Tag Archives: workshop

BCLT Summer School – Day 5

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The final workshop was given by Sharlene Teo, who delved into psycho-geography, and her own variation: psychic geography. We were asked to describe a room that was familiar to us, lingering on details, even the smallest, if needed.

1. If I sit down at its centre, I can take in all of its corners. The four major ones – the cornerstones, the foundations – and the minor ones, the ones that follow the furniture, the kitchen area, the wardrobe, my eyes. Circling around them, books populate the room, shelves pine for more or for fewer, groan with content. Keep turning and the bed lies down, to one side, covering its own space, in its own time. Turn a little more to find the washing line, clothes hanging, suspended, moisture gently rising as they dry. Lie back, and the ceiling stares at you, blankly.

We were then asked to describe a ‘public’ person, or character, in enough detail for them to be recognisable by other readers. My choice, surprising no one, fell on Eddie Izzard.

2. He has the kind of eyes that show the weird, wonderful, buzzing creativity behind them, rimmed with eye-liner, or eye-shadow, or mascara, calculated and meticulous. He might be wearing lipstick, he might not. That doesn’t really matter. But if he is, it might appear amid a three-day beard, bristled with white and blond and brown – light brown. Or maybe not. He does wear a shirt, and a suit and tailcoats from the jacket, points touching an umbrella as he stands triumphant, ego shining bright, spotlight not needed. Unless he’s wearing a dress, and the sparkles, the glitter, the sequins catch the lights on stage. And that’s when smiles. Mocking. Knowing.

We swapped the result of the first exercise with other participants, and wrote the character into the new setting we now had. Oh dear.

3. …my heels just got stuck. eeeeeeeeeeeh-yes. Anyway: HAMMERS. Let me talk about hammers. You don’t want to talk about hammers? You just want to get hammered? Well whatever floats your boat I suppose. Do you think Noah used hammers when he built his boat? the Ark, I mean? and what if he made it out of perspex, like a see-through boat, to watch all the evil people and animals drown and you can point and laugh and then you’d be evil too, actually… but yes, and god, who is still James Mason, would be up there going craaaaazy:
‘No no, stop laughing or I’ll have to push you off the boat. Noah? Noah, make them stop laughing or just – Jesus?’ ‘ Yes dad?’ ‘I need a holiday.’ ‘ Aren’t all days a holiday for us, dad?’ ‘…yes, well played.’
But yes, anyway – gardening.

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BCLT Summer School – Day 4

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Eliza Robertson was our leader today, and we focused on voice as ‘an intersection of character and place’. We tried bringing out our own local, personal varieties of English, by adapting a pssage from Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. I failed, it became Tuscan very quickly.

1. Maledetti imbecilli in un paese d’imbecilli – diahane. E unn’é miha colpa loro se ci siam fatti invadere dagl’inglesi. Miha li odio, io. Son imbecili, poracci. Noi e un siam nemmanco capaci di piglianne una a modino di gente pe faccelo tirá nicculo. Sie – governati da buhaioli. E noi icch’é si diviene? Merde. Merde zozze, schifose – merdacce proprio – nemmanco merde di hane, iobono. Miha li odio gl’inglesi io. C’hanno le su cose anche loro. A me stanno su icculo I toscani.

Someone close to that speaker decided to mediate the response:
2. What I believe he’s trying to say, really, is that sometimes we feel like – and this is just sometimes of course – like there could be more cooperation between you and us. I mean, we can be difficult to deal with, sometimes, of course, no point in denying that *nervous laughter*
…but maybe a hand in more urgent matters could improve morale? Only if it’s not a burden…

And it continued.

3. ‘OH! A chi, difficult? Noi? Difficult? Mavvacahare vai, te e i’ tu’ nglese perbenino e cicici e risolini e leccaculi.. gnamo su.’
‘Well. I’m sorry, I just think we could be a little less harsh about some of the complaints. We–‘
‘Ma ndoe harsh?! Io le ho dette come lle stanno le hose, diocristo, se un sapehe icche farci son cazzacci vostri.’

BCLT Summer School – Day 1

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This year’s edition of the BCLT Summer School includes daily creative writing workshops alongside the usual translation matters. I thought I’d post the results for each day on here. For reasons yet undecided. The first workshop was led by Sarah Bower, and involved comparing how P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler create their voices (and styles) through different uses of English. Then, we were asked to rewrite an extract from one author in the voice of the other, and vice versa. The results below:

1. His tea was impeccable. The kind of impeccable that stands out. It was too good. The cup too clean. Clean like a polished gun. Jeeves was good at what he did. Very good. Never heard him come in or leave. Quiet like a thought. Jeeves’ timing was perfect, always. I’d open my eyes, and there he was. Holding a perfect cup, every time. A simple job, sure, but he made an art of it.

2. Now, wasn’t that a ghastly surprise. She was shocked, utterly shocked, I could tell. Or rather, Jeeves did. He could spot the damnedest of details, that man, and never show it. Most amazing thing.

‘Right oh, Jeeves, what happened then? Don’t keep one waiting by dilly-dallying, will you?

‘No, sir.’

‘What was the – what was it, dame? – wearing? A dash of rouge perhaps? What about her hair? Dark as a raven on a summer eve, but with a tinge of age?’

‘Decidedly, sir.’

‘Marvellous, marvellous! And I suppose she’d be wearing some sort of jewellery, some type of accessory as one might find, if so inclined, in a London – no, Parisian salon of utmost standards?’

‘Indeed, sir. Earrings and a cigarette holder.’

‘What ho, terrific writing this Chandler chap of yours! Carry on Jeeves, keep reading – and spiffing job of it too, if I may say so.’

‘Thank you, sir.’