Doodling With the Dice

In October, which is coming up fast,  I’ve been asked to do some children’s workshops in creative writing as part of the Linenhall’s annual Roolaboola Children's Festival.

I’m planning to use a really cool toy called ‘Rory’s Story Cubes’ to show how stories can be made up and hopefully then crafted a little.  The cubes are lovely things – made up of nine dice with pictures on each side.  You roll the dice and make up a story on what you see.  The kids in the workshops will make up stories and then we will work together to make up a story which I will read aloud to an audience the next day.

If I’m going to do this, I figured I’d better get some practice in so, here, for the first time ever, is me rolling the cubes for a story.  I’m only allowing myself one throw.

(Roll, throw)

Okay… I got the following:  A question mark,  a bee, a magnifying glass, a sad face, a lock, a mobile phone, a crescent moon, a tower and a bridge.

Jaysus… is there still time to cancel?


Dial Bee for Blunder

Bee mobile phones are incredibly small and that’s why you hardly ever see them and even scoff at the thought that they might even actually exist.  But they do and you shouldn’t scoff., if the wind changes when you’re doing it, your mouth will be left stuck in a permanent scoffing expression and you will never again get offered cake.

On the day that Roger the Bee lost his mobile phone, he tried to cover it up out of embarrassment.

When he returned from his pollen scouting session, he tried to convey the location of the bounty he had found by the old fashioned method of bee-dancing.  His colleagues looked at him in unbridled dismay.  They even phoned up their friends to come and see Stupid Roger trying to do the Ancient Honey Dance.  One of those that flew over scoffed and the wind changed and, well, you know the rest.

Honey watched the sad dance from a distance.  She was a gentle, kind, lady bee who hated the incredible obviousness of her name.  She had sweet and sticky feelings for Roger and, now, after she saw him trying to dance out his directions like their grandfathers used to do (in the days before mobile phones) she took him aside and buzzed softly in his ear.

“Where was the last time you saw it?” she buzzed and Roger didn’t even bother pretending that he didn’t know what she meant.

“I had it down by the Old Stone Bridge this morning,” he said.

Honey knew that because he had used it to call her and ask her whether she might like to go to the hivetop and spoon under the crescent moon that evening.  Bee-spooning, like hedgehog mating, is a careful and tentative affair but it is very rewarding, particularly in the early spring moonlight.

The call had ended in a rather dreamy, achy, manner and Honey could quite understand how Roger might have neglected to take his phone along with him when he flew back.

“Let’s go back there now and see if we can find it.”  Suggested Honey.

So they buzzed off back to the bridge blissfully unaware of the trail of alliteration they left behind them.

There was plenty of signs at the Old Stone Bridge but, alas, there was no sign of a phone.

Roger felt as if he could break down and cry and so that's exactly what he did.  It was neither a resilient nor a macho thing to do but Honey did not love Roger for such qualities.  She loved him because he was in touch with his Inner Apodia and because he spooned really really nice.

She came to a decision about what to do and, before she could think herself back out of it, she did it.

She put her feelers to her temple and used that magical fourteenth sense that lady bees have but that men bees have long since given up in favour of bigger stings.  She pushed her senses out into the world of nature around the Old Stone Bridge seeking the gentle carrier of a lost mobile phone – or ‘Handy’ as German bees tend to call theirs.  Then, against all odds, she felt it, a tingling in her senses like a tingly bee sense thing.

“It’s over there,” she said excitedly, pointing to the Old Stone Tower which stood beside the Old Stone Bridge, “it’s in there, lying on the top floor.”

“But how do you-“ started Roger but then he understood that Honey had used her fourteenth sense to help him.  He also knew that girl bees can only use their fourteenth sense once in their entire lives and that they invariably save that moment for when they are bopped by a rolled-up newspaper at a human picnic and need to bring themselves back to life.

“I can’t believe that you did that for me,” Roger said as they flew into the old locked tower in search of the phone, “what will you do now when the humans strike you?”

Honey smiled.

“I’ll just have to rely on you coming to rescue me,” she said.

And later that evening, as the pale crescent moon rose slowly above them, as they spooned so gently and so very dangerously, Roger swore quietly on his newly-rescued phone that, when the time came, he would do exactly that.


Jim Murdoch said...

I think the dice are a wonderful idea and I'm dead impressed with the story. I'm stuck writing a kids poem at the moment. It all starts off great and then I wrote myself into a corner after about eight or nine verses. Still plenty of other stuff to keep me busy while that's stewing away.

hope said...

Oh this sounds like FUN!

And you did a Beeutiful job.

What? You expect me to ignore a bad pun? ;)

travelmaus said...

You're a genious :) Love the story that you made from those few un-related words. Now this should be fun for the kids too!

William Gallagher said...

It's a lovely story, told so very well. Which is a bastard because I'd have said before that this cube idea couldn't work. Curse.

Tommy said...

What a wonderful story. You have a rare but fantastic gift!

Miss Pinks said...

Lovely story. Love the idea of the cubes too, must get some for when the creative juices thicken to a pulp!

Thomas Hammerlund said...

I'm a teacher, and wow -- those dice are great!

Gibbzer said...

Magic and magical.

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks Jim. The dice *are* nice. My current question to myself is, do they encourage me to be a bit twee on account of their very prettiness. I think the next challenge must be to throw the dice again and do 'dark'.

Thanks Hope. I did expect you to ignore... but I knew better. :)

Travelmaus: Glad you liked it. Really.

William, I love that my little story-ette can be lovely, well told and a bastard too. :)

Tommy: Great to see you there mate! Thanks for dropping by. :)

Miss Pinks: :) Thick creative juices sounds like rather a positive thing to me.

Sixmats: The iPhone app seems good too although the feel of the cubes is nice.

Gibbzer. :) xx

Laura Brown said...

Too many cubes for my simple brain. How about just tossing three of the dice? I could work with a bee, a lock and a clock. Especially since lock and clock rhyme so nicely.

Once upon a time there was a rusty lock in a clock with a pretty, but rusty, bee on it.

See how nice that worked out!

Laura Brown said...

PS- What an honour to be asked to do a children's writing workshop. No matter what you post about it here I'm sure you will have a great time and the kids will be laughing and remember you for weeks (which is a long time for a kid brain).

gnasher said...

Don't be daft, bees don't talk on the mobile phones - they wouldn't be able to hear each other over all the buzzing. They do text a lot, though.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading what comes out of your head, because if I did it would sound terribly sycophantic and make things awkward between us when we meet. I mean *if* we meet. That isn't me in the car outside your house, it's just a random stranger with a laptop. Just put the curtain back and finish your telly programme. That's right, nice and quiet like...

(hmm, that came out weirder than I'd intended...)

Ken Armstrong said...

Laura: You could do just three. I took the dice out just now and threw three random ones for you. An Arrow, an aeroplane and the Earth. Go.

Yes, I am honoured. I'm going to try to do my best.

Hey Gav. Thanks mate, I hope you are writing a bit. That's all it takes, a bit. :)

Poolbeg said...

What an enchanting story. I would love to read the illustrated, Bee-Dice series. Top man Ken. I admire you so much.