Write on, dude…

13 11 2014

So I’m feeling just a tad guilty about not posting very much these days. But I have been writing. Honest, guv!

I think I may have mentioned that I was bought a Creative Writing course at UBC, which is a weekly night class workshop affair. As part of that we are encouraged to write every day, as well as undertaking several set piece exercises. More recently the course lead – the talented Paul Belserene – has offered us access to a forum where members of the course can post their “dailies” online. It’s a kind of half-way between writing in a notebook and never letting anyone see your efforts and on the other extreme reading it in class, which volunteers do in order to have their work critiqued in a non-judgemental, objective way. (Remarks are made from the perspective of the reader – what they heard, what it made them imagine, and how that made them feel. No actual remark about the piece, just its effects. It’s left to the writer to use that feedback as they will.)

Anyway, I’ve yet to see anyone post anything (except my shy retiring self, of course), and only one other from the course of 17 has even signed up! So I figured if my classmates are not going to bother reading my stuff, why not let my other audience have a look?

Early days yet – I make no suggestion that this is high art of any kind – but as ever, I welcome comments.


This was a desolate place. The wind was howling about his ears and trying hard to dislodge his coat hood. He hunkered down, turning his back to the worst of it and thrusting his hands into his pockets.

From this high rock he could see for miles out to sea. The waves seemed gentle at this distance, but experience left him in no doubt that it was mere illusion. Nearer the shore there were sudden explosions of white as hidden rocks punished the reckless surge of the tide. He could see brave birds patrolling just above the undulating waves. Amazing how they could identify a meal amongst all that chaos.

Despite the frigid wind, the sun shone and attempted to warm the land. It was a lost cause here. The rock was smooth hard basalt, stripped clean of any living thing twice a day – the moon’s spiteful reply to the sun’s offer of life. Nothing grew here. The tides left no moss or weed, nor deposited any seaweed. Utterly barren.
Another illusion.
He was here.
The birds were here.
Presumably things they wanted to eat were here.

A sudden gust buffeted him so that he had to take a half-step to remain upright. He smiled. He felt alive.


Though it is a piece of pure imagination, I drew my inspiration from my summer trip to Tow Hill on Haida Gwaii. As a complete aside, you might enjoy photos of the place posted a while ago by burnt embers.

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4 responses

13 11 2014
ehpem

Thanks for the link! Your work goes well with the photos, makes a nice combination.

13 11 2014
Quieter Elephant

Well that’s very kind of you to say. My own photos of Tow Hill were far too jolly and bright! Your B&W treatment adds a layer of mood that I miss from my days in the darkroom. Nothing quite like it for bringing out the emotions of a rainy day.

14 11 2014
Justin

.. It madee feel like I was on a grey shoreline on the British Isles (no doubt influenced by your heritage) and I felt the power of the ocean. Hound of the Baskervilles type of vibe.
Then, it flipped.
The description of the sun changed the scene for me. I was disoriented for a moment, and needed to recalibrate where I thought I was. I think insisted to Norway. Cold, bright, grey, solitary.

Nice writing & thanks for sharing 🙂

14 11 2014
Quieter Elephant

Hey Justin, thanks for taking the time to comment.
It was nowhere in particular, but no doubt influenced by the many windswept coastlines I have experienced around the world. The mention of basalt was the only solid (!) tie to a real place – that being Tow Hill.

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