Our first session this month involved a discussion about when we have experienced novel endeavours, whether on purpose or by necessity. It was a beautiful, funny and connecting chat and you can listen to some of it here.
Our second meeting, in Chorlton Library this time, was led by a fantastic guest facilitator Steve Beal, who got us trying practical activities designed to boost creative thinking. He used a range of thinking prompts, objects and writing exercises to get us exploring new ways of seeing things. Read on to see the reflections that emerged from the sessions.
The doll reminded me of purity and innocence The mask of mystery The chest of potions and chemistry The loving couple of togetherness and trust Crystal transparent and clear, like an unlocked door or chest
Dragon Fly Flitting by Shimmering wings Does not harm or sting A pleasure to the eye it brings Blues, pinks Delicate pretty hues of nature A brief life it lives But very busy It keeps attracting our attention Till at last, it must fall into sleep To rise again in our memories Mind's eye remains.
Striped sailed tiny boat In corked bottle, filled with hope Shows I too can float.
Odd the things we keep and what they mean to us.
When my brother died, he had very little. He had a habit of giving things away, and had moved a few times after his mind starting to slip, so what was left was a meagre box of small items: a little blue and white striped wooden lighthouse; a cracked mug with an elephant on it; a skull studded with fake jewels with a moveable jaw; a brooch with a picture of two bathing huts; an enamel poppy on a leather cord – on the back, “Remember our brave boys,” and a ring with a missing stone.
I wonder what those things meant to him? The ring wasn’t one I ever saw him wear, so who gave it to him? Maybe it once belonged to somebody else. Whose finger had it touched and what did they mean to him?
He wasn’t afraid of death, so maybe the skull was a joke. The poppy goes without saying given he was a Royal Marine, but the little lighthouse and the brooch?
We make our own connections and here, see, is a picture of him as a toddler, rompers round his knees, solemnly tottering down the beach towards the sea. That’s what connects the objects to him for me. That little, blonde lad, being watched by two older children, me and my sister, the smell of sun on seaweed, South Stack lighthouse around the headland and there he goes, making for the horizon, his whole life ahead of him and anything possible.
David died on 24th December 2021. He was 59 years old.
Trying something new
The sessions this month, both online and in Chorlton library, highlighted important aspects of the barriers which might dissuade a person from trying something new. The new activity may seem too daunting an undertaking or there may be a fear of being judged a failure.
In thinking of the first of these, I was minded of the Chinese proverb “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step”. It is easier to take on something we may think too difficult if we first look at it as a number of smaller tasks. Again, once started it is good to recall the old English proverb, “Rome Was Not Built in a Day”, lest we be discouraged by a perceived lack of progress.
The second session this month had a slightly different format as it was led by a guest presenter, Steve Beal, who conducted a creativity workshop. In his introduction he stressed that creativity should not focus so much on the “End Result” but more on the processes involved. In this way we are able to enjoy “Trying Something New” without the fear of being judged “wrong” or “not good enough”.
Encouraged by this sentiment I purchased this cheese-making kit, which I had seen earlier. Interestingly, the introduction to the book which accompanies the kit stresses the fact that, although the processes might not always go as planned and the cheese may not be the “Right” one it will still BE a cheese and that in itself will be an accomplishment.
I have not tried this out yet but the “proof of the pudding will be in the eating” hopefully!