A ‘Freewrite’ is a writing exercise designed to see what the subconscious throws up: to write freely without editing, planning etc. There are many variations. I use this one when I lead writing workshops, I ask participants to give 10 random words (which we add in roughly one-minute intervals) and also a half-sentence to begin with. Words: Jigsaw, macaroni, riot, banana, fish, anger, crucifix, struggle, salad, penuts.

The police arrested the old man. A bull ring of squad cars amassed outside his house. Their lights flashing in the august dusk and to further humiliate the old man, the superintendent on the scene had the youngest, blondest female officer lead him out, her hands like a bright vice around his wrists and the old man snarling through the scattered jigsaw of neighbours, applauding as he struggled past. A little girl who would grow up to be a police officer threw handfuls of macaroni as he walked past remembering the riots she'd seen on television, imagining her fists were hurling bits of bricks at the old tyrant. The old man bent over banana-like into the unmarked police car which slipped into the night, a fish into the school of traffic.

There was anger. The old man felt it spreading uncontrollably from his teeth, a vice-like rage, a want for violence loosened in him. Through his opened ripped shirt, he glimpsed his crucifix and quietly cursed God, Christ and all his diciples. Years from now, he'd recall this was when he lost his struggle with faith and the good book. Th rage tumbled through him. He vomited the salad he'd had for lunch in the back seat and watched quietly as it dried into the fabric turning hard, his pupils reduced to peanuts in the dark.