Two writing exercises…

My two random speed-writing exercises last night at the Clacton Writer’s Group…

He wrote with a purpose, after scribbling with the biro to see if it worked. He was determined to make the words COUNT. He needed to set out the exact position of where he had been, where he was now and where he was about to go. But, gradually, the biro started to fade, so he slowed down the speed of writing to give more chance for the ink to reach the paper – so SLOW, eventually so VERY SLOW, each word drawling out into widening vowels between the consonants, so VERY VERY SLOW that the writing itself, the physical apparition of its joined-up nature, became the topic of the writing rather than what he had intended the words to be about. Writing about the writing about which the writing was about. He laughed. Was this to be the crossroads of his life? He stopped writing for a while so as to reach for his hankie and to blow his nose. He’d had what he called ‘the snuffles’ for a seeming eternity. And now such snuffles had become the topic of the writing rather than the crossroads of his life that he had set about writing with such purpose, such dogged tenacity, such ‘press-down-hard-on-the-pen’ defiance. So hard the pen actually created divots and grooves in the paper. Indelible thoughts made further indelible by scoring the joined-upness like a veritable watermark of a tattoo that could never be erased. His life’s crossroads was thus set-in-stone, copper-bottomed, iron-clad, like words through a stick of rock. And then he understood. Nothing could be rock-hard forever. Nothing was permanent. Nothing was forever. (Except these damned snuffles. This damn coffin’ cold.)

To be dead certain of something seemed a strange expression. Expressions like dead-eyed, dead on, dead centre, dead heat. Dead as a certainty, I suppose. That makes sense. Dead as the only real certainty, the only bull’s eye. Except nobody knows to when or to where the arrow is pointed: God’s arrow that is aimed with such deadly precision – but that’s if you believe in God. What if everything was random? Nothing pre-ordained, no purpose, just a general expanse of existence to negotiate with as much pleasure given and taken as possible, till the last halt comes, a halt that is not on the timetable or the map. A single platform, a single track. To travel along it you must have the only key in your hand. A token kept for passing on. The signal ever on orange. Your other hand resting upon the dead man’s handle. The only way to work such a handle was simply to let it go. Dead easy.

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