Five Minute Writing / by Graham Dew

Allotment Grid 1, 2013 ©Graham Dew
Allotment Grid 1, 2013

I have very few memories of my school days, and of those memories only a very few remain about the lessons or the homework that was set. My first English teacher, and my form tutor in the first year of Woodcote Secondary School was a gentle and kindly man by the name of Mr Lees-Jeffries. If memory serves me right he was a Kiwi, had a bush of wavy ginger hair, an even more unkempt orange beard and thick, heavy framed glasses. English lessons were I guess pleasant and agreeable, but I can’t really remember that level of detail. What I do remember is that he set us the most unimaginably horrid, tortuous, unreasonable homework that any teacher had ever set for poor overworked 12 year olds. He set us five minute writing.

Allotment Grid 2, 2013 © Graham Dew
Allotment Grid 2, 2013

 He asked us to write something, anything, each night, that we wanted to write about. It could be an observation of the weather, about something we did at the weekend, about something we had read or seen. It could be a poem; you could even add a drawing. The only stipulation was that it was meant to take five minutes, and definitely not more than ten. My efforts at five minute writing were risible and shameful, usually a dire serialisation of a very dull story. I was amazed, late in the year, when my best friend showed me something he had written recently. He had completed the task each day, and his book was full of interesting and varied subjects. He had done things, he had something to say. I felt rather foolish on account of my laziness and lack of imagination.

Allotment Grid 3, 2013 © Graham Dew
Allotment Grid 3, 2013

Of course, at that time I didn’t see that it was a wonderful invitation to creative writing and diary keeping. Maybe there are teachers with the same insight today encouraging their charges to take up mini-blogs; I hope so. Each time I write a post for this blog I think about five minute writing, and the mantra is always the same; make it interesting, to the point and keep it succinct. But only rarely does it take five minutes to write.

Allotment Grid 4, 2013 © Graham Dew
Allotment Grid 4, 2013

Today is the first birthday of Joined Up Pictures, and this the 85th post that I’ve published. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met quite a few people along the way. Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave comments or to contact me. Graham