You don't have to be 'a writer' to do this exercise. You do, though, have to be prepared to discover some truths about yourself.
1. Choose an object which is important to you (or to a character in a story you are writing).
2. Ask it these questions (or any others you devise) and write down its answers. You may find the object unwilling to speak. In this case (where's a chatty object when you need one?!!!) imagine what it would have said, and in what kind of voice.
When did you first meet your owner?
What physical contact do you have with your owner?
Where are you kept?
How do you think your owner feels about you?
What do you think you represent for your owner?
In what ways are you like your owner?
I interviewed my teacher's planner, made notes on the replies, and then wrote these up in the planner's voice. Here is the result.
The teacher's planner speaks.
She hugs me to herself because she knows what would happen if she lost me. I am her oracle, her Delphi, and her reassurance.
When she was a trainee, in 2002-2003, she was given an unused 2001-2002 planner which just had 'Nigel Bates' scrawled inside the front cover, and she had to alter all the dates herself.
The first time I met her, then, was in the summer holidays before she began her first proper teaching post, and she kept repeating, 'I have my own planner! I have my own planner!' She did not know I would represent, in the names of 190 children written in my registers at the back, and in the six yawning spaces per day yet to be filled with lessons, a job in which she would flounder like an unpractised swimmer in an irritable sea.
She is very like me, in some respects. Her favourite colour is purple, and my cover is purple, and although I didn't get a choice over this, I'm willing to accept it in the light of her affection. Some planners are beige and, although the idea of a teacher's planner hierarchy seems absurd, I do think purple wins over beige every time. Not that you'd know that from the Paris fashion shows.
Also, like me, she has blank spaces. She knows her memory is not what it was and, just as she finds the sight of my many unfilled spaces frightening on a Sunday evening, so she is afraid when a name wriggles out of her consciousness, or someone's birthday skitters by her before she can grasp it as she used to.
Popular posts from this blog
My try-to-get-fitter walk in the fields today was a silent one. I usually listen to the radio through earphones but have lost one of the soft earbuds and nothing spoils a walk more than having hard plastic nudging up against your fragile tympanic membrane. The BBC's 'Woman's Hour' is a brilliant programme but loyalty has limits. It was disconcerting, walking in silence. Listening to radio distracts from the disturbing reality that my legs are propelling me in forward motion because, if I think too hard about this, I frighten myself. Today, while walking, I had to listen to my own thoughts. And now I've listened to my own thoughts, I remember why I like radio better. The inside of my head is like a wastepaper basket. Be grateful that I only offer you a brief excerpt. Oh, look, that bird is - / Where did I put that mark scheme. I'll need it for - / My shoes are getting muddier./ Maybe mash with the fish tonight / really muddy / The trees are definitely more
It's nearly a month since Christmas and I still have my pile of books and notebooks from friends and family on a chair by the sofa. I can't bring myself to put them all away. There's no reason why I should. No one's dared to move the pile so that they can sit sat on the chair for a while anyway. But these are lovely presents: novels, books of poetry, books about poetry, delicious notebooks .... what's not to like? I haven't always received such pleasing gifts. I was married in April 1982. At the end of that month, I turned 20. Yes, a young bride, and one who wasn't so delighted with her birthday present from her new husband. 'I've bought you an ironing board cover, too,' he said, looking pleased. 'It's the right size. I've checked.' And indeed he had. It was prettier than the plain blue one on this picture: flowery and cheerful. He had tried. Nevertheless, we had words. I was compassionate, don't worry. I was his first
Ben Cottam (@TheCottam) posted this statement on Twitter today: 'When you're growing up, no one ever tells you how much of your adult life will be spent pushing tumbling Tupperware into cupboards.' I know, right? Why does no one say? And what else does no one tell you about adult life, particularly later adult life? I have made a list. 1. That one day you will say, 'They'll freeze, dressed like that,' and 'Let's go home. It's nearly 10pm,' and think nothing of it. 2. That a summer will come when you will start the days dressed in cardigan and socks and only take them off when it's warm enough to leave the kitchen door open. 3. That police officers, teachers and nurses, rather than getting older, get younger, birthday by birthday, and that one day you will be burgled and then visited by a seven year old with a notebook and a helmet. 4. That the music in pubs and clubs becomes louder, brasher and more sweary, year on year, so that