Martine, the creature of habit

This is an activity from the A215 Creative Writing Course that I’m doing with the OU. It involves writing a short passage of narrative whereby I have to establish a dramatic present (a character is situated in a particular place at a particular time), but with the inclusion of five habitual elements of the character’s life. It is an exercise in one of the main building blocks of structure – time (Activity 10.3).

I’ve chosen to write about Martine, a creature of habit, who has the five following habitual traits:

  1. Has lunch every workday at 1pm.
  2. Has a tea break every workday at 3pm.
  3. Takes her mother shopping, every Thursday evening, after work.
  4. Goes on holiday to Ibiza and stays in the same location, every year.
  5. She watches her son play football every Saturday afternoon.

Martine could hear gossip and tapping of fingers on keyboards, as she sat at her functional work desk, simultaneously observing her colleagues. The idle chatter wasn’t very appealing; it was yesterday’s news. Besides, it was one O’clock. That meant only one thing to Martine -‘lunch’.

‘I’ll try Tomato soup, again, tomorrow,’ she thought, as she unlocked her workstation, and continued with an on-going query.

Her belly started to rumble. As she looked up to see if Alison was ready, she was met by the high-pitched voice of Alison, shouting from across the partitioned bank of desks, ‘It’s 3 O’clock. It’s your turn to make. Bring the coffee.’

As Martine sat at her desk, sipping her milky coffee and tonguing her top right molar (to remove biscuit), she remembered that it was Thursday. She began to fidget and bite the skin of her right thumb, as she contemplated whether her mother had remembered to prepare this week’s shopping list.

‘If you leave me now’ by Chicago was playing on the radio as Martine drove home, after the expedition to Tesco. She didn’t know why, but that song always livened her mood.

‘Hi Mum, Aunt Susie wants you to give her a ring,’ said Toby, as she walked through the front door.

‘Hi, Toby. Aunt Susie must have spoken to Mr Garcia to arrange our usual rooms. Just think, in three days we’ll be in Ibiza.’

‘I can’t wait. Have you washed my football kit for Saturday’s match?’ asked Toby.

‘Do you think I’m going to stand there and give the other mum’s something to gossip about? Change the record young man,’ she uttered, as she winked at him.

About Sean

I live in my own thoughts, chat to imaginary friends, and survive primarily on Snickers and Nescafe. I work full-time and study part-time for a BA in English Literature with the OU. Home is the North West of England, and my heroes are those authors that can make miracles out of paper and words…… “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain.
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3 Responses to Martine, the creature of habit

  1. Sandi says:

    Interesting exercise; I liked the way you incorporated her habits into the narrative.

    At the risk of appearing rude, I’m glad you fixed the title: didn’t this appear yesterday with the title, “Sandra is always late”? Since my given name is Sandra, I was immediately struck by the truth of the title! Then, I realized that the passage was about Martine and felt confused. Now I feel better. I will strive not to be always late.

    Liked by 1 person

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