Over the past month I have been immersing myself in the OCA Creative Writing course and working on a number of exercises designed to improve the skill of writing as seeing.
The process takes the student from observation and freewriting notes of what is seen, to carrying out a series of drafts to produce a poem.
An opportunity to try this presented itself one day whilst I was having a cup of tea in Costa.
In amongst the usual mid-morning commotion my attention was drawn to a man, sat opposite, reading a hard back book. The book appeared to have turned him to stone and provided a complete contrast to the chaos going on around him. I decided to
watch him for a while and discreetly take notes.
The observation provided four A5 pages of freewriting, and a series of drafts and re-drafts produced the following passage of prose.
It was his stillness that first attracted me, allied to the fact that he was reading a hard back book, not a laptop, or Ipad or Iphone. A statue, immersed in the aromas of pastry and coffee and the sounds of clanking china and conversational din.
On the next table a young man shouts into his mobile, another man in a suit types frantically. Their table strewn with files and pieces of loose paper.
“What it is,” says the young man.
The man in the suit leans forward and their meeting continues.
Costa Man, glances over towards them. A momentary break in his concentration, then a return to tranquillity, back to dreams cradled by gentle hands. A smile breaks across his face, followed by a nod of the head. A turn of a page returns him to an oasis of calm.
Time passes, Costa Man displaying a focus rarely seen in these fast paced times.
Then, that’s it, he’s won. I can’t watch him any longer, I have a busy life to get back to.
As I get up to leave he looks up at me and smiles.
Maybe he knows.
Numerous re-drafts later and the following piece of poetry has emerged
Aromas of coffee and pastry mix with
clattering china and conversational din.
Costa Man sits transfixed.
Nearby a male shouts into his mobile,
another types frantically.
He glances momentarily, returning to a
book drawing a focus rarely seen.
His smile returns me to Bedlam.
What are your thoughts? Does the poem reflect what was observed and give the reader a sense of the scene being described?
Any feedback would be gratefully accepted.