Every break from class
I rush to the computer
and pray for wickets.
Hey all. It’s getting towards the end of the month and there’s only two posts up. Why? Well, excuses are lovely things, but the only one worth spouting is it’s the dreaded time of year where I have to write reports, and while they’re not too onerous a task, they’re mind-sapping.
The above haiku was a silly one I threw together about today. For the first time, well, ever, I’m making the effort and paying attention to the Ashes (giant up-to-25-day cricket competition between the best two teams, England and Australia). This was written during a day of Australia batting, of course.
Before we get to the story, I’m making a new Category in the side called “Haiku”. I know Haiku are poems too, but I’m going to class them differently so it’s easier to find the haiku if you’re looking for them.
So, I’ve got some Flash Fiction for you today. It is, strangely, a sequel to Tomatoes, although that’s not apparent by any character names, or by the narrative voice, or location…. or anything. It has the same source material; my grandmother, telling me stories from when her grandchildren were just little. She has a natural gift for storytelling, and perhaps this has something to do with her being born a Ridgwell (there, the “original” spelling of my pen name). It’s called:
Aunt Wendy’s New Home
You don’t remember? Well, this story is the type you always liked the best – it’s one about you.
Last time I was here, I promised a bit of a scoop on how Spanish students (and people) are different from the Japanese. Well, it’s been over a month since I promised that, so I’d best get down to it.
I’m a very busy chappy these days. I’m working from 9-6, which is a darn-sight harder than I’ve been used to in Spain. It’s also work where I constantly have to think, to focus and concentrate and do it right. So it’s different from the potato harvesting I used to do, where I could just switch off my brain and keep going ’til my arms get tired. And although it’s not as hard work as some of the summer camps I’ve done have been, it’s more continuous. At least at those camps, I got a lot of time off, could properly relax, and then at the end of the month, it was over. Here, it’s three months. When I reached that one month point and realised how much I had to go, I sort of slumped down in to it.
Now, however, the end is in sight again – it’s about a month to go to the end. I talk negatively, but I love my job. I love teaching, and doing a job when I can see a noticeable change and improvement in my students. And I love teaching students at a university age. 18-22s are easier to teach than kids, and more fun to teach than adults. My students – they’re serious and fun-loving, they’re intelligent, perceptive, thoughtful, and friendly. It’s because of them that I’m seriously considering taking another contract out here.
So, I talked a bit about how the place is different out here. But the people? Well, if anything, they’re more different…
I was running out of the house to work the other day, but couldn’t find my notebook. Turned out later, that I’d actually managed to leave it at work the day before, but at the time, I needed something to write on. If I don’t have paper, I’ll need it, so I try never to go out without some. Also, I can read back through my old stuff.
So I picked up one of my old notebooks, hoping for a blank page or two, and came across an old half-finished poem that I’ve attacked.
This one is inspired by two Young Learner teachers at my school. The style is like the notes that Claire makes on the language she aims to elicit from children – she makes the most ridiculously complete notes, which are useful when you want to steal ideas. And the idea and concept come from Kirsten, who hates to teach anything related to family, because for some children, herself included, talking too much about your family can reopen some painful wounds.
As you’ll see in a sec, it’s kind of an experimental style. I’ve actually written three or four more verses of dubious quality, so for now, they’re cut. Here’s the poem:
(Things Left Unsaid)
This is my (sister),
(her) name is (Claire)
(She) works as a (teacher)
with (long curly) hair.
“Are you good friends?”
“Yes we are.” / “No we’re not.”
(She) (always) wears (hats)
when the weather is (hot).
(She) likes (over-ripe) peaches,
(sweet ooze down her chin,
that she wipes with her finger
and sucks it back in)
(she) (laughs) when (she)’s happy,
and (hides) when (she)’s sad
(the truth from her family,
the troubles she’s had).
(She) hates (stormy nights),
that’s one of (her) fears
(though the lines on the window
are raindrops, not tears).
(She)’s (older) than me,
and her birthday is (missed,
when she once ran away
for a man she had kissed)
I love to (remember)
my (sister)’s (blue) eyes,
(the look that she) gives me
when (she rolls them and sighs).
(She) (died) last year,
and now (don’t you see),
now (she)’s (whoever)
I want (her) to be.
Hey all. It’s Saturday, and I’m putting a blog up. Yes, that’s right, a day earlier than I said I would. I think this is in part due to the cooler air up here in half-sunny half-cloudy Galicia. I’m based in La Coruna – check your maps, it’s the north-west corner of Spain.
In the last week, I’ve taken buses from coast to coast of Spain, and hopefully, there is a poem on it’s way about that. I also got a nice poem started sitting in a park in Madrid. Madrid has some lovely parks, by the way. But it was 39 degrees Celsius.
Anyway, enough faffing. I have a theory that the oft-promised short story will appear as soon as it’s not promised, so it definitely won’t be appearing for at least two weeks. Things will come when they come.
Luckily, I have a trusty co-author who I can turn to in times of need. True, Lily has now disappeared out of my life for a couple of months (and I will miss her dearly, as demonstrated my how much I kept hugging and kissing her before they left), but before she left, we got a story done.
Continuing on from the huge media storm after her first literary success, Lily has petitioned me to once again co-write a masterpiece. This time, like all great authors who wish to make each of their works stand out, she has chosen a different subject matter, and while some of her themes remain the same, her new approach to these common threads present a stark and astonishing new light on the nature of human life; its joys, its fears, and doubts, but also its transience, and futility. Yes, that’s right, she’s tried her teeth out on a tragedy.
Dog This Big; A Tragedy
Once upon a time, there was a girl called
and her friend HANNAH
(spelt with an H) (Lily is spelt with an L)
There went on holiday to France. in a town called Bookmarks. They had two bookmarks. One for Lily and one for Hannah.They went to the town in a big van, with big bookmarks.
The kids were on their own, coming home.
Lily was holding Baby Sam.
They had a cochecito. (little pram)
Lily was pushing the cochecito with Baby Sam in it, and she was happy.
There was a naughty doggie in the town.
A big big old doggie, like this (arms stretched wide)
He was blue and white and yellow, and his name was… Clarjoo.
The dog was chasing them. He was scary.
And the doggie tried to eat Lily and Hannah, and then he got them.
Then they got eatened.
And he ate Hannah. And then he went to sleep, and there was no more Hannah and Lily, because they died.
And their daddies looked for them everywhere, but they couldn’t find them, because they
got eaten. Because they died the doggie’s tummy.
The dog was very giant, like this much.
“Where’s Lily gone?” said Daddy. “Where’s Hannah gone?” said Hannah’s Daddy.
“Where’s Lily gone?” said Mummy. “Where’s Hannah gone?” said Hannah’s Mummy.
“And where’s Baby Sam and the cochecito?” said Yaya Lisa and Poppa Ray.
Then, Mummy and Daddy and Hannah’s Mummy and Daddy and Yaya Lisa and Poppa Ray said “Where’s
Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito?”
And then, they saw a big dog, the woofie, he had a really really big belly,
because he’d eaten Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito.
“Oh no!” Said Mummy and Daddy. “This dog has eaten Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam and the cochecito!”
“What a NAUGHTY doggie!”
“We want our children back”
“We’re going to make new children.”
“How will you make new children?”
– “But if we make new children, they would die again.”
“Also new children, won’t be the same, and we love Lily and Hannah and Baby Sam very much.
And we quite liked the cochecito too.”
And all the mummies and daddies and Lisa and Poppa Ray got eaten too.