Inspiration – May 2018

Much of my job as a writer tutor is to bring inspiration into the classroom or workshop.  Sometimes I take groups to galleries to look at another art-form, sometimes I bring an object or an image with me to challenge my classes with something new and engaging.

I have an office full of fascinating objects from a battered old trumpet to a boxing glove which I often use to promote response.  Recently I used an object I had never used in this context.  It always feels risky to use a new prop, but something extraordinary often happens in the gap between the object and the imaginations of those present.  Explanations, stories and poetic responses start forming in an exercise I call, ‘interrogating the object’ where, with a few questions to start them off, people start writing.

Bringing an object into a neutral space subtly changes the environment and the focus.  I am always astonished how the same object produces such different responses and stories.

My object for these recent sessions was a small bird carved and shaped out of animal horn;   some found it to be a slightly repulsive but still interesting object, for others it had a kind of poignant beauty.  I know nothing of its origins, age or the original artist.  I just know it sparked off some extraordinary writing.

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