Creative writing – I don’t do nice.

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I don’t mind BEING nice. It’s WRITING nice that I struggle with.

That word has a very bad name, for a start.

In the thirteenth century, nice meant ‘foolish, stupid.’ Its meaning changed gradually through the ages to’ fussy, fastidious,’ then ‘precise, careful,’ to ‘agreeable, delightful’ and ‘kind, thoughtful,’ which is where we’re left today. It has wishy-washy connotations. Etymology.com states, “If any criticism is valid, it might be that the word is used too often and has become a cliché lacking the qualities of precision and intensity that are embodied in many of its synonyms.”

At school, we were castigated if we used it as an adjective. In shops and fast food outlets, if one more assistant smarms, ‘Have a nice day!’ in a mock American accent I swear I’ll… (Not that it’s not pleasant to be given good wishes, just that it has become a meaningless mantra.)

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Last night, at my creative writing class, our 15 minute task was to focus on creating location, from a (real) place, named on a slip of paper and handed out randomly.

I was given ‘Bay of Rainbows.’ My stomach clenched with distaste. My neighbour had ‘Marsh of Sleep.’ She wouldn’t swap with me. I tried.

This is the sort of image which came into my head:

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NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I CAN’T.

I had to write the antidote. It took ten minutes. Here it is (apologies, to James Joyce, John Lennon and whoever wrote the mobile phone ad.) Apologies all round, really.

SEE THE SKY

Red. Blood red. Gash of wounds. Broken heart, drip-drip-dripping. Scarlet vermillion post-box slash.

Orange. The future’s bright. Tangerine, Clementine, Seville. Vitamin-rich Sunny Delight.

Yellow. Yellow-matter custard. Bananas and jaundice. Smiley faces, lemon sunshine. Pus.

Green. Snot-green sea. The envious grass. Jade and emerald, beloved Emerald Isle.

Blue. Sea, sky, early morning blues singing Blue Moon, royal, prussian, azure and ultramarine.

Indigo. Night, studded with stars. Purple of death, of mourning, a regal cloak.

Violet. Violent violet. Flame of gas, shrinking violet.

Bay of Rainbows.

Bay of hounds.

Chasing.

She hides.

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By Jaime Best

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(Need to combine the two images…)

Told you I don’t write nice.

P.S. Bay of Rainbows is on the moon.

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