Sophie Lives – Exercise 1.3

Get writing with emotion by choosing one of the two subjects below:- This lit up my day or This darkened my heart. Such writing may become very emotional, so before you begin remember that you won’t ever have to show anyone what you’ve written if you choose not to. It is always up to you what you send to your tutor. So you can write deeply… emotionally… without concern. As previously, read it through, enjoy your writing, but don’t try to change this for now. 

“Oh for fucks sake, I’m not supposed to have woken. Can’t i get anything right” Sophie thought. “I’m supposed to be dead”. She lay still underneath the cotton colours, a musty smell hung in the air. A tear trickled to her nose from the corner of her eye. She lay there empty, feeling defeated. Her heart crushed and barely beating.

Tears turned into breathless sobs, snot running down her face. She didn’t care how she looked, her mind with desperate thoughts of death. The room was beggining to get lighter as night turned into yet another bloody day. Death doesn’t come easy to some people.

She wiped her nose on the sleeve of her jama top, pulled her hands down over her forehead, ensuring her finger nails dug deep into her skin. It’s bizarre how trauma can leave the victim feeling an urgency to harm themselves. She didn’t care about the pain, or how others may react to the scars, not anymore. She used to be self conscious about the marks on her skin, the occasional stare, but now she was oblivious to it. Her life didn’t matter. Fuck it. Fuck off.

Sophie felt the urge to go to the bathroom, decided against getting out of bed. The sensation of warm urine turning cold against her skin turned to a fug of wet fabric against her legs. Depression. Overwhelming depression, wrapped in a venomous self hatred.

I’m not sure if I was meant to write fiction or prose so I just went with the flow. I’ve stopped at this point, but feel this passage is something that I may be able to return to at a later date. 

What Is Creative Writing – Research Point 1.1

What is creative writing anyway? Think about what you believe creative writing to be. Make some notes, then write a couple of sentences to define your thoughts on paper. Be sure to complete your thoughts before reading on. 

Isn’t it possible to see any writing as creative writing? Whether that’s people writing copy for a product, company policies and procedures, an academic essay, journalism, poetry, biography or a novel. All of the above involve creativity and imagination to various degrees.

However, I suspect that creative writing is considered to be just a few select genres, poetry, novels, play scripts and perhaps at a push, song lyrics. Use of the imagination to express ideas that may stimulate emotion in others is perhaps closer to the mark. But I also feel that journalism and biography should definitely be included.

Now search for further definitions, using encyclopaedias, dictionaries, books on writing and the Internet. Google the words creative writing + definition to see what you get. We’re your ideas similar or different? Remember, your opinion is as valuable as anyone else’s.

noun – writing, typically fiction or poetry, which displays imagination or invention (often contrasted with academic or journalistic writing).” lexico.com/2020/creative writing/Online: At: https://www.lexico.com/definition/creative_writing

Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professionaljournalisticacademic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novelsbiographiesshort stories, and poems.” wikipedia/2020/creative writing/Online: At: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_writing

I particularly like the Wikipedia definition stating “identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development” and I’m also pleased to know that feature stories fall into the bounds of creative writing. The photo essays which I write are not stories, but they are magazine features, just with the emphasis being academic rather than fiction. Who cares, I feel that they are creative writing, so there.

Write What You Know – Biography – Exercise 1.2

Below is a list of things you are likely to know about. Choose one and write for 60 seconds about any personal experience of your choice; my pet; my job; my mother; my home; my hobby; my sport; my family. 

My job

Work is not a part of my life just now for health reasons. I’m a student and I’ve just completed Foundations in Photography, and have now begun to study creative writing.

Sixty seconds is not very long. When you stopped after one minute, did you feel you had more to say? Did you carry on regardless of the instruction? See if you can carry on now: Choose something else from the list and write for two minutes. Choose a third subject and write for three minutes. Keep going until you get to your last choice, and attempt six minutes of writing. If you can’t write about one of the subjects, for example if you’ve never had a pet, substitute something else (my sister; my school). Did that feel like creative writing to you? This is how most writers start. By writing for a few moments, then carrying on.

My Pet

My first pet was a rabbit called Bunjy. I was six years old, and I don’t have that many memories of him. Although now I have started writing I can remember feeding him rabbit pellets. He was an albino with white fur and red eyes. I remember the day he died. I was at my nana’s house. Mum told me that Bunjy had been found dead in his hutch. I burst into tears. It was close to Christmas and we went to see santa.

My mother

My mother fucked up badly, and I stopped speaking with her in my early twenties. As time has gone on I’ve come to realise that she did the best she could with what she had. The hardest part is knowing that I’ve fucked up in some ways too. I’ve done the best I could with what I’ve got. Coming to terms with an inconsistent and inadequate parent is hard work. It’s taken all of my adult life, and the process remains as one that is ongoing. She died 5 years ago. I didn’t grieve, I had done that during those 20 odd years that we didn’t see each other. Somehow I find myself speaking with he now she’s dead. Life is bizarre.

My Family

I guess it makes sense to follow on with my family. I have no contact with most of my family now, and I have no desire too. In fact, I don’t wish to add anything further.

Pause…

Its hard to be the black sheep of the family, especially since being so is as a result of the abuse I experienced whilst growing up. I’ve stayed away from my family for my own protection. I see happy families sometimes, and wonder what it must be like to have that closeness. It’s not that I long for it, it just not my experience.

I am in touch with two cousins. They express their love for me, and then I feel confused. What is love? Love makes no sense to me.

My home

It’s taken a year to begin to feel safe in my new home. The flat is lovely, the difficulties are living in close proximity to others, and the busyness on the street. I can hear the sounds of my neighbours above, below and to the side. I’ve put sound-proofing down under the carpet and upon the ceiling. It’s helped a little. I’ve been scared that my neighbours can hear everything that I say and do, it feels like I’m living in The Truman Show. It’s developed into paranoia, which becomes intense when I can hear them talking, and I’ve had periods when I have thought they are planning to kill me. The paranoia led to a suicide attempt last year, and to a very difficult summer during which I couldn’t tolerate being at home. However, my neighbours are lovely. Whenever I bump into them it has been a positive experience and being able to reflect upon these encounters has helped me to begin to feel safe in my home.

My hobby or sport

Photography is far more than a hobby to me. It’s helped to turn my life around, and it has improved my mental health considerably. When I first got a camera I had severe agoraphobia and panic attacks, which lead to me being housebound. Holding a camera in front of my face helped me to tolerate the fear for a short time. Gradually, the length of time I could go outside increased. Photography has given me a voice, a way of expressing myself and a way of exploring my life and that of the world around me. One of my biggest life achievements has been completing a project around anorexia, and my recovery from it. I haven’t published the results because I have embroidered on top of self portraits, and I struggle with my body image and how I look. An arts project once to exhibit the photos. They are unique. I’ve done considerable research into embroidered photography, and I’m bringing something new to the table. I’m feeling very proud about that.

The Shaman Draws – Exercise 1.1

Here is how you get writing. You start with what is in your head – and that means putting something in your head, then writing about it. Before you begin, get yourself ready. Either pull up a blank page (word document or similar) on your screen, or pick up a pen and a piece of paper. Now, once you’re ready, look at the image below. Look at it for as long as you like, take it all in, or merely snatch a glance, but only look away from the image once something has come into your mind that is formed in words. As soon as that happens, get writing. 

ca_2248804bhttp://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02248/ca_224804b.jpg

Write down what came into your head as you looked into the picture. This might have been one of several things: a description of what you see, something you thought about the picture, a memory that came into your head as you looked, something about what was happening to you as you looked at it, some other, surprising thing! 

You might enjoy reading your work through once you’ve finished writing. But for now, don’t tamper with it. Let it be what it is – a first attempt to get writing. Don’t be dismayed if it doesn’t feel as good as you were hoping. On the other hand, if it pleases you, that’s a bonus. The one thing you should feel, after completing this first exercise is pride. You got writing. Well done. 

I don’t think I can bare to wait much longer. I am full of energy and completely exhausted. We have been dancing around the fire all night to the sound of drums. Dancing so that we can help the Shaman on his journey to the underworld to meet with the Spirits. The village is truly in trouble this time. The white man has destroyed our closest villages. They have killed families and generations. Apparently they have some new magic glued to their hands, which shoot balls of metal into the skin. They will attack us soon.

I hope the Spirits have some guidance which will protect us. What will the Shaman have drawn?

Please be good news. Please.

Movement ahead. The people at the front are beginning to enter the cave. I make baby steps to begin with, eager to go into the cave as soon as I can. 

We gather inside to see what the Shaman has drawn. Torches flicker, light and shadows dance together. I crane my neck, stretching as hard as I can to see, to learn our fate.

Hands. Hands.

Are these hands of help, or hands of surrender?

Word Definitions

This is a page in which I will record words that I either don’t understand or that I have only a vague knowledge of. Definitions come from a Google search. Descriptions in brackets are my attempts at understanding an alternate meaning from the sentence that the original word was in.

  • Alabaster – A translucent form of gypsum or calcite, typically white, often carved into ornaments.
    made of Alabaster. “the gilded alabaster tomb of Sir Anthony Browne” (if a person is described as having an Alabaster face this must mean their skin is translucent.) 
  • Alacrity – Brisk and cheerful readiness
  • Friable – Easily crumbled (such as soil)
  • Furtive – attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive. “they spent a furtive day together”
  • Gonnagle – Name of Gaelic origin (The Nac Max Feegle in the Disc world are also known as Pictsies, this suggest they are of Gaelic/Celtic inspiration)
  • Kelda – A girls name in Norse – meaning spring or fountain (maybe referenced as a leader.)
  • Lament – A passionate expression of grief or sorrow. “his mother’s night-long laments for his father”. A complaint. “there were constant laments about the conditions of employment” Express passionate grief about. “he was lamenting the death of his infant daughter”
  • Obliquely – not in a direct way; indirectly. “he referred only obliquely to current events” in an oblique direction; slant wise. “the strings of the instrument run obliquely away from the player”
  • Patrician – An aristocrat or nobleman. Belonging to or characteristic of the aristocracy.
    “a proud, patrician face” (The Patrician of Ankh Morporkh is authoritarian and the suggestion is that a Patrician is a dictatorial leader.)
  • Requiem – (especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead. “a requiem was held for the dead queen. A musical composition setting                    parts of a requiem Mass, or of a      similar character. “Fauré’s Requiem. An act or token of remembrance. “he designed the epic as a requiem for his wife”
  • Repose – a state of rest, sleep, or tranquillity. “in repose her face looked relaxed” Be situated or kept in a particular place. “the diamond now reposes in the Louvre”
  • Sidle – walk in a furtive, unobtrusive, or timid manner, especially sideways or obliquely.
    “I sidled up to her”
  • Swarf – Fine chips or filings of stone, metal, or other material produced by a machining operation.
    “a curl of metal swarf”
  • Woad – A yellow-flowered European plant of the cabbage family. It was formerly widely grown in Britain as a source of blue dye, which was extracted from the leaves after they had been dried, powdered, and fermented. Dye obtained from the woad plant, now superseded by synthetic products.

 

 

 

Notes For Future Reference

My notebook will probably mean nothing to you. It’s a page for recording inspiration, ideas and points of interest that I may or may not use at a future date.

Terry Pratchet – comedy

“Now her second thoughts were at work, thinking about what she was thinking.” p63 The Shepherds Crown, Pratchet.

IMG_20200218_104345

IMG_20200218_104043

Seeing the doors left me curious as to who lived behind them and questions as to what the walls have witnessed.

Considering The Characterisation In Disc World

I love the Discworld series by Terry Pratchet. The characterisation is incredible. The personalities are bold, funny and magical. And despite these wonderful quirky appearances, the people are so believeable. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to create such dynamics if I were to write stories. Granny Weatherwax is developed throughout the disc world series, but not in a descriptive account of her persona. Rather, she develops as her actions are portrayed, and my sense of her personality comes from this. I find that interesting, as I’ve been wondering how you develop characters and how I would ‘describe’ a personify. Pratchet draws his people in words.

“You (cat) kept away from the Bees, but stalked through the garden, following Granny as she moved through the herbs, touching a frond or a leaf as she passed, and the whole garden seemed to answer her, the plants almost nodding their heads in respect. ‘ the sense I get, and this follows on from the previous paragraph, is the Granny Weatherwax is dying. P40 The Shephards Crown.

Creative Writing Begins – Diary Entry One

Its funny reflecting up my writing, when I haven’t written anything. No matter. Thing is, I’ve began to read through the creative writing coursework, and I feel motivated now. For a couple of months I’ve felt demoralised at settling for second best. I want to take a degree in Photography, but my health isn’t going to permit that.

Reading the manual has helped me to reflect upon my writing experience over the past two or three years. I’ve written for fun, I’ve written to connect with others, I’ve written essays on themes that I feel passionate about, as well as writing for study. I am a writer, and that’s why I chose creative writing. I’m Richard, and I write.

Considering The Year Ahead, Life, Death And Photography

It would be impossible to think of the future without considering that there is the potential for me to die from heart disease. As you’re aware I have decided not to have surgery for my heart condition. I can see how dieing could be a scary experience, but I have been at peace since making this decision.

Knowing that I have a limited time left has most certainly helped me to focus on living well and considering whether my daily actions improve the quality of my life. This doesn’t mean running around like a mad march hare and doing, doing, doing. Sometimes I just want to sit still and do nothing, others I want to read or birdwatch, and occasionally I want to be around people.

I’m not used to being around people, and I can struggle even when I’m around those who I love and feel safe with. Getting the balance right for me isn’t easy, I’ve had a wonderful Christmas, but I’m ready to go home now.

When I return home my plan is to begin meditating daily. Meditation is most definitely linked to my creativity and photography. I have a few ideas for photographic project’s and I know meditation will help with developing these. I have vague ideas about making photos with others who identify as being non-binary or gender fluid, and making use of masks or props to explore and express gender identity.

I’ve particularly enjoyed my embroidered photography this year, for my project “Some Emotional States Of My Anorexia, And The Strengths Of My Recovery.” I completed the project just before Christmas, but I don’t feel ready to make these public at the moment. The wonderful thing is that I already have a gallery/arts project who would like to exhibit the series. I can see the potential for building upon this work to explore mental health further. Meditation will definitely aid my progress in these areas.

“Snippets” is a series I’m currently working on in which I write down snippets of overheard conversation and take a photo in the area of which the conversation was heard. I got the idea from a fellow OCA photography student Chloe Halstead. The idea is to have this as a long term project using my Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and to present the series as a photo book.

Hopefully I will also have some news about my application for a bursary to study an Open Foundation in Creative Writing, with the Open College of the Arts, I can feel some more photo essays coming along.

Colour is also going to feature in the clothes I wear, it’s time to bring more colour and variety into my attire, and today I’m top to bottom in yellow. I’ve also seen some green corduroys that I like. I’ll give them some thought.

I guess I’ll need to tone the colours down when birdwatching, something which I plan to do more of this year. I’m so grateful that I discovered RSPB Rainham Marshes. One thing that would aid my birdwatching would be finding a teleconverter that I can attach to the front of my Mzuiko 75-300mm lens. I can’t currently afford one. However, I have four photos appearing in The Loudest Whispers exhibition, run by The Arts Project London, during February, March and April. If they sell then I’ll be able to afford a teleconverter. Fingers crossed. 

I don’t have a bucket list, but I would like to be able to go on a birdwatching holiday during the summer.

Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead.

A Boost To My Artistic Confidence After A Difficult Week

This week has challenged my faith and confidence in my artistic and creative ability. Firstly there was the Nam June Paik exhibition, in which I felt confused and out of my depth, and then I visited the London Group Open exhibition.

I went to the London Group Open so that I could see an exhibit by Beverley Duckworth, who creates mesmerising pieces using dust, hair and human skin. She explores feminism, expectations upon wonen, beauty, disgust and the discarded. I’m in awe of her talent.

The rest of the exhibition was powerful, and I connected to some of the art more deeply than others. One of the pieces, Leave or Remain by Maya Ramsay was the charred remains of a shipwrecked boat used by migrants. A powerful question about what happened to those migrants, and commentary upon the current Western political state of affairs with the rise right wing nationalism.

hdrplLeave or Remain – Maya Ramsay

Tarantalla by Phillip Tunstill appealed to me as well. I liked the colours, geometry and space. It made me ponder upon my need for routine, and partitions in my mind that, when structured so, leaves me with a sense of order, space and safety. It’s like I need to structure so I can live freely in the space.

qrfTarantalla by Philip Tunstill

There were many other examples of cleverly conceived and created art. However, following on from my Nam June Paik exhibition it added to my sense of inadequacy as an artist.

Today has been a turning point for me. I subscribe to Curator Space, which has many opportunities and open calls for artists, and I saw an exhibit that I felt that I could contribute to.

I selected four of my pieces of work, and wrote my bio and description and submitted them. The process was magical, I am pleased with the works which I chose, and they represent some of my skills, ability and talent as a conceptual artist and photographer. It was such a joy to think “Bloody hell, I have something to say as an artist.” A refreshing end to what had been a challenging week.

When You Take Away My VoiceStandard: When You Take Away My Voice by Richard Keys