You will find on this page some samples of my work that I hope you enjoy.
Girl in a Box By Clare Shaw
Runner up of Writers Inc, Writer of the Year Competition 2005
“The house is quiet. Then suddenly through the wooden sides of the box, she hears voices. Guests are greeted, jackets taken, drinks offered. Then the voices fade away and she can no longer hear them.
She is in a box and nobody can see her. She imagines Jasper counting slowly. Peaking through his plump fingers which cobweb his face, the numbers drumming out from behind his sticky palms – one….two….three. He leans against the warm bark of the birch, the papery leaves blotching his brown skin with patchy shadows. Four…… five…. six, the afternoon sun throwing its heat down like a yellow blanket. Seven …. eight….. nine, Jasper takes an eager step forward into the waiting sunshine. TEN! Ready or not ….”
This and a story called ‘Vicar Up The Tree’ are available on Cut a Long Story website
Selling Shoes in Southend By Clare Shaw
Selling Shoes in Southend was written as part of the Essex Book Festival Making Waves competition and first recorded by Frequency Theatre in February 2014.
The Other Roof (Extract) By Clare Shaw
SCENE ONE: ROOF TOP
Andy is on top of a roof, looking as though he is about to jump off.
Enter Bill with a suitcase and fold up chair which he puts down quickly
BILL: No, please don’t. Come away from the edge.
ANDY: What’s it to you?
BILL: I don’t want you to … Please, come away from the edge and we’ll talk.
ANDY: Can’t you just leave me alone. You don’t know me so … just leave me alone. There’s always some bleeding do-gooder…
BILL: Oh, I’m no do-gooder, believe me. But please…
ANDY: Then leave me alone. I can’t do it with you… hovering there.
BILL: Then I’ll just keep on hovering.
ANDY: Why? Why do you care if I die?
BILL: I don’t. If it’s what you want. But for now…
ANDY: It is what I want.
BILL: ine. But not now, not right here. Please.
Andy takes one step back.
ANDY: What difference does it make?
BILL: None to you, I imagine. I mean if you want to jump off a building then it doesn’t matter when you jump or from which building. The result will be pretty much the same.
ANDY: Then leave me alone so I can …
BILL: Unless you choose a bungalow of course. Then you might just end up with two broken legs. But so long as you choose a reasonably high building like this …
ANDY: Well this is the building I’ve chosen. So if you could just back off.
BILL: Of course you’d need concrete below. Just suppose a van with a mattress strapped on top was to drive past…
ANDY: It isn’t. So I’m going to do it.
Andy steps forward again.
BILL: No, please, I beg you. Not here – anywhere else but here.
ANDY: For God’s sake, you’re putting me off.
BILL: There’s a lovely tall building in the High Street. Or even better – that bridge over themotorway, it’s been tried and tested. Very popular. It’ll serve your purpose very well, I promise.
ANDY: I’m here now.
BILL: But please, not here. I’ll come with you, find you somewhere more … suitable. I’ll give you a push if you want.
ANDY: This is suitable.
BILL: Not for me it isn’t.
ANDY: Do you really think I care. What difference does it make?
BILL: My point exactly. What difference does it make if you jump off here or, say… the building next door. So to make me happy, we’ll just pop next door …
ANDY: I don’t want to make you happy. I don’t believe in happiness. It’s an illusion.
BILL: So, you’re not happy then? No, of course not. Stupid of me. That’s the problem – I am stupid. Useless. But please… sit…just for a moment. Oh. (Bill appears to recognise Andy)
ANDY: What’s wrong?
BILL: Just realised who… how stupid I am.
Bill puts the chair up and Andy sits down.
ANDY: Maybe I’m the stupid one. I’m the one who’s fucked up my life.
BILL: Oh, I don’t know. You’re a steady member of society. Achieved quite a lot, I would say. By the look of you, I mean. Shoes. You can tell a lot by a man’s shoes.
I think you’d better tell me. Why you’re here.
ANDY: Isn’t it obvious. Why did you come up here?
BILL: It’s where I come.
ANDY: Not to…?
BILL: No, no. I wouldn’t be brave enough. You seem to have changed your mind.
ANDY: No, I just needed a break.
BILL: A break from topping yourself?
ANDY: I will do it. But for now, the moment’s passed. Just… for now.
BILL: So if I wanted to I could take you to another roof. Give you a push.
ANDY: You’re really not from the Samaritan’s, are you.
To Feed a Family
(Part of the Painted Words Exhibition at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester)
‘The widow and her six children circle the scrubbed but worn wooden table, their bowls filled for the first time in many weeks. The steam from the stew swirls into the stagnant air. The widow bends her head and hastens through grace. They eat. She looks kindly on her feeding family, smiles to her eyes, contentment seeping into her bones as she sups on her smaller portion. Only her eldest daughter seems subdued, her blue eyes moist, her tense neck throbbing. Her barely formed breasts swell with milk, milk which has no baby to feed. Food to waste. The widow leans towards her, whispering words to soothe. She thanks her daughter for providing for her brothers and sisters. The rest of the money, still warm, sits in a tin above the kitchen range.
On the good side of town, the young couple sit at polished mahogany. The young woman holds her new baby close and gazes into his china blue eyes. She has no means to feed him, save with a bottle. A formula to suit all, a formula worth the money paid.’
Click here for a sample download.
Summer After Sarcoma By Clare Shaw
Runner up in Cancer Research competition July 2010
And there were butterflies
As I lay nestled in the unruly green.
Time was mine that summer to ponder
On patterns of their fragile, intricate wings
As they danced a distracting dance.
And I, though not expected of me, smiled
At the moment, just the moment.
I closed my eyes against the efficient rays
Dispensing with the gauze of morning cloud.
The sun slapped hard against my elder daughter’s
She flicked through a crinkled magazine.
I dozed, keeping thoughts at bay.
The traffic sang, the strings of nature played,
And butterflies danced to the rhythm of the trees.
A window slammed wide open.
Theatrically, an arm reached out.
A head leaned towards its unexpecting audience.
Juliet’s words rang out with wicked humour.
My younger daughter’s fun and laughter
Healing my body down to the very marrow.
And butterflies settled on the sun kissed lawn.