You look a little lost
I wonder where you’ve come from and just how much it cost
Your eyes are tinged with sorrow, wrapped up with strings of pain
the flecks of hope and love must have burrowed through your brain.
Do your memories flood your mind
Have you forgotten all you fought for, have you left it all behind
Your brow’s a little furrowed – lines gouged as if by claws
did the tiger grip you tight, did it catch you in its jaws.
I can see a curve of smile
Mouth twitches for a second, even though it’s been a while
Your heart it now beats quicker, the shackles they have gone
the key to light and life in your darkest parts has shone.
You look like you’re ok
I’m glad you’ve put the past behind and held on til today
A spark I think is growing, in your heart and mind and soul
It’s the ultimate achievement and I think, that’s been your goal.
Meanwhile, last night was creative writing workshop number five with the lovely poet El Gruer at Hope & Gloria and the exercises came thick and fast to stir up our inspiration.
We began the evening with ‘A Series of Serious Scenarios’, which essentially meant coming up with what we would say in response to a set of questions and then writing what we wouldn’t say (but which we might be thinking). All in all, very fun and a good way to think about how you portray your characters when writing.
Still with characterisation, we then studied a painting from the shop and devised five key questions we would put to the figure in the picture, before answering them ourselves. We then looked at the scenario from the artist’s point of view, answering some questions about him, such as where he was when he painted the picture, how he felt, where he lived etc. This was an interesting way in which to get acquainted with a collection of new characters and create new voices – by looking at a particular scene from different perspectives.
Our next task was to locate ourselves in relation to what we had just done – where were we? In the picture? The artist? The girl in the painting? I chose the girl and so followed a journal entry from our selected character, which tied together the various parts of the exercise quite neatly.
The final imaginative feat for the night involved studying four random pictures from a magazine and mind-mapping the words, images and phrases which came to mind, circulating the shots around the group. We then chose one word from each of our lists as being representative of that picture, then chose one of these four words to mind-map further. This new mind-map threw up yet more words and again we picked one, mind-mapped it and… sketched what it evoked in our, er, minds. (Confusing yet? It was more clear while we were doing it, I promise!)
Anyway…. I know I’ve reeled everything off rather teacher-like here but all in all, Ms Gruer once again enlightened us with novel ways of conjuring up truly creative writing. Especially working in a newspaper environment, I am used to approaching writing these days in a very straightforward, clear-cut way and these sorts of exercises are therefore really useful in helping to encourage my thoughts in a different way.
As El said to us before we parted (when we asked her just how she arrived at some of her mind-mapping words!), sometimes you have to let go of your own voice and embrace others to produce the prose you really want. I thought this was refreshing, considering most writers are constantly being told to ‘find your voice’!!! Yes, find it but then, loosen your grip a little and let others in…
PS I drew a twisted, bare-branched tree.
NB Tomorrow’s NaPoWriMo effort will have to be posted on Friday, along with the poem for day 19, as I will be heading to Derry on Thursday to see (and hopefully meet) the poet Lemn Sissay!