this is for you to read out to the Creative Writing Group today. I
shant be there. I have not missed a meeting for the past ten
years, except when I was ill a couple of times. I dont suppose
you remember them. Still, even though I cant attend, I thought
Id leave this article for you and ask you to read it on my behalf.
Six hundred words, as usual, thats what you always ask for,
no more and no less, so thats what this will be. Ill make
sure by getting the word-processor to do a word-count from time to
time. Id hate to exceed my allowance. (114 words so far, by
I suppose the first question you will be asking is why Im not
at the meeting. I didnt say anything at breakfast and doubtless
you are surprised that I havent turned up. I know you wouldnt
wait to begin and I know that you have always insisted on reading
out contributions from the absentees first, so this will be one of
the first items to be read out. Youll already be taking note
of the abbreviations and the non-literary style which makes it sound
too colloquial for your taste, and I dare say you are already forming
some of your usual judgements ready to pronounce on my writing ability.
Wife or stranger, it cuts no ice with you, as you have
said in the past. (Goodness me! 246 words already! Id better get to the point
pretty quickly before my time is up.)
I would have found it difficult to say any of what I have to say face
to face, not because I would be too embarrassed or anything, but simply
because I dont honestly think you ever listen to me anymore.
Whether it is breakfast time or supper, it is always you who seem
to have so much to talk about and which you have for years presumed
I want to hear. In bed you dont talk at all - indeed, you dont
do anything else, either. When I actively consider it, I realise you
have never in your life been able truly to listen to anyone, nor have
you ever listened to me, either, not really listened. Oh, you may
have pretended to listen, but in reality you were only listening so
that you could find counter-arguments to what I said. You always have
to have the last word (and you even ration the number of words I can
use - 425 now.)
Well, this little literary exercise just might make you stop and reconsider
your own limitations. You have limitations, you know, although you
dont seem to recognise them and you are never unsure of yourself.
I shall say what I have to say in as direct a manner as I can, "a
desirable quality in prose," you always say, dont you?
I shall keep the paragraphs short, too. (495 words)
Im leaving you. Ive had enough after fifteen years of
so-called marriage. It has not been fun. You are a bore and a bully.
You have treated me just as you treat your Creative Writing Group
members, indulging them, telling them so patronisingly that they have
interesting things to say, and then suggesting how they could say
them better your way, not theirs. You have spent fifteen years of my
life telling me I have a lot to offer you, the family and the world,
then suggesting how I should use these mismanaged talents.
What does the Group really think?
(599 words - Ill leave you the last one as always, of course.)
© Ian Searle 2000