Assignment 1

Produce and Discuss

Write a piece of your own that deploys those techniques; you are adopting and adapting what you have learned from studying your chosen writer. Fiction or nonfiction. 600-700 words. Post this piece into the Writer’s Workshop.

First Draft:

After the acid, his vision was no more than silhouettes through net curtains. 

‘Does anyone know anything? voices, whispering secrets, discoveries.

‘Have we any witnesses? It happened in broad daylight right in the centre of town,’ the sound carried on weighted breath, muted by thick glass. Its owner was just out of sight down the corridor.

‘None, sir. I knew him; from school. He helped everyone.’ A sigh of tears.

‘Well. No one is helping him today.’ The measured steps of authority faded away, the voices just a memory on the air.

They know nothing. 

 Curtains rings jangled, snatched open with a hiss of nylon. The bedside lamp painted the sheets with sick shadows. Hands, one balled in bandages the other, rose-pink, gripped the air with intensity. A soft whir heralded the release of morphine. The rose unfurled setting the victim adrift toward oblivion.

A jug of water stood next to the upturned glass, neither usable to the occupant. A burst of pollen brightened the dust on the bedside cabinet, a tear from the weeping lilies suffering in the gloom. A dressing gown hangs from a wardrobe on a stained wooden coat hanger, its hook fingering the lip of the door.

She steps with measured silence around the bed to investigate the soft-tapping at the window. She huffs out a sharp breath at the sight of the robin fixated by the red mites negotiating the dust boulders in their path. The bird hops the length of one foot and pecks another inch of the sill clean before vanishing in a blur of wings into the privet bailey protecting this infirmary from the paparazzi braying at the kerbside.

It’s a wonder anyone in the unit can get any rest. Never has the hospital been so exciting. Exciting to everyone but the occupants in room seven. To one, it is a refuge of pain. To the other, it is the pain of guilt. Guilt that brings her to his bedside. Guilt clawing at her breast to escape. Guilt that would drive a saint to pray. But she is no saint. Already she is plotting her escape. 

Did anyone see you arrive my dear? Do take a look at the photo by the bedside. Do you recognise the children playing in the pool?

Her heart pounds to the point of pain. She closes her eyes, shut tight, she bites her lip, turning the cherry white then red. ‘Why?’ She asks of the closing stillness. He lay there oblivious to the world: to her rage at him. ‘You brought this on yourself.’ She leans over him, her soft bosom close to his chest. ‘I hope you die for what you’ve done. You took everything from me. Everyone will see this as a result of how you lived. You’re lucky it’s only your face I got melted.’ Spittle dripped from her lips to his. She stood, ran her tongue over her lips, tasting the iron in her blood. ‘Is there no end to what you can do?’

She stood there, watching the slowness of his breathing. Was he unaware of her? Filthy bruises surrounded the site of the tracheostomy poking out of his throat like a robotic implant. The ventilator gasped into life. ‘Why don’t you just die!’ She kicked the bed, catching the pedal with her foot. A caterwaul of alarms screamed for attention. ‘Bastard’ she hissed slithering from the room beneath the crimson flash of emergency light. She could hear footfalls hitting the floor with a clop and slap as they homed in on the alarm. 

She dared a final look. He was going nowhere, was telling no-one anything, he did not need a name. He had all he deserved burned into his precious face. She walked out of the door, unfastened her white coat allowing it to flap around as she increased her gait and ran.

Completed Assignment.

Who is She?

Commentary

There is a gentleness when describing the garden in the opening paragraphs of A Picture of Dorian Gray. (Wilde: 2001. P7) Wilde firmly places us inside the studio yet spends his words on the outside world. He adds weight to things with words like tremulous, honey-coloured, and innumerable. All of which could be simplified. The garden is described in one long sentence making it as breathtaking as the real thing would have been. 

In my piece, I have attempted to use the fixed point of view and swing the image around a single focal point, taking peeks from the windows on either side. Wilde talks of the ‘bees shouldering through the unmown grass’ as a means to take us deeper into the garden. I have attempted to emulate this with a robin ‘vanishing in a blur of wings’ to carry the reader, as Wilde did with the bee, deeper, to show what lies beyond. I have also tried to heed the advice of Joe Moran from his book First You Write a Sentence (Moran 2018: loc 1570) where he speaks of parataxis and the art of trimming down words and simplifying wherever possible.

I received multiple feedback on a particular piece of text where it was unclear to the reader, to whom a voice belonged. In the edit, I changed this to an inner dialogue of the main protagonist giving it stronger grounding in the overall plot. I have also employed the use of sibilants to soften the tone as ‘she’ walks around the room. My long-term aim is to develop this story into a novel exploring pride in its different guises.

Who is She?

After the acid, his vision was no more than silhouettes through net curtains. 

‘Does anyone know anything?’ Voices, whispering secrets, discoveries.

‘Have we any witnesses? It happened in broad daylight right in the centre of town,’ the sound carried on weighted breath, muted by the thick glass of the window. Its owner was just out of sight down the corridor.

‘None, sir. I knew him; from school. He helped everyone.’ A sigh of tears.

‘Well, no one is helping him today.’ The measured steps of authority faded away, the voices just a memory on the air.

They know nothing. 

 Curtain rings jangled, snatched open with a hiss of nylon. The bedside lamp painted the sheets with sick shadows. Hands: one balled in bandages, the other, rose-pink, gripped the air with intensity. A soft whir heralded the release of morphine. The rose unfurled, setting the victim adrift toward oblivion.

A jug of water stood next to an upturned glass, neither usable to the occupant. A burst of pollen brightened the dust on the bedside cabinet, a tear from the weeping lilies suffering in the gloom. A dressing gown hung from a wardrobe on a stained wooden coat hanger, its hook fingering the lip of the door.

In measured silence she steps around the bed to investigate the soft tapping at the window. She huffs out a sharp breath at the sight of the robin fixated by the red mites negotiating the dust boulders in their path. The bird hops the length of one foot and pecks another inch of the sill clean before vanishing in a blur of wings into the privet bailey protecting this infirmary from the paparazzi braying at the kerbside.

It’s a wonder anyone in the unit can get any rest. Never has the hospital been so exciting. Exciting to everyone but the occupants in room seven. To one, it is a refuge of pain. To the other, it is the pain of guilt. Guilt that brings her to his bedside. Guilt clawing at her breast to escape. Guilt that would drive a saint to pray. But she is no saint. Already she is plotting her escape. 

‘Did anyone see you arrive my dear? Do take a look at the photo by the bedside. Do you recognise the children playing in the pool?’ She shook the thoughts from her head.

Her heart pounds to the point of pain. She closes her eyes, tight, she bites her lip, turning the cherry white then red. ‘Why?’ She asks of the closing stillness. He lay there oblivious to the world: to her rage at him. ‘You brought this on yourself.’ She leans over him, her soft bosom close to his chest. ‘I hope you die for what you’ve done. You took everything from me. Everyone will see this as a result of how you lived. You’re lucky it’s only your face I got melted.’ Spittle dripped from her lips to his. She stood, ran her tongue over her lips, tasting the iron. ‘Is there no end to what you can do?’

She stood there, watching the slowness of his breathing. Was he unaware of her? Filthy bruises surrounded the site of the tracheostomy poking out of his throat like a robotic implant. The ventilator gasped into life. ‘Why don’t you just die!’ She kicked the bed, catching the pedal with her foot. A caterwaul of alarms screamed for attention. ‘Bastard’ she hissed slithering from the room beneath the crimson strobe of emergency light. She could hear footfalls hitting the floor with a clop and slap as they homed in on the alarm. She dared a final look through the glass. He was going nowhere, was telling no-one anything, he did not need a name. He had all he deserved burned into his precious face. She walked away, unfastened the white coat allowing it to flap around as she increased her gait and ran.

Bibliography

Wilde, Oscar. (2001) The Picture of Dorian Gray. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics

Moran, Joe. (2018) First You Write a Sentence. Kindle version Penguin. [Downloaded 15/9/2019]

Mark: 70