Highlights from Open Studios 2016 Flash Fiction Workshop!
Students from Fortismere and Highgate Wood Secondary schools toured this year’s Open Studios with Creative Writing tutors Sara Langham and Kate Pemberton. Their brief – to write a piece of compelling Flash Fiction inspired by an artwork from the studios.
It was a fantastic day, and our thanks go to all the teachers who co-ordinated/attended, and all the wonderful and talented students who were a real pleasure to meet and to work with. Would also like to thank all the artists who made us so welcome to come and browse and be inspired!
We feature here some of the stories written on the day and would like to congratulate these writers on fully embracing the ideas we discussed about what makes Flash Fiction outstanding, while responding so creatively to the superb range of paintings, drawings, jewellery, ceramics and other forms of making/design on show at the Open Studios.
At the end, we include links to the websites of some of the artists and organisations who inspired the pieces.
There may be more stories to come, so check back!
By Grace McAllister, Year 10, Fortismere
You lay there, curled up in a foetal position as if sleeping; only the fog that formed in front of my lips never left yours. I sat silently, hopefully, waiting for you to move, to twitch a finger, a toe, to breathe, anything. But the icy cold had already seeped through the gaping wounds they left. My eyes retraced the shadows of your reaching hand, the crinkles in your shirt, remembering desperately trying to smooth them down as you laughed. A laugh so full of life, so full of love. A laugh that I still long to hear. A drop of water splashed my face and I raised my eyes to your new home. No rain fell. The droplet reached my parted lips. I tasted salt. I crawled numbly to your side, grasping at the coat that you had jovially slung over my shoulders only moments before. I buried my head in your chest, feeling your fast fading warmth, my eyes closing. When they finally reopened you were gone, the pavement replaced by a disinfected bed, your coat a hospital gown. I was alone with the sound of my heart beeping on the monitor.
By Tallulah Knowles, Year 10, Fortismere
She gives me a treasure trove of childhood memories. I open it up, see the assorted selection of girls’ toys, swallow the bile in my throat and turn to her with a smile.
“They’re yours now,” she says, gently laying her cold hand on my arm. “My mother bought them for me when I was much younger than you, and told me to pass them on when I had a daughter. Then you can pass them on to yours, and she to hers.”
I tense but nod my head, desperately fighting the protests clawing their way up my throat. I bolt to my room with the box and crawl under my bed. I choke on the dust and place it on the worn carpet as I fight the tears welling in my eyes. My heartbeat is erratic as I emerge from the enclosed space and escape to my en-suite, leaving the trinkets and the burden they carry with only dust bunnies for company.
I lock the door.
I look at my reflection.
A pulsating sadness washes through me and this time I can’t control the flow of tears. A howl erupts from my throat as I grab the scissors from the counter and attack my hair. Sobs wrack my body as I cut chunk after chunk after chunk of the wretched blond mane.
My breathing is ragged when I admire the result – a scalp of uneven tufts and a few cuts oozing crimson blood. I burst into tears again when I acknowledge the fact that even this is an improvement. I throw the scissors at the mirror and scream when it stubbornly refuses to shatter, sinking to my knees on the cold tiles.
I claw at my chest and cry till my head is heavy and my heart is heavier. Then I curl up on the shower mat and watch as the rest of my tears mingle with the strands of abandoned hair all over the bathroom floor.
The Curse of the Dementeroids
By Oliwia Zdeb, Year 7, Highgate Wood
I was looking for a hat. Suddenly I felt as if all of the happiness from my body was gone. So I grabbed a hat and ran out. I shoved it on and I felt as if was back to normal. I ran to the doctors and found out I had a deadly disease called ‘the dementeroids’ and that this very hat that was on my head was the only cure to this disease.
Did this mean I had to keep this woolly hat on forever? Yes.
It was the next day and I was driving to work. There was traffic and I was on top of a very steep hill. All of a sudden I felt my brakes giving away. I was rolling rapidly down the hill. I crashed. My head hit the steering wheel. The hat slipped off my head and onto the dirty floor.
And there I was.
Lying on the floor of my car with no happiness in me.
The last thing I hear is the deafening sirens of the ambulance. ‘Help,’ I croak…..
Secrets in Forbidden Love
By Betty Zhu, Year 7, Highgate Wood
The day has come for my perfect date with my beloved! Oh, the excitement is killing me slowly. I mustn’t worry about my parents now, I can’t ruin the mood. What dress should I wear? My goodness, that necklace would fit perfectly with this ensemble! This purse is beautiful, I’m positive this night will be memorable.
My assumption was true! My darling was ever so handsome and kind. I wish I could replay that date over and over. I’m very tired, though. I think I will sleep now, next to my one and only.
This must be dream! What would he think of me now? I have to tell him before he finds out himself. This is impossible: how can I possibly be pregnant?
What wonderful news! My darling, Anne, is pregnant with our baby…but if what she says about her parents is true, then I must be in contact with PramDepot for assistance. I must go now, Anne is calling for me.
It’s a boy! I can’t believe I am now a father. PramDepot was ever so helpful, we received baby clothes, toys and even some books. Anne also wanted this small, light blue egg. I wonder what it is… w… wait a moment… the egg is moving! Oh my goodness… the egg is beginning to hatch…
These pieces were inspired by various artists and organisations including:
Daniel Munday (website link coming soon!)