Creative Work: Short Story ‘Help Wanted’ Part 1, by Cais Jurgens

Creative WorksEverybody’s had one of these jobs, where a new unknown world appears and you slowly get sucked in. Help Wanted is a portrayal of just that kind of workplace that comes with a language and culture of its own. The familiar sense of community in a foreign backdrop where you almost belong, but don’t quite feel a part of. Words, Pauses, Noises is proud to showcase this debut piece from one of our own, Cais Jurgens; part one of his short story.

Help Wanted

By Cais Jurgens

 They call bullshit an art form.  I’ve always found there to be a fine but noticeable line between art and dumb luck and my job at 1674 Broadway at the top end of Manhattan’s theatre district was a result of the latter.  I wish I could tell you I’d sauntered in, put on a show of flaming cocktails poured expertly into a chilled martini glass and was hired and highly paid but it didn’t exactly happen that way.

The reality is that I was on the verge of giving up on that unseasonably warm November evening.  I was salivating at the oddly satisfying thought of ending my job search for the day and heading back to a friend’s couch in Brooklyn to hose down my empty stomach with what would be the first of several beers that night.  Instead, I pressed uptown with my rejected resume, watched the sun dip a little lower into New Jersey with every city block and eventually wandered into the swankiest Sushi joint I’d ever seen.

It was beautiful as well as classy.  Floating globes lit the room and in a warm essence that mingled with the lingering scent of skirt steak and hot oshibori towels.

I was nervous yet beaming dumbly from ear to ear and hired on the spot just for showing up it seemed.  Bar-back.  I was satisfied with the title.  My other title came to be White Boy, as I was the only person featuring both white skin and male genitalia employed at the establishment.  Continue reading

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Writer’s Block: An Interactive Journey of the Joys (and Woes) of Writing

InterviewsToday is an interactive Sunday!

There’s an idiom every writer dreads, even if they can’t admit it: writer’s block. What Macbeth is to actors, writer’s block is to authors. We can be a superstitious lot and sometimes it seems that just uttering the words can stop your creativity before your fingers meet keys. As the Words, Pauses, Noises team work fervently on their dissertations, the urge to run away grows as the time to complete the work shrinks. To help us get a jump on any blockage, we got together to think proactively on the subject. There’s nothing like discussing writer’s block to help you realise how real, and irrational, it can be.

The Words, Pauses, Noises team: Ashley Nicholson, Amber Koski, Boyana Petrovich, and Jasmine

WPN decided that in order to help ourselves work around the issue of writer’s block, we needed to go a little further outside of the box. It was certainly a learning experience for the team, and a way for us to concentrate on something besides our dissertations. There was one point we all agreed on: when blocked, go to another project.

Click on this link to go to our interactive presentation.

As September nears the Words, Pauses, Noises team grow steadily more caffeinated and conflicted, but as you can see, we’ve given ourselves some good advice to run with. This blog is dedicated not only to showing you our creative work but to help all writers overcome those fears we face during creation itself. As with any art, it’s all subjective, it’s all about taste, it’s all about what’s inside you and… the list goes on. As with any artist, we thrive on commentary and conversation, so let us know when you like something, or if you hate it. We’d love to see hear what you think.

Click back next week for the next installment of this series, Writer’s Block: Block Busting.

Creative Work: Short Fiction “I Will Build An Ark part 1” by Alasdair Neil Horabin

Today on Words, Pauses, Noises, we have for you the first part of a two-part short story, written by Neil Horabin, written to commemorate the 2011 London Riots.

I Will Build An Ark – part 1

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By Alasdair Neil Horabin

It never really gets dark within the M25. You don’t even get to see any stars on the clearest nights; the glow of street lighting forms a perfect umbra.

As the afternoon progressed Michael followed events on the pub TV: fighting in North London, looting and police lines. He wasn’t sure when the news readers started spreading the violence again, when the violence became rioting.

Finally, the sirens called him outside, Clapham was beginning its own revelry. People everywhere, shouting and laughing, shop fronts beaten in, the hustle of late night ‘shopping’. He recognised some of the looters, they nodded acknowledgement to him beneath their hoods, he nodded back.

Then the police marched in from way up the road. The locals turned towards the police line at the other end. More anger, and the throwing begins: anything small enough to chuck starts raining at one of the police lines. More broken windows, smashed in doors, escape routes being found.

Up towards the Junction the trains are passing oblivious to the wailing shop alarms, the growing panic and fear, escalating aggression. Michael takes out his mobile to video the scene but it’s hammered out of his hand and he’s shoved into street railings, badly winded. A rich Barbadian accent asks him if he’s alright from behind a boxed forty-inch TV.

His carer kicks the damaged mobile back, ‘Ya betta getta new’un quick bafor they all go, man.’

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Confidence, Creative Writing, and Careers: A Conversation with Adam Baron – Part 1

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Adam Baron is a principal lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University,teaching on the undergraduate, MA and MFA programs. During his versatile career he has been an actor, literary editor, comedy writer and performer. Adam is a published author and his crime novels Shute Eye and Hold Back the Night were both adapted into drama series on BBC in 2009/10. Here he shares his thoughts with Words, Pauses, Noises’ Boyana Petrovich about studying creative writing, feedback, grades, how to get published and more.

Adam, you’re a very experienced tutor and students love your workshops. What can Creative Writing MA students expect to learn or shouldn’t expect to learn during their course? 

I suppose you can’t come here thinking I will have to do that and be a published writer. But what you can learn is to write from your own voice, to find that voice as a writer. You can learn which genres work for you, which kind of writing works for you, in a way that you will discover all sorts of new ways of writing and thinking about writing. And from my perspective, you can learn the practicalities of structure and form which you can then apply in your own work. And that is what I see most creative writing students do. Encountering feedback, feedback generally being about structure and form of a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a longer piece of work, they then see similar structural problems in the work of other students that means the work of other students isn’t as successful as it could be to them as a writer, and that makes them think, aha, I need to take this on board myself.

Students can also learn to take themselves seriously as writers, to gain confidence, to say – this is what I’m interested in as a writer – which is very hard to do. It’s very hard to have confidence to say I will write and this will be interesting. And you can see this growing confidence in students who get a good mark, then a better mark and genuinely see that other people like their work and it’s that boost of confidence that they can learn as well, learn to take themselves seriously.

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