So I have still had very little spare time since I finished teaching in Cambridge last month. I visited my mum in France for a week, and picked up three weeks more teaching in three different small towns in Germany. (Hello from Schleswig-Holstein today). So the backlog of entries and photos about my travels keeps growing, but I don’t have the time right now to actually address it.
Anyway, in July Sunn O))) toured the UK, and I couldn’t go because I was committed to working long hours on this residential course I was teaching, and I felt pretty sad about it. So I used It Took The Night to Believe as the prompt for that week’s creative writing activity for my students. The previous week I’d used the video for Reach for the Dead by Boards of Canada (both pieces of music gave good results in the student’s writing) . While setting up the activity I accidentally set off both songs at once, and discovered they actually sound amazing together. So enjoy. For best results, start the Boards of Canada song first.
This was my April piece for Storyboard , a writing site with monthly prompts run by a friend. I couldn’t think of a story idea, so I wrote a kind of essay instead.The theme this month is “Ichi-go ichi-e”: a never again moment. I couldn’t think of a story, so I decided to talk a little about ways other writers have handled the theme. I suppose you could call this a casual essay. I’m afraid it won’t be closely argued or meticulously footnoted, and it is quite loosely put together, but maybe it will give people some good recommendations of things to read.
Photographers talk about the “decisive moment”. Henri Cartier Bresson said that “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oops! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever”. Perhaps this is true of photojournalism, but does human experience actually work in that way?
Louise, a friend of mine from Brighton recently set up a creative writing website. The idea is that everyone is given a monthly writing prompt, with all the submitted work posted the following month for comment. I decided to have a try following the first prompt- the theme was Aquamarine. I couldn’t really think of any idea for a story, so I just wrote what came to mind. What they call a five finger excercise. I think I’ll ramble less on the next one. Here is what I wrote . .
I used to go to the aquarium when I was stressed or angry or just plain bored. I had acquired a year’s pass in slightly strange circumstances. At the time I worked at a language school. The owner had taught for a measly three months and then decided to open his own school (language schools are almost entirely unregulated). He had also done some kind of bullshit online counselling course, and felt himself to be some kind of life-coaching guru. When confronted with anything practical he would beam at you, spout some trite self-help book maxim, and try to disappear as swiftly into his office as possible.