Stick-free Composition

My writing has not been so bad recently, meaning I have not wanted to attack my head with a stick to get the words to come out. They have been coming out on their own, one after the other, and when I have read them over I have not been embarrassed or ashamed. I haven’t been that impressed either, but Hemingway said all first drafts were shit and nobody argues with the H.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote today: (middle aged man, teenage daughter)

A day later, she brings a friend home with her from school. He hovers on the landing and listens to the noises coming round the gap in her bedroom door. They laugh, he decides, like baby birds. There are smells coming out from behind the door. Perfume, and sweat, feet and cigarettes and damp school blazers.

He knocks on the door, but before he can push it open she’s there, her face and chest jammed between it and the wall. There’s something in there he isn’t supposed to see. He can hear smothered giggling, and he looks at his feet.


‘Shall I take your PE kit?’ he asks, ‘get it washed?’

She closes the door and he hears shuffling, the crackle of a carrier bag. It appears, mud-spattered and stinking, a second later. It is dangling on her wrist, and that’s all that she points through the gap in the door. As he’s trailing his hand down the banister on his way to the kitchen he hears them making fun of his accent. It is a hockey kit, the mud smells like dung, like the sea, like bruised grass. He rinses it in the sink before he puts it in the washing machine so it wont clog the pump.

I’m still pottering about with shorts and sketches and the autobiographical lying, so I’m not filling in the word count meter on the side bar which will be for the novel. I think a lot of what I am writing now will be part of the novel, but if I say it is for the novel I will give myself stage fright and I wont be able to do it. The biggest lies I tell are to myself, especially when I am typing. 

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