I went on a fantastic Novel Writing Workshop with Emma Pass last Saturday and here are some of the pieces I came up with from the exercises. All writing (c) Becky Deans 2013

This is the door


This is the door. Step outside it and things will be different. I’m sure.

It may look to you like a beautiful door, but I can assure you it has been keeping me prisoner for years. For time.

I turn that phrase around in my head, as that is what you said, ‘I will love you for time’.

Is it better to be kept prisoner behind a beautiful door? I am not sure.

We’re not talking concrete blocks in this prison. These are old, old bricks forged in this country. This wonderful country we call home. You can see the toil in those bricks. The sweat. The tears. The clay of the ground burnt up into a crisp. The clay of the ground somewhere else but here.

I like the individuality of each brick. I feel them with my fingers. Slightly damp. It is a connection to somewhere else.

I like the old glass in the door, thicker at the bottom as the liquid gloops downward through time. I like the way the blue paint is cracking and must be old. It probably contains lead. All the better to poison you with.

A fascinating door I will keep with me forever, but still I can’t get out.

Someone will come for me soon, I am sure. I am looked after. They will bring exotic fruit, pomegranates, perhaps. This is not meant to be a prison, but it is.

I have looked up at this ceiling so many times. Counted the fruit on the Jacobean plasterwork. Tried to sketch the cherubs on the floor with a stone. This is the ceiling. They took it from a 16th century hall, no less, when they ripped it down. This is the ceiling.

And this is my bed. Sumptuous. Comfortable. Satin sheets and many scatter cushions. All in shades of red, scarlet, ruby, aubergine.

Let me tell you about the shell.


I am Si. I sigh. I sigh and look. Look and sigh. Sigh is the noise I make these days. I need to go back, need to find that place, but I can only travel forwards. It’s all one direction these days.

What I can see in front of me is the future, projected onto a screen. It is lies. They tell you what to think here.  What to say. I am one of the ones that doesn’t listen, but someone will find me soon enough.

I’m outside my house, but it’s not a house. It’s a shed. It should have a number. It’s almost hidden. I made it myself, cut my hands to shreds carrying piece after piece of MDF and old floorboards. The tacks dug in. I didn’t know about taking nails and tacks out. I was assigned to be a brain.

I feel some rain on my shoulder. It is exciting. Noises start. Celebrations. But that is all. One drop. It dies to a sigh that will never go away. A simmer.

I watch the future. Even the colour is a lie. I picture a piece of concrete block, ready to throw my future into the past.


I hate the nettles. The dog-shittiness of them. You have a wooden sword. You push them back for me. They still sting.

It’s called the brook. Something stops here. Something ends.

You know how this goes. You’ve heard this story. I am not going to let it happen.

My name is Cy. Well actually it’s Cynthia, but don’t tell a soul. I am old enough to have been here before but I have not.

‘Follow me,’ you say. I look into your eyes. Those bright blue eyes and I can only follow. I know I am being an idiot. I know how this goes too, you see.

The light is going away, and I am stepping over the condoms, dodging the fag ends. Trying not to get stuck in the chewing gum. This is how it goes these days. No one has pride. No one cares.

The brook is down the gitty from my parents’ house, but I have not been here for years.

You hold my hand. I love the way you move your fingers in my palm. I have to follow.

You put your hand up, and do I wince? But you pull it through your hair. I love that hair. It is so sleek. And yet I hate it.

The sun is not yet gone. Birds chatter a bit about the days that have gone.

I am going to do this. I am going to regret this.

We enter the shed together, hand in hand. I am here. I am over.


About beckydeans

I've always been a writer one way or the other.
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1 Response to Workshopped

  1. Wow. I didn’t understand a lot of it but it wasn’t necessary to I don’t think. It was like a dream or one of those paintings by Salvador Dali – it left an impression, strangely compelling. Excellent stuff.

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