Finding inspiration in everyday life isn’t always easy. Though I am a voracious reader and frequently visit new places, endeavouring to assimilate as many social and cultural influences as possible, there are times when it seems like my mind is completely and utterly devoid of any sort of poetic thought (which is partly why I created this blog- to force me into regular acts of creativity!). At times like these, instead of waiting for inspiration to come, I actively seek out creative opportunities.
This week I made the decision to carry out a simple writing exercise as a means of ‘assisting’ my brain. Despite getting some odd looks, I raided the kitchen cupboards, collecting a few random objects, and assembled my ‘stimuli’ on the dining room table.
As you can see from the photo above, the things I chose were mainly common objects that can be found in most homes: a tape measure; a map; a box of matches; a shell; a clove of garlic; …and a masquerade mask (which doesn’t technically belong in my kitchen, but I thought I’d make use of it anyway!). When we encounter these objects on a day-to-day basis, we don’t always think about what they might represent or how we can use them in a creative way. Sometimes, however, if you have the time and you’re that way inclined, it’s interesting to spend a few minutes thinking about them (yes, thinking about a clove of garlic is interesting!), if only to remind ourselves to be open to new possibilities and ways of looking at the world.
In the first part of my writing exercise, I allowed myself a maximum of two minutes per item to write down ten words or phrases that immediately popped into my head when looking at/thinking about it.
Once I had completed this part of the task, I used the words/phrases as inspiration to write six unrelated haikus, one for each piece of stimulus. As haikus are very short poems, consisting of a line of 5 syllables, a line of 7 syllables, and another line of 5 syllables, I thought this would be the perfect way of exercising my poetic brain. The fact that they’re so concentrated means that every word has to be very carefully chosen to create the greatest possible impact, however, so they’re not as simple as they initially seem! This does make you more aware of phonetics though, so it can be a good poetic technique to use with children who are developing their understanding of sounds.
These are the results:
Garlic- contained, wrapped, layers, delicate, bunched, skin, bulging, veined, whole, crinkly
peel away, revealing skin’s
Map- navigation, geographical, winding, belonging, travel, route, plot, guide, landmarks, streets
Belonging to time,
streets of memory wind through
this town of my mind
Matches- strike, burn, rage, ignite, light, glow, short fuse, fuel, primitive, potential
Potential to strike.
Short fuse, ready to ignite-
fire contained in light
Tape Measure- length, unravel, distance, height, coiled, metres, measurements, quantify, numerical, growth
of yourself and we will be
at the height of love
Mask- masquerade, disguise, all in the eyes, opulence, glitter, facade, ribboned, riches, hedonistic, decadence
facade of glittering lives-
it’s all in the eyes
Shell- ancient, whorls, unicorn’s horn, stick of rock, waves, textured, spiral, fairground, home, pearled
Horn of unicorn,
Textured whorls of pearled beauty-
Sea’s gift to the shore
Although I didn’t produce anything particularly great, this exercise really helped to alleviate my creative block, and rejuvenated my brain. As a result, I would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of a little creative jumpstart. Whilst it might seem like a very simple task, it can be amazingly enlightening, encouraging you to consider the nuts and bolts of everyday existence in a far more philosophical way, and heightening your awareness of words and sounds in the process.
Settling down in front of the telly/snuggling up with a good book every night might be relaxing, but, as I discovered, every so often it’s good to step outside of your usual routine and spark the creativity within…