I'm just a WYSIWYG kind of guy … who wears his heart on his sleeve.

A few months ago I enrolled on a short Creative Writing course (inspired by no less a personage that ELLEN HAWLEY, Author and Blogger extraordinaire). I thoroughly enjoy reading Ellen’s blogs and I have often wished I could write with the same flair and professionalism that she does. I want to be able to write interesting ‘stuff’ like her, ‘stuff’ which makes you want to read on to the very end and which elicits a sigh of satisfaction as you reflect on the content read. Follow the link above and sample Ellen’s work, I guarantee you’ll go back for more ……

On the course, there were only seven people, so it was intimate, almost one to one tuition and Rachel, the tutor, certainly knew her ‘stuff’. We had only finished the second session when Covid 19 reared it’s extremely ugly head … Just as the creative juices began to flow !! It was with a heavy heart that I read the ‘e’mail telling us the course had been cancelled due to Covid 19 and the country, nay! the world, had gone into lockdown. A few weeks later I received another ‘e’ mail from the community education charity, which organised the course, inviting the course participants for an online version of ‘Creative Writing’. It was to be via ‘e’ mail, so in line with the government’s social distancing rules. I’ve just handed in my third session for evaluation and critique. It’s been really enjoyable, I’m learning stuff and as a bonus, it’s put me back in touch with my steelcityman blog, can’t be bad ! I’d like to share a small piece of work which I did after talking about emotions and feelings and incorporating them into the diary of a fictitious character ;


SUNDAY 5th FEB…… It’s cold and very frosty this morning. When I looked out of the window, or tried to, the glass panes were etched with Jack Frost’s tell tale patterns, so I decided to stay in bed longer and save money on the heating. Last week I reported to the landlord, that the electric fire had lost another bar. However, he hasn’t even been round to look at it, the bastard ! He makes me so angry ! I get frustrated, and even depressed since I lost my job at the factory. Yes, I stay in bed a lot … but then I get bored and have to get up and face this life. I always hated Sundays, but now I’m not working, (who wants to hire a 59 year old ?) every day is a Sunday. It’ll be tea time soon and having missed lunch, I’m ready for my tea. I think I’ll then take a book to bed while there’s still some light to read by. I’m reading Dickens again, Great Expectations …. Ha! that’s rich. MONDAY 6th FEB….. I didn’t sleep a wink last night; bloody neighbours partying ’till 0300hrs ! I so wanted to go round and give them a piece of my mind, but they are the kind of people you don’t mess with. They’re scary… well, they scare me and I’m not as young as I used to be. I stumbled out of bed at 0600 hrs, and as it was a bright Winter’s morning, I got dressed and walked down to the cafe for a rare treat of tea and toast made by someone else. As I walked home and turned the corner at the bottom of my street, I noticed my noisy neighbours flash car parked away from his house. I walked past with a smile, and looked back with satisfaction at the deep scratch in the metallic paint across all the nearside panels. I think I’ll sleep better tonight. No lunch, Spam fritters for tea and bed with Dickens again. At least it’s warmer in bed. TUESDAY 7th FEB …… Up at 0900 hrs , called the landlord about the electric fire. No answer. Left a message. Called again at 1000 hrs. Answer machine, so I left a message. I took a walk in the park but it was so cold, the wind blew straight through my jacket and I had to come home, via the cafe. Just had a cuppa, money’s getting short. Don’t think it will last until my Job Seekers goes in on Friday. At home I called the landlord again .. no answer. I’m going to get on to the Council Housing Dept., see what they can do to help me. Something need to be done to leeches like my landlord, quick to take his rent but won’t get anything fixed !! baked potato for tea…a treat, then bed with Dickens again (the neighbours will be talking !) Lately I find I’m jealous of Pip, having a benefactor. How stupid is that ? WEDNESDAY 8th FEB….. Stayed in bed ’till 1100 hrs for warmth. Outside temperature was -2C. The one bar electric fire wouldn’t help, so I didn’t switch it on. I had £2.80 left of my allowance and £14.35 in my bill tin. I threw caution to the wind, walked down to the cafe and ordered a full English for £2.60. I’ve been thinking of selling my General Service Medal for some time and although it wouldn’t raise much money, it would keep me going for a few weeks. It’s only a medal, a few ounces of memories. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in warm surroundings. All I missed, really, was some company. I’m getting bored talking to myself. Some say it’s the first sign !! I smiled to myself on the way home as I saw the neighbours flash, scratched, car being taken away on a tow truck. It’s amazing how little can drive a man to vandalism. No book tonight, Pip had got his just desserts and lived happily ever after. THURSDAY 9th FEB…… A little warmer this morning, which was good for my visit to the Job Centre. Got the same spotty faced, arrogant, woman/girl I usually get. When she sees me coming into her booth, I always get a knowing look and a smirk. It irks me. I got threatened with benefit sanctions if I didn’t put more effort into finding a job. What a bloody system ! Feeling angry, defeated, depressed and desperate, I dragged myself homewards. I’d walked about two miles when I saw a wallet in the weeds at the bottom of a wall. I pocketed the wallet and hurried on my way. I can’t remember arriving home until I stumbled through the front door, and then I realised someone had been in my flat. The mat in front of the fire had been disturbed and there was a note on the fire surround. The bloody landlord had let himself in to look at the fire ! The note said he would try to arrange an electrician for next week. Next week !! I nearly cried !! Then I felt the wallet in my pocket. I opened it and saw the wad ! I counted £1860 in £20 notes. “Call me Pip” I exclaimed. I was on a see-saw… keep it…hand it in…keep it…hand it in. I decided to sleep on the dilemma and decide what to do in the morning. Went to bed late. Didn’t even have tea. FRIDAY 10th FEB….. Didn’t sleep a wink, again. However I decided to hand the wallet in at the police station in town, much as I needed the money. All night I thought about how I could spend it. I quite enjoyed spending the money in my thoughts … but … I was brought up with a moral compass and it pointed in the direction of right. Toast and tea and off I went to the police station. The Desk Sergeant looked at me with surprise in his eyes, counted the money and told me it had been reported lost this very morning. Lots of questions, who I was, where did I live? etc, then he thanked me for my honesty and put the wallet in his desk drawer. I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for being so honest, yet knowing I did the right thing. Didn’t feel like having tea, so I went to bed with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. (From Here To Eternity) SATURDAY 11th FEB….. What a day !! I’m laid in bed thinking of Phillip Pirrip again. It’s nearly midnight and I’ve just fallen into bed. It started at 0800 hrs when I was woken up by an authoritarian knocking at my door. I opened the door thinking the neighbours had found out it was me who scratched their flashy car. Instead there was a gent in a dark blue, pin striped, three piece suit, white shirt with a yellow tie which was tied in an immaculate Windsor knot, He introduced himself as the owner of the wallet I had handed in, and the police had told him I was responsible for finding it. Reluctantly, I invited him in to my sparsely furnished, run down flat and offered him the only serviceable straight backed chair. He’d come to thank me, which he did, and to find out what kind of person would give back that amount of money. His name was Sir Denzil Forthright and he was the Tory MP for the posh end of town. He summed up my situation without me giving much away, then took out the wallet I had found and pushed £100 into my hand ! “Don’t tell the Social” he said with a grin. Then added, “If you want a job, report to Bright’s Engineering, personnel Dept., on Carry St, next Monday, 9am prompt. It’s only a labouring position to start, but there’s scope to do better if you’re up for it. That is the best I can do for you. You see, it’s not just for the money you returned, the wallet contains a lock of my late wife’s hair, which I treasure greatly.” He opened an almost invisible zip inside the wallet and showed me the lock of red hair. I’m sure there was a tear in his eye when he stoop and said, “Be there my good man, cheerio and thank you for your honesty.” Seems that not all Tories are black hearted so and so’s after all. After he had gone, I made some tea and let it sink in what he had done for me, £100 !! and better than that, I had a job !! I could tell that spotty faced girl/woman with the smirk, at the Job Centre, where to go !! I had been tempted, but resisted and got MY just desserts. I really did feel like Phillip Pirrip, young Pip. Monday would be a day of GREAT EXPECTATIONS indeed for me and my new beginning.

Well…. That’s about it for today….Any critique you leave will be most welcome. I was going to do a piece about a Walt Whitman poem, but it’s such a nice day I’ll leave that little gem until tomorrow. STAY SAFE PEOPLE AND LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER.

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