Many many years ago in a land far, far away a young writling attended big school. There she came under the tutelage of Miss Grey (unrelated to Mr Grey and his Shades). By day Miss Grey impressed on her young apprentices the necessity of punctuation, spelling and grammar. By night she played the violin and made cocoa before bedtime.
On special occasions, she permitted her young charges to practise the art of composition. She gathered them around her, watching their little faces for signs of instransigence or rebellion and flourished her magic stylus (aka chalk) to conjure up the Special Inscription – a rule of such goldenness that to infringe it would bring the world as we know it to an hideous end or at the very least invoke detention and a hundred lines for those miscreants who dared infract it.
And the words of The Special Inscription were:
“WRITE ABOUT THAT WHICH THOU KNOWEST”
But the young writlings, flush with the arrogance of youth, thought they knew everything anyway…so no problemo maestra. They constructed tales of derring-do, with elves, witches, wizards and flesh-eating monsters with nasty little pointy teeth. Their heros (it was an all-female big school) quested, sought, snuffled out and just plain found the key to the universe and lived happily ever after.
“This will not do” quoth Miss Grey “From now until the end of break time, you will confine yourself to adjectives, adverbs and gerunds.”
Eventually, in time-honoured, weather-worn and cliche-laden fashion, the apprentices were released from the care of their nurslings and dispatched to the four corners of the known world to make their way in life. Most were selected for higher training in the dark arts; the rest became fodder for the bureaucratic machinery of the land – i.e. clerks and secretaries.
One such female writling shuffled papers by day and by night, imbued heavy doses of magic pictures on the magic picture box. However, one night, a raven tumbled down the chimney and croaked (with a minor speech impediment):
“Why wasteth thou thy life in thuch a manner, young writling? Thine orbs taketh on a thquare shape and glathy hue. Isth there nothing thou canst do of more profit to thine self?”
The young writling, suitably chastened and ashamed replied:
“oh thou glossy black raven. I wouldst fain practise the art of the wordsmith yet how can I? Meastra Grey shewed me the Special Inscription – “WRITE ABOUT THAT WHICH THOU KNOWEST”
“Bah humbug – tha knows nowt anyroad” croaked the Raven, now transmogrified into a gruff Yorkshireman, “WRITE ABAHT WOT INTERESTS YER and bugger t’Special Inscription.”
And so, the writling followed the advice of the Raven and lived happily ever after…well almost
(Apologies to all Fantasy writers everywhere – as you can easily surmise, I’m not your competition, please don’t turn me into a toad)
Have a good weekend everyone – I’m off until Monday.