My only problem with our class exercises is that I never take the time outside of class to either finish them or to flesh out some new ideas. I was going to change that to ‘find the time’, but you never find time – that is an excuse we tell ourselves when we reach the end of another week and haven’t been to the gym/saw family/tackled the mountain of ironing under which that book you have been looking high and low for three months lives. Something is either important enough to you and so you do it, or you don’t. So mental note to self here.
This week we listed the seven deadly sins and David asked us to choose one sin and write 10 occasions from our own lives where we have committed that sin. I found that really difficult! Especially as sin = guilt and I don’t feel remotely guilty, even though I did eat all Cathy’s Jammie Dodgers when she was at work.
We were then to choose one of our ten and in the middle of a new page, write a word or phrase that summed up that example. I eventually chose pride and my example was from way back in my youth when perched on a bar stool, I thought I was too fabulous to turn round and speak to the chap frantically tapping my on the shoulder to ask me to dance. He tapped and tapped and tapped and began to interject ‘excuse me’ every so often. When I finally whipped round and demanded ‘WHAT?’, he asked most politely “Have you just farted?” I nearly fell off my bar stool laughing. It is not easy to put someone in their place and make them laugh at the same time but he managed it beautifully.
So my phrase in the middle of a new page was NOSE IN THE AIR. We then had to draw a circle around the phrase and like mind mapping, draw spokes from the circle to record all the things we remembered from that experience, taking in our five senses. Very Paul McKenna – see what you saw, feel what you felt…
Now we were to write about the experience but there were rules. First we had to write in the first person. Secondly we had to write as the other gender. And lastly, we had to either age our protagonist by 20 years or – what is the opposite of to age? OK or make them younger by 20 years. For the first time in I wrote as if I were a man. And on reflection, what a clever route to take us to this point.
Here is my effort and again, editing and rewrites have been kept to the minimum.
When she didn’t turn around after the third tap I knew she was deliberately ignoring me and I was divided. Half of me wanted to kick her snooty ass right off the stool, but the other half, the real me, was content to walk away. I wasn’t that bothered anyway. However it was John Gilbert and the rest of my mates standing watching me, the knowledge that they would rip the shit out of me if I didn’t turn this bitch around. Literally and figuratively.
I had become a pet project for the lads by this time. It was all a front but I threatened the group, our dynamics. I no longer went home to a wife, clean sheets, clean shirts and somehow a clean bathroom. I still haven’t worked out where Fiona found the time to clean the bathroom, but she must have.
The fact that Fiona had left me was a reality check for all of them. We all knew it could have happened to any of us, and it had happened to me. I kept tapping the stool bitch and looked back over my shoulder to mug at them, show them I wasn’t bothered and in control.
I tapped the girl on the shoulder again wondering if I should put some strength into it. I actually heard her dramatic, frustrated sigh over the music as if I was a fly bothering her. Her friends were standing in front of her and they could see me, could see the boys behind me. One of them smiled at me, quite nicely I thought. For a split second I felt like that guy, I never remember his name but the bird’s name was Maria, and we were sandwiched just the two of us in between all our friends who all hated each other and I think there might have been a knife fight. I do remember the girl wore flat shoes and Fiona told me that a lot of actresses had to wear flat shoes because a lot of the leading men were so short. She also told me that the movie was based on a Shakespeare play but I don’t know which one.
I wasn’t that short but I could tell that stool bitch was taller than me and she was wearing heels. I quite liked that. It was another change, another difference. I had so much change dumped on me when Fiona left and I knew I had to make more changes, this was just another. I tapped again and moved closer to her ear to say ‘Excuse me.’
And that’s as far as I got.