creative writing to order

For the past year or so I have been a member of the Kessingland Library Creative Writing Group which meets every month. Like the Open University Course I did in creative it has been positive in forcing me to write outside of my comfort zone.

Some of the work I did in the Library group has been published in their anthology including an extract from The Revolutionary Tapestry : antho . If you want to read them I’m afraid you will have to buy the book – there are some excellent pieces in there from other group members as well and it is well worth the cover price. The other two pieces in the anthology were written for the OU course – one to create a character and the other to create a character that didn’t share anything with me.

Some of the other pieces we have written are on their website.  The one I found particularly challenging was “Half Rhymes” where we had to write a poem where the “rhymes” had a match in the consonants but not the vowels – the opposite of assonance. I rhyme by instinct so having to do what my perfectionist brain says are “not proper rhymes” was difficult. The Picasso story was inspired by one of his paintings our leader Rebeccah Giltrow handed out at random. I had thought of calling it “50 Shades of Blue” but as it was from his cubist period the joke wouldn’t really work.

I decided to put some more of the work here with some explanation of what the challenges were.

A A Conversation With The Other had to be a dialogue with nothing other than questions. To make it more interesting (hopefully) I did an internal dialogue with my internal parent voice.

Rumbled – the challenge was to update a fable. I had had the idea about looking again at morals of people involved in the Rumplestiltskin story many years ago – none of them are very nice and I was never sure what the moral was supposed to be. Having a Chandleresque detective walking those Grimm streets seemed a good way to do that.

I always have a tune in my head when I write lyrics, even though it may turn out to have a completely different one when I finish the song. This was our exercise at Christmas – to create something harking back to the Christmas song of the 70’s and 80’s. I may get round to doing a proper tune for it for the Christmas Eastern Edge Cabaret.

Writers write was a failure as I misread the instructions. It was supposed to be a poem about a parent inspired by a rap poet. I got the second bit but missed the theme.

Limericks were written for an open mike night organised by the library. As Rebeccah is a great fan of OULIPO I thought it would be fun to do a more modest version of Quenneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems and did a set of limericks with the same rhyme scheme. These were performed by asking people to shout out a number from one to five which would pick each successive line in the eventual random poem.

Finally –I have no mouth and I must speak. This was supposed to be a piece of writing using only single syllable words. I decided to write a piece about a computer being programmed to emulate the learning process of a human mind. One word = one bit. It is harder than you may think to stick to one syllable. My original title was Monolog until I realised that had three.

Like the members of OULIPO I found the challenge of having restrictions on what I was creating exhilarating rather than constraining.

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