JUNE 26th, 2014 Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rocking

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.


Freely written by  John Yeo

The open-air theatre was a real treat for me in the Summer months in either, Holland Park in Kensington, London, or Regents Park in central London. There is nothing like settling down in the open air, (with an umbrella to hand), to enjoy a cultural show on a balmy Summer evening. With the flowers and the trees surrounding the stage, birds flying overhead and a packed auditorium, the magic would begin.

I have enjoyed wonderful performances of some very popular  well known Operas in Holland Park. The spectacle of the costumes, the singing, and the acting out of the well known stories. Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, many beautiful Operas composed by some very talented composers. The cast of many extras to act out the operatic story made for a wonderful spectacle and each live performance was unique. Outside in the audience, when a slight shower of rain arrives, it is a spectacle in itself to see hundreds of umbrellas go up, many in gaily coloured material advertising some illustrious successful companies or banks. Meanwhile the show always went on as the stage was usually roofed with a canvas roof and the performers were dry and able to carry on. I would love to hear the very well known operatic arias, sometimes interrupted by some noisy rooks or crows in the surrounding trees. One memorable evening, I remember a splodge from a bird flying overhead that landed on the bald head of the man sitting in front of me. The curses were disgraceful and irreverent. Some families would bring picnics and wine and enjoy a wonderful meal with the Opera in full swing. A wonderful example of true British idiosyncratic behaviour, eat al-fresco and enjoy wonderful culture at the same time. Insects and midges could be a problem, flying around in the evening twilight, although no notice would be taken by the enthralled audience.

Regents Park in central London is also very beautiful on a Summers evening, the open air theatre there would stage a season of Shakespeare’s plays. The actors who played their parts in the period costumes would make these shows, bringing Shakespeare’s characters to unique life, as played and interpreted by the individual actor. The very familiar tragic plays including “Romeo and Juliet” brought gloriously to life by these very well-versed and competent actors. Watching the cast perform their roles in the period costumes and listening to the magical poetic words. The setting in the park, with the Summer flowers and the well-lit stage would send a shiver of excitement down my spine, as the performance began and ended.

Another treat  would be the opportunity for people-watching in general. I talked to one young lady who attends every single evening performance in Holland Park, from day one to the finale of the final day. A true Opera fan indeed.

Copyright (c) ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved


JUNE 25, 2014 Writing 101, Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

Craft a story from the perspective of a twelve-year-old observing it all. For your twist, focus on specific character qualities, drawing from elements we’ve worked on in this course, like voice and dialogue.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.


Written by John Yeo

 I have been chucked out of the house by me Mum and Dad, they reckon I have been very naughty. Dad clipped me around the ear, all because I was hungry and scoffed that piece of chicken from the fridge. I s’pose, I can only sit here on the step. My friends William and Tommy are indoors now, having supper in the warm. Some of the older kids from the block went past in an old banger of a car, laughing loudly and shouting. I know they are the ones who do the drawings and words all over the walls in the street. My Dad says they should be locked up.

 Wow! The police have turned up across the road, with another man in a big flash car. They keep on knocking on No.39, Mrs Pauley’s door, there is no reply, she’s not answering. The man crosses the road and talks to me. “Hallo youngster, do you know Mrs Pauley? Is she at home?     “Yes Mister, I know her but I have not seen her”. I watch him walk back to join the police who are checking around the back of the house.

 My Mum has heard me talking to someone, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing Mum, I’m being good, just watching the police at Mrs Pauley’s house”.


Mum rushes across the road to talk to the man with the big flash car.

“Now don’t you get involved, Mrs Yates,” The man shouts. “We have come to see Mrs, Pauley, she has paid no rent for three months and I need to re-let the property”

My Mum shouted back at this man, calling him an unfeeling leech, only interested in making a profit.

The police calm things down and say they will have to break the door down.

A few minutes later, I see a flashing blue light as an ambulance arrives. They bring poor old Mrs Pauley out on a stretcher, she is very sick. My Mum is telling Dad, they don’t think she will survive the journey to hospital.

We all go indoors and I overhear them talking about Mrs Pauley.

“It’s a shame, she has six sons, someone should have come to see her and sort her bills out. They should have looked after her”


Copyright © ~Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved