Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Paean to My Oyster card: First Story Workshop at Pimlico Academy

Oyster Card: give it its due
Through the freezing streets to the fabulous Pimlico Academy for an excellent First Story creative writing workshop. We wrote about abstract ideas linked with concrete places - eg, "The Palace of History", or my particular favourite, "The Sewer of Style." One of the best things that came out of it was writing letters to objects that you use day to day. So we had some brilliant letters to a ruler, a ball of blu-tac, a newspaper trolley, an apple, and a poster. Mine was to my Oyster card, and I liked it so much that I'm going to reprint (as it were) it here:

Oyster Card
Upper Right Hand Pocket


Dear Oyster Card,

Even your name is beautiful to say. Oys-ter. Redolent of the mysteries of the sea, of the beauties of gourmet dining. And with you, all those things are available - to me. I give you my gratitude for all those juddering journeys into town; all those breathless, anticipatory runs up staircases to moments of joy and hope. You are not an inexpensive friend and helper, though; but I don't begrudge you the monthly toll on my bank balance. With you, the world is my - I won't say it.

I won't mention the pearls of London life that are to be found with your elegant guidance. I won't mention the little skip of my heart that I get whenever I press you against the card reader (which, I may confide in you, is mostly because I'm worried that my balance will have run out.) But, dear oyster card - Oystie? - I jest - you are a key, a magic spell, a wonder, a Hermes, a leader into the underworld; but unlike Hermes, you also take us out - which is useful.With you, oh Oyster, the world is - I won't say it.

Thank you for your slimness, for the ease with which you fit into my wallet; for your ability, somehow, never to get lost. For all this and more, I thank you, and with you, the world is my .... lobster.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Womack

Now I hope you all go and write beautiful notes to your hoovers.

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