Written at Write Night, 15 Queen Street, Colchester on Monday 8 September 2012. A writing exercise in three parts. Unedited and copied as written on the night. Well maybe the teeniest bit of editing so it is readable!
Where: The lake
When: Summer time, early evening
Fifteen minutes on each task.....
Task 1. First person narrator
In that summer - that long hot summer of 1976- at the tail end of my childhood and the beginning of my young adulthood I had taken to walking down to the lake on my way home from school as home was a place I didn't want to go - both of my parents having taken to working longer hours so that the lack of communication between them seemed to have the basis of a legitimate excuse - although why they could never do the thing they always insisted I should do-that is actually tell the truth and admit they were not talking-was always a source of irritation and upset to me - anyways to get on with the story and not prolong the agony of my parents difficulties-it was a Friday I remember that much as it was the end of the school week and I was feeling even more depressed than usual at the thought of a whole weekend at home with non - talking parents and an ever thickening atmosphere.
I had been at the lake lost in my own thoughts for what felt like a few hours when I first caught sight of the couple - how long they had been there I can't say - seated on the wooden bench further down the lake - the bench I would never sit on as it was close to the edge of the woods and - in my young imagination - I always feared 'something' coming up to me from behind out of the woods - so I preferred to sit on the side of the lake close to the park where children often played and whose parents would sit and watch them as I always felt safer with others around...
Task 2: Third person limited narrator
(NB: Will told me that I got this and next task mixed up but this is how I wrote them from my understanding of the tasks at the time)
The couple had been sitting for a while - not really talking but not not-talking either - they seemed comfortable in each other's presence - at ease - not needing the verbal noise that so many felt they had to resort to in the company of others - before the boy looked up from his own thoughts and became aware of them ..
He seemed troubled - not at all at ease - unrelaxed as if he was there escaping from something rather than enjoying the scenery - and on noticing the couple across the lake he seemed relieved - as if they could be a focus of his attention for a while - something to occupy his mind - a distraction from the disturbed state he was in - so as young people can do he seemed to stare right at them rather than be discreet almost as if he was becoming hypnotized - the expression on his face one of intense concentration - and maybe it was the intensity of his stare or the length of time but soon the couple - with not a word or a look passing between them - lifted their heads as if they were one and returned his stare - almost as if an invisible current of electricity was passing between them...
Task 3: Third person omniscient narrator
(it had seemed to him mere seconds - the briefest of glances - and yet in that moment he knew everything about them)
From where she was crouched behind the trees she could see the boy across the lake - the boy she had been watching all summer - the quiet, withdrawn, sad boy - the boy she had taken to following and observing - always from a distance - to his home and to his school - the boy soon to be a man.
She could see him staring intently at the couple on the bench that she used to follow and she wanted to warn him - don't look at them, don't attract their attention - they were harmless until you attracted their attention - she knew this - she had seen what they did when they felt they were discovered and she liked this boy - the quiet sad boy - he reminded her of herself all those years - ago when she inhabited clay as he did - when her body had solid form on this earth - and she wanted him to keep his - to live - to have a life - to......