Yes, there is a little bit of me (maybe the left upper arm) that once a month is driven to do an 'I'm in charge' teachery thing.
Normally I don't like to admit to it.
But there it is. Once a month I run an English group, where my little band of willing pre-GCSE victims are kind enough to let me witter on about readers, writers, expectations and delights, then read out a short story before setting them a writing task.
I am all in the manner of an English teacher who is probably elderly and confused but you tolerate them nonetheless because they seem fairly harmless.
Today's writing task was to bring together two sentences. The first must describe or introduce an event that is routine, predictable, normal or comforting. And the second is to pounce on the reader with an idea that is so strange, extraordinary, or unusual, that you draw up in your seat to wonder how the world can be so composed.
I gave a couple of examples.
The alarm clock sounded as usual, at 7am. The death sentence would be carried out that afternoon.
The house looked as it had always done. Except for the gigantic elephant, balanced delicately on the roof, its trunk stuck down the chimney.
I suggested ten minutes would be sufficient to come up with two or three sentences like that. Enough to get us wondering about expectations.
After fifteen minutes, Tiger was still stuck.
She had plenty of second sentences. She just couldn't think of anything that was normal.