This year’s edition of the BCLT Summer School includes daily creative writing workshops alongside the usual translation matters. I thought I’d post the results for each day on here. For reasons yet undecided. The first workshop was led by Sarah Bower, and involved comparing how P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler create their voices (and styles) through different uses of English. Then, we were asked to rewrite an extract from one author in the voice of the other, and vice versa. The results below:
1. His tea was impeccable. The kind of impeccable that stands out. It was too good. The cup too clean. Clean like a polished gun. Jeeves was good at what he did. Very good. Never heard him come in or leave. Quiet like a thought. Jeeves’ timing was perfect, always. I’d open my eyes, and there he was. Holding a perfect cup, every time. A simple job, sure, but he made an art of it.
2. Now, wasn’t that a ghastly surprise. She was shocked, utterly shocked, I could tell. Or rather, Jeeves did. He could spot the damnedest of details, that man, and never show it. Most amazing thing.
‘Right oh, Jeeves, what happened then? Don’t keep one waiting by dilly-dallying, will you?
‘What was the – what was it, dame? – wearing? A dash of rouge perhaps? What about her hair? Dark as a raven on a summer eve, but with a tinge of age?’
‘Marvellous, marvellous! And I suppose she’d be wearing some sort of jewellery, some type of accessory as one might find, if so inclined, in a London – no, Parisian salon of utmost standards?’
‘Indeed, sir. Earrings and a cigarette holder.’
‘What ho, terrific writing this Chandler chap of yours! Carry on Jeeves, keep reading – and spiffing job of it too, if I may say so.’
‘Thank you, sir.’