Inspired by Matt’s Creative Writing Workshop.
(Matt is a teacher at Tti who recently graduated with a Masters in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University .)
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a creative writing workshop as part of the Tti social program. It was quite well attended, with 14 students turning up to flex their creative muscles. The exercise was to draw a map of a familiar journey, adding adjectives, feelings and colours after I gave prompts. Students swapped their maps and then interviewed each other to understand the journey fully. They then had to find a quiet space in the school and write each other’s journeys beginning with the word ‘I.’
I love this exercise since, as well as developing their writing, it’s a good way for students to make friends with each other and do lots of talking. A week later, Tti teacher Marianne handed me a story written by one of her students. She had given them the task of using a quote from Oscar Wilde to start and end a story. Below is the result:
‘I can resist anything but temptation.’ When I first read it on the internet I felt such identification with this quote that I made it my MSN phrase. It stayed there until I identified myself even more with another one. But it doesn’t matter right now. What does matter right now is the choice I am about to make and, by the quote I started with, you can tell it will be the wrong one.
In this case the wrong choice – or temptation – has a name: Millena. She is as sinuous as her name suggests and twice as clever. Millena is the kind of woman who only dates rich guys whose fortune was made in shady businesses that probably involved cards and broken knee-caps. However, every so often she makes an exception and dates a ‘not-that-promising’ artist. This, of course, wouldn’t be a problem if such kind of guys (the ones who are rich and break knee-caps) knew how to cope with rejection and the ‘not-that-promising-artist’ wasn’t me.
From Millena herself I heard that Batter (her former boyfriend) would like to have a small talk with me. As Batter was no exception in Millena’s book, I sent my dignity for a walk and panicked. Right in front of her. Before I started to cry, she told me her plan, handed me a gun, gave me the key, made me a promise; and here I am. In Blatter’s flat, pointing a gun at the front door.
I’ve made a promise. Just two shots and I can stay with Millena for the rest of my life – or as long as my hormones last (whichever comes first). All I need to do in order to get the money and the girl is to shoot Batter in the chest, two times. I who have never fought anyone, Batter who has broken dozens of knee-caps. I start to shake… I remember which quote has replaced the one about temptation on my MSN…
Then I put the gun in my back pocket and leave before Batter arrives. I’ll leave town never to come back again. But first, I’ll stop at my house and tell a perplexed Millena through Facebook that I’ve just recovered my imagination. Meanwhile, in my status, a last quote:
‘Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.’
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