Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Trail of Muddy Footprints Led You Here

A writing exercise you can do in a group:

Before the meeting, the group leader takes a series of slips of paper. He / she writes an opening sentence, unfinished, on each one. He / she folds them up and takes them to the meeting.

At the meeting, a member of the group picks out a folded slip and reads the statement out loud. This is the opening sentence from which the group writes.

Our opening line was:

A trail of muddy footprints led Margie straight to…”

Here’s what I came up with. I apologise in advance for this. I really do.

A trail of muddy footprints led Margie straight to a T-junction, where they stopped.

Margie looked left. Margie looked right. Margie saw no-one. She tittered, bemused. The guy had charged through her farmyard, laughing like a maniac, just a few moments ago. He was out here somewhere.

On the tarmac, she found a solitary custard pie. Scooping it up, she scouted the land.

The trouble with living out here, she realised, was that people needed open space- particularly those in travelling circuses. They can take up whole fields. But their antics were beginning to test her. Too many silly string attacks had frayed her nerves. She was going to find this clown and wipe the smile off his face. But where was he?

She looked both ways. No silly outfits. No laughing. No balloons or giveaway seals patting down the road. How can footprints stop in the middle of a wide road? And which way had he gone?

Tentatively, she climbed onto the Limestone wall at the side of the road. She looked out at the expanse of grass, bisected by tarmac. There he was, heading west- left hand, right hand, knees to the sky.

She positioned the custard pie.

Stay off my land, she thought, and launched the pie at his ridiculous head.

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