ShutUp30.26: Don’t Be a Stranger


Write a bio of yourself at an earlier stage of your life.


What is she passionate about?

Spiller’s Records, and the big laminated book that lets her order Fugazi records for nothing.

What is her morning ritual?

Staying in bed until the absolute latest that will allow her to walk into morning registration in the final minute.

Is she close with her family?

Close but emotionally reticent. Believes that feelings are a kind of private shame.

What is her favourite holiday? Why?

Staying at home while her parents go away, because it’s almost like being a grown-up.

What does she fear the most?

That she’ll be stuck here forever. That there will always be school. That there will always be predators, never subject to the rules of adulthood.

What is her worst memory?

The predators, and the time they wrote an ironic poem about how ‘beautiful’ she was. They sent it to a local DJ, who dutifully read it out. Oh, how they cackled. There’s a part of her that hates that DJ.

What are her goals?

To go far.


ShutUp30.23: A Day in the Life


Take a character from one of your stories. Answer some questions about them. Then, write their average day before the story starts.

Ivy woke long before the light, as she did every morning. She clicked on the bedside lamp and turned over to squint at the dial of the alarm clock. 4:32, it said. That was 36 minutes more than yesterday, at least.

Turning sent a shooting pain down her gammy leg. She spent the next five minutes massaging the aching tissue, and the five minutes after that trying to breath deeply like Doctor Singh had taught her. She didn’t really believe that it helped, but it was probably worth a try.

At five to five, Ivy swung her bad leg over the side of the bed and lowered it gingerly to the floor. She turned off the ringer on her alarm clock, wondering when the last time it had actually rung was. Still, Sharon had been thoughtful to pick out one so solid and familiar. Ivy hated the red buzzing lights and over-cheerful morning DJs that came with most modern clocks.

It took Ivy about five minutes to get down the stairs these days. The kettle isn’t going anywhere, she thought ruefully, using both her cane and the rail to bolster her bones against the shocks of gravity. By the time she arrived in the kitchen, she’d more than earned a cuppa and a sit down. In a wee while, she’d put some porridge on. Once the sun came up.


What do they do in their free time?

Bingo, shopping, a walk on the beach.

Where do they go on vacation? How often?

Madeira, once a year, with the Legion.

Do they collect anything?

Porcelain ornaments.

Do they give support to a charity? Which one?

Royal British Legion, volunteers in Marie Curie Cancer Care charity shop

Do they read books? Go to the movies?

Reader’s Digest, Silver Cinema at the Odeon

Do they have plants in their home?

Cheese plant (dusted every day)

Do they cook?

Since Arthur passed, mostly tinned fish and toast. Porridge for breakfast. Discounted breakfast pastries when she can get them.

Are they politically involved?

Politicians are all the bloody same.

What are their habits?

Early to rise. Fond of comparing greengrocers’ prices across the town, using her free bus pass. Walks with a cane. Tuesdays bingo, Thursdays Silver Cinema. Tea with Sharon and the boys on Saturdays. Church on Sundays.

What do they have in their bathroom cabinet? Under their bed?

A lot of pills, mostly Arthur’s. Under the bed there is a chamber pot, although Ivy isn’t quite sure why. It just seems a shame to throw it away.