I’ve just been in a one-day creative writing workshop at CityLit, highly recommended! After a year’s worth of dry spell, I have enough creative exercises and explorations to make several posts, using prompts and exercises from the day.
In this prompt, you walk along a corridor filled with doors. This does not obey the laws of physics, there could be anything behind each door. You open a door, then write about what’s behind it for five minutes, then close the door and repeat, and then a third time. These are the scenes I ‘saw’ behind each door.
Opening on to a beach. Sunshine, palm trees and crystal waves, an ultimate South Seas paradise.
Walking down the beach, sinking softly into powdery white sand, there’s a small hut in view. Boats – canoes – are pulled up onto the sand in front.
Reaching the hut, it’s a bar, with cool refreshing drinks and a shady spot to enjoy the view and watch the world go by. Out to sea, yachts are racing, turning to and for, crossing and re-crossing, sails white against a clear blue sky.
The drink is cool, fresh and fruity, perfect to offset the heat of the sun, and the shade is a patch of relief from the glare from sky, sand and sea.
The wind powering the yachts picks up and blows more strongly onto the beach. The bartender grabs napkins and papers before they can fly away, she’s done this before. Clouds start to sweep in and it turns a little cooler, but still pleasant. You are caught in a mid-afternoon downpour. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, you sit at the bar and continue to watch the world.
She opened the door and stepped into a vast hall. Stone and glass, it felt heavy and strong, but the banks of windows on each side, leading towards a magnificent rose window in the far wall, filled the space with light.
It was quiet, no sound, no people, no movement. She wondered where they were. This was not a long-abandoned place, the corners were clear of dust and no cobwebs filtered the sun pouring through the windows stretching high above her.
She walked forward, footsteps echoing on a marble floor. There were carved wooden benches around the walls, and the occasional cluster of chairs that were more than dining table but less than armchair, jutted out from their otherwise soldierly ranks.
She wandered into the circle of multicoloured light thrown by the rose window and slowly turned in place. The only other door was directly beneath that window, although there was also presumably one in the minstrals’ gallery above her entry point.
The door opened into drab grey. A vision of purgatory, workplace style.
A never-ending plain of uniform cubicles and pathways between them, with similarly grey people sitting and moving quietly between them.
She looked down at herself and focused. Her jeans and grey hoodie transformed into a glorious robe of reds, oranges, pinks and golds. She was a tropical sunrise brought to life. Smiling she began to glide through the blank boxes, trailing her hand along one of the dividers.
Where she touched, colour and life sprang forth. Bright, happy graffiti spread over the partitions, flowers and plants vined up support posts and around desk legs. She reached a convergence point for several pathways and spun.
This was a really good warm-up exercise and I’m interested in finding out what happens in a couple of them, the five-minute cut-off tends to happen just as it’s getting interesting.