Saturday, 12 March 2011

Day 278: How can we create for others?

This afternoon I have spent my time baking these:

They're nothing special, just little fairy cakes.

I find I enjoy creativity the most when I can do it for other people. When I knit, I like to make something for someone I love and care for. When I write, I think about all those teenagers who need stories. If I bake, I'll usually make them for someone else (but sometimes me too!)

These cakes have been made especially for Chris Stillman's friends and family. He died a few week ago and his funeral is this Monday. Lots of people will come to pay their respects and remember Chris. If I can use my creative skills to make that day a little bit easier, then there's not much more I can ask for.

How could you use your creativity for others this week?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Day 277: T. M. Alexander at View Art Gallary

How much creative inspiration can you get from one night? Well, last night I was blown away by the amount that was thrown at me as a creative thinker.

I was lucky enough to attend T. M. Alexander's book launch in Bristol. She's one of the judges for my writing competition and has just brought out her third book in the Tribe series, Labradoodle on the Loose. She gave a talk to the crowds of people attending, all about the fun author things she gets to do, including receiving the Hull Children's Book Award, doing loads of school visits and writing, of course. It was so exciting to listen to all the ins and outs of living a real writer's life.

Afterwards she spoke to me about how the publishers had decided to change her book order round and release the fourth one before the third! That's the reality of being a writer, I guess. Funnily enough, I don't get told stuff like that on my course.

On top of all of this, the book launch was held in the art gallery, View. So much creativity in one place I nearly died! And there were free smarties! What more could you want from one evening?

There are seven artists being exhibited at the gallery including a guy who'd graduated from Bath Spa only last summer. I was so impressed to see Will Kendrick's work on display, I had a big chat with the owner about it and learnt loads about owning a gallery too. A career change, perhaps...?

Opening yourself up to new creative experiences like this is so inspiring, so why not take a look and see what's going on around your area. Keep your eyes peeled, folks. Creativity really is everywhere!

Circle Painting, Will Kendrick >

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Day 276: Poetry Archive

This morning I have been looking at loads of children's poems on the poetry archive and they are great. So much imagery. There were funny ones, poignant ones, peculiar ones and loads more in between. Snake hotels, iguanas, battles, even scissors!

Take a look for yourself. There's an adults site too if you fancy. Even if you've only got five minutes, see if you can be inspired to get creative from poets who are writing can even listen to the poet read them to you!

Here's a few I particularly liked:

The Sssnake Hotel by Brian Moses

Walking with my Iguana by Brian Moses

Winter by Judith Nicholls

Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Day 275: Character play...

Today I have been working with some Year Seven pupils at Ralph Allen School in Bath. We've been thinking up characters and using them to come up with an idea for creative writing peices. I was so impressed with all of the wacky characters created in only a few minutes. We had zombies, ghost hunters, deep sea divers and everything in between. So much fun! We managed to think up loads of different ways we could put these characters into a story from the things we knew about them.

It's amazing what ideas you can conjure once you've got a character on the go. Stuff just comes out of what you already know. Once you've got two characters on the go, well, you're away!

Why not have a go yourself? Here are the questions we asked to create a character. More questions will come from these and then your story will write itself...enjoy!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Day 274: My Grandparents

Today's blog is dedicated to my Nanny and Granddad, Doreen and Malcolm.

Nanny is a talented and wonderfully creative lady. Even though she's retired, she isn't just sitting around in the garden, she's even busier than she was when she worked!

This morning she sent me an email at 7:40 in the morning to show me these:

She's made them out of paper! How cool! It beats my origami 'flower' any day.

It's not just animals she makes out of paper. My Nan makes the most beautiful cards which she sells at craft fairs all over the country. She also knits amazingly complicated scarfs, she cooks and wears really funky clothes. She even paints her nails every week! I mean, what a cool Nan!

If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be such an enthusiastic knitter!

As, for Grandad, well he is the most enthusiastic reader I've ever met. He's always got his nose stuck in a book and they've got the most amazing wall in their house, completely covered in book shelves. He used to be a type setter (organised book's layout) and after that he was a proof reader, so naturally he's getting involved in my writing competition/anthology project!

There is a lot to learn from grandparents, so don't rule them out. What could you learn from yours?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Day 273: Rebecca the witch

This picture may appear to be a bit of old school writing and I guess it is, but it's what it writes about which intrigues me.

The notebook of a witch finder has been put online for the whole world to see. It tells the stories of women living in the East of England (where I'm from) who, suspected of witchcraft, were tortured and hanged. Seems brutal to us now, but in those times, witches were the feared terrorists of the day. The notebook talks of one girl called Rebecca who was tortured because her Mum mentioned her name under torture. Rebecca then reveals her own mother to be a witch. Along with many other women, her mum was hanged because of Rebecca's confession, but she herself was spared.

If that doesn't inspire a story I don't know what does!

Rebecca lived in Colchester, which is where I went to sixth form. I mean, that's crazy! 350 years ago, girls were being tortured and hung where I went to school! My own sister is called Rebecca and she went to sixth form there too, so the whole thing is just super creepy for me...

Notebooks have always intrigued me. When I was younger, I read Celia Rees' Witch Child. The main character Mary writes a diary and sews each page into her quilt for fear of discovery. In the story I'm writing, one of the characters, Holly, finds out about another character through reading her diary. They are curious things that tell us secrets...

Check out this notebook's stories from 350 years ago and see how they play with your imagination....

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day 272: The New Gypsies, Iain McKell

When I was roaming around Mr B's Bookshop in Bath yesterday afternoon, I was enchanted by this:

This photography book by Iain McKell is full of glossy images of the new age traveller, living a sustainable life in horse drawn caravans, at one with nature and all it can offer them. As I turned to one picture after another I was struck by how beautiful they were, romantic and free. Not the glossy, airbrushed beauty you see in magazines, but real beauty. The beauty of living.

Bookshops are amazing places. They can take you to all sorts of places and introduce you to all sorts of people. When was the last time you got taken to another place you weren't expecting?