• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 11
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Creativity is it?
You need to learn your facts, not waste your time with creativity.
How can you get on in the world if you don’t know the capitals of every land?
And don’t pretend they’ll change before you’re old, that’s insolence, that is.

And take in the facts from the fine display across the room:
you’ll know which king followed which and queens, too, there were a couple.
And if you’re interested in Art, remember Holbein painted the portrait of the Flanders mare.

Don’t be worrying about creativity.
Now take back your cut-out triangle, the angles aren’t correct, it isn’t equilateral at all!
Can’t you cut out a straight line? Useless girl.

Sit there and try to get your blanket stitch even, yours are like horses’ teeth,
unpick and start again. Cut out the pattern as it is and
don’t take it to the machine to sew till I say so.

Stay in at lunch time to practice joined up script
your page looks as though a spider crawled out of the inkwell
and walked across your page. It’s a poem is it?
Where did you copy that from?
You certainly didn’t make that up yourself.

Your lines don’t scan or rhyme – learn Hiawatha off by heart instead –
it’s trochaic tetrameter by Henry Wadsworth, you know.



Your painting’s a mess, there’s more on you than on the paper
spend the rest of the lesson washing brushes and cleaning the pots.

It’s wet play and you can do country dancing in the hall
with Sister So and So banging out piano tunes,
while girls swoop up and down the hall. Use up your energy.

You need some quiet time in Mrs Codger’s class.
Give out the boards and plasticine, make shapes and coil them up.

Dream in your daydreamer’s head about the time
the plasticine was pink and green and yellow,
before a hundred girls’ hands had turned it to a sludgy blob.

Then wash your hands, get ready for your work.