Two weeks ago I finished teaching my ten week ‘Blog and Creative Writing’ course at Dowlais Library in Merthyr Tydfil. It was certainly a bittersweet experience. As it happened, our last session fell on my birthday so my core group surprised me with some wonderful presents which included homemade ‘American’ brownies, a chocolate fudge cake, butter cookies, cards, and even a Welsh ‘Arthur’ bear! I was completely overwhelmed and may have even teared up a bit…
And then the writing came. Over the last few months I watched their styles develop and, at the risk of sounding sappy, I could not be prouder of the work they were producing. They’d arrived self-conscious, concerned about their spelling and grammar, and worried that they could not write anything worth reading. Many had never written outside of their own lives and experiences before and didn’t know where to begin.
However, throughout the course they had the opportunity to experiment with poetry, flash fiction, monologues, character sketches, short stories, and more. They read new writing and discovered things about their own. By the end of our ten weeks together, each person had a new understanding of what it meant to ‘be a writer’ and had come up with excellent blog ideas that would allow them to showcase and continue developing their own work. On one hand, I am proud of how far they have come but, on the other, I know I will miss them dearly.
I hope to share writing from each member of the group soon, but for now I have two pieces from Mary James (the delightful grandmother and hang- gliding enthusiast pictured above). The first is a short fiction piece written in the style of a potted biography and the second is flash fiction created using the theme ‘streets, roads, and ways’.
A Potted Fiction
The plane flew into Tokyo. She had no hand luggage, but much more in her trunk in the hold. The turbulence had stopped but they had all been shaken up.
The groom prepared the horse for her son to ride. He would soon have to look for another about twelve hands maybe, as the lad was growing fast.
Her mother had spent months in hospital. Pale, she may be, but she was confident now. She wore the gown which her daughter had made. It hid the tubes that led from her body.
He was a gardener. So talented were his displays that he had taken the girls’ attention, and then one thing led to another.
It’s not the street I usually go down. But for some reason, that day I turned down a different road. Turning in the car I figured that I could easily get back to where I turned off. Roads tend not to bend the way I expect or want them too. The further I went the more lost I became. Not easily put off, I thought I would turn it into an adventure and ploughed on, showing more confidence than I really felt. Small side roads turned into B roads then A roads and inevitably the motorway, of course no stopping now –the relentless traffic trapping me and pushing me on. I was making for the south West, but increasingly saw signs for the east coast. Faster and faster and further and further away I got from my intended direction. The toll bridge loomed. No escape, I pulled up, the toll keeper put out his hand for the payment. I mumbled feebly I’m on the wrong road. Where are you making for, he asked. Manchester, I replied. He furiously stepped out of his cubicle put his hand up, stopped all the traffic behind me. The whole motorway had come to a halt. Very deliberately he gave exaggerated hand movements to turn me round, pointing he said, that way.