This eTMA is in 3 parts. You should complete all 3 parts. This eTMA refers to material from Blocks 1 and 2. The parts are equally weighted. Text should be prepared as a StarOffice Writer or Microsoft Word document and submitted using the eTMA system.
In 500 words, write a complete mini-story where the central character is a child. Write it from the child’s narrative point of view (using ‘I’), and in the past tense. Pay attention to the kind of language a child might use; and to the observations particular to a child. Use as your setting: a busy city street, where something has just happened, before the story actually begins. Use some dialogue.
In 500 words, write a mini portrait of a character, in either past or present tense. In this story, note, there needn’t be any significant plot; concentrate instead on describing both character and place, and on conveying a particular mood – and state this mood as the title of your story. (For example: Happiness: Jane had short red hair and …)
In 500 words, write a story or part of a story that fictionalizes something that is mentioned on the radio when you go to turn it on now. Choose a setting which you describe somewhere in your 500 words, and tell this mini-story from the narrative point of view of a man or woman (a character) whom the story directly affects. Do not use any dialogue. Write in either the past or present tense. Try to use clear, vivid language so that your reader can see the setting and character(s). Avoid cliché.
I wasn’t allowed to wear my new sling-backs that day; I tried a bit of fuss, a few tears, but it was no good, Mummy said it was raining and that I had to wear my Wellingtons. I thought about a bit more fuss, then remembered I had new wellies, shiny, with flowers on. So we set off to walk to the shop: me, Mummy, and Jess in the push-chair; Jess is my little sister; I’m six, with long hair and a red coat, and I’m called Maddie.
As we walked along there were more and more cars going into town too, and soon, when we crossed the road we had to wait for a peep-peep-peep noise. But then I noticed that all the cars had been stopped for a long time; they still had people in, and some of them were making a music noise, but they weren’t moving.
“What are the cars doing Mummy?” I asked, as we walked along.
“I don’t know, it’s funny,” she said “But we’ll soon see, there are policemen up ahead.” When we got into town we had to stop before the shops – a policeman said we couldn’t go any further, and there was a funny smell.
“But it won’t be long now,” he said “They’re just tidying up.” I could only see lots of legs, but then Mummy lifted me up onto one of those green things in the road, and I could see, over peoples’ heads, two big red fire-engines and some upside-down cars. I didn’t know cars looked like that underneath, all untidy, with dirty old pipes. One of the shops had its glass all broken, and was black, and there was some smoke. I asked Mummy what had happened but she just shook her head.
“Why are you crying, Mummy?”
“Dear God, it’s come to us then” was all she said, and then the policeman let us go on. Soon we came to a shoe shop, we stopped for a bit, and Mummy stopped crying, and we talked about the shoes. I was to have new shoes for school the next week, but the ones we saw were really horrible, though the girl was really nice; Mummy thought one pair were OK, but I made a bit of fuss and at last she said we’d try one of the other shops.
For a treat we went to a café and I had a milk shake. Mummy had a cup of tea and Jess just had her bottle.
“Mummy, why do cars look like that underneath? Mummy, don’t cry, Mummy it’s all right; the policeman said it was all right now”. But she didn’t stop crying, then I started, then Jess joined in, and we were all crying.
Later, we left the café and walked back home. On the way we saw where the upside‑down cars had been; they were gone, and the windows of the broken shop were covered with wood. When we got home I put on my sling-backs until bed‑time.
Aidan had been twenty‑seven years in the world, and fourteen in the monastery. His voice had just broken when the Abbot accepted him as a novice, so he could sing in choir without waiting. Opus Dei, it was called, this singing, or chanting really. The work of God, that means, and God knew there was plenty of it. Seven times a day, Matins to Compline, all sixty brothers heard the bell, filed into the abbey church, and thus spent eight hours of every day.
Aidan however thought his own work to be more important, more pleasing to God; though there were times in the choir, hearing the voices resound in the stone, that he was moved by the permanence and grandeur. His six hours a day of patient work, three before dinner and three after, were the hours that mattered most. At this very moment, during Lauds, he continued mechanically reading and singing the psalm, but his mind was looking to the clean page newly ready for him later that morning in the writing house. Yesterday’s work had seen the end of a book, and the bundle of pages, six months work, had been carefully packed and put ready for the binding house. Then he had stretched the precious new sheet of vellum over its frame, where it would dry overnight ready for the work today. The dying hours of yesterday’s work he had spent trying out designs on pieces of parchment, offcuts from the making of pages for more ordinary books. Today’s work was to be the start of something far from ordinary, a book of a single gospel, Saint John’s, commissioned by the Abbot of Lindisfarne for his own use. The Gloria marked the end of the chanted psalm, Aidan recollected himself, and, as he reverently inclined, saved in his mind his design for the initial letter: I.
Each morning, as the brothers proceeded from the church to the eating-house, for breakfast, they passed the burial ground. Aidan looked at the new earth on Dom Anselm’s grave; then he looked along the row to his own, waiting, place. Exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum… How would that work? Not for us to speculate, but to trust in God for revelation in due time. Now, though, for this day, his time in the writing house drew near. With the other writers he approached the entrance, and begged a blessing from the writing master. Then he approached his work table, and saw with satisfaction that the precious blue lapis lazuli, and gold‑leaf, had been placed ready for his special work. The writing master had discussed the initial letter, I, of In principio erat uerbum, and Aidan saw the whole page in his mind’s eye. Uncial script had been prescribed, and he loved the clarity of it, fresh, after the black heavy Gothic.
With concentrated excitement Aidan sharpened his quill, mixed his colour, took his brushes, and began the morning’s work on the first new page of the new book.
The floor was cool to Yusuf’s grateful bare feet; he thanked God for it, and for the blessed breeze that blew through the stone passage as he made his way to class. Yusuf’s class would number only nine this morning. Has God chosen you? Nadeem had thought himself chosen, but yesterday Mullah Awab sent him home in sorrow. Ah, master, Yusuf thought, I would give my life to save you such sorrow (for Awab too had been sad, sad as Nadeem), let me not give you cause to send me home.
As Yusuf walked, he heard, through the stone and muffled, the noise of a flying machine. Why are they here? he thought, why have they come to our land? This our time is truly that foretold time of great struggle, when Satan’s followers are powerful. There is no right reason for them to be here; our ruler was a bad man, but we have bad rulers sometimes, we continue; our life, our way, continues. But this of the invaders, this is different; it is not our way, unfaithful men seek to rule us. The invaders have powerful machines, but they have a weakness: each of them loves his own life above all things. We love our way of life, our way to truth, of obedience to God. Each of us will give his life if it is needed by God. Life for a man is short, why live it long if that is to help evil?
Yusuf came to the closed classroom door and pulled the bellrope. The mullah’s attendant opened, and Yusuf cleansed his face and hands. Mullah Awab came down from his high place and embraced him: Yusuf, my son, you are chosen. Soon, all nine were present, and, it was clear, all had been chosen. Mullah Awab preached for an hour, and each of the nine boys’ faces was lit by love for him and passion for his teaching: we must turn their own arms against the invaders… you have most carefully learned of the Kalashnikov and of the bomb… our Persian brothers are preparing their own most terrible weapon… a life that turns from God is evil - such lives breed evil, and the love of trash. Yusuf remembered a white soldier telling him how fine a thing ‘capitalism’ was, saying that if he was not satisfied with his telephone he would ‘switch suppliers’. Yusuf pitied him, unconscious as he was of his slavery to Satan, his greed for trash pandered to rather than corrected.
That was the last time Yusuf, or any of the nine, saw Mullah Awab. The next morning, after prayers on rising in the dormitory, a two‑day preparation began. Yusuf was glad he had been chosen by God, and prepared himself in body and spirit. On the day of action he dressed in clean white clothes which he covered with unclean clothes. This was a shared action, and each of the nine had his time. Yusuf’’s time came, and he prayed aloud: God is great, God is great, God is.