I’ve Gone Back to School

The inestimably clever Van Badham is Ashfield Council’s artist-in-residence at the moment and she is running a class for writers for the next six weeks. I went to the first one on Tuesday night, not sure what to expect. I mean, I knew she’d be brilliant but it’s a class about the craft of writing, not a bare-your-soul workshop of what is invariably a class full of people wanting to tell the story of their maternal Scottish grandmother who fought in the Boer War and defeated a Zulu warlord with her fists in the Russian Civil War. Or something.

I’m being mean. It was a great group and Van started us off by talking about tone, something most of us struggle with. We had to describe the room in a spooky way, so I thought I’d post it for posterity. It was a bit of a giggle and I’m sort of quietly proud of something I banged together in ten minutes…

The room was divided in two, halfway down, the large folding doors framing the dark core of the fireplace at the far end. Cables hung limply, like tendons liberated from their owners and hung to dry. The walls bore the scars of crimes unspoken, some of them painted over, some of them still bare, raw. The tables, too, bore further signs of mishaps, the marks bearing the colours of blood and bile and things that once oozed were now hard and dark, the horror of the event frozen in time. The lights threw shadows across the ceiling, the perforations in the barrels making the light look like blood spattered across the plaster.

Another fireplace was cracked, it’s dark heart cold and forbidding. Drums lay scattered on the floor, as though abandoned in a hurry. It was unlikely their taxi had arrived in the middle of a jam session. It was silent but for a quiet whirring – I could not locate the source. Cries of catch ‘im! catch ‘im! floated through the opposite wall…

Really looking forward to the next five sessions. I hope I can make them all, because as a writer, you never stop learning and never, ever get to be perfect.

Follow Van on Twitter @vanbadham

Buy and read her book Burnt Snow from Amazon or iBooks.

Read her rantings at http://www.vanbadhham.com/

Why? Because she’s awesome and I don’t have the space to tell you how amazing she is.

– This was originally posted on my Tumblr which I abandoned because Tumblr isn’t that good. –


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