Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Nothing Important Happened Today

Below is my offering for the exercise leading up to this week's meeting of the Leeds Writers' Group. The set task was to write a character interaction without using dialogue...or any other form of speech. The characters could not make a sound, yet the audience must understand what has happened.

I decided to use the following poem as my exemplar, but wondered if writing one character's thought process as an unspoken monologue might just be cheating a little?! I concluded it probably was, but then, I didn't really care...because I wanted to write this piece!

The Inspiration

On 4th July 1776, King George III added one line to his personal diary. That line read: 'Nothing important happened today.'  This has since been quoted by many historians, novelists and screen writers, in order to illustrate how 'out of touch' the king must have been with current affairs...The 4th July 1776 was, after all, the day that the US Declaration of Independence was signed.

However, it occurred to me that King George III had not, as is often thought, failed to notice the events of that day. He had simply decided to find them unimportant... Or he had not yet received word of the development. Either way, it didn't really matter... at that stage of the American Revolution, there was little King George could do to influence its outcome... As far as he was concerned, nothing had changed that day...nothing important anyway...

The Poem

Here is my interpretation of King George III's famous diary entry; and of something akin to the helpless situation he must have found himself in when he wrote it:

Nothing Important Happened Today

I have nothing important to say.
Though I've plenty of words.
You see, I can say nothing to stop what's coming;
To halt the drowning,
Keep us running, and so,
I've nothing important to say.

You're not listening anyway,
Not really.
You're unimportantly packing a box
With CDs and socks and teacups
And no words could make you stop
So I've nothing important to say.

You're at the door now,
You...and the box...
And you don't look back.
You pause, and breathe,
But you don't stop.
You don't turn back and fix it with kisses
Or smiling, promise by tomorrow to miss me
And come home.
So there's nothing important to say.

The door closes behind you.
Nothing important happened today.

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