Writing Prompt – Make a list of the things that make you angry and then choose one of them to write about

This is quite an easy prompt for me as just about everything in the world makes me angry these days. Or if not angry at least a little irritated. So I am being quite restrained in keeping this list to ten things. There was a temptation, once I’d started, to just keep going. 

Writing prompt from 642 things to write about – Make a list of the things that make you angry and then choose one of them to write about. 

  1. Homophobia / Racism / Sexism
  2. Reality TV
  3. Stupidity
  4. Current education policy / Ofsted
  5. Mainstream music / film
  6. Modern parenting
  7. Ads with celebrity voiceovers / cameos
  8. People who are famous for nothing
  9. My computer’s inability to work for more than half an hour without crashing
  10. Trivial facebook statuses – I really don’t care what you are eating / watching / listening to right now.

Ads with celebrity voiceovers / cameos

Why does nobody ever seem to think about what they are advertising? Celebrities seem all too willing to sell their soul to whoever will give them the most money. And for a lot of them, it can’t be an issue of need. So why do it? Exactly how are we supposed to take David Mitchell seriously as a cultural commentator now that he has done a voiceover for that Phones For You advert. Surely the sort of nonsense he would be only to happy to ridicule if it were anyone else. But it’s okay. Just so long as he got paid shed loads.

The current king of all this is Kevin Bacon. Once a fairly good actor, now purveyor of dubious mobile phone promises. Whenever I see him, I feel let down. I’m not sure if it’s the chummy, smugness of his tone or the deadness of his expression that is more annoying. Whatever it is, I doubt I could ever take him seriously on the big screen again. Still, I’m sure the huge amount of money he got paid more than makes up for the loss of his dignity. 

 

Chrys Fey’s 30 day writing challenge – Pick one of your favourite songs and write a piece about it.

Okay, so I’ve skipped ahead a couple of days as I was feeling uninspired and this challenge caught my eye straightaway. I will go back and do the others later when I have some ideas for them. This day 8 of Chrys Fey’s writing challenge. I thought of quite a few possible songs – in fact, I may still write those stories as well. The song I picked is M-Bike by PJ Harvey.

“Why did you do it?” They had asked that straight away. The female cop asked it. No sympathy there. You’d think she would understand. It wasn’t like she was God’s gift. How would she manage to keep a man when Lise hadn’t been able? Lise had a nice figure, good boobs, long legs. The female cop was chunky, to put it politely.

“He looked at her shape, not at mine.” Lise’s voice had been cold. She didn’t care. She wasn’t sorry. She had got what she deserved.Lise had looked down the cliff side at the burning carcass at the bottom and her heart had sung. Served the bastard right. Not giving Lise the attention she deserved. That had to be punished. 

It had started about six months ago. That was when she had arrived. A Sunday night. Lise hadn’t known she was coming. No warning. Lise had arrived at his house and there she was on the drive. Foolishly, Lise hadn’t even realised that she might be a threat. But that was before the spell had been cast. He was mesmerised. Lise was second best. He’d even cancelled seeing her a couple of times. Imagine that if you will. It was unheard of.

Even when they were going out, Lise would arrive and she would be on the drive. Lise would see him look over his shoulder at her as they left. It was mere anger at first, the warm glow that rose to her face. It wasn’t long before it was hot, red rage. She burned with it.

But at first she tried. Perhaps it was a novelty that would wear off. That meant she could be accepting at first. So much so that she even came on a couple of dates with them. Lise allowed it. Foolish. That had showed her to be weak. That he didn’t need to care about her feelings.

It had been on one of those dates that Lise had realised exactly how smitten he was. She was recounting her day, playing it for laughs, pausing so he could supply the requisite chuckles. Only they didn’t come. Lise realised that he was staring out of the window. Staring at her, out there on the pavement. Longing for the moment when he could be on her back again. His eyes were filled with it: need. That had been how he looked at Lise at first.

Later that evening, when they made love in his bedroom, Lise imagined that he was still thinking about her, her streamlined shape, her chrome curves and about the way it felt when she was between his legs. She had dug her nails into his shoulders until he yelped.

Plans for murder started then. Lise watched them carefully, thinking about opportunity, about vulnerability. When did he leave her alone, when was he out, where did he keep the keys to the garage and so on until a plan began to form.

It was the middle of the night. It seemed apt. She’d pulled him in to kiss her, earlier that day, swiped the keys from his pocket while he was sticking his tongue down her throat. Now she crept up to the garage, let herself in. She had wondered if she would been able to do it, once she was there but the sight of her gleaming in the moonlight, it brought unbearable hatred. It had to be done.

Quietly, she began to roll her out of the garage. It’s okay, Lise whispered, I’m a friend, remember. She moved slowly and was far heavier than Lise had reckoned but she didn’t have far to go.

Lise wasn’t sure how long it took to get her there but she knew she was panicked by the thought of spying eyes. There was no hiding what she was doing. It would be clear that there was something wrong. Still, they would understand when Lise told them. The usurper had to go.

When she stood at the cliff edge, Lise revved her engines up. That’s the last time I’ll have to listen to that, she thought as she gave one final push. Away it went, over the edge. Lise smiled for what felt like the first time in ages.
“I fucking hate his motor bike,” she screamed as the machine bounced down the hill.

 

Anger is an Energy

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger since I finished I Can Make You Hate by Charlie Brooker. Specifically my own anger. I do believe that if you are intelligent, you should be angry. At the state of the world today. So many things make me angry that if I started to list them, this post would go on for days.

I have also been thinking about how this fuels my writing. Or at least, it is fuelling what I am writing now. That is the advantage of writing speculative fiction. I can take my annoyances and take them to the logical extreme. The only problem is where to stop. At the minute, I have more ideas than I could possibly use. Which is good I suppose, as it could mean a series rather than just one book or maybe a different book set in a different future.

The main thing that is making me angry at the moment is education and this is definitely going to be included in Choose Yr Future. It was with a sense of dismay that I listened to the news that children could be ranked at age eleven. Apparently this will raise standards. All I can see that it will do is pressurize children and make some of them give up at the tender age of eleven. And of course, inevitably, the posher schools will come out of this at the top of the pile.

It seems to me that children – particularly working class children – are being failed by our current system with its emphasis on exams and testing. All they learn is how to pass tests.  Often you don’t remember what you have learned for a test afterwards as the test was the point, not the learning. The creation of academies, the ridiculous standards that Ofsted uses to judge teachers and schools, the lack of money and Gove’s depressing new curriculum, all of these things are destroying the education system in this country.

In my future, there will be a huge gap between the richest and poorest schools with only those who able to afford it progressing through the system to university. (With the huge amounts needed to pay tuition fees, I can see a return to further education for the rich only. I’m not sure I’d have made it to university under current conditions.) The result of this will be the poorer schools having less money, less equipment, only the newest teachers and therefore, a poorer education. The result of this would be that pupils from these schools would only have the opportunity for jobs such as working in a shop, serving the rich families, clearing rubbish, jobs that other people do not want to do. They wouldn’t be educated for as long because why bother. Jobs that require further education would only be available for the rich with their better schools and more experienced teachers. It wouldn’t take long for this self-fulfilling prophecy to take hold. You don’t have to spend all that long telling people they are worthless before they start to believe it. It would be a return to a nineteenth century style of education. Before the idea of education for all. I do not think it is melodramatic to suggest that it is in this direction that the current education system is heading.

 

 

Eclectic Reader Challenge – Humour – I Can Make You Hate – Charlie Brooker

I’m quite an angry person. I don’t mean that I go out and start fights or anything like that but intellectually, it is definitely my default position. The news, the abundance of stupid people on the TV, the growing gap between mainstream and genuinely alternative (rather than the mainstream MCfly version of alternative), all of these things and more are capable of making my blood boil. In this sense, Charlie Brooker’s I Can Make You Hate was the perfect book to read for the humour category of the Eclectic Reader Challenge. This book is very very funny but it is also incredibly angry. And understandably so.

I knew what to expect from this book. I’d read Brooker’s columns before – particularly when he used to write Screen Burn for The Guardian and of course, he is now on TV fairly regularly. He already ranked as one of my favourite angry people (along with Ben Goldacre, Mark Kermode and David Mitchell). You know the sort of people who are passionately and endlessly angry. Like when reading Kermode, there were numerous times when I felt as though Brooker had crawled inside my head and read my thoughts. Although, obviously, he expressed them with a lot more verve and potty humour then I would have managed.

Brooker’s bile is wide-ranging. There is political comment – in my mind, David Cameron will always be a foal swallowing lizard now – cultural comment on TV, video games, music and film, as well as coverage of the Royal Wedding and the Olympic preparations. Nothing escapes Brooker’s gleeful voice of angry destruction. He manages to cut photo-10through the bullshit of modern life with remarkable clarity. And while he can come across as an angry man on a rant and clearly does want to shock people out of their complacency, he manages to avoid saying things that are just offensive and not funny or pertinent; a knack that seems to have escaped Frankie Boyle.

I would recommend this book for anyone who thinks that modern life is a bit rubbish. Believe me, by the end of reading this book, you will know exactly who to blame.