Monday, 30 August 2010

Creative Writing- YASS

This was my overall final piece for the course. It's a little depressing, I must have been in a solemn mood when I wrote it, and a bit cringey as well so I must have been in a reflective mood as well, but it got me my high mark so I don't mind!

The Magic of Music
I eased open the door to the playroom, and it creaked precariously on its hinges. I stood on the top step and squinted into the dark and dusty room. The velvet wallpaper was as horrible as it ever was, and I could still see the pictures that my brother and I had drawn on the wall under the window. I smiled as I remembered the trouble we had got into for that. As I tip-toed down the steps, my footsteps were dampened by a thick layer of dust. My old wooden toy boxes were stacked in a neat pile next to the stairs, never having been moved up to the loft. The carpet was tread-bare and the colourful pattern was barely clear. A thick brown rug covered the stain my Brother had made when testing out the paints he had gotten for his eighth birthday. He had got in trouble for that as well.
The only object that hadn’t been ruined in the room was the ancient piano that stood quietly in the far corner of the room. I ran my hands over the rich wood and blew the dust from the pictures sat on the top. I carefully lifted the lid and admired the symmetrical keys hidden beneath it. I took a long breath and played a tune that my Mum had taught me when I was a small girl. My fingers moved delicately over the ivory keys and blissful music reverberated around the bare playroom. As I played, I stared at the clouded photograph on top of the piano, and smiled sadly. My Mother smiled sweetly back at me. Her image was as still as a statue, but her eyes were so full of life. I gazed into them, and lost myself in the music.

Before she tragically died two years ago from cancer, my Mum was the cleverest person I had ever met. She was terribly outspoken and loud. When she laughed she sounded like a hyena, and when she was cross it was as if she had a loud speaker system installed within her vocal chords, but that was what I loved about her. I got all of my confidence from her, as well as my mousy blonde hair and poor eyesight. I loved it when people said that I reminded them of Carol, because I was always happy to be compared to her. Like my Mum, I always tried to be honest, and I never seemed to be best at any academic subjects at school. Instead, I shone at music. Jazz was our passion and classical piano was what we lived for. When my Brother and I became too old to make full use of the playroom, Mum brought a second hand, worn down piano and put it in the far right corner of the playroom. It was magnificent.
It was the 18th of March, and like every Saturday, my Dad and Brother were out cheering in vain for their football team. Mum and I had just been out shopping, trying to find some new curtains for the living room. When we arrived home, Mum covered my eyes with a woolly scarf that she dug out from the cupboard under the stairs, and lifted me up into her arms.
“I’ve got a surprise for you Holly.” She said to me.
“But it’s not my birthday yet.” I gasped. Mum just laughed and I could tell that she had taken me to the playroom because she stepped on the squeaky toy I always left by the door, and I could smell the salty odour from the play dough.
Mum took my blindfold off and I screamed when I saw the beautiful old piano in front of me. The wood was dark and unvarnished, the white keys had a yellow tint to them and there was a small pink flower sticker on the highest key, but it was by far the best toy in the playroom. Mum had tears in her eyes when she sat down softly on the padded stool. She took a deep breath and started to play such a beautiful melody. She closed her eyes and swayed gently to the fresh sound of her new piano.
“Music is the most powerful thing in the world.” Mum sighed wistfully, “It can provoke emotions within you, and it can clear your mind of all worry and stress. It is a salvation, an oasis, and should be enjoyed by every person in the world.” She pulled me up onto her lap and taught me the tune she had just finished playing. It was very difficult and I couldn’t play different tunes with both hands, so I ended up getting quite frustrated.
“I think I’ll let you play Mum,” I said, “I can’t do it.”
“You don’t have to be a virtuoso to enjoy music,” Mum laughed, and she tweaked my chin playfully, “Just play the first tune then and I’ll play the second.” I tried again, but I still pressed down all of the wrong keys.
“I can’t do it!” I moaned.
“Well don’t give up.” Mum said sternly, “I doubt Mozart ever gave up.”
“Well Mozart was better than I am.” I mumbled. Mum made me try over and over again and eventually I made my way successfully through the piece. After that, I couldn’t stop playing it.
I played the piano every day for hours upon hours. I remember the day that Mum and Dad told me that Mum was sick, because that was the day when we perfected our very first duet. I couldn’t quite believe it at first, Mum was never ill. She went to work every day and never put her feet up at the weekends. After they told me though, everything moved very quickly. Mum grew tired all of the time, and her hair fell out in big clumps. The worst time was when Mum was too tired to play the piano, and I would record myself playing all of the songs I could remember, and take them too her in the hospital. She said that she listened to them every night. So often in fact that her nurses started humming my tunes as they tried to make her better.
I met a really nice nurse at the hospital. She was called Julie, and she was a short and slim girl. She had only just left nursing school and my Mum was helping her with her bedside manner. She was so funny, and often said that if she wasn’t so passionate about nursing, she would become a stand up comedian and make people feel better that way. She made me laugh because she was completely tone deaf. Mum and I would hum our tunes and Julie would add her own melody without even realising it. Mum was proud of her though, because she didn’t even stop when a stroppy old lady with grey hair and wrinkly cheeks complained about her. Within a week, my Mum had the lady converted to music, and she would join in too.
“Any message can be given through music.” Mum said to her, “You can shout to the high heavens, or write down all of your thoughts until you run out of ink, but add even the shortest melody, and you can get across to anybody.”
The nurses let Mum go home for a couple of days when she was feeling a little better, and as soon as we opened the door, my Dad carried her to the piano. She sat in a wheelchair and quietly rested her hands on top of the keys. Then Dad brought in hot chocolate and he had even put marsh mallows in the cups. We sat in the playroom for hours, playing games and talking. I beat my Brother at Monopoly for the first time, and my Dad pulled all of his muscles playing Twister. We ordered a take away pizza and Dad made us ice cream sundaes with chocolate sprinkles. It was such a lovely evening that we hated taking Mum back to the hospital for her last treatments. She was always optimistic though, and she continued to pester me and my Brother about homework even when she wasn’t at home. She made me promise to carry on playing the piano, and become the best pianist in the whole of Europe, but after she died, I couldn’t bring myself to even lift the lid of the piano, and our house became deathly silent for many years.

My shaking fingers clutched onto the notes of the last chord. The music was in perfect harmony. After all this time, the piano hadn’t slipped even a fraction out of tune. I smiled and took a deep breath to stop my tears from falling onto the rich wood. The music gently floated away, and I pulled the cover back over the black and white keys. They would stay hidden, completely untouched for several more years, protecting the precious memory of my Mother, and the salvation she got from her music.

Creative Writing YASS

Last year I did a creative writing course with the open university, and these are the final pieces I wrote for my exam. I was really really ppleased becuase even though reading these back now I would change tons of things, I came out with the highest pass mark and a massive boost to my confidence!

This first one was supposed to written in the style of a child, in the aftermath of an acciedent.

The Dentist
Daddy had said that he would give me a packet of Haribo if I was a good girl at the dentist. But I
hated the dentist. It smelt funny. Daddy drove to the car park by the pet shop that smelt like my old blanket. He parked the car and got me out of my seat in the back.
“Hold on tightly to my hand.” He said, and then grabbed onto my wrist aswell. It hurt a little, so I started to fidget, but Daddy just held on tighter.
We walked quickly down the high street. I kept slipping in the icy puddles, so Daddy had to
put me up onto his shoulders. I felt like a giant; I could see all the way down to the park at the end of the street.
We turned down another street and I could see a lot of people standing around outside of a
shop. I could tell that they were arguing because they kept throwing their hands around, and that’s what Mummy and Daddy did when they argued. There was a really fat policeman that looked like the controller from Thomas and the Tank Engine. He was being bossy and asking lots of questions, which was making all of the other people angry, but he was making me smile. I wanted to know what had happened, so I asked daddy.
“The police are closing the shop.” He mumbled.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because they have to.”
“But why?”
“Because some horrible people decided to…”
“Daddy look at that man! He’s bleeding!”
Daddy quickly took me down from his shoulders and gave me my Haribo before I even got to
the dentist. I was happy because he had got me the fizzy ones that I like to put on my tongue until they melted.
When we got to the dentist I started to cry because I was scared and I had finished all of my
Haribo. The dentist put me in a really comfy chair, and that cheered me up because he kept moving it up and down. The other dentist, who was a girl, like me, sat near my head. She smelt of roses and I could hear her earrings jingling together.
“Did you see what happened? She asked my Daddy.
“No, we walked straight past.” Daddy grumbled.
“Well it was very dramatic.” The flower lady said, “The police were called out first thing this morning because a gang of men showed up and…”
“Yes we saw it on the news.” Daddy said, raising his voice a little and looking at me funny. I was
shocked because Daddy had stopped the lady from talking, and he had told me that that was rude.
“Sorry.” The lady said. Then she looked at me funny too.
After the dentist had cleaned and counted my teeth, Daddy put me up onto his shoulders
again and we walked a different way back to the car. When we got home Mummy was waiting with two policemen, and Daddy wasn’t at all happy about that.

The second was to write a scene around an emotion.

Jeanine had fiery red hair and feline green eyes. She had a band of freckles covering her small red nose, but they were covered by a constant layer of harsh make up. She wore a tight, knee length skirt with a floral patterned shirt tucked into an elaborate waist belt. Her coat was draped over her arm and she held her shoes in her hand, to stop them rubbing her heels. She was in her early twenties and a university drop out. She had given up after three weeks when the work got boring. She now lived on the edge of town, in a block of run-down flats. She lived alone, but compensated for that fact by going out each and every night. She had lost contact with her parents at the age of sixteen, and now she attempted to look after herself.
Jeanine stood in the darkness of an abandoned alley, clinging onto a dirty green handrail that
was covered in old chewing gum. The ghostly alleyway was dark and eerie. Water was dripping down the dirty walls, weeds were breaking through the cracks in the pavement and the end of the street was hidden in mysterious shadow.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and goosebumbs rose up all over her body, so
that she felt sudden shivers run all the way down her spine. Blood rushed through her veins and
Jeanine could feel it pulsing in her clenched fists. Her sporadic breathing was harsh and was making her throat dry and sore. Her knees were trembling as the bitter wind blew through the alley, catching old food containers and rubbish that hadn’t been cleared away in years.
She walked towards the shadows. Jeanine could hear a fox rummaging around in the large
wheelie bins, trying to scavenge a meal for itself. Further away, Jeanine could hear cars speeding past on the main road, and the brakes sqealing and the tyres skidding. Her footsteps echoed off the alley wall, like she was the only person around for miles, but Jeanine was in no hurry to get back to her silent flat. The rooms were so empty that only darkness filled the spaces where the furniture should have been.
She eventually stumbled back to her block of flats, and spent ages searching for her key in the
dim and flicking light. Somewhere in the building she could hear people arguing and a baby crying. A man was sitting on the steps, smoking and staring at her. Jeanine turned round and looked out at the town. The surrounding houses were in darkness, their curtains drawn firmly shut, but they still looked more appealing than her flat. She reluctantly made her way up the stairs, being careful not to hold onto the broken rail. She collapsed onto her threadbare couch and stared out at the houses in the distance, wishing that she could be feeling as safe as the people in them.

I don't remeber the criteria for the third but here's the story anyway!

California Speeding
The six lane highway towered over the busy California city. The palm trees swayed in the light
breeze, and the calm blue sea washed up onto the gentle sloping sandy beaches. On the horizon, thick smog blocked out the clear blue sky, but the suns rays still forced their way through and made the leather seats in my car hot and sticky.
I sped down the highway without a care in the world. My music was turned up to the highest
volume, and I coudn’t hear a thing. I could see my car bonnet gleaming as the hot California sun
reflected off it, making me squint as I struggled to see the cars infront of me. Hanging from my rear-view mirror was a bracelet of small colourful rosary beads that my girlfriend had given me. I cut across three lanes to make a swift andstylish exit from the highway, and within seconds I
reached the town. I slowed only a fraction, so that I could show off my sleek new sports car.
Up ahead of me I could see the traffic lights turning from green to red, so I slammed my foot
down on the accelerator and laughed as the engine came to life beneath me. An old hunchbacked
woman gingerly stepped out into the road infront of me without looking. Fear washed over me and froze my brain. Pure panic seared through my veins and instinction took over my limbs.
I slammed on my brakes, hoping to the high heavens that the brakes would work aswell as the
engine. My fist punched the horn and the woman finally looked up. Still the car skidded in an
uncontrolled frenzy, and I had lost all of the power. My left hand reached up and clung onto the roasry beads. The car opposite on the other side of the road was helpless to my stupidity, and I crashed into its side, imbedding the bonnet of my beautiful car into its side.
I sat stunned in the driver’s seat, unable to move. Burning pain ran through my right leg, and
my ears were ringing. Outside I could faintly hear the high pitched screaming and through the thick black smoke that was billowing out of the front of my car I could see the little old lady, standing on the walkway surrounded by people, staring disbelievingly at the horrific lump of metal that used to be my car. The other driver slowly got out of his car and started to shout at the top of his lungs when he saw the mess I had made. Then everything went hazy, and all I could hear was the blissful silence.
An hour later I was woken by a distant beeping noise. I was in a comfy hospital bed, with
thousands of pillows keeping me upright and comfortable. A policeman stood at the end of my bed, his hands on his hips and shaking his head. I sighed and closed my eyes, but all I could see were the colourful rosary beads that I had originally throught would keep me from harm.