Pulling A Blank

 

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You will have noticed I haven’t written an entry for my blog for a while. There is no great mystery behind it. I was not kidnapped, transported to another planet or plummeted into a mystical realm like the children of Narnia. No. It is quite simple. I was going through what many writers go through at various points when writing: writer’s block.  I just couldn’t think of anything to write for my blog.

Maybe it was because my creative energies were being sapped by two other things: submitting my second book to Literary Agents (time consuming and somewhat soul destroying) and compiling the notes on my third book before settling down to editing proper. I’m still at both of these and they have become my obsessions.

This meant I had less time to just let my wander and play in the quiet moments. This is an essential part of writing. If you are told to ‘just write,’ often you’re mind goes immediately blank.

That’s why writing at school can be really hard. The blank page and your teacher asking you to come out with some great story just like that. And there are all the things you are told to remember: fronted adverbials, alliteration for effect, a simile or metaphor or two. No wonder you mind just freezes. How can anyone write under such pressure?

Take a moment and put your pencil down. Stare out the window. Watch the trees in the breeze, traffic passing or the rain fall. Take some calming breaths. Think about what you are interested in: A TV programme you watched; a computer game you play; a song you like; a pet you cuddle… Make that your story.

There are no rules when writing stories. You can have happen whatever you want. You are the magical master. If you want a tap-dancing zebra as a class teacher, so be it! You want to be skiing on the skin of a bowl of custard, go on! It is your world. Rule it.

POEM: The Spelling Test

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OK children
It’s time for the Spelling Test
Remember: no talking
If I see you talking
I will tear up your paper for cheating
Susan, what did I just say?
That’s right, NO TALKING.
Question 1
Suc-cess
Remember my clue:
Two cuffs, two sleeves
Michael, are you paying attention?

I’em a sawin bird in the ski
dragon wing tell mak me fli
a nite in rmer rides my bak
blazin sward helld hi for attak

OK
Question 2
Ne-ces-sary
Here’s the clue
One cup, two sugars
Remember that
One cup, two sugars
Michael, have you got number one done yet?

The prinsess waits in her towa
walls of vine and flowa
a which chains her too a bed
kacklin lowdly makin dred

Michael! You haven’t even started!
How do you expect to write
if you can’t spell?

POEM: My Mum Don’t Come To My School No More

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My mum don’t come
to my school no more,
saw the Head Teacher
hit him to the floor
said a lot of words
straight out the loo
punched and kicked him
black and blue

My mum don’t come
to my school no more,
she hit him with a right hook
to the ground
all the other parents
gathered around
they all enjoyed
a great good fight
but even they thought
“This ain’t right.”

My mum don’t come
to my school no more
she’s barred from the playground
not allowed through the doors
or all the teachers
will call the law
I wish she behaved herself
done what is good
instead of being
the talk of the neighbourhood.

POEM: Teacher says…

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Teacher says
my writing is not very good
But I dream of slaying serpents
with a dappled sword of light

Teacher says
I should use more connectives
But I search the fathoms of Hades
for the last souls of the unforgiven

Teacher says
it would be better with subordinate clauses
But I dance with moonlight maidens
on an ocean of stardust from Mars

Teacher says
my work lacks imagination
But I journey home, sword broken
and the beast of burden victorious