A field guide to creative writing students: Part 3

Welcome back, fellow scholastibiologists. I hope you have had an interesting week in the field. Lately, I have been frequenting one of my favourite old haunts, a university bookshop. Camouflaged as a helpful member of staff, I’ve observed a stunning variety of campus life! I’ve even had a few near-death experiences. Several times a day, in fact, I am approached by dominant males of genus Halitosus, which emit from their mouths a poisonous gas that can knock an unwary scientist out cold. If you are ever attacked by these creatures, do not inhale!

I’ve also spotted plenty of members of the Scripturae family. Why, only yesterday, I observed both Megacranius annoia and last week’s species, Midlyfcrisus autobiographiiin the wild, along with several other species we shall explore later in the series: Platonicus sitnextumi, Imitor imitor, Devastator virtuosus. As semester has just begun, I recommend getting out in the field while the twitching is good.

One species I have not observed in the bookshop habitat was this week’s featured organism…


The Bludger

Uselus lazybastardus



One of the less attractive species. May show up to class with greasy skin, unshaven face (males), sloppy bun (females), shadows under the eyes, stained trackie-dacks, possibly still in Uggies*.

Carries very little. Most U. lazybastardus prefer to go without the subject reader.


*International readers take note: Ugg boots were invented to be heavy-duty slippers to warm up your feet after a winter surf. They are not fashionable over here. Wearing them out of the house is for the tragic, the scuzzy, and the tourist.



A rather quiet species. Bludgers rarely instigate calls, but only respond to direct address in a grunt. When asked to discuss the weekly readings, responds with a curt: ‘Didn’t get time, sorry.’

On the week they are to present their creative work, you may hear the slightly rarer lugubrious mutter, which is nevertheless typical of the species: ‘I had problems with the printer/the wifi/my computer/English/the notion of a deadline.’



There is significant debate in the scientific community over whether Uselus lazybastardus has any sense of motivation at all. For many years, the prevailing theory was ‘nah’.

However, I subscribe to a more recent – slightly controversial – school of thought that holds that the Bludger does have a sense of motivation. This species is motivated to get the most out of life for the least effort. The Bludger takes creative writing subjects under the assumption that nobody can ‘teach’ writing, so the subject will therefore provide an easy credit. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ahaha. Ha ha. Ha.


Writing habits

Bludgers are ill at ease in the classroom habitat. They are highly social animals that prefer informal styles of interaction. In the wild, an idleness of Bludgers can be observed in the pubs near the campus, or on expanses of campus lawns, amid a cloud of weed.

However, on the rare occasion that the Bludger shows up for class, their feedback on the featured student piece of the week will amount to a few grammar corrections at best. More often, Uselus lazybastardus delivers a blank page.

Their own writing will be little more than a paragraph hammered out the night before, accompanied by the caveat that they ‘don’t really know where it’s going’. They will, of course, beg the tutor for extensions, and deliver assessments late.

When Uselus lazybastardus is forced to collaborate with other students, a great time will be wasted by all.


No doubt you have observed this species somewhere on campus! Join me next week for another instalment of my field guide to creative writing at university!


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