is slightly confused by their guest’s presence? Maybe it rally was the highly-ranked soldier of his dre-

“Hi Mrs Hopper!” The high-pitched voice of Joseph’s friend Michael cuts off his thoughts.

“Michael what are you doing here at this hour? It’s already dark, you should be home” Josephs mother stands aside to let the boy in from the cold. Joe stands and goes to greet his friend.

“I have something to show you Joe, it’s really awesome, we’re gonna be the most popular kids in school when we tell everyone we-” Michael excitedly rambles on to his friend but is interrupted by the sound of Josephs mother’s curiosity.

“Ahem?” The Boys turn towards the inquisitive woman, “and what exactly is this marvellous thing you want to show my son at nine o’clock in the evening?” She questions, eyebrows raised.

“Errr… Just a dead animal Ms, boy stuff, you know” Michael tried to explain, ending with a nervous laugh.

“Oh, right, um, ok,” the woman answered with slight disgust, “just…don’t touch it, I don’t want your mother blaming me for you getting fleas…again” she warned.

“Thanks mum” Joseph shouted gratefully as he and his friend ran out the door.

 

Outside, the air was bitter, the ice wind nipped at the young boy’s skin which was already turning white and their noses, red. Joseph regretting not grabbing his coat on the way out, covers his arms with his hands.

“What kinda animal is it Mikey?”

“What?” his friend looked at him in confusion as he led down the cobbled streets, dodging puddles of, hopefully, water.

“you said in the house about an animal”

“Oh, haha, yeh” the boy laughed “that’s just what I said to your mum to let you come out, she would’ve never let you come with me if I told her the truth!” he explains whirling around a tall lamppost to turn down another ally.

Joseph running behind him, questions, “then where are we actually going then?”

Walking backwards to face his friend Michael expresses, “You’ll find out soon brother, you owe me for choosing you to come see this for free, I was gonna choose William Henry, he pays in sweets he knicks from his dad’s shop, but you know what, you’re a better friend so I chose you outta the kindness of my heart” pressing his hand over his heart, closing his eyes for added effect.

“His mum wouldn’t let him out, would she?” Joe replies knowingly. His friend laughs,

“Haha, na, the ol’ cow, never lets him have any fun,” he grumbles, kicking a stone down the street and watching it bounce and splash off the cobbles and puddles, illuminated by the scarce light from the dim street lamps.

“We nearly there yet Mike? I can’t be out too late.”

“Yeh, yeh, just around this corner.”

Joe stops at the edge, letting his friend disappear around the corner, he wonders if this would be something that would get him in trouble, Michael is known in the village for his mischief.

“Joe! c’mon man!” his voice calls from the hidden darkness. The boy takes a breath, preparing for any negative sight. He takes a step towards the corner, closes his eyes and reaches for the corner of the building shielding him. The coldness and scratching of the bricks under his fingers, leading him to its edge, a sudden sharp corner takes over, his hand shunned off the wall as it disappears from his touch. He turns his body to face the direction of his friend’s voice, edging him to open his eyes and see.

“C’mon it’s right here” Michael’s voice dropped to a whisper.

Opening his eyes, the boys is hit with a yellow light. Eyes adjusting, he sees a large, beige tent, the light radiating from an inside lamp.

“What is this?” he asks.

“This, is the tent where the army men stay, the high ranked one, the have been recruiting everyone”

Wow. All Joe could think was, wow. He’d never been this close to anything army. Anything that could possibly be ON the battlefield. The place where the big men stayed. This is amazing.

“Follow me, round the back” Michael sets off towards the back of the large tent.

“Wh-what? where are you going” Joe whispers shocked.

“I found where they keep their uniforms! C’mon it’s back here!” He breathed back. Picking a lit lantern off a wall’s hook. Joe followed, around the back of the tent, he was so close he could see the silhouette of two men, sitting in thin chairs, mugs in hand. Maybe they were the big men. And maybe they’d catch them.

Making it round the main tent, the boys came across a truck, its body only covered by a material sheet as its roof.

“Look at this” Michael smiles deviously, passing Joe the light as he pulls back the sheet, uncovering the trucks contents. Inside, two large, folded, navy blue jackets. On top, showed badges and medals, just like Joe had imagined it to be. This pristine image, suddenly messed by a pale hand coming down to grab a jacket and take it from its place.

To the boy’s astonishment, his friend next to him, confidently swung the jacket behind his back, threading his arms through its sleeves.

“What on earth are you doing?!” he angrily questioned in a hushed tone, as to not disturb the men in the tent.

“I’m just trying it on! God it’s fine Joe calm down” Michael defended calmly, pulling his second arm through the last sleeve.

“We’re gonna get into trouble” Joe warns, pushing his friend.

“Nah, it’ll be fine if you keep your voice down!” He says pushing back, his hands not merely visible through the long length of the sleeves.

Joe takes a step back to view his accomplice. Michael, a boy of small stature anyway, seemed even more so now, stood with his arms out in front of him to show the coats overbearing size. The boy stood, swallowed by the army jacket. Each of its shoulder pads seeming double the length of its wearers forearm, the length going down to his mid-thigh, the sleeves engulfing his thin arms, extended out, the excess material folding down from where his hands would be. Joe couldn’t help but laugh at this ridiculous sight. making the other laugh in reply, flapping his arms about as if they were wings, spinning around. The boy’s laugher grew.

Their enjoyment stopped when they heard a deep voice question,

“Who’s there?”

In shock, the boys ran for cover behind the truck. Remaining silent, all they could hear was their heavy breathing.

“Joe!” Michael aggressively whispered, he looked at his friend in confusion, “put out the lamp!” In the hurry, the boy had brought the lantern with them to their hiding spot, its light sure to give them away. Opening its hatch, Joe blew out the flame and darkness fell on the boys.

Thud, thud, thud. The sound of boots on mud, coming towards the truck. ‘It must be one of the men coming to see what’s going on’ Joe thought, the noise grew louder by each footstep, until the body was at his destination. The man stood in arm’s length away from the terrified children, looking through the contents of the truck. From underneath Joe could see the mud covered black boots of the man. Large and dangerous, damage caused just by one kick! Suddenly, realisation struck Joe. The jacket. Turning to his friend, he sees the other boy is still wearing the, now stolen, jacket. Quietly getting his attention, Joe pulls on his shirt, signalling the mistake they had made. Michaels face contorted with fright upon the recognition.

“Someone’s knicked my jacket!” The man shouted to his colleague angrily. “for God’s sake.” The man strode off back towards the tent, grumbling incoherently to himself. Joe and Michael take this opportunity to stand up and look over the edge of the truck, watching as the man stomped away into the light of the tent.  Both blew a sigh of relief. Joe steps backwards from the truck, doing so however, he kicks the lantern at his feet. The sharp sound echoed through the air, reaching the man’s ears as he opened the tent door, his head whips round, his gaze landing on the boys visible outline from the outstretched light cascading through the tent door.

“Hey! Stay right there!” Orders shouted, the man charges towards the boys, his arm pointed out towards them. “I see you there! Stay where you are.” In a panic, Joe picks up the lantern, Michael throws off the jacket, into the truck, and begin to run back, around the corner, into the long alley from which they came. The clopping of footsteps bouncing off the enclosing walls, adrenaline surging through them. The thud of hard soled boots added to theirs, the man had followed them through the alley. The boys skidded on the wet ground around another corner, Michael losing his balance and crashing to the floor. Stopping to help his friend up, they boys see the man closing on them. Joe runs down an unfamiliar alley, Michael limping fast behind him.

“Quick behind here” Joe suggests as he crouches behind a stack of bins and boxes. His injured friend, hobbling towards the safety of the hidden spot. The man jumps from around the corner, grabbing Michael by the scruff of his collar, lifting his feet from the ground and pinning his small frame against the rough brick wall.

“You the one that stole my jacket? you know I could get you thrown in jail from that?! Huh!” the man’s aggressive voice grew louder with each word. Joe could see through the parting in the boxes, his friends terrified face.

‘What do I do, I have to help him, but that guy is way too big to fight off, he’ll get me into it too’ he thought. His grip tightened on the handle of the heavyweight metal lantern. Then, an idea pierced his mind. The boy stood quietly from his hiding place, steadily walking up behind the man, holding his breath to make sure not to make any noise. The man, still focused on shouting in his friend face, was not to notice the other boy creeping up behind him. Watching the man’s body intently for any other movements, Michaels eyes were taken off the man’s chilling face and locked with Joe’s. This shift in focus was noticed by the man. His head twisted around, noticing Joe behind him. Before any words could be spoken, Joe raised the lantern and with a cry, belted it across the man’s head and face. The glass shattered and the metal bent, the harsh vibrations sent bolting through Joes arm. Releasing his grip from Michael, allowing him to slide down the wall and crumple on the floor, the man’s body collapses, falling like a giant, like a chopped tree. His fall shuddered the ground, and with a crack, his head bounced on the cobble stones. Blood pooling around his head, swimming down the contours of his body’s edge, shards of broken glass protrude from his cheeks, partnered with gashes of red lines from the pillars of the metal lanterns cage.

Joe runs over to his friends’ aid, hoisting him up from the ground. “Are you ok?”

“Ah” Michael groans in reply, “I think I’ve hurt my leg.” They look down to see the torn fabric of his trousers, and the bruised and cut skin of his leg peering through.

“Not as bad as that guy though” the injured boy points towards the assaulter on the ground. Both children take in the horrific, bloodied sight.

“What are we gonna do!” Joe exclaims, the hand of his friend shooting up to cover his mouth.

“Shhh, someone will hear us!” Looking back at the body, then to his companion’s anxious eyes, “we leave him here, throw the lantern somewhere, he’ll be found in the morning, they’ll think someone had tried to rob him and…and…this happened. We just have to pretend like we don’t know nothin’, ok?” Michael removes his hand from Joe’s mouth.

“Ok” he breathes. The boys take one last look of the face of the mysterious man. They didn’t even know his name. Michael takes Joe’s hand, and walks him out of the alley.

“Throw it now” he prompts, Joe does as he’s told, throwing the murder weapon into a nearby shrub. “Good, now, come on, let’s go home.” Both boys start to walk fast down the recognisable street, towards their houses.

The whole time, Joe repeated in his mind, ‘It was an accident, I was just trying to save Mikey, I didn’t mean to hurt him. It was an accident. An accident I swear.’

 

 

novel chapter commentary;

Out of the majority of these blog posts I have found that writing this novel chapter to be one of the simplest. This is because I was able to allow my imagination to run with the story, not worrying about its length (like I did with the short fiction) and the fact that it would have to have a story line (unlike the absurd scene).

My inspiration was a novel by Dan Wells, titled, I Am Not A Serial Killer. Which received 4 starts; https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/11/i-am-not-a-serial-killer-review-mark-kermode

It is a story of a sociopathic fifteen year old boy who has homicidal impulses. As for my novel chapter however, I had created a similar aged and gendered character but instead of resisting homicidal impulses, he is trying to resist blame of a murder, reassuring himself that it was an accident.

In addition to this I have also set the text to be at the outbreak of the first world war, where men were being recruited for the war. I have chosen this time as it fit well with my idea and also created a personality and gave characteristics to the main character, as he is a boy who is interested in the war as he thinks it will make him a man. This is a simple yet imaginable character who can easily be followed. I had restricted his age as to fit with the character; he is old enough to exert deviance, longing to be a man and respected and would physically be able to do the actions described. But he is also too young to understand the horrible effects of war, he is still seen to be under the control of his mother, and is still at an age where many view teenage boys to be mischievous and getting into trouble.

Trying to include mature descriptions of the setting and the character’s actions, proved the most difficult as I did not want to use basic and less interesting descriptions, which would not create an intense image or build the tension needed in certain parts of the text. Going over the novel writing slides from the workshop lessons, I had tried to use the ‘show not tell’ technique, in order to build the scene. I believe that, even though this was difficult at times, I was able to do this effectively at most points.

For the opening scene, I had taken inspiration from a text studied in the previous semesters creative writing module, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, where description of fog in the second third and fourth paragraphs, acts as a transporter through a setting. http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/bleakhouse/1.html

I have used this image to create a dramatic effect to the text as well as a sense of mystery to the opening.

Finding images for this text was fairly okay, I have chosen those which fit my story and help the scene move forward and enable to visualisation of the settings to be imagines more clearly.

Absurd

Characters-

  • man with bucket (m/w/b)
  • man with dog (m/w/d)
  • dog man

In a woodland area, the trees are turning grey and are twisted. Some turn to grow back into the ground and around one another. The sky is unclear through the thickness of the trees. The ground if brown with dead leaves and mud, a stone path is slightly visible through the leaves and mud. Red birds sit on the ground in a group of 5/6 each, these groups are scattered along the path.

Enters from left, on the path. 3 men, one carrying a grey metal bucket picking up the small red birds and putting them in the bucket- the birds do not fight this. He is dressed in a brown suit shirt, plaid trousers, worn down brown boots and has a thick, long fur coat on which cuts off at the mid shin.

The other man, also wearing plaid trousers and boots, has on a white suit shirt, seemingly dirty, no coat. He is holding a lead. the lead is attached to a collar on the final man’s neck, he is crawling along the ground, dressed as a black and white dog.

 

Man with bucket-  Hurry, (counting steps as he takes them)

– 84, 85, 86, 87, Burt? where’s Burt?

Man with dog-  (mumbles) I d’no. Come cat, come

(pulls lead of crawling man)

Dog man- (crawling speed increases)

m/w/b-  (still picking up birds and counting steps)  99, 100, 101, 102, 103, Burt?! 87, 88, 89, 90, 91

(stops picking up birds and looks back to the other man)

– will you hurry with that peacock we need water.

m/w/d-  We need the map

(the dog man sits, the other two men stay on the spot turning around seemingly looking for the map on the ground surrounding them )

m/w/b-  Ah!

(puts down bucket, walks towards a pile of leaves at the side of the path, then sits in the leaves. He is partially submerged in the leaves, only his head, arms and lower legs are visible.  One of his hands reaches into a neighbouring pile of leaves and pulls out a large red box.)

– Ah!

(He opens the box, pulls out another slightly smaller box, throws the old to the side, opens this box, pulls out another, throws the older to the side. This continues 5 more times. The final box has a large green leaf inside.

(The man stands from the leaf pile and looks at the one in his hand, reaches out one arm and points a finger. He spins on the spot 6 times. Stopping facing he direction they were headed originally, walking to the right.)

– This way, bring my bucket!

(starts walking)

(dog man stands up)

M/w/d-  (picks up the bucket and walks behind him with dog man. increases speed to catch up with other man and gives him the bucket)

m/w/b-  64, 65, 66, I see the water (points forward whilst walking, continuing counting steps. Puts the large leaf in his mouth, chews then spits out onto path.)

m/w/d-  yes, yes, beyond, yes, the water, yes, green, blue, brown, red, yellow, yes the water, yes, the coconut of love, yes, the paper, the animal, the sky, thee yes of yes yes.

(pause speaking and trips over but regains balance continues walking but more slowly)

– no, no no, life of water no monsters in beyond, God will deliver oceans, no water, (volume increases with every word to follow)

– yes, no, yes, no, no , yes no, yes, yes, no, why, why, why ,why!

(a pond comes into view)

(increasing volume still) why, why, why, why!

(all men reach near the edge of the water, man with dog stops shouting)

The water is a murky blue/ gree. Giant boulders and rocks float around on its surface but leaves no ripples.

(man and dog goes towards the water, both kneel down at its edge)

m/w/b-  No! don’t touch it!

m/w/d- (sits back against his heels and looks up at other man) but I’m hungry.

m/w/b- No, we need to show it.

(crouches down with other men, places bucket next to him. pulls out small oval mirror from bucket.)

(slowly lowers the mirror into the water ill it is half submerged)

silence for 1 minuet

m/w/d-  is it done ye-

m/w/b-  (interrupting) N0!

(changes position to lay on his stomach, his full body is stretched out on the ground still holding the mirror in the water.)

– do you see it now?

m/w/d-  yes,

(turns to dog man)

– do you see it?

Dog man- (stands up, both men look up at him, pause for 5 seconds, crouches to the water again, cups hands and drinks. the other men still watching him)

(silence for 30 seconds)

Dog man-  (stands up straight, arms by his side, turns to face and stare at audience, the men are still watching)

– fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth the question whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or if a day may come when the courage of men falls, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day, an hour of wolv– (teeth start falling out and words become incomprehensible.)

 

 

 

 

Absurd script commentary;

The history of Absurd writing is depicted on the Wikipedia page, The Theatre of the Absurd.  It gives information of the genres creation and most known writers;

“The Theatre of the Absurd is a post–World War II description for particular plays of absurdist fiction written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1950s… focused largely on the idea of existentialism and expressed what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down…alerting their audiences to pursue the opposite. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.

This style…first popularized by the 1952 Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot…horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the “well-made play“.”

The report states how the “plays were shaped by the political turmoil, scientific breakthrough, and social upheaval going on in the world…during these times”

I had taken inspiration from the absurd play, studied in the workshop, Waiting for Godot. Using the idea of men aimlessly walking, as well as a character who is awkwardly out of person. In my script, the dog who acts and dresses as a dog. I have also included random, no logic monologues and actions in the script.

I had found it difficult to write this script as it was to have no story line or purpose. No real ‘point’ to it. This made it difficult to write as it goes against the natural style of writing. Writing dialogue which does not follow a structured conversation format was odd, as I wanted to add aspects of the absurd into the dialogue as well as the setting and stage directions. To achieve this I made once character repeatedly count his steps however he would lose his place without realising and start from a completely different number.  This allows the script to correlate to the repetitiveness and tragic situations seen in original absurd scripts.

In addition to this, I have tried to adapt a scene from Waiting for Godot, where Lucky has a monologue where he rambles about incoherent information. I tried to do something similar with the Dog-man character, where he drinks some of the water from the lake in which the other characters are sceptical about drinking out of.

I have also excluded character’s names as I wanted to make the script as absurd as possible, by excluding character’s names I have created a sense of lack of identity to all characters, they only have labels. Relating to the government control at the time of absurd theatre’s creation, when the public was under immense grief due to the second world war, and many lives were taken and forgotten, these forgotten lives are symbolised through the lack of names.

I did not ad images to this post as I believe that as a script it would not include images.

Poem.

Proud Bitch  

I’m a bitch.

My face without obvious happiness,

my resting bitch face,

it makes you uncomfortable?

Cause women in your world should be happy to just be in your presence.

Just smile,

you say I need to smile more,

but for your amusement, not mine

of course.

‘You were born with a smile’

yes, you’re right.

When I was born, I came out, kicking and screaming and so

alive.

now.

not even twenty and I’m already dead.

silenced by society

I should be loud and proud,

but I have to keep that quiet

cause I’m a girl.

I can drink my nights away cause I want to,

because that’s,

unlady-like.

I can’t have my way with a momentary lover cause I want to,

because then I’d be a slut.

But you,

you’re the man,

the lad’s lad,

the champ,

with the fifth chick of the week on your arm,

and a pat on the back from your friends and father.

‘That’s my boy!’

 

I’m young, I shouldn’t settle too early,

‘I just want you to have more experiences

but not too many

don’t be dirty

don’t get a reputation

no man would want you then

 

I’ve developed into the woman men want to touch

so, don’t be rude to them when they shout

don’t respond to them when they shout

it’s dangerous

 

all I hear…

I’m a bitch if I stick up for myself

they can comment on my ‘nice tits’

ask me to go to that back ally with them

but I should protect myself

…by keeping quiet and ignoring them…?

don’t get triggered

don’t be one of those women

take a joke,

don’t be a bitch

 

but the thing is…

I am a bitch

and proud.

 

 

 

 

Poem commentary-

The article (found here -https://www.britannica.com/art/Beat-movement)

Beat movement: American literary and social movement, written by The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, discusses the creation, fade out and meaning of beat poetry. It gave a brief overview of beat poetry and the beat generation. From this article and other sources, I had gathered information about the style.

Beat poetry came about in the 1940s in America. San Francisco is said to have been at the core of the movement in the early 50s. The second world war made poets such as Allen Ginsberg,  Gregory CorsoLawrence Ferlinghetti and Gary Snyder, question mainstream politics and society. These poets would develop into the creators of the Beat generation. Writers who were interested in challenging thee conventional order of writing.

Making a stand against social conventionality and tradition in literature was the main aim of the work of the Beat writers. In this group of writers, hallucinogens were used to attain “higher consciousness”, as was the exploration of diverse types of religions and meditation.

Buddhism was one in which a lot of Beat poets found salvation in. Snyder and Ginsberg both researched into this religion and it lead on to feature into most of their works.

The book Howl and Other Poems, by Ginsberg, is often viewed as being a representative of Beat poets. However, in 1956/ 1957, the book was put to trial by the public, due to their view of obscenity. The case gathered a lot of attention over its course, and the judge ultimately governed that the book was not obscene. The case and its ruling brought national attention to Ginsberg himself and the Beat poets movement.

In addition to being a founder of the movement, Ferlinghetti founded the San Francisco bookstore City Lights. Which is still running today. The store is seen as an important benchmark of the Beat generation’s history. As a result, several streets surrounding it have been renamed after Beat poets, in commemoration of their significant contribution to the cultural society in San Francisco.

Beat generation writers, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac are often most known for their works in literature, such as; Naked Lunch and On the Road. Kerouac is said to have created the term “Beat generation,” as a way to describe the unlucky and struggling situation he and his peers found themselves in the years following the war. some other Beat poets include Neal Cassady, Diane di Prima, Michael McClure and Anne Waldman.

For my poem “Proud bitch” I had taken inspiration from feminist poets such as Rupi Kaur’s poem about periods, (has no name given- number 4 on the list, found on  https://onedio.co/content/24-empowering-short-poems-from-feminist-poet-rupi-kaur-12146 ) and implies how women’s bodies are mainly seen for the pleasure of others, not for nature or the women themselves.

I also found inspiration from Savannah Brown, her poem ‘Hi, I’m a slut’ presented in a YouTube video of hers, (https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjontyz0fHTAhUKCsAKHcs6CEIQtwIIJzAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dw6CCePrJlaU&usg=AFQjCNEbdcAH60nMEfJ59i56M3skdJ3hWA&sig2=XjDr3YzzDtipbgS5YysPQg ) which also, projects the problem of women’s bodies being sexualized and the women themselves being slut shamed.

I have linked this to my own experiences of being told to smile or look happy by a grown man (who happened to be a male teacher), being told to be careful about ‘getting a reputation’ and being called at on the street. As well as my own, similar, beliefs. Where women should be able to do what they want with their bodies without any stigma attached. We should not have to feel threatened by cat calls or feel as if we are not obligated to talk back and stand up for ourselves.

I have broken up my lines in order to create a more, speech like reading of the poem. As well as this, I believe that this over use of enjambment gives emphasis to my points, and also represents the fragmented ideas of society, being that a woman is taught to be ashamed of her body and is therefore being broken down, like the line structure in my poem.

 

 

 

Short story

Red.

 

Today’s my ninth birthday. But I don’t want it.

Today’s my Ninth birthday and Mama says I must be very good from now on. Otherwise the thunder will take me. Like it took Papa.

Cause now I’m old enough to be taken.

 

Mama isn’t as old as Bobby’s Mama or Tila’s Mama. She’s young. some of the other women in our faction pull weird faces at us and do whispers when we walk past.

Mrs Carnell, who gives us bread and milk, is nice to us though. When we visit her, she lets me have a bit of the batter that she makes the pink cakes with, when Mama talks to Mr Carnell in the corner. It’s nice, I like the pink batter.

We’re going to see them now. It’s cold so I put on my coat, it has a few holes in the back where the mice have got to it, but Mama says I can’t get a new one just yet. We haven’t got enough Marks for that yet. You need marks for everything, bread, milk, clothes, toys. Otherwise, that’s stealing and Papa said stealing is bad and that I should never do it. And I won’t. Bobby steals though, I’ve seen her. She’s small so she hides under the floors and stalls, and when no one’s looking, her pale little arm snakes up and around the counters and snatches whatever it is off the top! She runs away really quick so she doesn’t get caught. she’s the quickest person in the entire faction!

A man comes out the shop and hold the door open for me and Mama,

I say “Thank you mister” without even having to have Mama tell me, cause I’m a big girl now and I must be nice to people.

He does a little chuckle and tells me

“It’s my pleasure little miss.” He walks away with his basket.

Mama and I walk onto the creaky wooden floor, and I see Mrs Carnell, I run to her and give her a hug. Mama goes to see me Carnell. Mr and Mrs Carnell aren’t like anyone else on the faction, her body is plumper and she has silvery hair that is cut just over her ears, but I think she’s pretty. Mr is thin, however, but he has a fat face, he’s kind of bald on the top but I can only see that then he bends down to refill the lower shelves. He is nice as well, he doesn’t talk much, only to Mama really.

“Now I have a feeling it’s someone’s birthday today”

“Yes, yes me! I do!” She laughs at me as well, what is it with people laughing at me today, I’m not telling any jokes…

She tells me to cover my eyes, I do so. I hear some rustling.

“Put your hands out dear” again, I do so.

She puts something in them, its slightly warm, fits on one hand…

“You can look now”

I open my eyes to find a cute little cake.

It was the pink cake that I like. It had a 9 on the top. I said thank you and gave her my best smile, she smiled back, but, she looked sad when she did, I don’t know why. I thought it would be best if I didn’t ask, so I didn’t.

I sat on the counter next to where Mrs Carnell was standing, the woman from a few houses down from ours, I think she’s called miss Betty, came to the counter with some bread and 2 bottles of milk in her basket. Mrs Carnell told me to sit here and be good while she served her. I did. I’m very good.

I watched as Mama talked to Mr Carnell again in the corner. they were very quiet and stopped for a bit when Mr Wickens walked past. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but my cake tasted nice so I just ate that and watched.

I think that they’re talking about a…a…a treehouse in the forest behind our village. Yeh. One that’s hidden way up in the trees where no one can find us, not even the thunder. Where we could live forever.

Or maybe a boat.

Which can turn invisible so that the bad flying ships don’t see us, and catch us and we can sail away to the sea, down the river in the forest. When we are at sea I’d save Mama from being captured by pirates and thunder and maybe we can find Papa, maybe he’s been deserted on a little island in the middle of the sea and is waiting for me and Mama to come save him and-

“Where did you get that cake from Lila?”

I opened my eyes, they had found themselves shut through my imagining.

“Hey Mama, Mrs Carnell gave it to me for my birthday, see look at the number” I go to point at the 9, but I’ve already eaten that top bit. “Oh”

She looks a bit worried, she takes a little breath and looks behind me

“How much for this Mandy?” Mama asks Mrs Carnell

“Nothing dear, it’s for the little-n’s birthday”

“But ingredients cost surely” Mamas hands reach for her basket, she pulls out her little cloth pocket, which locks together with a metal clasp. Papa made that for her. She opens it, there’s only 3 marks in there. I feel bad about eating this now.

“Claire, no, it’s fine, it’s just a small cake, no damage done I promise”

“Are you sure Mandy, cause I could do some work here to cover the cost and-”

Mrs Carnell comes round the counter and puts her hands on Mamas shoulders which stops her talking,

“Claire. It’s fine” she lowers her voice

“Just, watch her more careful than before, the kids, they don’t understand the way things are”

What? I understand plenty.

“Yeh I know” Mama whispers back, she looks down at the floor,

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do if they…if they get her” she’s very quiet now, I can’t really hear her

“No, don’t think like that. Now get home it’ll be dark soon” Mrs Carnell hugs Mama, helps me jump down off the counter and strokes my hair. Mama walks over to the door

“You promise me you’ll be good now, yeh?” The older woman asks me

“Yes mam I will I promise”

“Good now go on”

She pushes my back slightly towards the door. I run to join my Mama and grab her hand. As I do, she smiles down at me; her smile always makes me feel safe and happy, even when I have my bad dreams, about when Papa was taken, she makes me feel so much better. Papa was taken by the thunder.

I was six when it happened, I remember it all. It was night time, I was supposed to be asleep, but my bedroom is only separated from the rest of the house by a blanket Papa nailed to the ceiling beam. I watched them through a cut in the blanket; they were both sat on Papa’s comfy chair, Mama was reading something out loud. It was a story about how people from other factions were disappearing, mainly the men and bigger boys. Papa said he thought it was the thunder, Mama was scared and started to cry.  I didn’t understand why she was scared, it was only a story.

After that, they went to bed so I had to sleep too. I was woken up by people shouting and screaming and running and banging and…it wasn’t very nice. I got out of bed and saw Mama on the floor, all the books were all over the floor and the chairs had been broken and scattered around the room. I ran to her and tried to tell her to get up, I couldn’t find Papa, she wasn’t listening so I used my outside voice.

“Mama! Mama wake up! Papas gone! daddy’s gone!” I shook her around, and she woke up,

“Wh- what, baby, what are you doing” she sat up and held me close to her, after a second she pulled me back, “where’s your father”

I didn’t know.

“I don’t know Mama, what’s happening?”

“Did you see where they took him? did you see where those men took him?”

I can’t really remember anything else.

Walking back home, along the middle path between the houses, Mama says “hi” and waves at Charlotte from the house next to ours, she looks up from her vegetable patch to smile back, she grows the best tomatoes in the faction. I think she is a bit younger than Mama, but they are good friends.

“Come try these new strawberries, Claire” she invites, Mama looks at me and tells me to go up to the house while she talks to Charlotte. But as I run up the stairs to the front door, I’m about to open the door when the round handle starts to move, the metal clacks and the wooden door shakes. The ground starts to shake. It’s scary. Mama and Charlotte look scared too. Everyone around us starts to run to their houses, Mama out her hand on Charlotte’s shoulder and tells her to go inside and try to stay calm. They both stand and run in opposite directions. There’s a noise, like violent wind through the trees. The trees aren’t moving. There’s no birds or bird sounds. Just that noise, getting louder. Mama jumps up the stairs, she puts her hands on my face and asks if I’m ok.

“Yeh Mama, whats going on?” The noise is getting louder. It sounds like roaring, maybe it’s the big bear from the creepy story Mr Jenkins used to tell the me and the other kids before he was taken too. The big bear came roaring and growling into factions and take the bad children. I wonder who’s been bad now?

“Come on, we need to get inside” Mama goes for the wiggling door handle, she opens the door and goes in, reaching her hand out to me. The trees are moving, why are the trees moving? There’s no wind…

“Hurry! we have to get inside!” The noise is getting louder again.

There’s a loud cracking sound, and I see from the porch, a swarm of black birds flies out of the woods that surround our faction’s village and the trees lining the village start to fall. Some of the tall ones fall into the animal’s pen, the pigs and cows run off in every direction and the chickens momentarily fly off, scattering around. Big machines come rolling out from the fallen forest. Almost a square shape and on wheels, painted in a deep brown. Mama grabs my arm and pulls me inside, slamming the door behind her.

“Mama what is that?” I ask, she’s running around trying to clear space under the bed. The noise of growling gets louder and louder.

“What are you doing?” She doesn’t answer, she just tries to clear away my rag toys and clothes from under the bed.

“It’s the thunder, come here,” I can barely hear her over the noise of that machine and the sound of my heart in my ears. “get under the bed!” she shouts. I run to her and kneel next where she is, next to the bed, she helps me lay down and start to hide. I can feel the floor moving more now, the vibrations going through my body.

Then the noise and shaking stops.

“Quickly, all the way under,” she pushes me back further.

Someone bangs on the door.

“Stay there,” she pulls the blanket over the side of the bed so it’s nearly touching the floor.

She stands up and I can only see her dirtied, thin slip on black shoes and small pale ankles. At that moment, the door is broken open, smacking against the wall, two pairs of big, heavy black boots march into the house. I feel the movement through the floor again, like I did from the machines. The boots stop in front of my mother. One steps forward closer to her.

“Where is she?” It’s a man’s voice. Deep and demanding.

Are they talking about me? What have I done? Are they gonna take me? I haven’t done anything bad though. Maybe it’s because I forgot to say thank you to Mama after supper last night.

“She’s not here, I don’t know where she is.”

“You know lying to us is a criminal offence, punishable by the Capitals court. Where’s your daughter, she’s been called for”

I heard her gasp, her foot took a step back.

“NO! She’s only a child, she should be here” Mama shouts.

“Where. Is. She.” The man asks again, but slower this time, more…stern.

“I. Don’t. Know” Mama says like the man did.

“Take her out, put her with the others.” The second boots walked closer to my mother, both their feet scrambled around. Mama was shouting for the person to let go of her. I wanted to go out to save her, but she told me to stay here, and the bad people wanted to take me.

They fought around a bit more, their shoes looked like they were doing a bad dance. Then, there was a thud, Mama fell to the floor. I could only see the back of her body, her brown hair falls, curled on the floor and over her body, her arm towards me. Her thin hand, so close to me. I want to touch her hand, pull her under the bed with me so she’s safe. But I can’t. They’ll see me. Her body is lifted by the wearer of the second boots. With a huff, they walk out the open front door.

The first boots are still there. Still facing the same way. Stood still. Don’t breathe. If I do he’ll find me.

“Come out child”

No. Mama said to stay here. They’ll take me.

“Now”

They might put me with her though. But he might hurt me if I don’t. Fine. I take a deep breath preparing to uncover myself. His boots move backwards, he must have heard me. Coming out from under the bed, I can hear people crying outside. Screaming. I don’t like this. Standing up, I see the owner of the boots for the first time. He is tall. His clothes are neat and a silver, white colour. A jacket with labels and badges. Trousers, slightly loose but fitted to his long legs, were tucked into his boots. I feel him looking down at me.

“Good girl. Now. Come with me.” He walks towards the door but I can’t move my legs. The man reaches the door and looks back at me. He raises his eyebrows, questioning my lack of movement. He walks back over, he stops in front of me and puts out his arm. His hand extends towards mine.

“C’mon kid, we gotta go.” His voice is gentler now. I give him my hand. We walk out of the house. Onto the porch. Down the stairs. His steps so heavy they sound like they’re going to break the wood he walked on. Outside, there’s 4 of those machines lined up on the, now torn up, grass, cutting off the dirt road out of the village. People are in groups, surrounded by men in the white suits, women too one side and men to the other. Mama is there, stood with Charlotte and Mrs Carnell, they look sad and worried. I pull to go towards them but the man pulls me back.

“No.” He pulls me again. He’s walking us towards a large white truck with small windows. The doors at the back are open and inside I see Bobby and some of the other faction’s children, sitting in the truck at either side, crying. There’s another man holding a long white machine in his lap, sitting down at the back in the middle.

“Mama!” I call out, pulling against the man. I wanna go to be with my Mama.

Charlotte looks around, she sees me, turns my mother around and points towards me.

“Mama!” I shout again. She looks at me. Her eyes go big. She pushes through the line of women before of her and the unexpected man guarding them and starts to run towards us. I fight the man’s hand that is pulling me further away. My hand is small enough to slip through his grip, I use this opportunity to run to Mama who’s running to me. The men are shouting for Mama to stop running but she doesn’t listen. I see behind her the men are getting something from their backs, it’s other long and white machines. They point it at Mama and shout for her to stop again. The people in the groups are shouting too, some of the women are screaming and hiding their faces. I hear Mrs Carnell shout out.

“Claire just stop running! Please!”

Mama’s just coming to get me to keep me safe. I don’t understand why they’re telling her to stop and are so scared.

A man sitting on top of one of the big machines shouts “Fire!”

But there isn’t any fire?

I hear a zipping sound, and look to see the other men, behind Mama, with their machines pointed at her back, there are small balls flying through the air, coming from the thin front tunnels at the front of the little machines.

I reach her as she falls to her knees to grab me whilst everyone screams again. Mama wraps her arms around me and my head rests on her shoulder and I close my eyes.

She gasps. My chest is starting to hurt. A bit like when that wasp stung my arm…but worse. It’s starting to hurt all over now. I open my eyes. I look at my mother’s face. Her eyes are open. Her mouth also slightly. Everything is quiet. I can only hear her breathing, it’s staggered, like she’s cold. As she pulls away from me I can feel something warm on my body and clothes. Looking down all I see is red. Looking at Mama’s chest, all I see is red. On her hands, on mine, on her shirt, on mine, on her knees, on mine. Pooling on the grass underneath us, that we once laid on looking up at the stars and watching them fall.

Red.

Mama falls backwards with a breath. Like that one breath pushed her over so gently. Touching my chest and stomach, my shirt is ripped. Warm holes are in my body. It hurts to move. I can’t hear the screaming anymore. But I can see the men running towards me. I can see Mrs Carnell crying on the floor. Then everything is blurring, and I can hear my heart beat in my ears again and a ringing. I’m getting tired. I feel like I’m going to fall asleep. The men are next to me now, my eyes closing. I feel a man’s hands on my back, he pulls me into his chest and holds me like a baby.

I feel more tired now. I’m going to sleep.

 

 

 

 

Short story commentary;

In my short fiction, I have taken inspiration from The lottery by Shirley Jackson. http://www.dystopic.co.uk/the-lottery-free-short-story-review-a-dystopian-masterpiece/

In which I have written a dystopian story surrounding a young girl and her mother, in a small village. As the story is written from the young girl’s perspective, I have left out details about the world and what is outside of the village. The Young narrator should be seen as naïve, this would be due to her age and lack of experiences. I have used childlike language in order to present the fiction as it would be spoken more so through a child’s view. In relation to this, I have used childish fears such as ‘thunder’ and ‘big bears’ in order to present the negative characters in the story. I believe this gives a tone of unknowing and mystery to the text. The narrator is oblivious to the situation in which she is in danger, I have used this in order to emphasise the fact that she is young.

I found writing this as a whole to be difficult. To find the right tenses throughout to make it continuously from her current view, in addition to flashbacks. As well as this, as it is a short story, not making it too predictable, long winded or tedious. I found myself, throughout writing from her perspective, that I was going off on tangents, too much for them to be able to be brought back to the main point of the story, because of this I found it hard to stay off track for the story. As it is a short story and everything has to happen fairly quickly, I found it difficult to remain in the same headspace for writing.

I also did not want to leave the short story on a cliff-hanger as I felt this would make the story just seem unfinished and that I did not put enough time into it. Trying to create an ending also proved difficult as I wanted it to be meaningful and in relation to the rest of the text, but then again not be too obvious or boring. Nearer the end I had tried to describe more visual images, in order to make the finish more dramatic and so that the reader would be able to see the image however not too much so that the reader could imagine the characters and setting in their own way.

From reading parts of The lottery, I had tried to go with the idea of the parents and adults of the ‘faction’ being protective over the children for an unknown reason, (which would then become apparent over the course of the text), in addition to the images of large groups of people in one place. As I believe that this creates the right amount of tension to the text in addition to triggering the ‘something is going to happen’ feeling in the audience.

I had decided to give it the title Red. as a relation to the fact that the young girl had described blood as just “red”, reflecting on her childish nature and age. In addition to this, I had excluded the father character from the story and wrote a tense introduction in order to build the mystery in the text. As well as, linking to the child narrators lack of knowledge about her world.

I also did not complete this story by exposing any secrets of the strange men, where they are from or what they do. As I myself enjoy wondering and creating my own story after finishing one that does not answer all the questions, I wanted to incorporate this aspect into my work.