The Irvine Valley Writers’ Group (IVWG), the writing group I belong to, periodically host internal “assignments”, just prompts to get the creative juices flowing.
Our assignment for February was a re-write of the classic children’s tale The Three Little Pigs. I found it difficult to get a handle on this one. I just couldn’t come up with anything I thought was fun or creative enough to present to the rest of the group.
I knew I wanted to write something which was a parody of the current economic times, turning the big bad wolf into the big bad credit crunch. I knew I wanted to turn the pigs in to people.
So, in the spirit of full disclosure (also, it will be published on the IVWG website before too long) I hereby present my re-write of The Three Little Pigs. It was by no means the best or most creative example within the group, in fact I’d say it was near the bottom, but it was interesting and fun, either way.
Oh, and by way of explanation, I’ve chosen the format of a morning radio show with the DJ named Chaz interviewing a man named John Porcus (see what I did there?). So, here you go:
– Sure, we’ve all heard about the dire economic state of the world – The Big Bad Credit Crunch, as it were. While everyone undoubtedly knows about the housing crisis, we here at KCRW wanted to know more; we wanted to explore the personal side of The Big Bad. So a few weeks ago we went out to find someone who could tell us their story. Enter my next guest, Mr. John Porcus, the youngest of three brothers who have all been affected by the fall of the housing market. I’m happy to say that John has agreed to come on the air to tell his story; good morning John.
-Morning, Chaz, thanks for having me.
-Not at all, not at all. Now, in your e-mail you said it’s not only yourself but also your whole family who were affected.
-That’s right, Chaz.
-Sounds pretty awful, why don’t you tell us what happened…
-Well, I imagine it’s all just been a result of some rather bad timing. About four years ago our mother met an married an Australian man and they emigrated together to Australia, following the sun, you see, which meant that my brothers and I no longer had a place to stay.
-It wasn’t the best, no. So we all went out and bought our own homes. It seemed perfect – we had a few months of freedom before it all came crashing down… We’d all done it differently, you see. My oldest brother, Jack, is in banking. With a secure job in a major bank he stretched himself a bit beyond his means, bought a lovely, grand stone house in the country. Then there was Joe who is a structural engineer and at the time was working for a fast-growing construction company with building sites all over the place. He moved in with his girlfriend but they bought a brand new house off-plan, one of those wood frame house, in one of his company’s developments which was scheduled for completion near the end of the summer. I was a bit more cautious. I’m a teacher, you see, on a much smaller salary than my brothers.
-So, John, what did you do?
-I convinced our Mother to keep the family home and I took over the payments on the mortgage.
-Yes, well, it’s a nice house. A cottage, very old – been in the family for generations. Thatched roof…
-Right, and the monthly payments…
-Small. Very small.
-Sly! So now you and your brothers are all living in your new homes, enjoying the peace and quiet. Then what.
-Well, then everything went to heck, Chaz. Jack lost his job at the bank within weeks at the beginning of the economic crisis. On top of that, all of his investments were now worth very little and his glorious stone villa lost a lot of value. Was worth less than what he paid for it, anyway. Which would have been tolerable had he been able to continue payments, but, of course, being unemployed, he couldn’t.
-So he lost his house.
-So he lost his house.
-What about Joe?
-Well, the company Joe was working for shut down and he was made redundant. His house never got built past the wood frame. He got some money back from what he paid, but not enough, really. Oh, and his girlfriend dumped him.
-Jobless and homeless. Like Jack.
-That’s right, Chaz.
-Terrible. What about you?
-Well, I’m fine. I was the lucky one. It’s strange, really. Four or five years ago my family were all on my back to get a better qualification and a better paying job with more security. *chuckle* If only they’d known…
-Does your story have a happy ending, then?
-Well, all of our stories do, really. I mean, the housing crash put a dent in all of our plans. Jack lost his stone mansion. Joe lost his brand new wooden house. Thankfully, though, I’ve still got the family home – our lovely thatched cottage that my great-great-great-great grandfather built with his own hands. We’re all living together again, of course, because they have nowhere else to go, but it’s working out OK for now.
-That’s right. For now.
-What a great story. Thanks so much for sharing, John. I wish you and your brothers all the best.
-Thanks for having me Chaz, it’s been fun.
-So, listeners, what do you think about John’s story? What about yours? Did the Big Bad Credit Crunch cause you as much grief as the Porcus family? Get in touch via e-mail or text message. Or you can visit the website where you can leave feedback on today’s story. And now back to the music…
When I get the others’ pieces published on the IVWG website I will link them. They are all excellent. One in particular will have you laughing so hard you will struggle to get oxygen to your brain. I am quite blessed to have found such an excellent, supportive group of people who share a passion for writing.
Our next assignment was actually one that I thought of. I printed off some famous first lines from classic novels and everyone had to choose a line at random. The task is to use that first line as your own first line and create a story from that.
The catch? Our word limit is 200 words!! Of course, the 200 word limit does not count the famous first line, otherwise some would only have a few words left!
Fancy having a go? Choose a number between 1 and 100, go to This Website and find the corresponding famous first line. Then think of an additional 200 words that tells a story following on from that first line. If you are familiar with the novel from which the line comes try to go in a different direction than the plot of that novel.
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I haven’t written my 200 words yet, but as soon as I do, you’ll know about it!