Form 8 Writing
The following pieces were produced under exam conditions, in Form 8's recently undertaken school assessments. As part of Common Entrance English, pupils must write a piece of non-fiction (sometimes a discursive essay) and a piece of creative text (often a narrative or a description). They have 35 minutes to complete each of these tasks. I'll let that sink in as you read these stylish, interesting compositions, which see a number of our top year push their own creative boundaries and reach new levels of originality. Well done, Form 8.
Are Kindles killing books?
Nowadays, technology is taking over the world. People have phones bigger than their hands, and you can talk to someone 5000 miles away. One great thing about technology now, is that you can read your favourite book anywhere you go on one device: the Kindle. However, is this really as good as you think it is?
Firstly, Kindles are great devices because they are like a mini portable library. You can store all of your favourite books into one. The Kindle store offers almost any book you can think of, from science fiction to fan-fiction. It is also great because you can buy a book in just one click; who wouldn’t want to do that? To not waste your time walking down the street to buy a book, but to do it in three seconds. Another fantastic advantage of having a Kindle is that you can buy a book for half the price it costs in a shop. Books can be extortionate; why pay that much? The average cost for a Kindle book is less than £4. Also, if you don’t understand a certain word, you can highlight it and it will take you straight to the definition. How amazing is that?! So, I guess there are a lot of advantages to having a Kindle, but I have to mention some disadvantages, too.
One disadvantage of owning a Kindle is that most Kindles have access to the Internet… you know what that means. Kids, or even adults, can get easily distracted by going on the net. This means they are not doing what is better for you: reading. Also, many people like to have a fresh, new book in their hands, not yet another technological device. Following on from that point, people like to go out and buy an actual new book, not just continuously clicking ‘Buy’. Additionally, your Kindle can break. This means you can’t read your book, and you will need to put time and effort into fixing it or buying a new one. Lastly, people can’t afford Kindles; they are very pricey, and I think this could be classed as unfair.
So, a Kindle, or a fresh new book? Both have advantages and disadvantages, but personally, I think that Kindles are a great opportunity for reading, and reading, and reading… I would definitely rate them if you are a keen reader.
‘The weather tightened like a fist’
Rain battered down on the fragile panes of the white windows. A leaden cloud shadowed across the surface of the musky earth. Drab clouds hung from the stony-faced sky like puppets. Whimpering, a stray dog shook its drenched black coat and its inquisitive eyes searched rapidly for sanctuary from this vile weather. Grass curled sad and alone, afraid of the rain which was smothering it.
Then, the weather tightened like a fist. The rain, which was already battering down, turned from bad to worse, and an avalanche of unwanted water poured onto the flooded terrain.
The feeling of the annoyed people was prominent. Children wanted to go and play and tugged on their mothers’ balaclavas, but were thrown away by a look of, “Sorry kid, but no.” They wouldn’t be going out to play today. The gnarled trunks of trees were crooked like old men’s backs and their branches sagged, no longer in the luxury of the green leaves which protected them from sodden days like this.
The steel sky longed for the joy of the birds, which used to be there but now were gone, and would be a long time in coming back. A musty aroma hung in the saturated air. Tough houses repelled the rain away, on a mission to keep the people who lived inside dry.
Suddenly, the sun rose, casting the lead and amber clouds away. The landscape was infinitely grateful for this good deed. The rain began to evaporate, and even though the village was lacking its usual bird calls and green leaves, the sound of the children’s laughter replaced this absence. Giggling children splashed in the muddle puddles, droplets of opaque water trickled down their precious noses, and enormous grins filled their faces as the drops trickled off their noses, tickling as they went.
Families were brought together by the waking of the sun, as people of all ages slipped back to childhood for one moment, remembering the precious days of splashing in puddles, dancing in their welly boots with people they loved, being innocent and free, before resuming to their daily lives of adulthood, their lives of experience.
The Writing on the Wall
‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’ The swirling teal and steel flowed together like a rapid river, pouring over each other almost effortlessly. The pine and lime swayed in and out of each other like tall trees flowing through with beautiful leaves. The way the brush strokes flowed, the shape of the trees and the river… graffiti in the writing, I couldn’t work out what it said, but he flow colours were amazing.
Closer in, the predators were hunting their prey, the jade colours in the camouflage made it impossible for the hunted prey. The pupils of the eyes were even coming out of the reflection. The forest scene, copper, pea, turquoise, all rammed into one space. Yet people walked past as if it were a smudge.
Heliotrope feathers came off the reflection of the rarest birds. Closer into the reflection, peachy sap came off the mossy trees. Fish swam through the azure river. Baby blue mixed with the shadowy sky of the background. Lazy pandas sat on the sage canopy, eating the chartreuse bamboo. Raven and topaz tigers roared at gazelles.
The image was faded, delft blue disappearing. The emerald of the treetops was now just green. At the top, peacock and apricot spilled out of the corner. The whole picture had obviously got duller, but the navy, cyan and royal blue stream kept the life going. The size of this writing filled the wall, with twists as long as the Bible, as short as peace. The sparkling shingle reflected the golden glow from the glorious sun. I still wonder what those words said.
The Writing on the Wall
I remember the day. Stepping over the threshold into the unknown. I hesitated, but didn’t look back at my inky-coloured hatchback. I gripped by belongings and held onto my precious cargo. Before I wandered cautiously through to the next room waiting for me, I took a couple of shots for the website, but they appeared too dark on the screen. I gently tapped a damp, saggy armchair and a huge cloud of dust flew upwards like a smoker pushing out unwanted smoke. A huge, framed picture hung on the pine-coloured walls sadly, and the old chandelier above my head had lost its sparkle. My footsteps echoed around the wide corridors and many doors on either side of me led to various different destinations. I didn’t want to continue on, but my mind and my body wanted to see what was round the corner.
Stale crusts of bread sat on the counter, waiting patiently to be chucked away. A dirty pan perched on the stove, still grimy with dishes that had been cooked decades ago.
I found myself in a large bedroom. A huge bay window in one corner, and a huge dressing table standing proudly in it. A pair of earrings lay on the oak-toned wood, and a beautiful pearl necklace beside them. The bed was perfectly made, but one of the pillows was out of place, and the quilt pulled back a fraction. I dismissed it, and continued on. I walked quietly into a small bathroom. The once-cream walls had been replaced by a browny colour consisting of mostly damp. Before I tiptoed out, I saw that a thin layer of ice-cold water was sitting lazily in the cramped bath I almost dashed out, and found myself in another long and winding corridor; it was like a maze.
I traced my fingers along the thick walls, and a layer of dust particles built up on them. That was when I came across the writing. I tried to figure out all the numbers, dates and names into any meaning, but I couldn’t. Then I noticed a yellowed and curled piece of paper lying by the stone floor. I picked it up with trembling hands, and read it all. I figured out that it was the height of the children that had once lived in this once-magnificent household.
Even though I had been taking many photos, I snapped quite a few of the height chart and letter at different angles. I let the letter float down to the ground, and I watched it fly to the cold floor like a feather. As soon as the frail page did touch, I head a bang, almost like someone shutting a heavy door. I froze, and tried to calm down. I managed to make my way down to the massive front door, which towered over me. I heaved it open and sprinted to my safety zone. I tugged at the door until it would open, then locked myself inside.
Swiftly, I glanced back at the once-beautiful house, and at the overgrown and bushy garden. My eyes caught sight of a small figure wearing black at one of the huge bay windows. I turned my head away, and slammed on the accelerator pedal. My mind was whizzing around and I couldn’t stop thinking about one thing; all the things that were left, but not normal. The food, the bed, the bathwater.
A single, salty tear bled from my eyes, and they continued to come.
A Balloon Trip
The thought of being up in the vast, bright blue sky seemed to amaze me. My dream as a child was to be able to fly with all the lucky birds that were given wings as babies. I felt frustrated and picked on by the almighty Lord. But I never gave up on my dream. I decided to embrace my flying spirit, and got to work.
After many years, my first prototype was completed; its name was Angelica. Still to this day I don’t know where I got that name from, but it seemed to come from the influence of my childhood. Try after try, I battled on to find the solution to my troubles. My parents thought I was a maniac, and never trusted me. One night when I was asleep, they burnt down my workshop. I never saw them again.
One day, as Christmas time neared, I went out for a stroll. In one of the shop windows I saw an oval ball, with a label reading: ‘Balloon’. Without delay I stormed back to the orphanage where I now lived, and drew many inspirational pictures. Countless calculations later, I discovered that it was possible to make a man-sized air balloon. That night, and for many nights after, I dreamed of this balloon I knew I could create.
On September 23rd, the balloon was ready to go. The thought of death frightened me and made me shiver, but there was no turning back now.
Thankfully, the balloon inflated and without looking behind me I clambered into the basket. My heart raced like a Formula 1 car, and my legs became jelly. A tear came to my eye, I gently wiped it away and now, the balloon left the ground. Further and further up I went, through the dense clouds, I could see another life. The wind was wafting my face like elephant ears. I finally heard silence. I thanked the Lord for the opportunity. At last, my dream had come true.
‘The weather tightened like a fist’
It hit us with another fateful blow, like a boxer out on his feet in the ring. The cold, bitter air sneaked through the cracks like a mouse, and stroked us with its frosted touch. Alone in the wilderness, a hedgehog curled in a ball as tight as the bond between a squirrel and an acorn. The wind tore the trees savagely side to side, pulling and stretching them.
As the fire gently crackled and spat, up above the wind was tearing at the roof, picking up slates and smashing them on the ground. As the skies grew darker, the welkin grumbled like an old man. The odd flash of lightning lit the sky like a music festival. A rabbit was woken by the susurration of the wind piling down its burrow like a ton of bricks.
The dark emerald and magenta sky halted in silence for a split second. There was a deathly silence, not a sound could be heard for miles around. Sitting in the quiet, an owl scoured the ground, looking for potential prey to eat on this stormy night. As the last person switched off the light and fell into bed to fall into sleep, the storm followed on behind.