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I have been going to a creative writing class the last three weeks, each Thursday evening.

Our teacher made us do an interesting exercise yesterday. We had to write a word or phrase for each of the following, off the top of our head, and these were my responses:

A feeling: Tired

A colour: White

A food: Pasta

A sound: Honk

A texture: Rough

Something you’ve said or thought today: Have a nice vacation

An object you’ve handled: Cell phone

The name of a person you know or have known: Anna

She then asked us to write a sentence including as many of the responses as possible, with a minimum of three.

This was my sentence:

Anna is tired, so for dinner she throws together some pasta, loving its white body, its smooth-rough, rough-smooth texture.

Then, our teacher asked us to make that sentence the first line of our story, something, anything we could write in ten minutes. Here is the stuff I wrote:

Writing about blood and spaghetti

Writing about blood and spaghetti

Anna is tired, so for dinner she throws together some pasta, loving its white body, its smooth-rough, rough-smooth texture. She slurps it in, checking if it is al dente, burning her tongue. She thinks of the things she did today, the uniforms, the scrubbing rooms, the conversations. She sets the pasta to drain and stirs up the sauce, the red tomatoes reminding her of the blotches on the white towels as the little girl bled on her table. Anna’s table.

The girl bled, bled, bled, making the nurses scurry here and scurry there, looking for clips, more towels.But Anna had cut into the wrong place, a main artery so near the heart would pump blood, keep pumping it out, the heart unaware of the blood spilled.

Anna makes herself turn to the pasta, now drained, white, but no longer inviting, the spaghetti strands flowing like bloodless veins. They have gelled into a gooey mess, sticky-gooey and the pale white looks too much like the white girl’s white face, and the whiteness of her father as color drained out of him.

Anna mixes the sauce into the pasta, stirring it slow, willing it back to life, then gives up. She picks up the whole lot, chucks it into the bin. She switches off the kitchen light which had begun to give her a headache, and walks out towards the patio to have a drink.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • damyantig says:

    Thanks, R G and welcome to my blog. I went over to your blog and saw what a movie buff you are, so your words here mean a lot. I am a beginner, but hope to be a writer in the real sense of the word one day.

  • R G says:

    Wow, that was bloody good. You should write for the movies.

  • damyantig says:

    Thanks for your words, linelarsen, and welcome to my blog.

    I am just a rank beginner putting words together, so yes, I do need a lot of encouragement. Our teacher is good with that.

    I like speed-writing because it is very liberating. If I am willing to let go, things happen. The best part is, an exercise of half an hour a day produces at least one or two things I really want to follow up.

  • linelarsen says:

    Added: Encouragement is the best type of feedback at a beginner level, in my opinion. Constructive and sometimes harsh criticism is necessary when you are aiming to publish the piece in question, but until then I lean towards the idea that finding your own voice is the most important development you can have.

  • linelarsen says:

    I have always been so opposed to writing fast. I love to ponder each word and sentence, write it, re-write it and move on slowly.

    But this was very impressive! A task like that would have easily blocked my creativity, I would unwillingly be fighting it. You are quite gifted, indeed.

  • damyantig says:

    Annie, thanks for the vote of confidence:)

    Indigo, Um, the feedback I get here are from a few of my devoted blog-friends (not to under-rate them, cos I LOVE them) so I am not sure I entirely deserve all the compliments!

    As to feedback in class, well, it is a beginner’s level class, so I guess we all get positive feedback all the time. The idea is encouragement, I guess.

  • indigobunting says:

    Wow. Do you get as positive feedback there as you do here? You deserve it!

  • Not a monster.

    This is very good. Depth of character. Revelations that are between the lines. Awesome!

  • damyantig says:

    Ten minutes, yes. She timed us.

    I felt a little stupid after, because the whole time I did not know what I’d written, and when I read it out I realized mine was quite bizarre. I was in a bit of trance, I guess, taking dictation from the one up above, I guess, lol

    Every one else had pretty decent, normal stuff, only mine was so much blood and gore. Damyanti is a monster!

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Wow. In ten minutes?? Fantastic job, Damyanti. Brilliant execution. The happy opening, the dark middle, darker end … very well done.


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