When I signed up, I didn’t expect to be stressed to the max by a simple writing challenge.
You see, when I graduated from the Beano (a boys comic book) I advanced to the works of Alistair MacLean and Dennis Wheatley …. not exactly English prose. Over the years the likes of John le Carre and Frederick Forsyth have provided my staple reading diet.
So you see my dilemma, chicken out of the challenge or admit that I’m not widely read in the classics.
Well I’m glad that’s out of the way.
Moving right along, sometime in the sixties, after Dennis the Menace, Billy Whizz and the Bash Street Kids (my Beano friends) and before George Smiley came Winston Smith ….. and BIG BROTHER (not to be confused with that jellyfish Big Brother once again being served up to us as entertainment here in Australia).
Poor Winston his life in “Oceania” was a controlled existence.
“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed – no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull”. George Orwell, 1984
1984 was a bit of a watershed for me. Not in the sense that it encouraged me to write, heaven knows, when it comes to writing I have gone through life generally managing five words on a greeting card, whether it’s Christmas or birthday, five words has been about my limit. But rather in the sense that it all seemed frighteningly possible. For all I knew ‘Big Brother’, ‘thoughtcrime’ and ‘newspeak’ could become reality if it were not already true in the Cold War climate of the sixties.
Orwell’s words are easy to digest and it’s not long before you are drawn into the grey drab world of Winston Smith. The style he uses is to the point, engaging and without flowery embellishment, a style that suits the story and an easy read for someone use to digesting popular fiction.
For me I like clarity. Lets see how I go as I pursue more of these challenges