Sunday, 16 April 2017

Notes from the Notebook: 2003 'She casually dropped in the most important element of the story'.

Today's note from the notebook comes from 2003.

At that time I was working as a Learning Mentor in two primary schools, and this is one of the most memorable snippets of kid-talk from that time.

It's one of those moments which - if you'd read it in a novel - you'd have said it was a bit far-fetched, a bit too clever-clever, a bit too conveniently comedic to be natural and yet ... I assure you, this is exactly how it happened ... 


A group of 10 year-olds were talking about the deaths of pets.

One girl’s hamster had died the previous night and someone had sniggered about how she’d cried over it. In a show of solidarity, a girl called Kirsty (tiny, feisty, entertaining) told her own tale …

“So what if she cried?" she asked. "I cried when our rabbit died. My sister had it on her bed, but she let go of it and it fell off and it looked like this …”

To illustrate she tilted her head to one side, while her tongue lolled out of her mouth on the opposite side; she then closed one eye and raised two droopy little hands up in front of her to mimic the lifeless creature.

She acknowledged the respectful silence saying “Yeah.”

Then …

… with a wistful look …

… she casually dropped in the most important element of the story:

“My sister has the top bunk”.

The top bunk!!! 

How's that for a punchline? Look at that comedic timing! She sets it up (it fell off the sister's bed) ... bides her time ... and then knocks it out of the park with that last detail! And all entirely unwittingly. 

If that ever makes its way into something I write in future ... yo'll know where I got it from! And I'll have Kirsty, and her accidental comedic genius to thank.


I'm really enjoying reading your comments on how the notes I've shared so far have reminded you of something in your own lives, keep it coming, it's lovely being part of a conversation. 

If you want to see inside the notebooks themselves then I'm sharing those over on Instagram - @withjuliekirk - where so far I've revealed are some ideas for a novel in 1994, a drawing of what the adult Julie might look like from the 80s and some sketches from my rock 'n roll years! 

I'm using: #notesfromthenotebook and #juliesnotesfromthenotebook to keep them all together over there. 

Meanwhile, you can continue the conversation with me here, whenever you fancy:
Instagram ~~ Twitter ~~ Facebook ~~ Website

See you soon. 

Julie x

Click the image to visit more notes from the notebook. 


  1. It's all in the timing of that last comment! I'm not sure how you might get the anecdote into a novel but if anyone can, you can!

  2. I am actually laughing out loud. Priceless!

  3. She certainly has a bright future, that one! Brilliant sense of dramatic timing.

  4. ahhh, the big reveal! this is grand and funny. i once had a little girl tell me about her cousin's puppy who died after being dropped down the stairs by another kid. she told the whole story and then at the end, dramatically paused to say "the puppy didn't die until the last step."
    your child had comedic timing, mine will just end up writing for tabloids!


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