Last Saturday, Sagar hosted a session at Write Club on rhetorical devices. It has been a long time at Write Club since we had the host bring handouts and engage us in a technical discussion of writing. Even being a professional author I must say I don’t spend as much time as I need to (perhaps) thinking about rhetorical devices. So it was excellent value for everyone present.
Since the material is too long to fit into a blog post, I put it into a Word document. You can download it from the link below.
My prompts for this exercise were anxiety and a pus-filled cyst. I had to write a piece with ‘anxiety’ as the theme and a ‘pus-filled cyst’ as the dominant image. Here’s what I came up with.
As soon as I woke up, I ran the tip of my tongue on the inside of my lip, hoping that the bump had disappeared during the night. But it hadn’t. It had become smoother, more rubbery, as though it were a water balloon. I ran to the mirror and turned my lip inside out. There it was, wedged in between my thumb and forefinger, popping out, throbbing. The fluid inside looked clear to my eye – clear as salt water.
My phone buzzed against the cushion of my pillow. It would be Niharika, confirming our date for tonight. For once I wished that she would cancel. Today was going to be our third time out. We had walked at a respectable distance on the first, stealing shy glances at each other every minute or so, keeping to the busier streets. On the second date we had dinner together, and walked in light of the silver street lamps in the park. We held hands. Today, if all had been well, I would have kissed her. It was going to be a full moon’s night too. I’d checked the calendar.
It was not the pain. I could grit my teeth and bear the play of her mouth over my cyst. The softness and moisture of her lips would be distraction enough. But what if the cyst popped while we were kissing? Into the sweetness would come a dash of harsh salt water. On the full moon’s face would creep a shadow. She would stop, maybe even draw away, ask ‘What have you got in your mouth?’ and I would have to show her. What if she grimaces? What if she flinches? What if she makes a face?
That would be my one chance to kiss her, gone forever. I knew Niharika. She was not the kind of woman who would take lightly to a cyst popping in a man’s mouth mid-kiss.
The phone went quiet for a while, then buzzed some more. I sighed. There was only one thing to do. I closed my eyes and bit my incisors into the bubble. Once. Twice. The third time it popped, and the salt water oozed into my mouth. As it slid down my throat, I frowned at my reflection. But a smile was beginning to form on my lips. Tonight was not going to be a flop after all.
I went into the bedroom, and checked my message. It was from Niharika. It said: ‘So sorry, have to cancel tonight. Can we do dinner next week?’
My prompts for the second exercise were serenity and a long-haired cat. Once again, the intent is to write a piece with serenity as the theme and a long-haired cat as the dominant image.
Lakshmi filled the steel bowl with milk, dropped some chocolate-flavoured cornflakes into it, and set it next to the main door of her apartment. Polly had not come these last few days, but today he might. She left the door open just wide enough so that he could sneak in, and walked back to her armchair, set next to the window. She looked at the bus stop outside. A red bus had stopped, and a young man with a purple backpack slung over his shoulder was sitting at the last window seat, waving to a woman by the side of the road. They were both smiling. On the outside. All cheeks and lips and teeth. Nothing in the eyes.
She thought she heard the sound of claws scratching against the wood of the door. With a start she sat up. But no, it was the Nair boy again, dragging his toy car over the marble. I have to talk them again, she thought, and settled back. The bus had gone now, disappeared around the corner. But the woman stood, her hand held against her forehead. To shade herself against the cool morning sun, or to hide her tears?
Akash would probably call today. She held her phone to her eyes so that she could see the letters. She pressed a few buttons. Did she have enough credit to take a roaming call? Yes. Just about. She reminded herself to tell the milkman tomorrow to get her a recharge.
She cleared her throat. The sound hit the wall, lingered in the air for a moment, then slid down to the ground. She thought of pink paws, long hair, wet nose, broken whiskers, waving tail. Lakshmi rolled her head sideways. The bowl sat there, untouched. The shadows were lengthening. Polly didn’t come today either.
Maybe she will come tomorrow.
Enjoyed this post? Subscribe to my newsletter and stay in touch