I have started a writing course for one month to kick start myself into daily writing for pleasure. This is the unedited free flow as the course progresses under the titles we are given as exercises.
Week four short story
Life exceeded expectations and Daziel Coutts knew only three words would end his dream and his success.
Daziel hooked the well-polished spats, buttoned his rich deep green and red brocade vest and, marvelled at receiving the largest British Empire commission, for a sculpture in Australia that commemorates the founding of the nation’s Federation. Clammy hands tugged the soft grey velvet morning jacket. Looking in the mirror Daziel was almost ready for the unveiling. Would the secret stay buried? Could he stay on top of his game after this?
Bob Threepenny, the reporter, had been cultivating the friendship for quite a while, it had served Daziel well. Bob’s articles of life in Melbourne could be tawdry, however he always wrote glowing articles on Daziel. In fact, the reports took him from middle ranking sculptor to one of the Empires most prestigious sculptors. Of course, it took Bob on the same trajectory.
Daziel had become apprehensive over the past eighteen months, Bobs questions had become a little more pointed. What year exactly had Daziel studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts? There it lurked, the unsaid, slithering its way, worming at self-confidence.
Bob was a shabby dresser, he always sported those, not quite brown, Norfolk styled suits with many pockets, morning noon and night. Bob’s increased renown as a reporter he became more confident in his snide remarks about Daziel’s clothing to his face.
“Are you not a bit short and thin for that morning jacket? And isn’t that brocade jacket a bit loud” and so it would go on. Daziel came to refer him as Crafty Bob.
Eleven o’clock arrived with sharp accuracy and the nerves bit into him like a stab wound.
The unveiling of ‘Federation’ had finally arrived. It was no ordinary affair guests arrived from overseas and across dry lands, to view the largest commission in since Federation nee Empire. The most prestigious of the crew is, the Duke George Frederick Ernest Albert and his large family entourage. Followed by Governor-General John Hope and the Prime Minister Edmund Barton and his ministry. Daziel has asked for designers, artists engineers and architects such as; Miles Franklin, Arthur Street, Tom Roberts, Charles and Annie Dorrington, Howard Joseland and George Smith Duncan. And of course, the reporter. Daziel was more than nervous, and becoming more so as Bobs’ eyes were measuring him up, frequently darting in his direction.
“Federation” the sculpture had branched away from the norms; Daziel knew it was risky it could plunge him back into obscurity and if not shame. The bronze sculpture depicted daily life on the minefields, men shearing and women riding bikes in the swelling urban life of Melbourne; there were no famous people. He was sculpting what the Heidelberg art group saw. The speeches and the unveiling was followed by enthusiastic clapping. Daziel felt sightly buoyed and the pit now a mere ditch.
Bob sidled up to Daziel. “So, you have succumbed to populism and forsaken your craft and gone for work that belongs with Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors” barbed Bob. Daziel went pale Bob has gone too far.
“Come on Daziel, let’s get on with the interview.” barked Bob. Bob has Daziel where he wants him, unnerved, it makes for an interesting interview.
“Daziel we will go over some old ground; where and when have you studied?”
“As you are aware I have studied at Schools Ecole des Beaux Arts in Scotland for four years, and at Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze Italy for a year”
“Yes, Yes but when?”
“Oh, you don’t expect me to remember that is was over forty years ago?”
“Yes, I do.” Bob became clipped and the next half hour was a gruelling set of what when where and why’s. Daziel was exhausted and called an end to the interview. Bob was now red and angry as Daziel deflected one question after another. However, his anger soon softened and he complemented Daziel for the good interview.
“Thank you Danielle.” He softly murmured
Daziel started packing and would soon be no more. He quietly closed the door and donned his Hamburg. Daziel now knew he knew, he had done his homework, the secret will be out. Nothing appeared in the article the next day it was a rollicking read of all the dignitaries that came and went. Applauded the risk Daziel took with his ground-breaking sculpture.
Snow Squall, the clipper was at a standstill, with the waves gently lapping against its hull. They were in middle of the Pacific Ocean with no breeze and accompanied with intense humidity. Daziel was out on deck breeze catching.
Danielle Couts completed many exhaustive and combative years to become a sculptress. Her father dies and the family money runs out with poor business decisions by her brother. What was she going to do? Dannielle knew she’d never make a living as a sculptress and with the aid of her mother she changed her identity to a man and escorted her mother, as first cousin Daziel. Her mother died and he decided to travel to Australia and become famous.
Was it worth it? At nearly 60 years could she/he start all over? Hard work, deceit and Bob the reporter all played a part to her success as a sculptor. Bob, the reporter, came up to the quarter deck and sat quietly by his side.
Subject Field. Letter to a Friend –
Dear Sheaffer Parker,
Hope you are well and Inkfull is not giving you any trouble. What an adventure I have had.
I liked how the course drew me in. It started off with a short piece about myself and trigger words. That got the juices flowing. Before I knew it, I had completed one week of short tell-tale snippets. We learnt don’t edit just go with the flow. We then of course editing came naturally after the flow has finished; moving paragraphs, deleted many words and clearing the background.
Roshan was a very generous reviewer “The imagery you have brought to life in just a few short sentences is really profound.”
What I really liked was reading other people’s worded worlds. Roshan with his turns of phrases. I felt heat with “Cicadas roar in my ears as ….. A line of ants march across the paving.” And felt palpable with “…Heart beating fast, he opened his eyes. His brother was leaning over him, eyes angry, threatening. Ben could smell his stale breath….”
I fell in love with character development and the fish has found water! The noise in my head turned into what would Girl think? What would Reckless do? Move over world, I feel the orange Monaro is burning up the street.
I enjoyed everyone’s else characters, one writer Caroline became a dog. I was there, tears rolling down my cheeks what a hopeless situation a very good example of ‘life sucks’
“Two days ago my legs stopped working. I did not mean for them to and I felt a bit embarrassed if I’m honest, but I could not make them stand up. I was so relieved when she got home from work,…”
From our tentative beginnings, I witnessed a boldness coming out in all of us. This writing course has given me the great sense of play enabling a vision of how to talk to my pictures, build unique puppet characters, and loosen grant writing.
You may be pleased to hear Parker, we and Inkwell will be daily companions.
All my love and thanks again
Week Four – What do I want from writing …?
The Achilles heel in my life has been words, writing and memory. Held up high over my father’s head I was known as pretty and happy. However, I was silent, words were reluctant to come out my mouth as legend has it; my first word was “pooh” it reverberated in the bathroom. I was four years old. My parents must have been anxious of when the words would form because as soon as that first word appeared I was harried off to a private school and my mother to hospital to die.
Words writing and memory come as small shards of light distilling the murky world of jumbled thoughts. Words clarify and distil. They pull at an individual leaf and dissect it number it and name it. Words open doors into professions; words for Doctors, words for lawyer’s, words for governments and words for money.
I hold up the white flag I don’t want to fight anymore I want to join the legions of sentence makers. Words will unbutton my dress and lay me bare. I want to talk to my artwork, to clarify and distil thousands of paintings painted to complete a story.
Kindred had the pulled covers to her chin hoping the shadows go would away. She had been put to bed many hours ago, her mother had tucked her in and smiled gently at her after reading the story of “Where the wild things are”.
Waking startled to the sound of the trees scratching against the windows as the wind howled around the house. Kindred felt a little scared by the sounds and the funny flickering lights moving across the walls. They turned into creatures with scrawny fingers and wicked eyes. There’s her teddy, Mr. Socks sitting at the end of the bed she wondered if he was scared, he must be, he wasn’t talking. She was too scared to grab him; the end of the bed was too far away. There is her glass of water all drunk oh, she didn’t drink any water. She felt even more scared as the monsters must have drunk her water this made her look in the direction of the cupboard. Oh no, it’s open! She hated that.
The cupboard housed all the monsters, they weren’t friendly like Max’s monsters from the Wild things. They all threatened to scare and eat her. The wind kept whistling, the branches kept scratching and now there was a big crash of rolling thunder and the shadows ricocheted off the walls and with that Kindred let out a huge scream. In one jump, she fled her room, straight down the hallway while not looking at the shadows and with one leap jumped in beside her snoring mother.
Unnerved by last week’s events, Scamp wasn’t sure if she could front up to work and tell her boss politely she was handing in her resignation.
Last week her screeching Director had undermined her and her staff. It had sent shock waves through the normally reserved Scamp. Over the weekend the self-titled Enigmas, her friends, from way back; Tag, Ruth and Smiles had workshopped with her resignation.
“You are the highest earning friend I have and I wouldn’t mind to keep it that way, Scamp. Our friendship has fringe benefits, we get to be passengers in your black and chrome vintage. Now don’t go do the slow and painful Scamp. Be straight up and …..”
“Yes Smiles is right just walk straight in and say you are leaving have a letter in hand…”
“Oh Ruth you should know at that level Scamp better have her I’s dotted and t’s crossed..”
“Too right Tag, I reckon there is a procedure do you know it Scamp?” says Smiles
And so, it went on. It got a little outrageous as they put down some serious beers and not much food; they were all on the 5/2 diet or was it really an excuse to drink more. Oh, boy did they laugh at the Directors expense.
Face pressed against the door Scamp had re-read the letter of resignation and re-thought the conversation through. Not one blade of hair was out of place. Scamp was smart cool and determined.
“Good morning, hope you had a good weekend Director. I am taking my leave as of today, myself and my staff have been bullied under your Directorship. I have discussed my decision with all of the board………”
Week 2 – Life Sucks –
The hot parched earth kept slapping Reckless in the face with its gusty grits. How long had he been out here waiting? Waiting for the manager to come back and take over this mangy dying dust bowl masquerading as a cattle station. He was tired of looking at the dying calves, even the birds started plummeted out of the sky. The land lay silent with the sky beating down on him taking his last bit of will and sanity. He hadn’t seen another human for months.
Reckless didn’t even care to straighten himself up as he creaked into his old beat up Rust Bucket ute. He arrived at Two Bit as the beating sky had paled and cooled. The driving sweat had stuck dust to his clothes and skin. Great he thought as he tried to bush himself down; stinking of acrid old sweat, suddenly self-conscious.
Leaning against the cluttered slightly dark dank bar, Reckless ordered a long cold one. As his eyes and lips were about to suck in the cold amber as Barnaby the town drunk patted him on the shoulder and with a long deep drawn out laconic drawl “You haven’t heard have ya? “What!?” retorted Reckless as he was being deprived of his first sip of cool peace. Barnaby’s lips curled in a cruel kind of way “Well, ya Boss is won’t be coming back he was in an accident a month back….” Reckless felt the words bear heavily down on him ……
Week 2 – Love Hurts
The Bump grew within her each day each moment. Girl took the bump for walks, swims sun baking, riding and singing. She fed the bump the best goats milk the best food in the world. Girl had chosen to live amongst the trees nestled between two mountains on a sloping flat where she tended to her herd and garden lovingly ever day of every month as the bump grew. Girl was one of earths healers and carers.
When Girl was relaxing, she entered her wood lined library, her sanctuary away from the doing tasks world. The light shone easily in on all sides with high rectangle windows. In the middle of the room lay a large blue bean bag where Girl parked her growing body of two and often snoozed.
On one of her walks with her goats she felt a sharp contraction. She had been feeling them for a few days now she thought them baxton hicks, she had time. Then Girl grabbed the tree and let out about four god curdling yells. She felt to squat down and out popped Kids head with the umbilical cord around Kids neck. Now she felt guilt for being so proudly reckless. She loved Bump every day and every night. Oh, how could it go wrong. Girl looked down at Kid small hapless and listless strangled by loves cord.
Girl never entered the enveloping trees again they had both died there. Hers a waking death of pain never quite leaving.
Week 2 – standing in the rain
The street lay muffled, soft and sweet as the summer rain settled and played in the puddles breaking lights reflections. Bea often stood protected as she watched the streets empty of its restlessness and noise under the eve masquerading as a front veranda.
Tonight, she was sitting, at the kitchen table looking out the window as night fell into the house and rendered all the objects of love and devotion into one orb of quiet peacefulness. Work had been relentless with never ending piles of burdened obligations to deliver on time and in budget she loved these in-between doing moments in her life.
She heard creaks, then a crash and there out the shadows ran a startled a Being who hit and threatened her with her life if she moved. The Being flung open the back door and was gone; leaving in its wake a shattered peacefulness. Bea gathered her things and fled.
Bea had enough sense to call before fear set in. She was now pacing on the spot in the rain broken, sore and vulnerable. Her eyes spinning jittering saucers, body uncontrollably quivering, shoulders taut pinching her ears with an inaudible roar grunting through clenched teeth, she recognised the Beings voice.
The summer rain emptied the street and its sweet perfumes could not quell Bea’s fear as time stretched and pulled at her while waiting for her yellow and black escape. How could life’s direction can change so quickly so violently.
Week 2 – Attitude.
Girl rose to the soft shadowed silent pre-dawn knowing she needed words to be sharpened for an art project she wanted to spruik to Woman of Letters and Connections. Words sharp as swords it’s time to spruce up.
The proud handbag a gift from her beloved, neat, zipped, clipped, with many compartments. On these days of anticipation, the bag often failed her, with contents tumbling out. Each fumbling minute Girls, chubby stiffened hands became panicked. A relief washed over her as she realised her jacket held deep pockets of intent and hope. It all fitted in off she sped.
At an inner-city café Woman of Letters and Connections calmly guided Girl to a quiet spot. Girl noticed nothing too distinguishable yet comfortably expensive; the sort you’d never recognise again. She listened set faced to Girls bubbling babbles of a vision to a series of proposed artworks and their potential. Then they imparted a sketch of their working lives; every so often Girls oozy messy life slipped out like a bit of remnant food left on face. They thanked each other and turned into the busy street.
Girl rattled home on the train hungry and ready to sleep off the disappointment of expectation fallen and nothing promised. She made a cup of tea, collected her essential items, pen and paper and scampered off to the park.
Now, that is attitude, Girl had a choice, she chose to move on. The cut grass met her nose, the birds greeted her ears and the pen furiously glided over the pages.
Week 2- Perfectionism
The Could Have Beens chopping her down with works like: you should, you have to, do it like this and you need to do that. You will never amount to anything. Girl is a bit like that herself telling people what to do. Oh, it is easy to give opinion it rolls off ones’ tongue like syrup, thick and sticky. Everyone’s like Teflon nothing sticks even for Girl.
Perfectionism is another word for procrastination. Broken before you start. Yes, broken like an old record whinging about why you can’t do something. You need the right pen. This one is scratchy. Haven’t got a small note pad to slip into purse. Can’t afford a course to learn to write. Besides, Girl doesn’t want anyone criticising her.
Perfectionism is like grump-ism. Oh, I can’t do that. Why write? Girl has a litany of complaints and besides who’s got the time. Its selfish. Girl finds other activities to distract her; words slip a little bit further away.
The good writers write about the everything. The smell, the light, the feeling the sense or non-sense of it all. They write complete things. How could Girl write something complete? Has she completed anything? Or achieved anything?
Turned away from the light little bits of writing appear in Girls life, stashed away in folders, slipped into letters, on ends of gift cards, between lines in closed musty books, etherized in comments in Facebook, scraps and scraps of paper with countless words to remember the way home.
Week 2 – Self-Criticism.
Self-criticism comes like the wearing of wind and water on rock and from a child’s relentless need to be approved of.
Girl hated being shamed in class and at home about her lack of writing and word ability. Girl shrank, every proceeding year during her school years to write. She could not spell and used messy writing to hide her spelling. Girl the messy writer didn’t finish high school she dropped out just before her last year of exams.
Girl left home, forcibly, a year before she left school. She continued to go to school and work at nights. What to do? Girl had written a to her step mother; thinking she cared. The letter was returned marked with angry red pen and margin comments. Girl started to draw.
Girl tried her hand at trying to get into university. She argued her case in class and researched her thoughts and received a C+. She went home crying. A gentle friend pointed out that was a good mark not a fail. Her father died, Girl stopped going to class.
Now Girl needed find a way to write for pleasure for fun, to talk to her ever incessant talking head. Girl is now Old Girl and doesn’t care so much what people think. The rock has been worn down to a pebble. Old Girl starts writing.
Week 1 – The Party
Coming off the wet narrow lane that smelled of yesterday’s meals, steaming asphalt and lingering smoke Adelaide pointed her purple shoed foot into the doorway of the Lyceum Club. A women’s only club for professional and university educated Melbourne women. The Lyceum Club is housed in a light glassy and chrome modernist building adjacent to the heavy blue stoned walled building of the men’s only Melbourne Club, irony at its best.
Adelaide felt good in her new rigout ready for the Annual Women’s Musicians party. Sporting soft purple leather loafers, green velvet pants, deep red silk shirt, a clustered necklace of semi-precious gems and her air precariously bunch on top of her head. Different to other years Adelaide was not demurred nor intimidated by entering the prestigious club as this year she had received two Aria awards for best composer and best album. Most years she had felt fraudulent as she was the self-educated who eked out a living as a musician. Today she was confident on top of the world. That was until her head and eyes rose from her pointed purple shoe and glanced into the room.
There she was her arch nemesis Edith; the beautiful, multi-trained, highly educated and sort after contemporary vocalist in the Southern Hemisphere if not the world. It’s not that Adelaide despised or envied her it’s that Edith had this uncanny knack of cutting you down with a withering look or a cutting single word. Adelaide generally responded with an uncontrollable stutter however the last encounter was truly horrid. She had missed her mouth whilst drinking coffee and it split all down white shirted her front.
The ever-radiant Edith had swanned confidently around the room conversing with most of the members by the time she glanced up and saw Adelaide, late as usual. Wow! What an entrance she looks stunning not the mousey tonight. How fantastic to see a transformation of that highly talented composer and musician. Oh, our last meeting had been tragic.
Adelaide turned from her usual path, the beverage section and bolted straight to Edith to get the awkward bit over with for the evening and planted a kiss on her cheek. Edith eyes shone straight into hers and met no resistance the party muted as the intensity of two equals met.
Week One- All about me
I am a lover of laughter and I cry easily; my name is Fern, an artist a visual artist. I create visual stories dreams of mainly convey complex social change. I work across media in digital art prints to painting to puppets to banners to small paper clay sculptures. My world is mainly an imaged world; one of love and its struggle to be heard.
I feel the sentence has sentenced me to the term of my natural life. The child in me wants to escape and run down that path of freedom away from the scorn of teachers, siblings, parents, friends and strangers. I want my sentence shortened. I want the light to shine inside me.
My mother died when I was six so I have imagined her by my side most of my life. I think she gave my name as Fern as it is a plant that is nestled in the moist damp temperate forests skirting the slopes of Great Dividing Range. A Fern is fed from the top it is hungry for the litter of life. Her fronds waiver gently in the wind branching from a sturdy trunk, I think that is me metaphorically speaking.
Being dyslexic word check on the computer had opened up my worded world now I hope this introduction to creative writing releases me from my sentence to a fully formed sentence that sings off the page.
Trigger words -Beach
Beach, that voluminous shifting mound of broken shell life crunching squeaking under foot. Made small by the pounding of incessant waves with its cacophony of roars.
Beach, that horizons edge of unknown pulling and drawing while the whale weeps.
Beach, those silent stories welling up to the heats heart beat behind scratchy eye lids, lay burnt and withering in a mass of coconut oil, flaking to restlessness turns.
Trigger words – Water
Ready! The toe checks and senses its heat. I ease my aching body into the warmed waters engulfed by yellowing enamel to sooth hearts ease.
The Epsom and the water sink me under holding breath and releasing the tensions held and stored and remembered in the tight tense muscles ache. I surrender in its safety and warmth.
I lay there and lay there feeling time pass and harsh words empty into the self-created pool. I love my bath it’s almost a religion of sweet surrender. The arch of the sun passes by the window I briefly sleep. Snap to! Eyes widen out of the once safe water, cold.
Week One- I remember
Dorry had her feet up on the opposite plastic chair in her ramshackle garden that needed constant tending before it engulfed her. She drifts back as the sun warms her gardened bones to a place long ago and not quite so tranquil.
She remembers the well of joy as a bunch of women circled her with smiles and handing her a cool beer. Oh, it felt good being in the company of women away from the gnarled men folk.
The women had talked of revolution, of change, of not accepting what lay before them; the constant smell of soap and starch and conformity. Oh, it hall seemed so simple to walk away to turn your back as the beer warmed.
Week 1 – I don’t remember.
The shaded noisy bustling street with its bag carrying shoppers going this way and that with steely determination disorientated Dorry. She stood there inept wondering how she had got to this point, feeling light headed. “Where am I? How did I get here?’
She trembled inside and was panicked with her eyes wide like saucers. Dorry’s shoulder rose, her body heaved as the burning sensation hit her and her hands reaching for the mouth. The violent action of the body vomiting onto the street broke Dorry’s spell of forgetfulness. “Oh heaven forbid get me home body before the shame hits.”
Director Fern Smith
23a Lorensen Ave
North Coburg VIC.