One of my specialisations at university is creative writing. This semester we’re doing an Introduction to Media Writing. Its not really a topic that interests me a whole lot, well I didn’t think it was. We started the semester off learning about advertising which I found to be a real drag. Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at journalism which I find to be much more interesting and I’ve started to really enjoy the calls. We’ve been doing some great writing exercises in the tutorials.
Here are a few from last night.
Exercise one. Description.
Observe the person next to you for 20 seconds and then describe them.
Tim wears blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up. Maybe its so he doesn’t scuff them as he walks or else it could be so you can pay more attention to his black lace up sneakers. They might be made of vinyl or they could be leather, I can’t tell. His eyes are intense and dark brown like his short hair. He is unshaven, but his facial hair is not untidy. Tim is wearing a blue and white plaid shirt that he has rolled up to his elbows. Its been warmer lately so he has no need for a jacket.
Write a description of your suburb in a sensory way.
It takes a 10 minute train ride from the city loop to get to Ascot Vale. Its on the Craigieburn line, close to Moonee Ponds and the Flemington Racecourse. When I first moved there I was sure that I could smell the horses at the train station. The main street of Union Road is littered with boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Most of the boutiques seem quiet and business seems slow. Many focus on race, formal and bridal wear and these seem to be the most successful, most likely due to the closeness to the Flemington Racecourse. Other shop fronts are empty waiting for a new tenant to lease them. The diversity of the residents can be seen in the diversity of foods available on Union Road. You can find the standard fish & chips, kebabs, Chinese and Italian as well as the more hip vegan cupcakes and the African cafes. Although the suburb is quite multicultural there is a racist undertone found the graffiti in the cobble stone lane ways and on fences. The suburb is littered with terrace houses and cottages with rose filled gardens, however every few houses there is a newer block of town houses. The residents seem quite opposed to these developments, many of them displaying signs saying “no to inappropriate development.”
Exercise two. Quotes.
Interview a classmate about a time where things did not go according to plan. Tell there story using a mix of narrative and quotes.
“It was a few years ago, I was planning to move to Canada with my ex boyfriend, my boyfriend at the time” Leila begins “I was stressing out about getting everything ready, I had to work two nights before I was going.” While at work Leila managed to dislocate her shoulder not once, but twice, eventually asking to be sent home early. Leila went to bed, not thinking much of the dislocation, as it was something she had done many times before.
“When I woke up my arm was hanging like this,” Leila gestures, showing her arm hanging limply to her side, “I was sort of freaking out.” Leila knew this was going to interfere with her plans to go to Canada to see her boyfriend that she hadn’t seen for 6 months.
While at the hospital Leila learnt that she would have to have reconstructive surgery. “I had to cancel my flight, get surgery and all the shit that came after that.” She said “I ended up leaving and going to Canada anyway, I was just so desperate to see him.” This plan resulted in Leila hating everything about the move, her boyfriend included. She explains, “I was in constant pain.”
Speaking from the heart Leila says, “It was a shitty experience, but something I learnt, don’t just up and go and change your whole life for someone else.”
I’m not a big fan of the lectures that we have for media writing but I love our tutorials. Our teacher really makes the class and I’m looking forward to working on my next assignment which is a feature article.