Autumn Term Session 1
Love of a Place
Write a description of a place which you love or are fond of. This could be a remembered place from childhood, an imagined place, a very simple place such as your garden, your sitting room, a street, a building.
Don’t get to uptight about this as it’s intended as a first draft to work on a little next time we meet.
You can tell it as a real place, about yourself; or you can tell it as if part of a story about someone else. You can talk as if you were someone else, or about someone else. Or it could be part of a conversation where you tell someone about the place.
The main thing to think about from the point of view of writing skill is to avoid using clichés, that is phrases or words which people always use to describe something.
This is a pond I used to visit when I was seven or eight. If I wrote about this I’d mention what it looked like, with the shine and shadowy branches. I’d mentioned we I did there – collect clay, sail boats, and so on.
This is my garden, left to me by my father some time ago, but still with memories of him, but also of my children no going off to university and leaving it a little ‘empty’ as it were. We like the young fox who’d come and get some dog food from us.
Love of a Garden
Very rough draft for the first bit of something about love of different kinds all linking to my children’s leaving home
I’m thinking of my garden, before that Mum’s and Dad’s. A lawn, or rather mown field, with some apple trees in it, fir trees at the far end where the rec is, and a big oak where the crows nest. Is it ‘love’. Well something like that. I suppose it’s loved because the past sticks to a place. There wouldn’t be a past without place. And also I get a feel still of my people inhabiting it like figures in a painting I’ve added in. It’s the loved people who make the place loved.
Dad’s apple trees, the cookers nearest the windows of the house, his wobbly ladder going up and Mum at the kitchen window with her plastic yellow gloves on telling him not to break his neck. This year a storm knocked it almost over, and now it’s resting on a low branch as well as its trunk, but the roots seem still intact, more or less.
There are just marks left now of the frame Dad made to put a bar across to do his pull-ups.
The garden when I think out into it through the window, is full of odd moments. There’s T aged about ten cycling around while I video him. He comes to a pit and stops, lies the bike down, and climbs down into the pit.
And there’s L asking me to teach her how to head a football, me throwing it for her to get it on her forehead, she suddenly keen because of something at school just across the rec.
There’s T kneeling to the young fox that came one spring just at dusk almost everyday. The first time she got it to eat some processed meat, later lumps of cheese, some dog food from a tin. At the end it would take the food from her fingers, all the time wary, ready to prance away. And one very early morning from mine too, that slim damp nose touching my fingers. It come the next year but older and more reserved.
It’s not as though we did that much in the back garden though. It was a presence through all the south-side windows of the house. There’s a photo from L’s room with the very dark dried flowers against the snow, and another that T took downstairs one winter when the roses had stayed very late and were now snowy and encased in shiny ice.
We watch the crows rebuilding and crawing each spring, then walking about all sheen on the lawn, sometimes turning over and cleaning themselves on the grass, for a second sometimes turning into a flash of silver. There are the squirrels with their long fur-smoothing jumps. The green woodpecker L always calls me to see. The pond which Sylvie from next door helped me to make, and for which we collected tadpoles from the wood pour in. They stayed many years so that suddenly there’d be a frog in the grass pulsing its neck. T and L’s fascinating with the tadpoles we scooped out to watch. Then one year after a drought, they didn’t come back. And I don’t look after it well enough now.
Yes a not at all well mown field with all the dandelions and buttercups and ……. and this time of the year, sometimes, yellowy grey toadstools but almost shapeless and so ugly that they’re beautiful and I want to bring them in.
But, yes, mainly a presence in the windows. And now L and T have left I look at it with their eyes.