There has been a small break in service here due to another visit to Lovely Nephew, but here’s a belated story of my Very Creative Thursday.
Thursday is already my art class day, so I was pretty chuffed to discover that there’s also a writing group that meets in the same place in the afternoon. I’m part of an enjoyable online writing group, but the level of contributions there has been tailing off and I’ve been thinking that it might be worthwhile to go and meet some real people.
The group was small and really friendly. I did have a complete brainwipe when asked who my favourite writers were and dredged up Carol Ann Duffy – yes I do like her a lot but how obvious – and A L Kennedy, Janice Galloway and Leila Aboulela. All of whom are probably in my top 20 but still, I was kicking myself. No U A Fanthorpe! No Michael Donaghy! No Vikram Seth! Total brain freeze.
After that things did pick up with a fun critical analysis of a poem, which turned out to be by Maya Angelou. Not one of her better efforts, we agreed. We then had a choice of three prompts to write. It felt a little like an exam. I’m not saying this as a terribly bad thing: I always enjoyed school exams and, having only studied English up to Higher, have never been a writing exam that was horrible. But still, it was a little bit “turn your papers over”.
I hacked out the start of a first poem, didn’t like it, changed tack, wrote around another theme and was 3 lines into a re-draft when the group leader said “2 minutes left”. Cue frantic scribbling. I was last to read my piece so I’d more or less got it pulled together by then.
It was indeed really fun to talk to some other real-life writers, in a very low-key environment. Maybe I will work my way up to a bigger more scary group eventually but this was very nice for now! And, just like in the online group, really great to hear other people’s work. Some interesting pieces.
I’d had an interview with some recruiters in the morning, so I was dressed in business clothes for the day which didn’t really fit with art class. No worries, I thought. I’ll take some old clothes and change. This was foiled when I accidentally dropped my T-shirt in the toilet. I spent the class being concerned that I was flashing everyone in my rather low-cut cardigan! At least I had an apron on top.
Art class was tough this week. The topic was Art Nouveau and we were drawing a model. I really felt my lack of training in drawing (I never took an art class past age 13, and what I did draw beyond then tended to be landscapes). I knew what I was trying to do but just couldn’t do it. It was still enjoyable, but I wasn’t happy with what I produced. I was thrilled this weekend when my sister gave me “Anatomy for the Artist“. Really hoping to try out some things in that soon. And I’ll definitely be taking in a landscape image next week for Impressionism rather than drawing a model! (We have both options.)
Given that I am too hideously embarrassed by my drawings to put them up this week, here is my poem from writing group instead. The prompt was “A creature I do not know”.
A creature I do not know occupies this basket.
Six pounds nine and three-quarters of head-heavy wrinkles.
He is primordial.
His face has not yet come into focus,
Still an every-face,
Full of eyes.
We do not share a language.
He has a quizzicality that cannot be addressed by logic.
Each hiccup surprises him.
His toothpick fingers grasp air.
Fresh to this world, he has not yet learnt to be warm.
Uncontrollably malleable, he twists into a pose
That he has not yet reached in his long sixteen hours.
All is new.
He is Adam,
And this is the beginning of his world.