Somewhere amongst my Northern roots lies a tie to Scotland, knotted in the heart of Edinburgh, where my Grandma grew up. And it was Betty Smith that first handed me a Toffee Apple and warm tattie. So when the brief landed to write about fireworks, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to what makes Bonfire Night so special for children and big kids a-like.
I didn’t have to look far for inspiration – as my mind is packed with vivid memories of cold November evenings spent with family and friends building fires, stuffing and stitching Guy Fawkes and lighting (or quivering beneath) fireworks in the back garden.
I took a conceptual approach to my sestude, thinking about the rhythm and flow of a display and the best way to evoke this sense of serendipity through my writing. Thus, I decided to throw caution to the wind and create my own form and structure, using line breaks as punctuation to build suspense and guide the reader through every twist and turn, gracefully leading them to the final crescendo.
Breaking the rules one writer might follow felt to me like the perfect way to honour a tradition inspired by one of the biggest rule breakers of all…Mr Guy Fawkes and his gunpowder plot.
By Tom Cleeland