I’m quite enjoying taking myself by surprise, as it were, when I write these posts. As opposed to writing first thing in the morning which was my usual routine, I am now writing when I have a spare moment – or when something grabs me that I want to say, or (hopefully) both.
The Spanish have a very useful word which I am about to introduce to you – and the word is estrenar. Estrenar means ‘to use something for the first time’ and it’s so useful I don’t know why we don’t have it in English. Be honest, how many times have you wanted a word that means ‘I’m using this for the first time’ or ‘I’m doing this or trying it out for the first time?’ Loads – I bet. So now you can. All you have to do is tell all your friends and family what it means, and then like Mark and me you can say ‘I’m estrenando this pot of beetroot spread.’ Or not, just as you like. Especially if it’s beetroot spread. Oh, by the way – do you remember that radio comedy series with the Beetroot Computer? It was very funny.
And, while we’re on the subject, when I was a child I made up a word which meant more or less the same as estrenar, which was pervise. It meant to broach something for the first time, especially a jar of Marmite.
Enough! I’m sure I’ve told you all of that before, so… onwards and upwards. And I find that having digressed into Spanish I’ve forgotten what it was I was originally going to say. Oh, I know – it was about the short stories I have started. The first was in response to a creative writing exercise set for a day course I’m going on in a couple of weeks, and the instructions went like this:
EXERCISE for workshop:
Compose a short story that opens with the story’s ending and proceeds backward in narration from that ending (the end of the story that opens the story) to what you consider to be the middle of the story. At this point – the place that you consider to be the story’s middle — the story should then narratively proceed from what you consider to be the story’s actual beginning toward what you consider to be the story’s middle, and end there.
The story should thus end, literally, at what you consider to be its middle, and begin at what you consider to be its ending, with both the story’s middle and the story’s actual beginning in the literal ‘middle’, or physical midpoint of the story. However, note: the middle that follows the ending that begins the story should be almost exactly the same in content as the middle that ends the story.
I’ve written a draft of the story: it’s called ‘Sides to Middle’ which is a reference to the practice of using worn-out sheets by cutting them up the middle and making the outsides the centre. It also refers to the plot requirements, of course…
So we shall see. The seminar is in a couple of weeks at the University’s Creative Writing centre.
I’ll keep you posted.