Week 9

Describe something with a focus on how it smells OR sounds OR feels OR tastes. (Choose just one of those senses, and be careful not to describe what it looks like.) 50-100 words.

There is tension, a slight pressure pushing back against my finger tip, if I am careful I can leave fading fingerprints. The second sample is much thicker, near solid yet they have the same source, I can push my finger deep into this one, when I remove it I can feel it tug as it breaks away in a curving bow until it touches the surface and seals the wound I had made. Both are very different and yet the same.

Answer: Honey.

Write a piece in which smell plays a significant part. 300-500 words

Extract from Masterplayer

The city stank a rancid vat of horse shit, urine and unwashed bodies bathed only in the evening sun. London was glorious. A mixture of people blended in a miasma of culture and class. Where the rich fed upon the efforts of the poor, the poor fought for scraps from the master’s table while dogs licked up the vomit of the plagued. Dung men drove their spades through the foot-thick squelch, swinging load after load until their carts bristled with stench and dripped effluent into the festering streets.

St Paul’s stood as a stoic monolith brooding the loss of its magnificent spire and subsequent beleaguered rebirth. Now a vestige for higher echelons of society to discuss commerce and a den of gossip and vice. Yet, its omnipotent eye kept watch over the city, including the meeting of bards on the corner of Bread Street and Friday Street on the run of Cheapside.

‘How many deaths?’ The wide-eyed gent in a crimson velvet jacket fingered the frills of his white shirt. ‘What were you thinking, Will, if you were thinking at all?’ Tying off the thong around the leather folder, Marlowe dropped the manuscript on the table with much theatrical aplomb. ‘Buckets of blood for everyone? It will reek. I love it!’

‘Why thank you, my good man. Do come to the show, it should be on stage at the Theatre very soon.’ Will could not resist a smile.

Marlowe jumped to his feet and snatching up the manuscript he stepped up onto his chair and placed one foot upon the table, spilling his stew from its bowl, the aroma of hot beef stew swirled around them. ‘Hear ye, hear ye,’ he proclaimed, waving the manuscript high above his head and in so doing disturbing loose crumbs of plaster from the ceiling. ‘Coming soon from The Chamberlain’s Men, with more blood and guts than a Smithfield slaughterhouse, Titus Andronicus, by Master Shakespeare. Come see, come see.’

‘Sit down, you arse.’ Shakespeare snatched the folder from Marlowe Marlowe’s hand, cuffing him about the ear with it. ‘And tell me where you’ve been, your absence has not gone unnoted.’

Marlowe flopped into his seat with a deflating sigh as the chorus of cheers died down among the patrons. ‘Traveling, through festering holes, France and the like. Even with Walsingham gone, the Toad keeps me busy.’

‘It’s always fun returning to the city, do you not think?’ Shakespeare screwed up his face. ‘Except for the horse piss. If only I could rewrite the memories of fetching pales of it for my father’s work.’ He swallowed, in preparation for the last part, ‘that and smell of flesh as it was horse-hide as it was soaking in… no, I really can not. You deliberately distracted me. Back to business.’ Rapping his knuckles on the table.

‘Conspiracies abound, as they always do.’ William supped his ale wiping his mouth on his sleeve. ‘Sagrada, that was one.’