Couch to 80K – Week Three – Day One

I’m doing the “Couch to 80k” – a writing bootcamp from writer and poet Tim Clare. For more information go here:

Other than Brad and work I don’t think I’ve stuck with anything this long, I usually give up.

Exercise Eleven
Part A
Write about a person. Where they are, what they look like, etc.

He is sat down but I can tell he’s tall. Over 6ft. His hair is brown. The sides are short, maybe a number one or two, and top is longer. Deeper enough to run fingers through but not much longer than that. He is wearing a simple grey tee-shirt and there is a logo of some sort one the left breast. He is wearing black shorts that end with a turn up, just above the knee. On his feet he wears white runners. He’s sat in a university library, in front of a myriad of books and a laptop. His eyes flick from one to the other.

Part B
Write a conversation between you and that person.

Him: Hello
Me: Hey
Him: Are you using this?
Me: I am at the moment. Do you need it?
Him: Can I get it when you’re done.
Me: Sure.
Him: What are you studying?
Me: Social care.
Him: Oh. What’s that about?
Me: Health promotion amongst many others things. That’s the bit I’m mostly interested in.
Him: What year you in?
Me: Fourth. My final.
Him: Oh wow. Me too.
Me: What are you studying?
Him: Sociology.
Me: Ugh. We had a module on that. It’s not my best subject.
Him: Yeah, it’s not for everyone.
Me: So that’s why you want this book?
Him: Yeah.
Me: How did you know I’d got it?
Him: The database says there is only one copy of it and it’s not a loan out book, so it has to stay here. As the only other person I on this floor I guessed it must be you.
Me: Well done Sherlock.
Him: Well that and as I went to the database I saw it on the desk next you.
Me: Ah! Not so Sherlock.
Him: Any idea how long you’ll have it for.
Me: Not much longer. I just need some info from one section.
Him: And I can get it after that?
Me: Sure.
Him: Great, thanks man.
Me: No worries. What year are you in?
Him: Third. One more to go.
Me: How do you find NUIG?
Him: Ups and downs.
Me: Oh you started during covid then?
Him: Yep!
Me: Yeah, covid here during y first year. Shut all our placements down. Caused mayhem!
Him: I didn’t see the inside of the uni until second year!

This was a strange but also familiar exercise for me. Strange because it’s the first time I’ve written down something like that, but I’ve come to trust Mr. Clare so will follow his process. I’ve written conversations out before, there are quite a few in the four books I’m working on, but never with me in it and never with a person I’ve just thought of!

It was familiar because quite often, when I’m on my own and see other people around, especially someone else on their own, I make up a back story for them and then wonder what the conversation would be like between me and them. Brad has got used to me making up back stories for people we see. In fact, it’s spread to work and now one of the guys I work with does as we pass someone when we’re out on the bus. “That’s Mary,” he’ll say, “she’s late for work!” and we’d carry on with that.

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