Saturday, 24 January 2009

Creative Writing - 'Displacement'...

The wind howled and bit like a dog, the canine comparison apt, as the ferocity of the weather whipped around the cold platform like a beast let loose from the banks of Hades. The man standing at the railway station pulled the collar of his thin coat higher up, burying his face into the small neckline to try and keep the bitter cold away from his exposed flesh.

He broke momentarily from his overdramatic reverie and turned to his right, looking at the mindless throngs of commuters that were spilling onto the platform. Increasing by the minute, it seemed as if the cold glass world of sleep had been broken and the mass of people congregating on this cold platform was the blood oozing out from the night’s solitude and warming society up again for another day of pointless existence.

The daily commute. How he despised fighting and jostling with a mass of mindless public, although the irony of these feelings were not lost to him. As he looked around, he knew that all these people were probably feeling just like him, loathing being part of a faceless crowd and yet as individual and human as he was himself.

As the train pulled in and he fought his way onto the train, he wondered how he always ended up crammed into a tiny corner next to someone with a huge bag, their music playing loudly through cheap headphones, or inconsiderate phone users bleating monotonously about their mundane lives.

The train pulled out of the station slowly, the engine juddering and jerking, almost as if in resigned defeat. He kept his head down, staring at the floor and the multitude of feet around him. His job was becoming unbearable. This wasn’t the life he had planned for himself when he had plunged innocently into the world of work after graduating.

He looked up for a moment and glanced around at all the placid and neutral faces staring bleakly into their own little worlds. Probably none of these people felt any joy. Why were they doing it? They were just part of the system, not bothering to fight their situations, but accepting the facts and getting on with it like good little citizens.

He stared back down at the floor, worrying once again about possible redundancies at the company and how the hell he would manage to pay his rent, what he’d say to his girlfriend, the one thing he could care about, if he lost his job. How he’d possibly find more work in an economy that was on its knees.

His stomach was in knots and he hadn’t slept for two days. He’d never felt such displacement in all of his life.


  1. alas dear friend, A rather familiar scene in ones peepers upon a morn i say!
    a splendid display of lucid discriptionaire, a fond bussle of ones imaginations, sewn so elegantly in the blanket of truth, only to drop a wincey stitch at the finish!
    needless to say i am a mear weave in ones tapestry to pass comment, and you may my dear swing me from my little toe and shout you 'rabbit in a hat you'-'you rabbit in a hat you!'
    tally ho... and keep your 'blood red' flowing and your 'strawberry tart' beating!

  2. In my opinion, it's way too wordy. I get what you're going for but whole piece feels like you're trying too hard. The narrartor tells the reader how to feel when I think it would be more powerful to invite the reader to feel a certain way but leave it more open. This way the reader will make more of a commitment to the piece.

  3. Hi Polar,

    Thanks for your comments. I have often been accused of being too wordy, but in this piece I was trying to be as descriptive as possible. I'm intrigued by suggestion of 'leaving it more open' for reader interpretation. How would you recommend I do this? I was trying to present a semi-autobiographical viewpoint, so was trying to force a particular viewpoint upon the reader but am interested in your thoughts about leaving it more open - let me know what you think!

  4. Its trying too hard to be descriptive, especially the first bit - I know he gets flamed a lot but read some non-horror Stephen King and see how he is able to create a picture of a person in a couple of sentences - keep it simple, the bit "the weather whipped around the cold platform like a beast let loose from the banks of Hades" seems way to overwrought, all you really want to get across is that its windy and cold so why not just say "He stood on the platform, his breath streaming from his open mouth, bitterly regreting his decision not to run back to the house and grab his scarf, especially given that the train was delayed anyway"

  5. Thanks for your comments. I guess I should have started by setting this piece of creative writing in context - it was a piece of creative writing, short and evocative and overwrought rather than a readable long novel. I was aiming to use metaphors and similes (I'm currently reading the Iliad, hence the nod towards Homer - beast from Hades) and a lot of people have reflected your comments. I do have a tendency to be overdramatic when writing prose, but perhaps I should state this at the beginning of an overwrought piece of prose!