Last week’s Just Write included exercises to taste food samples and write about the sensations. Then we used these writing samples as the basis for elements of a short story. And unexpected stuff we found – showing how much more vivid writing from your senses can be.
Here are some first drafts this month’s JW inspired.
First drafts from: Astrid
Slice my bark
Lick my geometric window.
Emerald rind purifies
Your dull saliva.
I am a leaf raindrop
A quenching canoe.
Cucumber, cheese, cherry chocolate…
He loped towards the swing doors, swatting away a stray fly. Sweat, a raindrop on glass trickled between his shoulderblades, wetting his white shirt. He smoothed his brylcreemed hair back with long fingers. Then used them to push open the door, part the chain link screen with a jangle that rattled his bones.
The smell punched him like a metal bar. Men in dirty bacon and egg overalls, stained with blood and cavity fluid, pushed and pulled the meat. Cows’ legs wrinkled stiff, covered in skin like old cheese. The carcasses swayed in a drunken waltz, inviting him to dance. He manged to escape before her father saw him. A clot of nausea bloomed in his throat.
She is standing beneath the cherry tree, smirking. Blossoms fall on her dull hair and she flicks them off with sausage fingers.
“So have you told him yet?” Her lips pout, magenta stained.
He shakes his head, clumps of hair falling free. his green eyes blink, and she sees him swallow. The grass is wide ribbons beneath his good lace up shoes. She sighs like a February breeze.
“Come on,” she says, “I’ll come with you.”
First draft: from Kath
Story inspired by cucumber, mould-ripened cheddar and flavoured cashews
This place was cool and fresh as a privet hedge on a summer’s day. Celestina arrived in a flurry of cheap perfume – violets – and garish silk underskirts. IN her cloak she kept a hip flask of apricot brandy, which she hid under a handkerchief and raised to her face to smell its eye-watering sweetness.
Celestina was anchored at this country house on the hill for the whole of the summer and maybe through the winter too. It was as clean as she was grubby. The supervisor with the bunch of keys at her waist walked on a head. Small clipped steps along the yards of scrubbed lino. Every corner of this corridor was white and reflecting the blue light of the mountains onto the panelled walls. It smelled of tea and cucumber sandwiches with a whiff of edelweiss and a tinkling of a piano in the distance.
“Miss Baker, you’ll find Green Retreat a home from home. A haven from which you can hear your whole life clear as a bell,” said the woman in a musical French accent.
Celestina hid her fingernails, clenching her hands behind her back and tried to take smaller, daintier steps.
Next morning after breakfast of a boiled egg and a slice of ham, Celestina walked through the French windows onto the path leading out to a sunken garden. She passed clumps of alpine plants, delicate yellow flowers huddled up against rocks in blue and rust colours.
The planting was arranged in concentric circles of raised beds. Some boxy hedge s made of rosemary bushes. A brown bird with a yellow chest and a long straight tail – “Chaffinch?” she wondered – was nibbling at the rosemary leaves. She walked around a corner, deeper into the garden.
A man was stooped down over a bed of cucumbers. Their heavy fruits arranged in a star shape on viney leaves. The man of about 60 was wearing a brown lumpen cardigan and denim overalls.
He had a soggy looking fag butt in his mouth and was whistling tunelessly. She wished him a good morning and he eyed her up and down with green eyes under black, bushy eyebrows. He coughed a rattly cough up from his bowels.
“New are you?” he said and grinned sidelong at her. She saw a yellow front tooth and a gap where the other one should be.