Saturday 26 June 2021

'Freewriting à la Tesco' by Teika Marija Smits

It’s like when a nurse, needle in hand, instructs you not to tense. You can’t help it. You tense. Or if someone tells you to not think about a baby. There it is – whoosh! – peaches-heavy in your arms, its marvelling eyes begging you to really, properly conjure it into existence.

“Just write what you want,” says the creative writing tutor, her voice like a promise. “Write… naturally.”

I can’t do it. I tense. My mind flits from Salman Rushdie to Jane Austen; Octavia Butler to Dr. Seuss.

As the teacher drifts by me and notes my stubbornly blank page, the constipated look on my face, she suggests I try freewriting. “You know, anything, dear, anything.”

I wince. Anything is a pigeon pecking at a keyboard, hoping for the seed of a haiku. Anything is a slick of grass vomited up by my cat; green runes glued to sheets of A4. I go home, disappointed. Wonder what else I could’ve spent my £25 on.

It’s only when I’m writing the shopping list (you know, not tense) that I find my voice. Oranges are fat as Jupiter; Marmite, bottled grief. Eggs are crushed dreams masquerading as symbols of life. Milk – tears shed by breasts which will never be suckled.


  1. Brilliant! Completely identify with this...

  2. Wow! Yes, like the commentator above I can completely relate to the first half. Would love to know what the second half feels like, when the metaphors pour off the pen! Marmite, bottled grief...

  3. Thanks so much for the kind comments. Much appreciated!


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