Thursday, August 24, 2006


(This was a writing exercise from our August meeting. We were to write a piece which was mainly dialogue. This was to be between a teenager and an adult and the piece could be set in any period of time.)

“Isaac, how could you! Leon speak to him, tell him,” his mother said, tears standing in her big brown eyes.

Isaac put his head down and listened. ‘Yes, Papa,” he said. Secretly he had no intention of listening.

“Isaac, Isaac, Isaac,” his father said. Quiet desperation was in his voice and his very stance.
“Isaac, you must have friends, yet, but this boy – oy vay, this boy! You know what’s been happening lately, these people, people like him, hate us. Now, now, my boy, don’t interrupt”.

“But Papa, hes a friend, he doesn’t do those things. He doesn’t throw stones through windows and spit on us. He likes me and I like him. Please, Papa?”

“No, no, no”, Papa said. “I have spoken. That’s it – you are not to see him again!”

“Never again,” his mother added. “Isaac, you know hes not one of us, not of our faith, our culture..”

Isaac pulled away from her reaching hand, “But Mama, hes not like that, I said. He wants to come and visit us and see how we live.”

“No, no, no – other friends, yes. But this boy! This German boy! Why his family – his father, and probably brothers, are most likely the ones who stoned your father’s shop window. Do you prefer this over your father, who has given you everything?”

“These are dangerous times, my son,” his father added. “You don’t know, you’re young and carefree, but bad times are coming, and as your mother says, this is an unsuitable boy to be a friend, this…this… whats his name – Adolf someone?”

“Adolf Hitler, Papa, and hes not dangerous, hes not. I really like him and I trust him. Adolf is my friend.”

©Nelma Ward


(This writing assignment at the August meeting was to study a Norman Rockwell painting called "Big Date" painted in 1949 which features two young people dressing, a young woman and a young man. They were presented in separate scenes and we were to imagine that they were going on a 'date' and we had to write about their thoughts on the upcoming date e.g. a piece where he's thinking .... and then a piece about what she's thinking.)


Sit down, hair. Blow, drat, damn – why is it always like this – couldn’t find my blue shirt – hope she likes this red one. She had a red dress on the other day. Boy, oh boy! Did she look nice! Gosh, my shoes are hurting. And I have to dance. God, I hope I don’t stand on her toes.
Hope I can remember how to – what is it? One, two, together, back, side, something, something. God, that Barry can dance, and she’s been out with him. I’ll be a real dud! Why, oh why, did I ask her? Gee, better hurry, I said 7.00 and its ten to now – should give me time to there in the old jalopy.


Gosh, curl up, hair, why can’t you? Golly gosh, I hope Mum ironed my dress. At least she likes him. Better than Barry. My God, he stood all over my feet at that last dance. I hope these stockings don’t get stood on and ruined – gee, I must check my seams. I just can’t wait for Tommy to call. Hes so gorgeous, so dreamy, and his car, his lovely red car – what a beauty.
How long till he come? Hes coming at 7.00 he said – what is it now? 4.30! Only two and a half hours to finish getting ready. I’ll never make it. Hair, curl, curl, please.

Nelma Ward ©

Sunday, August 06, 2006

VAN GOGH by Nelma Ward

(Note: The following story was the result of a 10 minute writing exercise during our last meeting. The writer was asked to incorporate the following words: Van Gogh, a studio, bread and water, knife.)

The studio, filled with half squeezed tubes of paint, canvases, piles of paper, looks chaotic.

It is my refuge. Here the voices in my head subside when I pick up my palette knife and spread the paint. Bright vivid colours, huge splashes and streaks, and when I step back a little I see that I am making something beautiful.

I may live on bread, dry and a day old from the village bakery, but I feel rich. I finally have silence and solitude to do my work, for this is work, this putting down of colours and shapes.

I take a long drink of water and walk around a bit. Tomorrow I will take my board and charcoal and go out into the countryside of Brittany and I’ll start on drawings for the yellow cornfield, with the blue hills, and blobs of dark green trees, which will be my next painting. Good colours together, those. Yellow, blue and green. And if there aren’t any, I’ll put some red poppies and little blue wild flowers in the foreground.

That should be a beautiful painting. But I imagine when its done I’ll just store it against the wall with all the others. I have paintings of pine trees, and billiard tables, and stars, and chairs, lots of chairs. No one will ever buy them I know, but unless I paint them, put them down on canvas, I am haunted by them. Its not good to be haunted.

My brother Theo wants me to rest, not to think, to sit, but I can’t do that. I need to make these things. I show them to people sometimes and they’re shocked. Too bright, too wild, they say. A painting should be a nice well mannered thing, pale and contained. Perhaps if my brain was pale and contained that’s what I’d paint. No, no market for them. They’ll just stay here forever I guess, stacked against the wall.

© Nelma Ward

HAI KU by Nelma Ward

Synopsis of a movie in two sentences:
A small boy growing up in Italy in the ‘50’s becomes entranced by films, particularly by the old projectionist at the village cinema, who befriends him and nurtures the interest.
He grows up to become a famous producer in the USA, returning to Italy on the death of his mother, and relives his childhood and youthful romance, whilst visiting the now burnt out cinema where the old projectionist died, and in the process revitalising his love of the medium.
Childhood obsession
Burning death of love and spool
Now will live anew
Nelma Ward ©