Tag Archives: Creativity

Out with the old in with the slightly different

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As we approach the end of 2011 and the dawn of 2012 I decided it was time for a new look here.

Astonishingly I’ve resisted an almost overwhelming urge to change the theme on my blog yet again and instead I’ve done a little bit of house-keeping and reorganisation.

In an attempt to find some structure and focus for this blog I’ve decided to make use of the WordPress categories system.

So, for now, we have three categories:

Writing – The majority of my posts to date fall into this category. All things relating to my journey as a writer, including what I’m reading and of course the odd review.

Photography – My photographic experiences and some of my photographs.

Creativity
– A new category to chart and explore my forays into the worlds of crafting and baking, something I hope to do a lot more of, hopefully with the help and support of the wider world!

I have in mind a fourth section for all of my off-topic musings about my world, but we’ll see if I come up with posts for that category before I give it a whole section.

I hope that this will help me to channel my writing and also for you to get to what interests them.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. May 2012 be good to us all!

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Getting published

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I mentioned a while ago that I’m writing for Women’s Views on News, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few by-lined features published on the website. The best thing about this is that I have really enjoyed researching and writing the pieces, simply for the sake of it, to then have the work appreciated and published on the site has been extremely rewarding.

With that in mind I thought I’d share the two latest (related) features with you.

“What? £900 for a blouse and another £900 for the matching trousers!

One of last weekend’s broadsheet magazine’s ‘fashion’ pages featured  women wearing clothes that must surely be significantly out of the price range of the paper’s readership, yet even were they within my grasp, I wouldn’t buy them because of the photographs.

Why? Because the poses of the models were so unnatural that it was actually impossible to appreciate the clothes.

The line between art and function is a blurry one in the fashion world.  A recent project by Spanish artist Yolanda Dominguez has looked at the ridiculous positions into which models contort themselves in the name of  fashion and glamour.” Read More – Model poses – art or dysfunction?

 

Following on from this feature I contacted Yolanda and she was kind enough to answer some questions for me:

WVoN: One of your stated goals is to challenge the established attitudes of women. What are these attitudes and who do you feel presents the greater challenge when it comes to change?

I think it is the job of each and every person to see what they can do to contribute to change. Many women talk about “patriarchy” and what is “imposed on us” and believe it is men who have to change whilst maintaining attitudes that don’t benefit or help that change.

Gender roles are not independent and must be modified in both directions. This added to the social changes (legal, cultural, ideological) will enable a movement. Everything counts. Read the whole interview – “Art can change the world” – an interview with Yolanda Domínguez

Civilising Nature

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I wrote this short short story a few years ago as part of a creative writing course and have been meaning to go back and tidy it up ever since. I’ve made some minor changes and now post it here for your perusal. I do hope you enjoy it.

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It had been six months since Stanley had died, enough time apparently. Certainly that is what the children thought. Iris had dreaded this day but now it was here she felt at peace, calm. She had a short while before the children arrived, the sun was high in the sky but a gentle breeze kept the temperature balmy. She relaxed into the chair and watched a butterfly flit across the garden, happy at the simple joy of being alive.

When she and her husband, Stanley, had moved in to the little house just a few weeks after marrying she had fallen in love with the plot almost as intensely as she loved him. Back then it was penned in by a six foot wooden fence and laid to lawn. It took ten years for the elder and hawthorn hedge to grow high enough and thick enough for them to be able to rip down the fence, much to the annoyance of the neighbours.

When their first child was born Iris had Stanley plant an apple tree.  Two years later they planted a plum and another year and half later a cherry. By the time the children were old enough to be climbing trees and building dens the little orchard was big enough to oblige. The cherries would be eaten fresh from the trees, if you could get to them before the birds, and Iris and the girls would make apple pies and plum jam as the summer waned. Read the rest of this entry

Women’s Views

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So, what do you think of the new look? I’m thinking it’s a little lighter a little more creative and a lot more fun than the old one. Maybe, just maybe, it will inspire me to post more often 😉

Whilst I’ve been very quiet here, I have been a little more active elsewhere. Mostly as a co-editor at Women’s Views on News, a not-for-profit project covering news from around the world about women. A survey carried out in March 2010 by Global Media Monitoring Project found that women are featured in only around a fifth of international news headlines and just 10 per cent of all news stories.  With women making up about 50% of the global population (give or take a few) this is clearly gender-biased inequality at work. Women’s Views on News challenges that and is aiming to redress the balance by highlighting the stories about and for women.

As well as running current news stories, the site editors also write features about issues effecting women around the world and draw attention to campaigns and groups working towards improving life for women everywhere.

So far I’ve found my time with the project really interesting and enjoyable. I have always taken an active interest in current affairs and especially equality (or all too often inequality) in the world and this has given me an opportunity to deepen my understanding of this area and to maybe make a difference to some of what’s going on. I’m getting the chance, encouragement and motivation to write regularly and to a deadline, to get published with help and advice and to learn more about what is going on in the world.

While my ultimate aim is to make a living from writing, this seems to me to be a worthwhile step in the right direction and I’m considering looking into other voluntary writing opportunities, time willing of course!

Excuses, excuses…

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I’m cross with myself, I’ve not posted for four months and that’s simply not on. It’s not to say I’ve not started a number of posts in that time, I’ve just not finished any of them. I’ve got good reason, my entire life is turning itself upside down and inside out. I’m not going to go into that here, of course, but content yourself with that as, if not justification then, explanation of my absence. It’s time to pick myself up and start blogging again.

First though, I wanted to talk a little about the effect these turbulent times are having on my creativity, particularly writing. I write for pleasure and for myself mostly I find it a cathartic process and now I want to write for others and if at all possible, for a career. But lets go back to the heart of it, journalling.

I’ve kept a diary since I was, well, old enough to write coherently. I have them all stacked in boxes and drawers, pages and pages of my thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears, little snapshots of my life. I rarely wrote daily, sometimes not even weekly or monthly, but, just as I am always reading at least one book, I was always keeping a diary. But things have changed and I no longer write in my diary.

I’ve always recognised the importance of journalling. I see it as a way to untangle the things in ones mind that you don’t wish to share with anyone, a way to self analyse without the demand for a response. It’s also a way to track your ups and downs, the ebb and flow of our inner selves. It’s a way to speak without having to share, a way to divest yourself of the emotions that, at times, threaten to overwhelm you. It is, in my belief, a healthy and good habit to get into. And I miss it. I miss it terribly.

It almost feels to me like everything is stunted now, because when I try to write, all of these other unwritten things come tumbling out, shaping and distorting what I’m trying to say until it becomes another journal entry when I’m not doing that any more. Emails, posts, comments, everything feels like it’s trying to change and merge into the journal I’m no longer keeping. Almost like those thoughts are alive, needing some sort of outlet, colouring, if not poisoning, everything I write.

I read Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors a short while ago and he said in the introduction of the collection of short stories “A few of them were written to amuse myself, or, more precisely to get an idea or an image out of my head and pinned safely down on paper; which is as good a reason for writing as I know: releasing demons, and letting them fly.”.Something about that struck a chord in me. I think he’s right, sometimes we have to write simply to let the ‘demons fly’.

So, I need to give these thoughts a little airtime, I need to let them flow through me and clear the pathways so that I can begin to write again. It’s happening, slowly and this post is a sign that those routes are beginning to clear, just a little – for now.

Monster of the Week

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I’ve been watching Season 5 of Supernatural and am really enjoying it, as I have the entire series. I got to thinking about the format of this and other series in similar genres, what works and what doesn’t.

Supernatural, much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (another of my favourites) employs the “monster of the week” format which I think really works.  There are more layers here though. Once a series is well established, at least 2+ seasons in, you begin to get a real feel for the series-wide story arc; a direction that the main characters are taking, the way they interact and their combined, or individual, story lines that will flow from season to season. Then there’s the season specific story line. Usually a ‘Big Bad’ trying to bring about the end of the world as we know it, ushering in a time of darkness and unleashing the forces that our ‘heroes’ spend their time beating back. On an episode by episode basis we have the “monster of the week”, a specific target that will, almost without fail, be defeated before the episode’s time is up.

Read the rest of this entry

Oneword…or four

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I’ve been doing the Oneword challenge when I have the chance and thought I’d share a few of the results, for want of a more indepth post today 😉

Fluffy off-white wool sticks to the fence and the bramble bushes along the edge of the field. The grass is cropped short but there is no sign of sheep. Unsurprising as a large Alsation can be seen racing across a ridge in the distance.

They pushed their way through the thick tangle of dead wood limbs. Every branch and thorn catching on their clothing and in their hair. It was tough and slow going and she began to worry that they wouldn’t make it through in time. But they had no choice they had to get there before sunset.

The cards were still standing on the mantlepiece. In a way she felt that if she took them down it would be accepting what had happened. So they stayed there, now a month after his birthday. Seemed silly some days and she had even stacked them up ready to throw away once or twice, but returned a few hours later to place them all back neatly.

I was obsessed with the way she walked, the way she moved, the clothes she wore, even, to my embarassment, the way she smelt. I simply could not get her out of my head and she would hang around there poking into my thoughts and peering around the darkest recesses of my brain like a nosey relative.

I’m wondering what stories lie behind some of these snippets.