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by Ellenna 

Posted: 18 September 2003
Word Count: 213
Summary: writing exercise around SMELL...

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Newspapers piled round a chintzy armchair.. no sign I have been noticed as I tiptoe from behind and see my father's balding head. He pretends not to notice me as I circle the chair and stand before the spread of news he is holding up. His highly polished brogues are crossed at the ankles. The smell is a mixture of tweed and newspaper.. musty, musky .. it symbolises quiet rainy Sundays , boredom, creeping round a huge room and silence except for the hiss of the logs on the fire. I knock on the paper pretending its a door and climb onto my father's lap while he reads on...rustling the paper to try and gain his attention but to no avail. After what seems an age he smiles as he settles me down and points to the columns of print and then proceeds to read aloud. All around lie the daily papers. Piles of Manchester Guardians, The Times',Observers collected over the week to be savoured. The essence pervades the room and spirals up to where I lie with my face against rough tweed... and he reads on with words I don't understand but which hold me captivated. Then silence and a snore and the newspaper descends like a fusty parachute and shrouds us.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 13:06 on 21 September 2003  Report this post
This is lovely- the language is simple and evocative and you've covered quite a variety of smells and scents- even the fact of the 'highly polished brogues' adds to the scene. I think you've actually told a very sophisticated story of childhood through a simple set of images and scents- I particularly like the moment when the snore happens and the tempo of the scene changes. I don't think you need the last line, it's a summary of what you've said so much more evocatively throughout the piece. Ditto 'it symbolises..' you don't need to signpost this. This is exactly what this exercise is about- giving a snapshot with lots of characterisation, showing us the complexities of a child-father relationship without having to spell it out.

Ellenna at 19:22 on 21 September 2003  Report this post
Anna thank you very much for your comments and I have taken out the last little sentence .. am now working out the best way to re write the other one you mentioned..glad you found it worked . Thank you again .. invaluable !


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