BITS AND PIECES III
Centre for Multilingual Academic Communication University of Jyväskylä Finland
This collection comprises authentic texts produced by the participants of the creative writing course offered at the Centre for Multilingual Academic Communication, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, in autumn 2019. Texts cover a broad range of creative writing genres, such as short story, horror story, memoirs, science fiction and poetry. Course activities involved individual and collaborative writing. Peer reading, commenting and reflecting on one’s own writing process was an essential part of the course. The publication begins with some reflections on the process of creative writing. Writing as self-exploration, relaxation, experimentation with the language, writing as a way of life… Texts reveal a great amount of creativity and imagination, involvement and passion for writing. I hope the writers’ love of creative writing will continue and open the doors into new writing experiences and different creative expressions.
Anna Kyppö Lecturer and Editor
Contributing authors (in alphabetical order): Lucas Aucher Lada Azarenko Anni Korhonen Margot Lefèvre Aino Lehtonen Fufan Liu Julia Martinez Nieto
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Aino Lehtonen Why I am writing Excerpts from a reflective diary I am a fan of reading and twiddling with words in my daily life; a book enthusiast and social media content creator. However, I feel that somehow that has not been enough. Yet, I have never before felt so strongly that I am a writer in its true essence. Thus, I welcome the opportunity to expand my horizon as a writer and experiment with the new things. The course of creative writing has offered an outlet to experiment within a steady “schedule”. Everyone was encouraged to write in one’s own manner. Besides that, I am happy that I could explore different styles of writing. I would have never ever thought about writing a horror story, but somehow I enjoyed it (maybe due to all those detective books I read during my summers). I also believe that this group was enough, although it was small. We were all active writers reading each other’s texts and giving feedback to each other. I hope I will continue in writing. I feel that I got “the hang of it” – why it feels like a lifeline for so many people. I like expressing myself through words and I think I am slowly getting better at it. Thus, I only hope I will keep on writing.
Aino Lehtonen She never found out what hit her
She could feel the pieces breaking through her skin and the warmth of her own blood before she even heard the window shattering The glass cutting her skin felt like if someone were violating her body, and the blood streaming down her face, shoulders and chest, felt like a hug. She could smell the iron in her blood and the sea breeze coming from the harbor. It was cold and windy - she couldn’t help thinking that she should have put a sweater on.
Before she hit the ground, she silently gasped, almost like getting ready for the pain. She has never heard such a ghastly sound as when her own bones were getting broken. Her jaw, right shoulder, ribs and the hip cracked to tiny fragments and snapped in halves. The asphalt drilled the pieces of the glass deeper, travelling through her tissues all the way to the muscles, making the crisscross patterns across her skin. Her shirt was torn to pieces and her left shoe flew through the air to the side of the road (right after the impact).
The asphalt felt cold and harsh on her broken skin. She shivered and tried to keep her eyes open, thinking that she might look more alive if she does so. Nevertheless, she could not see a thing.
After a while, she heard a car hitting the breaks. Someone opened a car door. Then she heard the footsteps approaching her. “Miss, miss, can you hear me?” a man spoke to her. The pieces of glass under his shoes creaked, and once the sound got more loudly, she knew he was close to her face. “Oh Christ,” he said, before he grabbed his phone and dialed 112.
She flickered her lashes, trying to see the man. The man was speaking in a shaky voice giving someone the coordinates.
She couldn’t focus on his speech. Inhaling the sea breeze, detecting the saltiness in the air, she wished once again to have worn a thicker sweater.
Then she tried to whisper something and the man leaned towards her asking her to repeat. Her voice was barely a whisper. Her breathing sounded arduous. It was difficult to open the mouth to let out the sound. Yet she managed to pass her last thought to the man before the pain took over. “I cannot see”.
Aino Lehtonen Seven days
Back to the harsh reality Spending days at the library Making plans and learning the new Trip to the forest and then you Even in the middle of nowhere Will I not stop? You make my heart drop Will that ever be enough?
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Aino Lehtonen A new day
Sitting paralyzed Under the covers Looking at the light Streaming through the window A thought emerging Or maybe a wish for sleeping more
A sigh, a groan, a yawn One of the three A deep, long, sweet stretch Pursued
And now, finally the race The curious state of mind Or the shell of the assembly Who is the winner?
Lucas Aucher Mist and faĂ§ade While her eyebrows were explicitly jealous of each other, arguing which one was thinner, her nose and ears disgusted by the platitude of arguments caused by the friction of the eyebrows, quietly descended towards his feet.
Oh, gravity! How beautiful! An excuse to get out of this noise.
There was the time, when these hairy neighbors did not drag their tongues, only their melancholic uselessness. Rising at the same time, tirelessly helping each other to comply.
Passive like the foam of a wave, the relic of a feeling trying to express oneself, they transformed themselves into the mimes. Mimicking the language, they had become the interpreters, mimicking the ears, they had become an auditory hatch from the outside world. Simple mimes â€“ they only wanted to acquire a true understanding of themselves and consequently of the world. No matter, whether the medulla allowed them to capture the surrounding sounds and let them get reproduced by means of their friction, the lack of a visual system prevented them from seeing the unreligious gestures of the others.
The colors of the globe remained the monopoly of the two mirettes. They heard about an incredible landscape constantly animated by the tongue. Lapping the merits of Madame Bovary, boo, in which Marie's tears got doubled accordingly with the rain. A beautiful landscape killing all what she said.
They could hear the hair coming dangerously close. They had to unite against this invasion from above. Blind, schismatic discussions on their fuselage followed by the convergence. Instead of running away, they would become one. A feature, a wrinkle, a sign of collective pragmatism.
When crimping the bulbs in search of the prism that would mimic the eyes, their pigments turned grey. Of course, some of them were independent â€“ those, who flew into exile under the growing curtain of hair. Not to mention the autonomous ones, tempting at establishing themselves in lower ranks. Finally, there were the suicides and kamikaze. A fatalistic suicide lacking the patience to wait and seemingly seeing only the sum of individual happiness in this collective adventure. Tired of waiting, they were stalling, drowning in their impatience.
The Kamikazes left also without the return. The last kamikaze left on Monday. It was a particularly blowing day. He hoped for falling, collecting samples of sclera from the surface of cornea, moving up by the force of the wind and dropping the extract on the others.
The wind stopped suddenly. He touched the cornea. Remaining in the corner of the eye for two days, he acquired the basics of ocular projection. He has never been so happy. He landed at the well of knowledge. The walls of the well were a source of inspiration during the day, but a terrible monster at night. When the eyelids were closed, only the memory of those, who stayed at the top to warm up in the dark, was left.
One morning he woke up soaked. He understood that he would not last a day anymore. Suddenly, as a researcher worshipping his environment, he became again the adventurer whose life could not stop at halfway. First, clinging to the walls to let the waves of tears pass, the hair finally disappeared in the torrent of ocular mystery. No wind on this November Wednesday. Only the mist diffusing into humid air the goodbye to his companions.
The story goes that the last kamikaze did not fall down to the ground. Lost in the mist, he would have landed on a little girl's wrist. The story also tells that, with the help of
few comrades, he would sometimes go and seek for the comfort of a cuddly hand, slip into the little girl's hand.
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Lucas Aucher I, I, I, No Bars, No Us Terraced, tired, The water resting, Sleeping without the hammer of charm and passivity of time,
Fire boiling the water, Nothing is left.
Compulsory schools adorned with assets that made prisons jealous. The gutters enclosed in their cylindrical shapes The statute of "children" deleted Supplanted by « recent » The status of poets abolished Supplanted by « decent » Clustered under the dry, exemplary eye of morality The steam of yesterday's tears Relative and comforting Liberty in the bevy Trebly forget the "I" to-day.
Anni Korhonen Inside the unknowing The evening mist surrounding Wrapping us inside out I feel like shivering Somehow, your laughter keeps me warm My fingers turning pink And yours sliding into my pockets, playful
Drumming of a heart In a fingerstyle guitar Resonating through the sealed door Like your inner world Broken glass hanging in the air Reflecting the unspoken words And the scent of cinnamon in your hair Speaking loudly
Is it wrong to give it away? The silly thing
Beating in your chest To never-ending promises of Thousands of tomorrows Like the two monarchs in the moonlight
Now the thing I held sacred Is yours and yours only
Anni Korhonen What I am carrying
The neon lights flashing, exhaustedly blinking The cooler buzzing Groaning in the empty hallway I sympathize Sitting on the lonely bench Thinking of yesterday's sorrows
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Margot Lefèvre The Lake I was studying. I just needed a break, so I decided to get some fresh air. The night was cold and dark. Nevertheless, that didn’t matter, I wanted to go out.
I went for my usual hike – approximately three kilometers along the forest trails. After an hour, I stopped for a break. Sitting on a log, I listened to the nature. I must have dozed off. The time to get back – yet l over two kilometers left.
Suddenly, I stumbled on a baton, I thought. Nevertheless, I continued in my way. Somehow, this baton seemed to be rather big. I was curious, so I turned back. How strange! A sheet on the baton! My pulse was racing. I removed the sheet. I lit it up with my phone’s torch but I could not identify what was there. It was not a tree, neither a plant, nor an animal…
In the dark, I recognized my favorite lake. I stopped to enjoy the moment. I stumbled again. A face! I stumbled on a face! Then I fell into the lake.
I burst into tears. I started to shout. What have I seen? Was it me in the lake? I did not want to know any more…
I got out of the water and started to run. I was running, running, running…
Margot Lefévre Night and the Red Square I am in Moscow, on the Red Square. In front of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The Kremlin is only a few meters far away, on the right. On the left, there is an impressive illuminated shopping center.
Buildings are beautiful, the lights are beautiful, people are beautiful, and the skies are beautiful. The Red Square is beautiful. Many famous buildings next to each other one square, three famous buildings…
I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this moment with others exchange students. Everyone smiles. Some of us are posing in front of the buildings; the others are taking souvenir pictures.
Source TripAdvisor, Moscow
The Red Square is overcrowded. People have come from the entire world. An amazing concentration of foreigners - Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, English…Everyone is looking around taking pictures of the buildings.
We wander round, aimlessly. Cathedrals, lights, peopleâ€Ś
At 7 pm, we go back to the hostel. Nobody wants to leave. Or rather, nobody wants to leave before going once again back to the Red Square. The night has felt down, and it makes the square even more beautiful. The lights of the Saint Basilâ€™s Cathedral are more visible now. Magic.
Suddenly the church bells start to ring. Everyone gets quiet. Everyone is staring at the square. Everyone is living this moment.
Fufan Liu An Unknown Familiar Object Well, the being-touched-feeling of uncanny experiences may occur at any time. You see some things from a motorbike in a different way. I donâ€™t mean the way people casually do the things during their long-distance motor biking, I mean how they use motor bikes in their daily life.
My father used to take me home after school on a motorbike, when I was in elementary school. I always tried to get his attention by distracting him on the backseat. Perhaps he would ask me some questions and I would try to dodge them over explaining what happened in class. He was not good at small talks, nor educated enough to spill out fresh opinions. Instead, he would comment on the people in streets, badly behaving vehicles and some of my teachers and school pals. Perhaps too judgmental. Regardless of my defending comments, I couldnâ€™t recall, whether I did that just because of fairness or sympathy. One thing was sure sometimes it felt good, especially, when the conversation was hindered by heavy rain or windy weather.
Photo Fufan Liu
During one of these countless rides, he pointed towards something in the sky and said “You see that over there?” with his signature taunting tone of warm-glowing parent’s care: “That is an alien spaceship…” It was a “Flying Disk”, the Chinese abbreviation for UFO. The object though, was a disk-mounded streetlight attached to a base with a thin pole. For the little me, the object was high up in the skies, with the rimmed halo against a canvas of dark grey blue. It was there, stationary and mysterious. How can someone pass by without even giving a glance at it?
Apparently, I was more observant than the others were. Sort of a superpower. After that, whenever passing by, I kept exploring the UFO in various ways in the hope it would somehow activate itself. I imagined it would spin around, when no humans were nearby. However, I didn’t expect it to take me for a ride. It was, after all, a spaceship. Moreover, I was supposed to go to school on time and live my kid’s life according to the schedule.
On and off my mind for many years, I reached the point, when I was not quite sure whether it has ever happened. It was something like falling asleep, when the imagination dissolves into reality, a lucid dream, in which I am in control. Perhaps a stretched complexion that needs to be decoded or firm belief receding into an occasional montage. What was clear though, was the concept of a family, at the time known, and yet rather strange. The arguments, quarrels, fights, cold wars and hidden agonies lying here and there at the corner of happiness, delight, joy, in the overused doors, tables and plates.
We already lived in another part of the city. Whenever passing the UFO square, I tried to soak myself into the shot-lived images of light, floating midair, ready to disappear into the mist. Maybe the vague imagination outlives the organic configuration.
At some moments, I could not recognize him as a father anymore. I could not think about anything even remotely connected to him. However, at the point, when I realized how much I wanted to avoid this relationship, the motorbike ride came back to my mind. When I asked him about the UFO years later, he laughed and joked in a warm and funny way. He did not know it was one of my best childhood memories. I thought the UFO was not moving because of trying to avoid people’s attention, but perhaps it was the motionlessness of nobody’s attention. The disk was to fulfil people’s mind with those magic feelings of urban life, where every person is often an unknown familiar object no one cares about. I realized that the mythical attraction of life leaves the feeling of obscurity and fascination more than the sense of control and tightly arranged schedule.
I started to collect the images with my camera and contemplate about the alternatives compressed in the blink of an eye. For an instant of exposure, I thought about the UFO on the verge of a dream. Those moments represented the hope for the life.
I was back in town. I thought I might visit the UFO. Everything was changed. Thanks to my father’s guidance, I shortly arrived at the site. Fluffy clouds dribbled the blue sky towards the sun. People were passing by as before. The UFO though, could not be seen anywhere. “Maybe it is due to the city construction. They are tearing down the old stuff all the time”. In the viewfinder of my camera, I spotted randomly moving angels. Suddenly, I felt something was fleeting out of the frame. “The kid looks smart…”
I put my camera down. Indeed. The End
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Lada Azarenko The spring of my Life I left my last glass unfinished: there was nothing good in getting back home completely inadequate. The cafeteria was half-empty, I even thought there might have been more service staff than the visitors might. The sweet smell of wine mixed with some weathered perfume and sweat spreaded all over my place. I was sure there was no chance of sneaking out unnoticed. My eyes mowed, my legs got heavy and my whole body heated up, however, the state of my mind was perfect. I bet I could have won a lottery at that moment! After a minute of inspirational speculations, I stood up and cast myself towards the exit, swinging like a birch tree in the wind.
Oh, it was a dance, it felt like knocking on heavens` doors. A melody of youth ringing in my head, my eyes became a pair of topaz in the twilight. The two fresh red roses that burnt my skin must have been my cheeks. The sun was hidden behind the roofs; a weak breeze blew from the channel as if lifting me up above the ground.
I sat down onto the bench and lit a cigarette. The unbearable lightness of being â€“ that was it. I rose above myself and gained the spiritual essence. The yard that was always so ugly seemed to be pure poetry. What a wonder it is to be alive!
Even though there were no lanterns in the lane, I had no fear of darkness. A strange power carried me throughout the distance. The time accelerated with every step.
Suddenly something - a window bumped into my eyes. What kind of emotions can someone get from a rectangular cutout revived by a table lamp? What if in a second it turns into the center of the Universe? I have again lost the control.
I kept waiting and hoping. Finally, I got what I craved for: a figure approached the window and cracked it open. A fuming cigarette in the corner of his mouth, he squinted as he always did when smoking, breathing it out in a glaucous manner. I recalled an old Russian song: “My love lives on the fifth floor, Nearly over the moon…” I felt like a milkshake during the process of shaking. Like in a 4D movie or on a rollercoaster – the same inability to make a sound. I shrank to the size of a sand grain. A shadow of the past crawled over me, as sticky as a scotch tape. He finished smoking and left me alone in the deafening night, already blind, however, sober. More sober than ever.
Lada Azarenko Where are the trains taking me? You are like downy snow That on the domes of churches, Among the crows, Secretly shelters the night With the white. Go down, man To a simple life in a cold land. We will go away together In any of the four directions I shall stand on the steps Then the most ordinary trains will take me away.
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Lada Azarenko Cone Forest He smoked off his loss Into the Eyes of the Night Wet and wide open The Eyes that see nothing The Eyes that have seen everything.
He stroked the silence with his hand She quietly exhaled in response
He crushed the ground with his feet, Gritting her teeth Keeping the soaring sky Giving the man relief.
A cone swished between the leaves A branch slightly nodded, He would always go the forest To be alone.
Julia Martinez Nieto UNINTENDED, UNSTOPPABLE, UNKNOWN Bitter sweet, A drop of life Sang by the light. An anacrusis right Before the kickoff.
No eyes Wet skin shivers Dismal warmth Leaks through its fingers, Never to come back.
Jolted asleep, roused From a jarring screech. Against the asphalt, The hourglass shatters He knows nothing.
It begins and ends In perfect stillness. An accidental dream Never intended, never to be Dreamed again. Unknown.
Photo Anna Kyppรถ
Students' texts produced on the course of creative writing in English.