School-yard Fiction

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My dreams of becoming a writer

As a child I was an avid reader and it was my ambition to become an "author". I dreamt of being prolific like Enid Blyton, and creating a style that was as riveting and addictive to young readers as hers.

As I grew older, I faced many discouragements. First there was the need for an original and interesting idea, then there was the effort required to write a novel out to full length, many days and hours of long work. Having overcome the second hurdle, there was the final barrier, often insurmountable for an unknown aspiring writer - that of finding a publisher interested in printing and distributing the work.

Along the road to authorship, there is also the need to care for one's family and maintain a "day job". At this point in time, I am sorry to say I am busy with day jobs and writing another full length novel has been placed on the back-burner. So is editing and promoting the three full length manuscripts I have burnt to CD.

I still write the occasional short story, poem and university paper. My style ranges from realistic (mostly bildungsroman or developmental stories) to fantasy. Along the way, I maintain a keen appreciation of other people's writing, acting, painting and photography, as you will find expressed in my hubs.

Picture courtesy: morguefile.com
Picture courtesy: morguefile.com

Daniel and the Art Competition.

Daniel loved to draw and paint. So when he heard that a local community group was running an Art competition, he asked his Teacher whether the children in the class could enter. Miss Mackay thought about it for a while and then said “yes.”

Daniel was very excited and spent hours planning his picture. The competition rules said that the picture had to feature a native animal or bird, and live creatures were very hard to draw. At last he decided to do a magpie sitting on a fence. The magpie was filled in with bold back and white, and the fence was red. The grass and trees in the background were painted in light and dark green. Everyone admired Daniel’s picture as he set it aside on the shelf to dry.

Some of the other children in the class were having trouble with their pictures and Daniel decided to help them. Just a little, because the competition entry had to be “all your own work”. He encouraged the girl who was drawing a koala and the boy who was stuck for an idea. No one was allowed to give up!

While Daniel was talking to the other children, a strong wind entered the classroom. It picked up Daniel’s painting, which was dry except for the thickest bits of black paint and blew the paper down onto the floor. The page landed face down on the linoleum.

Miss Mackay called out to Daniel and he ran across the room in alarm. Together they picked the paper up and turned it right side up. Some of the black paint on the edge of the magpie’s wing had smudged across onto the beautiful white patch on its back.

Magpie picture courtesy morguefile.com
Magpie picture courtesy morguefile.com

Daniel was devastated, but Miss Mackay said it might be possible to fix it very carefully using some white paint. They closed the window and put the painting back on the shelf to dry. There was nothing more Daniel could do for his own picture, so he went to help the other kids again. The boy who had been stuck for an idea was now drawing a tiger snake and colouring the stripes very carefully. The ground behind the snake was dark brown and the contrast was very good.

The next day, Daniel mixed a very strong solution of white paint and applied it to the body of the magpie with a fine brush. In the end, all you could see was a small grey smudge. Daniel’s picture was good enough for the competition, but it was no longer perfect. Miss Mackay got the children to fill out their entry forms and then delivered the paintings to the community organisation which was going to judge the competition.

The school went to the Institute to look on the following Monday. First prize had been given to a child from another school and second prize had also been awarded to a child from a different school. The third prize had been presented to the boy who had drawn the tiger snake.

Daniel’s magpie picture had been granted a certificate of merit. Daniel was pleased and sad at the same time. He called Miss Mackay to look.

Miss Mackay pointed out that one whole wall was covered with paintings from their school. “This is all your doing,” the Teacher said: “You should be glad that you helped our class get involved.” And Daniel was happy, because he knew he had done much more than win a prize for himself.

© Cecelia

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Terence was bored

Terence was bored. It had been an exceeding dull day at school. Not only was the work dull, it was too easy to grab his attention. So he quite often didn’t do anything, and then he got a very bad mark. No one knew how smart he really was.

The boy doodled absently on a piece of paper in front of him. The paper slipped and a pen mark went onto the desk.

Miss Mackay saw and frowned. “You will be cleaning that off at recess time,” she said.

Terence sighed. Another recess break gone! It seemed that he was considered a trouble maker and the teacher was always coming down on him. He went back to doodling on the paper.

Recess time came and Terence was left alone with Miss MacKay. He was angry and gave her a glare when she supplied him with a cloth and cleaning spray. Miss MacKay ignored the attitude and sat down at her desk. Terence scrubbed away at the desk. He found that he was not only cleaning the mark made by his pen that morning, but the initials of countless other students that had used that desk over the past year or two. It was so unfair that he glowered even more. After a while though, he noticed that the wood looked really nice without all the scribbling, and it was full of patterns.

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"Miss MacKay", Terence called out without thinking, "Why does the wood have circles and lines in it?"

Miss MacKay got up from her desk and came over to him. "That is because when the tree was living, it grew layers of new woody tissue each year."

"Why is it different colours?" Terence asked.

"I'll show you how to look that up," Miss MacKay said. "We can try the encyclopaedia, and also the internet."

Terence and Miss MacKay looked up the section on tree trunks in the encyclopaedia. There was lots of interesting information. "If only school was like this!" Terence muttered under his breath.

Miss MacKay heard. "I'm trying to teach you the things you need most Terence", she said. "Like reading and maths."

"That’s so boring!" Terence exclaimed. "And I can already do most of it."

Miss MacKay looked perturbed. "Well, I wouldn't know about that as you never do your work" she said. "I tell you what, if you hand me in all your maths done early this afternoon, I will let you have some more internet time."

"Cool", Terence said. "We have a deal."

So Terence finished his maths quickly, and then Miss MacKay sat him at the computer looking at an internet site which had some animated mathematics puzzles. Terence had a great time trying to solve the patterns and making more patterns. He was allowed to print some out to show his friends. He knew he would probably much around again tomorrow, especially in English and social studies, because it was such a habit. However he also knew that Miss MacKay understood him - at least a little bit.

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