Sunday, 12 February 2017

Small Stones

Last month I decided to repeat a writing challenge I tried many years ago called 'Small Stones' to kick start some creativity. When I completed this exercise the first time around it showed me how much detail you can see in every day observations if you look closely enough.

The idea behind the Small Stones challenge is to:
~ Notice one thing each day
~ Give your whole awareness to it
~ Write it down

I attempted to capture observations in a poetic and creative way. Here's a selection of my January observations below: 

Misread subway advertisement on the morning commute: Think of your perfect hell. This is it, right here - Monday morning where the grind begins again, a row of weary eyes reflecting mirrored emotion, a glimmer of who we want to be burning beneath restless hands turning the pages of today's news, lost under the city in a rattle of repeated loops. 

A teenage boy, vulnerable face, dark shadows under nervous eyes, a sigh of relief flooding his body as he walks into the comfort of a group who understand: with no questions, no judgement. They speak his language of technological puzzles, navigating night monsters into oblivion, so he can live another victorious day.

A montage from a photography class displayed above a robot with printed across his chest. A photo of a girl - one green eye, one red. Startled by a flash of realisation that she is being looked at, examined, seen - not judged - captured and suspended in a beautiful light, expressed through colour.

Red Glove: child sized, waving hello from a puddle on a dark January morning. The puddles pulled her under and this is a sign -Help, come and find me...

Girl in stilettos, walking comfortably in new shoes, head held high. Her friends are running alongside still trying to catch up with who they are.

Wooden heart laced with fake red berries, tied to a fence. A cheap remembrance of a love so rich. 

Pink hair, pink trainers, black nails and fierce eyes. Sweet and sour: Do not underestimate my power.

In January I also had a nice surprise of being a runner up in the Weegie Wednesday Shorts competition. (Weegie Wednesday is a writing networking group I have attended for years).
My short story, Only You, was broadcast on the Glasgow Hosptial Broadcasting service and was read aloud by an actress, with sound effects and music. They captured the atmosphere of Paris within the story perfectly and it was quite special to hear it 'brought to life'. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Hello Again

Yesterday I logged back into this blog and couldn't quite believe it when I saw that my last post was in December 2015. I re-read the post, where I talked about how fast paced life had been during 2015. 2016 followed a similar vein and I had a year of purposely 'stepping outside of my comfort zone' and seeing where that took me. It took me to good places: a perfect new house, a promoted post in my day job and some romantic adventures. Throughout 2016 I was also really lucky to take part in a lot of fun book related events, engaging with lots of enthusiastic and passionate teenagers, some of whom took the time to contact me afterwards to tell me I had inspired them to read more and write more. (You can read about these adventures on my author website here).
Every time I leave one of those events I feel a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the power of creativity, but also a sense of guilt as I've been really bad at disciplining myself with my own creativity, of creating enough space to silence my mind. But then I kept telling myself if you want to write something of true depth, with emotion and meaning, isn't it also important to make sure you live a full life? That's what I feel has been important for me the past year or so, as I had been so immersed in my writing and day dreaming for a good couple of years I felt I'd let my 'real life' plod along without much change.

Now that I've thoroughly shaken up my life (in a good way) I feel it's time to get serious again about re-connecting with the creative side of my brain. I have still been working on my new book and I'm happy to say it's over the half way mark now, but I want to be typing THE END really soon.

The past year I've stopped myself from writing anything which isn't the book, because I feel guilty when I use (my very limited) spare time to play around with words in other ways. But after reading over this blog again yesterday I realised how much I've missed using it as a way of expressing myself creatively and documenting anything interesting I see, or using it as a way of expressing thoughts which pop into my head from time to time into something more meaningful. This blog was a fantastic way to keep me connected to the creative part of my brain.

One of my favourite exercises I documented on here was the Small Stones challenge so I'm going to put a notebook in my work bag this evening so that I can start to doing this every day during my commute. I'm going to re-train my brain to edge aside work things and some life things, and make more room for my imagination to take flight.

Watch this space!