Sunday, May 08, 2011

Writing Skillz

I've started a new Writing Skills course. It's thoroughly enjoyable and very different from the Creative Writing course I did last term. This is more focused on getting you writing, teaching you the basic exercises and tips you need for good, clear writing. One of the exercises is to take an incident in your life or a dream and write about it in general terms for five minutes using the past tense, then take one element of it and write about in the present tense, again for five minutes. I like this story and I think it's fun enough to tell.

Narrow escape
I was heading into town on my bike, taking a well-worn route, paying as little attention as possible. Hitting the bottom of the hill as the light turned green, I flew forward, not realising that the coach beside me was not going straight on, it's about to turn left. His front mudguard caught my rear mudguard, like a wildebeest mounting a house cat, and I was taken around the corner. I was unable to break free from the coach and was genuinely convinced I was going to die. Thankfully, I broke free and managed to get out of the way. The bus driver assured me he hadn't seen me. Barring some impromptu homicidal urge on his part, I guessed he was telling the truth. The lady in the shop at the corner gave me some lemonade to help me calm down. Aside from a wrecked mudguard and some bruises on my inner things from gripping the saddle too tightly, I was fine.

The coach has me. Time has slowed to a crawl and I am very, very calm. I calculate the options, none of them are appealing. Despite failing honours physics, I have a fair idea of some basic physical principles here: pull the bike sideways to unhook it from the coach's mudguard and I risk falling sideways, ending up under the coach's wheels. If I don't pull free, I will be crushed against the car coming up on my left. I figure that i'll get squeezed between the car and the coach and that my legs, at the very least, will be mangled. I wonder if I'll die from the shock. I break away... Which was nice.

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