Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Neighbours From Hell

We had another writers group today.
The home work from last year (how weird that sounds) was to take some words away that Anne, our leader, had cut out of newspapers and magazines.
My words were:
Looking Backwards
A History of Violence
Family from Hell?

I looked at these long and hard but couldn’t seem to get started. Then I thought of an article I read somewhen about a lady who was living in the middle of nowhere, as she couldn’t deal with life with people. From this I started thinking about ‘neighbours from hell’ and about how something that irritates one person, might not really be that bad.
From these thoughts this grew.

Standing at the door of her tiny cottage, she looked out over the vast expanse of grass and heather. The only sound was the wind, as it stroked the grass.
No other sound could be heard except a tiny sigh of happiness. Finally she felt calm. Finally her ears had stopped ringing.

London had been so different. She had lived in a terrace house in suburbia, where people could be heard at all times of day and night. Car alarms would shatter the quiet; children would run about shouting; drunken people would talk loudly going home.
Although the street was considered quiet, she couldn’t stand the feel of so many people so close to her.
The vibrating rumble of the couple talking next door. The constant smell of cooking. The polite ‘hello’s’ of people she passed in the street.

She hadn’t wanted to live in London anyway. But her daughter, Claire, thought it best. Scared she would fall with no one to help her maybe? So she had moved in with Claire, to this tall thin house where the only green to be seen was the hanging baskets at no. 23.
She’d wanted to stay at the farm, but since Dan died, she was finding it harder to cope. And as Claire said, it was unfair on them all to know she was down there by her self, when it was a 2 hr drive for any of them to get to her.

It was after the lady next door had started chatting with her about her cat that she had started to plan her escape. There was no way she could stay here, cats should not be pets. They should work for the small morsels of meat that she put out, rewards for catching rats in the hay barns.
Claire thought she was old and out of date, but she knew how to use the internet and there she started her search.

It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, but I like some of the descriptions. The group made the interesting point that it sounds like it really starts in the last paragraph with the line about the lady next door and the cat. Looking at it again I can see they are right. Look how it changes if I do this.

It was after the lady next door had started chatting with her about her cat that she had started to plan her escape. There was no way she could stay here, cats should not be pets. They should work for the small morsels of meat that she put out, rewards for catching rats in the hay barns.
Claire thought she was old and out of date, but she knew how to use the internet and there she started her search.

She hadn’t wanted to live in London anyway. But her daughter, Claire, thought it best. Scared she would fall with no one to help her maybe? So she had moved in with Claire, to this tall thin house where the only green to be seen was the hanging baskets at no. 23.
She’d wanted to stay at the farm, but since Dan died, she was finding it harder to cope. And as Claire said, it was unfair on them all to know she was down there by her self, when it was a 2 hr drive for any of them to get to her.

London had been so different. She had lived in a terrace house in suburbia, where people could be heard at all times of day and night. Car alarms would shatter the quiet; children would run about shouting; drunken people would talk loudly going home.
Although the street was considered quiet, she couldn’t stand the feel of so many people so close to her.
The vibrating rumble of the couple talking next door. The constant smell of cooking. The polite ‘hello’s’ of people she passed in the street.

3 comments:

Wild Creations said...

'im outdoors said he thought this was about a cat! This must mean I need to do a little work on it. Oh dear!

'im outdoors said...

Or maybe i'm just special :)

MaryAnn said...

I like the first version. It set the tone for me about the peace and quiet she yearned for, and then the descriptions of the city life seemed so much more jarring.

IMHO

MaryAnn