Wednesday 8 June 2011

Liquid Prose

Most weeks, I go to a writing group in Leamington Spa. Usually it's more of a reading and critiquing group, but once in a while we kick things off with a spot of writing. Yesterday was one such occasion. Our task was to spend ten minutes writing about water. Yep - normal, boring, colourless, odourless water.

I'm usually quite resistant to this kind of thing, the whole "free writing" idea of exploring a topic as you go often feels unnecessary. I'd much rather spend the time writing up one of the many ideas that seem to form a permanent traffic jam of stories in my head. But, this time, after getting over the initial hurdle of trying to describe something you can barely see, I found myself getting quite into it.

It was interesting to see how different members of the group approached this. Some came up with lists of words that evoked the taste or feel of water, some wrote fragments of prose that were quite poetic, others described it in terms of pouring out a glass and drinking it. There were a few mentions of the relief brought by taking a long, cool sip on a hot day.

I'm not quite sure how I'd describe my take on it. I think I aimed to give a sense of the water as an entity in its own right, to set it in motion and try to give it a sense of personality. I was quite pleased with the way it turned out, and so - as I can't think of anything else to do with it - I thought I'd post it here.


The liquid diamond fills a glass, a bath, a wellington boot, rushing to steal the shape of anything bold enough to contain it. Light bounces off it, bends through it, rides its surface in an ever-changing dance of glittering fragments.

Hold it up, tip it out, let it fall in thick molten strings. Watch its joyous reunion with itself, see it kick up an fleeting crown to mark the occasion.
Take a sip of this fishes’ tipple; chase its cold surge across your tongue. Taste a speck of a distant, peaty field, a grain of a chalk cliff you’ve never seen, a tang of an ancient clay pipe. Swallow its past as a pond, as a sea, as a gentle drifting cloud. Take your place in its eternal cycle.


Chloe said...

Love it! Especially that last paragraph and especially the second sentence of that paragraph.

I was interested to see that of the people who visited my blog today, the "referring site" for several of them was you blog!

Just noticed your last blog post - will drop a few hints at my Guernsey relatives-in-law!

Dan Purdue said...

Thanks, Chloe. It's the first brand new 'thing' I've written in quite some time, so I'm pleased it turned out okay.

It's interesting, isn't it, the way visitor traffic flows from blog to blog? I would imagine its got to the point where almost every blog is connected to every other one via a short series of hops - kind of like the "Six steps to Kevin Bacon" game that you can play with movies.