Monthly Archives: December 2011

Clearing some space: a creative writing exercise


Write down (in five minutes or so for each topic) what you know about:

1. Garden furniture
2. Marilyn Monroe
3. The Earth’s core
4. Eagles
5. Fireworks

This exercise was brought to you from page 18 of The Creative Writing Coursebook edited by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs. I used the timer on my mobile phone to time 5 minutes for each topic. Here are my scribblings:

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I screw my eyes shut. My feelings fade instantly. Nothing but colours now: buttercup yellow tinged with daffodil; spots of red – no! Red spots give way to sea green washing everything clean. Sounds condense into static; a hiss that never leaves my ears. Moods of colour swarm my mind and I watch them pulsate. Hot pink throbs into red flesh. I don’t know what to do about this. Help me, God! Something breaks and there is no tinkle of glass. The colours buzz around me: pinks, blues, greens, yellows; yellow coats me in wax. Honey drips into my mouth; a sweet yellow taste. Continue reading

Word Bullets

This is Julia. She’s on her way to meet Michael at Starbucks, near the Library. It’s Wednesday afternoon. She hasn’t seen him since Sunday night when he returned to her bedroom in the middle of the night and stated that he had to go home because he felt sad. She’s on the phone to Gez, arranging to meet him later today and she spots Michael walking down the street towards her. Subconsciously she evaluates his mood; consciously she smiles at him. She asks Gez to hold on while she kisses Michael hello and then resumes the conversation to say goodbye. They walk the short distance to Starbucks together, back in the direction Michael has come from. As they walk, they talk and almost miss the entrance to Starbucks but Michael points it out. Continue reading



Playing with my food is fun. Today I experimented with mash. I took a large potato from last week’s veg box, chopped it into chunks and boiled it, throwing in a handful of broccoli florets after a while. I turned the oven on (ooh la la) and chopped a red pepper in two, scooping out the seeds. Celery next, which inspired the experiment because there was so much of it in my veg box this week. I washed one stalk and chopped it into tiny cubes.

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What is coaching?


“A man [sic] does what he can until his destiny is revealed.”

The first time I heard Tom Cruise utter that line in The Last Samurai I cried and cried. He’d found his thing, his raison d’etre. He’d gone from being a violent alcoholic American soldier to learning the way of the Samurai: he’d found his tribe and an honourable way of life. Just before going into battle against the American trained Japanese army, who were intent on destroying the Samurai, he said that line to the Samurai leader who asked him why he was fighting with them. “A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed.” Destiny: a path with heart. With integrity. That’s how coaching felt to me.

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Light blue and purple


The front of the business card was light blue. It had a white feather in the centre; delicate, perfect, the feather was downy soft and you could almost lift it from the card. Underneath the feather, printed in purple handwriting (Jo’s, not mine – I was too afraid of making a mark back then), were the words ‘All About You’. I had, dutifully, checked and could find no other coaching businesses with that name. The flipside of the card was white. I don’t remember so much about it because the other side was more beautiful. There was a light blue feather, bigger and different in shape: a wing or tail feather. My name and a cheesy tagline that I thought up were underneath: ‘Julia Fry – enabling you to fly’. When my business cards arrived I thought they were so beautiful I’d have no trouble handing them out. But it wasn’t the case. Continue reading

Mince pies in honour of my Grandma


Mince pies have been a  favourite of mine since the first time I clapped my lips around one. That slightly crunchy, crumbly pastry giving way to fragrant, sweet fruit is one of the genuine joys of the Christmas break. I have been obsessed with mince pies every year, although generally offended by the imbalance of the pastry to mincemeat ratio of the mince pie offerings available in the shops.

Could I use spelt flour? And goats butter? Would it matter that I didn’t (want to) use lard? Continue reading