Tuesday, 18 October 2011

That’s not writing

I would have gone to the Guildford book festival event – Dan Lepard with his short and sweet recipe book today, but not only was it at lunch time but it clashed with the writers group.

Although I’ve been working on my NaNoWrMo project, which is going quite well, I stopped long enough to work on a small idea what I had a good month ago for the writers group today.  It’s not a full story but another scene from a bigger story, but one that I don’t know yet.  I was surprised how well it turned out from the three sentences that I had as my initial idea.
The group seemed to like it, but thought that I’d put it too far in the future, apparently there are some schools in the USA who have stopped teaching handwriting already!

The girl arrives home a little earlier than she had expected.
She let herself in pressing her thumb against the scanning plate and walked though the house calling the lights on while she put her bag down, left her coat on the sofa and went into the kitchen to get some juice.  She finishes the juice and puts the empty carton in the recycling box before telling the fridge that yes this product had been finished and should be reordered from the shop.
The house sounds empty and she wonders what to do next.  Going up the stairs to her room she hears a noise from her brother’s room.  It is not the normal noise she would associate with him, the noise of loud music and gun battles.  This is a scratchy noise which makes her imagine small creatures, although she has been told that all rodents have been eradicated.
Pushing open his door she finds him sitting at his desk.  But the monitor of his computer is unlit and his keyboard is pushed to one side.  He is hunched over something on his desk, his face screwed up in concentration, his tongue between his lips and she wonders if he is hurt.
‘What you doing?’  He doesn’t look up.
‘That’s not writing – you’re not using your keyboard.’  He looks up now.
‘Shows what you know.’  And he shows her the page he has been working on.  This is what she could hear, the rustle of the paper as he marked it.  There are marks covering the page and when she looks closely she can see that some of them do look kind of like words but mostly it looks like a mess.
‘What’s wrong with typing?’
‘Nothing, but people didn’t used to always type you know.’
‘What did they do then?’
‘This, stupid.’ And he waves the paper at her again.
‘But look at it, it’s a mess.  How could anyone read that?’  He looks down at his piece of paper.
‘Well I imagine if you’d been doing it all your life you’d be a bit better than me.’  Now he picks up something from his desk.
‘Is that a book?  Where did you get that from?’
‘It’s fine, I’ll give it back when I’m done, but look,’ and he opened the pages to show her words she could actually read although they had not been typed.
‘But everyone knows that books were printed until they all went digital.’
‘Not this one.  It’s a journal.  People used to keep them in books like this instead of online.’
‘That’s ridiculous, you’d run out of space.’
‘I know, but they would just start another book.  There were loads where I got this one.’
‘And whose is that?’  He flicks to the front of the book and show her the name scribed in the front.
‘But that’s our name.  Who’s he?’
‘I think he was our great-great-great-grandfather, but I might be missing a great there.  He was born in 1967.’  They stand in silence contemplating this great fact.
‘So what does it say?’
‘I don’t know.  I haven’t read it. I’ve just been copying the shapes.’ 

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