So last week was a mad-busy week and this is the first real time I’ve had to sit down at the computer and sum it up. With a new intake at work, which the resultant fresher’s flu I am now harbouring attests to, being absolutely busy. It was the first time I have had to teach more than twentyfour students in one go. I believe I had fortyeight in our new lecture theatre at capacity? That was pretty nerve-wracking to start off with, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. It’s different, much like the new campus that we have only this week started using. (At points this week, I was finishing a lecture in one building then hot-footing it up to the new building to start another.)
Another new thing this week is that I started my Master’s course in Writing. It’s something that, admittedly, I have only been looking forward to for a short time. When compared to some of the people on the course who applied for it months ago I came across by pure chance in late August, I believe it was. And I lucked out. This was the first postgraduate course that has really caught my eye and inspired me, so I was delighted when I was offered a place.
To be in postgraduate education is really fun. Perhaps studying another course might have been different, but this was incredibly laid back and informative. We started by enrolling and while we waited for our course leader to come over and get us a few of us introduced ourselves. The great thing about the course is that it seems to be a group of like-minded people. While we may not all have the same interests there seems to be something that links us all, even if that is the very art of writing. Once we had gathered (almost) everyone, the course effectively started in the Starbucks on the ground floor of the building. This was a much better icebreaker than the usual, stand up, hi, I’m Mike, I do this and that, introduction that I dread. Even as a lecturer public speaking doesn’t come easily to me. We then moved on to the room in which, I presume, we will be spending the rest of the course. The facilities at LJMU seem fantastic, and much more than we need, with boundary mics on every table and a spectacular view of the city (complete with balcony). Here Jim, the course leader, introduced what we would be doing this semester and with a host of guest speakers and writing workshops, I’m really looking forward to it.
The second half of the class was a writing workshop with Andrew McMillan, and is the main reason I’m writing this blog.
We were given one of a selection of pictures from a magazine as a writing prompt. Then in our own style, be it prose, poetry or screenwriting, we were to write for ten minutes on each of the following:
1. From the viewpoint of the main person in the photo.
2. From the viewpoint of a secondary person in the photo (perhaps someone on the sidelines looking in)
3. From the viewpoint of an inanimate object in the photo.
On the night I didn’t get time to read out one of my stories, partly due to me being too shy and nervous. I think that will improve with time when I have a chance to gauge the level and style of everyone else in the class. Those that did, held up their picture and then read aloud their story. What I wanted to do, ever being a fan of suspense, was to read my story and then hold up the picture. To see if anyone had grasped what it was i was talking about. So here we go (perhaps with slight, typed editing from the written version):
I don’t know what I’ve done.
Was I not welcoming enough. Did my manner put people off?
I cannot help what I am. I was created this way and so shall I remain. At least, until they decide to replace me.
Where did they all go? Do they no longer need me? Is obsoletion all I have?
Things weren’t always this way. I remember when I was young, still fresh and new. When they would come in their droves just to get a look at me. They would push and scramble for space, ever so politely. Then they would leave, with a happy, satisfied look on their faces. That would continue for years, they would always come back for more and always leave happy. Until I had nothing more to give. Then my owners would say: ‘I’m sorry, sir.’ and ‘Please come back on Monday.’ And they would.
But something changed. I don’t know what.
The parents no longer brought along their children. I would see them walking buy, ignorant of my presence. Then one day the owner put his key in the lock, looked up at my regal face and left for the last time.
This is the photo that I was given:
I really liked the idea of the shop in the background. To me it looked empty and forgotten, but it still has this amazing facade that speaks of happier times. This idea of a forgotten shop personified and wondering why just came to me and writing from the viewpoint of an inanimate object was amazingly fun. I wonder what you thought the character was or what they were talking about? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, I would really appreciate to see what was running through the reader’s head and I’m sure it will help me as a writer.
I will try and keep up this blog once a week, detailing what I get up to on my course, but that’s all I have time for today.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.