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I am sleeping to save the panda

by Haadi 

Posted: 11 June 2005
Word Count: 134
Summary: Exercise: 100 words on a bed you slept in as a child. The key is; keep it simple, evocative, think of using all your senses, not trying to be 'writerly' about it, rather instinctive

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Propped up on my elbows in bed, my arms are beginning to ache and I have eaten too many chocalate digestives. I am reading back issues of my Beano collection – stored in the orange record box (only years later did I realise it was not actually designed to store comics) – and I know I oughtn’t be; it’s the middle of the day and any moment now my dad’s going to come into my room, berating me noisily, half joking half serious. He’ll probably pull my World Wildlife Fund “I am Sleeping to Save the Panda” duvet off me in one airy swoop and bundle it up in his arms. The shock of the chill will first make me curl up and groan. Reluctantly, I’ll slink off the bed and rejoin the world.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 20:15 on 12 June 2005  Report this post
Haadi, this is exactly what I mean by not being writerly- you've taken us straight into the world of the childish sleeper. The title is so fab you have to use it for something longer- brilliant. I was curious to read the piece for that reason alone. The aching arms, the shock of the chill, the secret naughtiness of reading in the middle of the day and risking being discovered- lovely stuff. I think you could lose the sentence in brackets because we want to stay very much in the here and now, not let the adult voice intrude which breaks the spell. And that's the whole point of this exercise- can you lead us into that half forgotten world and then keep us there? A big fat yes to this one, well done.

little monkey at 20:19 on 12 June 2005  Report this post
Hi Haadi,

Sleeping to save the pandas...I would have loved that as a child, in fact can you get in in a kingsize? ;o)
This is sweet snapshot of childhood in a solitary mode.
One thing though, just personal really, but I imagined the little fella on top of the duvet - not under and was initially confused whe the father may pull off the duvet.

Cool though Haadi,

Hope I can read some more stuff soon


Haadi at 11:17 on 13 June 2005  Report this post
Thanks for your comments. I see what you mean about the adult voice coming in. It really shatters the immediacy doesn't it? Funnily enough, I added that as an after-thought once I had scribbbled down the rest. I shall get rid it.

Glad you like the title! I will definitely have a play around ideas to make a longer piece. It's a sentence that I have always loved, it's so familiar to me that it feels etched in my brain. Yes, the duvet did exist. Still does in fact.

Mazzy at 10:24 on 24 June 2005  Report this post
Hi Haadi

I stumbled across this by chance and was moved to read it by the great title. I'd echo what others have said about this working well as a childhood episode, narrating it in the present tense means that the reader expects a childlike voice to tell it...even if it's really a 'flashback' rather than a child narrator.

The two places that stood out a little in the child's voice for me....were the use of 'berating', which seemed a bit grown-up and serious....and also the whole construction, 'Reluctantly, I'll slink off...' which is a shame, because 'slink' is such a great word.

This is always the thing I find most frustrating in trying to use a 'non-literary' voice in a piece, the outrageous temptation to put in things because I really like the sound of them...no matter that they break the spell of the narrative voice.

Welcome to WriteWords...hope you're enjoying the exploration.


Haadi at 12:29 on 24 June 2005  Report this post

I see what you mean about the more adult vocab. I will have a play around with it and try some different versions.

Thank you, yes, I am enjoying my exploration around write words. Slowly though! It is exciting for me to write what comes naturally and then have the opportunity to hear objective comments that help me think about what I write in a different way.

Perhaps re "reluctantly" and "slink", the slink could stay because it implies the reluctance:

"Then / But I'll slink off the bed and rejoin the world"

What do you think?

PaulB at 11:04 on 17 November 2006  Report this post
I agree with the comment about the title, it makes you want to read it. Great punchline with knockout delivery. 10 out of 10.

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