Writing as a grindstone. Finished writing, unfinished writing, writing ideas, things that I'll never get round to writing, other things. Grinding it out, grinding away. Writing some more.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Exercise 4: we had to write three beginnings to a piece trying different things. I wrote 6. The first 3 are trying to come up with a a beginning I thought I could actually use for a longer story/ novel, the last 3 are ones I wrote first that I will probably use to start parts of that story.

It's all very rough -- I couldn't be bothered fixing up what's here because I still have to write the story.

Now I'm going to see if I can catch the lady vols game somewhere -- final of the ncaa. I think Parker dunked in the last game.

No-one in english class was stoked when their teacher assigned them into pairs for "group work". Aston was clearly just trying to make sure no-one enjoyed the assignment -- somehow she'd managed to avoid anyone being paired with a friend. As she read out the allocations, a mexican wave of disappointment and somewhat stifled groans played around the room.
Mary and Sam had hardly ever spoken, even though they'd known each other since intermediate. Hi-Bye friends. Aware of each other, but not really interested. By sixth form, they'd given up on any pretense of liking. Now they were expected to come up with a topic and presentation together.

"These are your allocations," I read the list of pairs I have assigned the class to. It's never a popular start to the year, but it's the only way to get the class talking to each other, and it makes a big difference when they have to read scenes with each other, or share their writing. They have no care for each other -- the boys who think english is for girls, and the boys who are only at school for rugby and cricket, the drama kids, and the girls who want to be prefects. They sit in their cliques and roll their eyes at each other, and are sometimes outright cruel. I don't want to collude with that, but there's only so much I can do as their teacher.
Sam, for instance, is one of the sports heroes. He is as self-important and self-involved as you can imagine a teenager to be. He and his friends will mock anyone who willingly participates. I've paired him with Mary.

It was a stinking hot day. The classroom was packed with hot teenagers. Cigarette stench, perfumes and deodorants sat in the room with the sweat and hormones of 30 near-adults, crammed into uniforms to make them look like they were still children. Resentment and boredom rounded out the atmosphere. Outside, it was summer.
At the front of the room, a woman faced the class. She was of indeterminate age, with fashionably cut hair, and unfashionable but tidy clothes. Pausing after each pair, she read a list of names in a bored voice, and with completely expressionless face. Her mouth twitched occasionally when she saw the reactions of the named, and both her feet tapped under her desk.
The room simmered with outrage. Friends were being divided for no apparent reason.

“Fuck it,” Mary looked out at the rivers running down the window. She could barely be heard over the roaring of the rain on the roof.
Sam crammed the last of Mary's sandwich in his mouth, and chewed grinning with beetroot stained mayonnaise oozing out the sides.
“Take the afternoon off – you can't go back to school in this, you'll get soaked.” Sam edged his chair closer to Mary's and wrapped a concerned arm around her shoulders. They looked together at the beet red stains his fingers left on her blouse.
“Uh, shit,” Sam said, and sprayed the other side of her blouse with red crumbs and saliva. He wiped at the marks ineffectually.
Sam and Mary laughed, and went to his room, and took off her blouse, and fumbled around for a few minutes, and found themselves having sex.

You know you shouldn't do it. Every time you think it through you run through the scene in your head and how you'll stop it, but when it comes time, you just do it again. And you knew that this would happen. At any time you could've stopped, you could have talked about contraception, you could've got the morning after pill. But you didn't.
Now what are you going to do.

Mary woke with the same cold weight in her stomach that had been growing all week. She got up, looked at the calendar, showered, dressed in her uniform, and faced her mother in the kitchen.
“I'll eat it at the bus stop.”
“I'll get a coffee on the way.”
“Is everything okay?”
What could she say? All she wanted to do was go back to bed, have her mother tuck her in, stroke her hair and tell her what she needed to do.
“I'm fine,” she said.
Leave me alone, is what her mother heard. Stay out of my business. Well fine.

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