Creative Academic Writing Workshop

Our third workshop held at the beginning of October, was facilitated by Dr Helen Kara. This workshop provided participants with an opportunity to learn about different forms of creative academic writing. We were given an overview of creative academic writing, storytelling, poetic inquiry, play/screenplay writing, and comics. We also had an opportunity to practice with these different forms of writing. Read on to see some of the work we produced.

Michiel van de Pavert

The very short story

Massive flames filled the room on the eight floor. Coco the blue parakeet flees the burning heat out the window. The fresh air of the autumn night calms down the adrenaline rush. ‘’Uff, that was close’’. Batman the rabbit is still standing in the window frame. Despite his name he can’t fly. ‘’Where do I go!?’’ There’s no time to waste. He jumps to the yellowing top of the tree, trying to hold on to the branches as he falls… Through the canopy Coco can’t see if it broke his fall.

Photo by Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash

The poem

Fire through the Roof
Flames heat the Room
Flies, Birds, and Rabbits
Flee the Red Rage
 
Tree tops touch the trouble
Tonight, the trunk tumbles too

Catherine Price

Poem

Robotic Bee
A robotic bee taking on the job of a natural pollinator
It’ll help with pollination scientists said
But what about the declining numbers of natural pollinators?
No need to worry, robotic pollinators will do their job
But why aren’t we trying to save them?
Because technology can do their job
And now they’re all gone. 
Photo by Venkata Suresh on Unsplash

A Stanza about Writing

Writing can be exciting and fun
But scary and difficult too
Why won’t the words flow?
And today they do!

Nina Vieira

Short story

From the window of my house, I see the sea and every day I greet him. The sea doesn’t know the effect he has on me but somehow, he greets me back. Or at least, I feel he does. I observe him as if I were indiscreetly peeking through a neighbour’s window – his window not mine – checking its daily routines. There he is in its life, being the sea, alive, dynamic, not always the same colour, not always with the same temperament. And my text makes no difference in his existence but tomorrow morning I will tell him that I wrote it.

Photo by Andries Meijer on Unsplash

Poem

[Portuguese]
A superfície
rompe e a baleia canta
'homens à vista'   

[Translation to English with a note: the last expression is the Portuguese expression for when the whalers see a whale. It is not possible to translate it, so in the English version I replace it with the expression used by whalers in English “there she [the whale] blows” to “thar men blow”]

The surface
breaks and the whale sings
'thar men blow'

Aiman Khattak

Short Story

So they were now trapped in a strange land, and had only the few fruit trees in the nearby forest to provide them with food and sustenance. The sea was also near, with plenty of fish in it, but they could not catch any because of the absence of fishing rods and nets. They went on a scavenger-hunt to gather some supplies, and finally settled down for the night in the shelter of the thick shadowy bunch of trees. The trees provided them shelter, yet the fear of unknown creatures lurking behind the shadows punctuated their sleep the whole night.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Poem

Have You Seen My World?

Have you seen my world? 
The world I imagine, 
The world I long for,
The world I want to create!

My world is dazzlingly green,
Like trees after a heavy monsoon rain,
Like freshly picked green vegetables,
Like a newly pruned emerald stone.

My world sees no pain,
Like the promise of rain in the scorching summer heat,
Like the offering of food to a famished being,
Like the reunion of a lost one with his/her kin.

My world is a more-than-human world,
Like a world shared by all,
Like a world that sustains both human and non-human,
Like a world harmonious for all.

My world is precious,
Like the sandalwood,
Like the diamond, 
Like the Arabian horse.

Have you seen my world?
The world I imagine, 
The world I long for,
The world I want to create!

Dialogue Piece for Screen Play

Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

Dialogue between a man and a tree to combat deforestation

A man walks to the nearby woods. His intent is to collect some wood to use as fuel for heating and cooking at home. His wife had sent him out on this errand with strict instructions to bring back as much wood with him as possible. They needed to use some of it and store the rest for use during the looming winter. With his wife’s instructions at the back of his mind, he now starts to look for wood in the forest, and decides that it will be better for him to cut down a tree and get lots of wood at once rather than search and collect small pieces of wood from the whole of the forest. He is, however, not able to cut down the tree as the tree resists its demise and offers him alternatives instead.

Man: I am going to cut you down so that I can take lots of wood home to my wife. She needs that for cooking and for keeping the fire going for us through the winter.

Tree: Oh please, don’t cut me down. This will cost me my life.

Man: That does not matter much. The forest is already full of trees. One tree less will not have any effect on the rest of the forest. For me, however, the wood from one whole tree means months and months of relief from the cold and supply of fuel.

Tree: You have got it all wrong there. There are other ways of getting wood instead of cutting down a tree. You can spend some more time and look for pieces of dry wood scattered throughout the forest floor. You can gather those pieces, which are already fallen off the trees and dry enough for you to use, and take a whole bunch of them home. You can even ask somebody to help you with this. Another option is to cut down only a few branches from many trees, just as when we trim trees down, and collect the trimmed parts. This will save the life of the trees and you will also be able to get enough wood for fuel. This will also save the habitat of a variety of birds and animals whose lives depend on the trees. So you are going to be doing dual good here.

Man: Ok. I think you have a point there. Now that you have led me to think this over, I think I can save your life and of the rest of the trees, and try and use alternative methods of getting wood just as the ones you mentioned. This way I will be saving myself from contributing towards deforestation as well. Thank you for cautioning me.

Tree: It’s my pleasure. I speak for the forest, but in fact I speak for us all. The More-Than-Human world is going to survive better if lots of trees are around. Remember this.

Man: Thank you. I will.

Comic

A Stanza about Writing

I can write well,
I don’t need to worry,
All I have to do is write,  
It will surely come to me.

Alejandra Melian-Morse

Short Story

The fig tree that stood in the middle of the field seemed to have spent years working itself into a tight knot. Each of its branches was braided with its neighbours in the tangled intimacy of self. Jackie and Alex had sat in the tall, dry grass for hours now, staring at the tree. Their eyes traced the knot of branches and searched for signs of movement, Alex’s hands poised anxious and ready on his camera. Every few minutes they did spot movement in the tree, but it would turn out to be a scrub jay or a raven. Disappointed, their eyes kept searching, hoping to replace the sight of feathers with fur. Rumour had it that foxes were known to climb this tree to reach the figs that hung heavy and sweet from the branches. They could both see a fox balanced precariously on a thin branch reaching for a fig standing out against the backdrop of the blue California sky, but so far this image remained in their imaginations. Alex sighed and lay back for a moment to recharge his waning patience, but just as his head touched the ground he heard a rustle from the branches and he shot upright, his hands moving in an instant to their positions around his camera.

Photo by serjan midili on Unsplash

Poem

If my fur shines bright enough in the sunlight
or I run fast enough through the grass
or I dive fast enough through a sky blue enough
or my young are cute enough when they wrestle
 
If my search for food is hard enough
or my kills brutal enough
or my colours stand out enough
or my eyes stare long enough
will that finally be enough
to make you say
enough?

Chesta Yadav
Poem

00:00
It is good to hear you again tonight-
Not just the even words but the uneven poetry you recite
In the space between your words
I heard something I lost when I was a child

That day I came to you.
Running, jumping, hopping 
Brushing through the dead leaves 
Running over thin moss
To clean myself from the city soot
Into your crystal water

But,
You were cold, hardly moving 
I looked into your empty gaze 
I heard through every pause in your sigh 
How your streamlined and glossy blue days are gone 
I called you at that moment thrice 
But ,
You flickered low in the sand like a dying wasp.

Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

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