Day 894, Wednesday, November 7 – workshop day, for which I prepared diligently and which I looked forward to. This is where we do some actual creative writing and discuss the process. A treat. Fate wanted it oherwise: my first bus was 15 minutes late, got stuck in traffic on its way from Weston-super-Mare to Bristol, and I didn’t get on my Cardiff bus. Could wave it goodbye though. It was possibly a matter of 30 seconds. So close! I did run, honestly, although my legs were quite dead after the tough workout I had earlier in the morning. Well then. No university. I had bought a day ticket for the West region and didn’t want it to go to waste. If I was already in Bristol, why not spend some quality time in there. So, I first got myself a cup of coffee and a slice of delicious brownie in the oldest building of Bristol, a church right next to the bus station. And I walked for a long time by the riverside once it stopped raining, thinking back to those days in 2012 when I lived in Bristol. Back then, I was a student at Bath Spa University. Creative Writing MA. Yes, the exact same course that I am doing now as an exchange student. Same-same, but different. Before the walk, I popped into Primark as well. If you can call spending 45 minutes in the store simply ‘popping in’….
My first experience with Primark was back in 2011 when I visited Bristol (at that moment I lived close to Bath, in the village of Newton St Loe). I was astonished at such a store where prices were so low and the many floors full of interesting clothes. I still am, although the clothes have lost some of its shine and lot of the stuff they sell there doesn’t match my taste. But… with floors full of clothes, there is always something to buy, although I try and ration myself. It is a cheap place to buy clothes and also the place where to get Minnie the Mouse heels, T-shirts with superhero prints, and all kinds of Harry Potter stuff from bed spreads to socks and PJs. I realise it is fast fashion and this is the main reason I try to ration myself. But it is hard to resist the cheap underwear, socks, beautiful patterns… My favourite jacket is from Primark. And loads of other stuff. The thing with Primark is that you cannot order any of these things online. You need to go there yourself. And I still do. We bought my husband’s wedding suit from a London Primark. A true bargain.
By rationing, I mean, that I only buy things I really like, not those clothes that are ‘fine’. Sometimes, if possible, I leave the store and only come back for the item if I cannot get it out of my head. I also love the second hand clothes sale that happens in my home town in Estonia. The clothes cost 0.50-1.50 EUR per item. It is not only the price, it is also the knowing that I am buying something that is still in good condition but abandoned by someone else. I am giving that item of clothing a new life. Helps to balance out my fast fashion purchases at Primark, I hope.
1. Own and live in a house.
Instead of making any money, I spent money. 12 GBP to be exact + 4 GBP on the coffee and brownie + 4.90 for the day ticket. Well, for that 12 GBP I got myself a belt (needed it badly because my trousers keep falling down, must be losing some weight), a flowery blouse, and a Hello Kitty sweater (check Instagram for photos).
Spending possibly means that I made no progress towards the house. However, the money I’ve invested is growing slowly in various places.
2. Write AND publish a book.
Didn’t make it to class due to bus misfortune but did think about a piece of mine and edited it a bit (or rather: marked the places to edit) on the First bus (capital letter intentional). When I first dug it up to send to others to workshop, I thought it was a great story. Obviously, not enough time had passed to kill my darlings as Stephen King would have it. On day 894, the amount of time from writing it had been sufficient. I could look at it more critically and see all the places that need improvement. The initial task was to divide a story I am working on into separate scenes and take the list to the class. In addition to detecting the possible scenes of the story and inventing some new ones to add, I found many instances where I could use showing instead of telling. Build a scene to convey something rather than simply tell the readers how the things are. Let the reader do the work. And they will thank me.
3. Win a major race.
3 fast minutes on hard landscape. Repeat 10 times. Oh, my legs were stiff and speed gone. Only willpower got me through it. Done. Let’s forget the actual speed and just consider it done.
Photo of the Day