You may be interested to learn that I’ve been working on a project over the last couple of years: an MA in creative writing with the OU. For my final assignment, I’ve drawn together some of the material from the experiences I’ve talked about here, and have a written a collection of short stories about the darker side of Milton Keynes. I’m currently working on publishing these but in the meantime, here’s an except from ‘The Abbey Bones’ …
To entertain myself, and hopefully entertain others as well, I’m currently pursuing a creative writing course with the fine old Open University. It’s proving to be a fascinating experience, and I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I am, or to be getting such great feedback from my fellow students.
Most of the writing is peer-assessed, but every few months there’s a formal assessment point where we’re asked to put together a few thousand words, and these are marked for our eventual grade. This ‘term’, I’m working on creative non-fiction, which I thought would be a new genre for me, but it’s really the sort of thing I usually write: taking everyday experiences and looking at them from creative or unusual angles. I’ve decided that this assignment piece is going to take the form of a guided walk around one of my favourite spots, interspersed with me reflecting on architecture, hauntology, Freud’s Doppelgänger theory, psycho-geography, the memory of places, all sorts of things. Today, I set off with my good camera to take some pictures to illustrate the story and add to the ‘guided walk’ vibe.
This strange and graffiti-covered space is a mystery to me. I’ve investigated online, and try as I might, I’ve been unable to find much information about this tunnel… I’m not even sure it should really be called a tunnel, because it doesn’t actually go anywhere! It’s a disused underpass to nowhere – it looks normal enough at first, just another underpass linking two estates together – but about halfway down you realise that you’re not going to come out on the other side of the road, you’re walking to a dead end.