I’m inspired again. And again it’s the Writers’ Café that did the trick. This week it was Nova who led the exercise and, as usual, none of us knew what to expect. But that’s the whole point of our café: we turn up, we drink coffee and we do a writing task there and then. Then we read our our frantic scribblings to the group and everyone gives feedback.
Nova arrived with several white, unmarked, envelopes. She held them out in the shape of a fan.
“Lots of things in our homes are pretty dull, really, mundane,” she began. “And so I went round my house and took photos of ordinary things. Your job is write a story about the one you pick. It can be a story about the item, where it came from, where it’s going or anything you like in fact.” She passed round the envelopes.”There is a photo in each envelope. If you hate the one you get you can swap.”
I got the sparkly shoes and was delighted. I couldn’t wait to start.
“You have 20 minutes.” She set the timer on her phone. “Go!”
So we went.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how so many would-be writers complain that there is nothing to write about. Nothing interesting. Nothing inspiring. Yet Nova, who is a pretty darn good photographer by my reckoning, helped us all to see that we honestly have no excuse. Everything can be inspiring. Even a red mug, or a fridge.
I loved this exercise. I’ve never written about a pair of shoes before and I found it both fun and exhilarating to be forced to write some first person fiction. It even made me giggle while I was writing it. What’s more we all wrote something. Even though one of wrote about not being inspired, she still wrote several hundred words about why she found her ammonite completely uninteresting. We had a story from the point of view of a lipstick, a wonderful piece about intercultural relations thanks to a photo of a bowl of bananas and a glorious Petit Prince style story about the life of a carpet.
Back home now, I feel completely indulged. On mundanity? Now that is inspiring!
Lindsay wrote the following piece on her photo – a lipstick
My name is Lipsy.I am always so thrilled when I am chosen to go on my owner’s luscious lips – I am so creamy and make her look gorgeous.
I started life in the imagination of Madame Coco Chanel – that amazing doyenne of the fashion world – she knew what women wanted and made sure they got it. I am in good company with all the fabulous perfumes, skincare and other cosmetics.
I was in an amazing store called Harvey Nichols (those in the know call it Harvey Nicks) in the perfumery department where I spent some time in a drawer with the other lipsticks. We hated it in there. It was dark and stuffy except that every time the drawer was opened a divine smell wafted through and then came my chance to be slipped into one of those posh bags and whisked off to who knows where.
My ‘where’ was first to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – out of the bag, carefully taken out of my box then lovingly applied to those luscious lips and down to the glamorous cocktail bar where I encountered being put on a table. Then it went dark again as I was popped into a brand new but different bag. Now I shared space with a pretty little enamelled mirror and a small bottle of that oh so famous perfume that I knew so well – Chanel No 5 – probably the most well-loved fragrance in the world. Sometime later I was off again somewhere new, another adventure to who knew where – this time my bag was hanging from a beautiful jewelled clip – so we didn’t go crashing to the floor!
Then something really exciting happened I was released from the bag along with the mirror and found myself being spread over those lovely lips again, heavenly. I was then passed around and ‘oohed and aahed’ over –how thrilling to be so loved and appreciated – bliss.
Time to go back to the hotel where I was laid very carefully beside a different coloured friend – which of us will be chosen tomorrow?
While Caron attempted to write a whimsical poem about her photo – a jewellery box:
I’m black and square
sort’a dumpy looking
but not bare
’cause I’ve inlay of pearl
and whirl colours of cream and sort’a pale green.
I can be seen in Nova’s house
I’m not sure why,
cause my gold seems to not,
fit into her fold,
perhaps it’s the jewellery I hold?
All neat and kept cool
above my little gold feet.
Where will I go next – hmm do I know?
I don’t think so …
Lady Nova brings me
from this land
and I’m sat,
next to her
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