What makes you come alive?

At a recent appointment with my psych nurse we spent a while talking about rubbish things which have probably contributed to the recurrent depression, self harm and anorexia.  Needless to say, the mood in the room was heavy.  Then she turned the conversation and we started to talk about things I enjoy.  After a while, she stopped and looked thoughtful and then told me how she had seen me come alive as I started to talk about photography, travel etc and how she’d really felt the atmosphere change in the room.

A few days after, there was a post on twitter which said find what makes you come alive and do more of it (or something to that effect).

It’s something I’m really trying to keep hold of.

What makes me come alive and how am I planning on doing more of it?

Photography – I’ve started following a couple of photography blogs for inspiration; I’ve made a note of techniques I want to try out with my diana mini; I’m hoping to get to the lomography store whilst I’m in London this week to pick up some interesting film; I’ve got my eye on a new lens for my DSLR and it’s only £150 so is affordable-ish.

Books – keep reading! I’ve got a good routine at work now where I read on my lunch break instead of sitting at my computer.  I also think it would be nice to set aside a couple of pounds a week to go to a cafe with a book.

Travel – I can’t fly at the moment (I have been forbidden by the psych nurse on account of my weight which is a good reason for gaining some weight and I need to keep reminding myself of that) but that doesn’t mean I can’t make plans.  I have planned in a bit of detail an independent trip to Norway.  I’ve also decided on a small group tour in Cambodia and started to look for somewhere to stay in Lille.  In the meantime, my travel is restricted to trains but that’s ok – I’m off to Scotland in August for a writing, photography, art week away on a remote island.  I’m also staying at a hotel which is in a bookshop on the way and way back!

Learning – over the last couple of weeks I’ve been to quite a few workshops and lectures as part of York Festival of Ideas – Writing Recklessly, Randomness and Chaos in Art, The Rise of the Female Diplomat, Listening to the City (a writing workshop), Frogs Don’t Need to Get Hot (about social support and mental health) and Moving Beyond Boundaries (about teaching women’s history in schools).  I’ve really enjoyed these and have (reluctantly) acknowledged that I’ve got so much more out of them because I have been eating more and have gained a little weight.  I’m also trying to get back into my Future Learn courses.  Last night when insomnia struck, I returned to looking at the MA in Women’s Studies that I want to do but I know, sensibly, that I can’t do right now.  I also had a look at some of the open university modules and think that might be an option before the MA.  But before that I need to get healthier.  So I’m currently waiting for the centre for lifelong learning brochure to come out and hopefully I’ll book myself onto a short course or a weekend course which I think will be more achievable.

Dinosaurs – dinos rock!  They are amazing and I feel like me and dinosaurs have been a bit distant of late so I’m hoping to reconnect with them and their awesomeness!  This has most recently included a trip to the natural history museum in Brussels where I bought a hoodie with a dino on it (I’m that cool!).  I also have the bones of a poem about a diplodocus which I need to go back to.

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Imagination Road

A leafy green lane bends and twists along the coastline. Sun weaves through branches to dapple the ground. Then gently the woodland fades and you can see into the fields and out to the evermoving sea. Round a corner a cottage appears, small and crooked, flowers intertwined with windows.  The building is older than time and has stories to tell if you stop and ask. Take a seat on the bench, half in the shadow of the drooping willow, half in the heat of the day. Take your pick, curl your feet under you and listen to the tales.  Once your mind is sated, unfurl from your resting spot and revisit the road. Let it guide you past the wonderous, past the awe inspiring and let it linger over the everyday.

What does Imagination Road look like to you?

Week 2

So, week 2 of the creative writing class.  This week is about using prompts to generate ideas.  The first one was inspired by a news headline:

In life, we were thick as thieves, two peas in a pod, joined at the hip.  With death, she has become me.  She has consumed my identity.

For the second assignment, we brainstormed people, places and props and combined them to make an idea:

With her blanket of stars wrapped around her and her boat on the sea, the little girl set sail for the top of the world.  Her hair threaded with flowers and her spoon paddles powering her cardboard vessel along.

(Does anyone want to illustrate that for me? I think it’d make a nice picture book!)

And for the third assignment, we gathered pictures from magazines and used them as inspiration:

It’s exactly 5 minutes to ten when he checks his watch.  You wouldn’t know it was morning in the dusky grey wilderness he finds himself in.  Pine trees stand, bolt upright, their tops engulfed in heaven and their feet wrapped in virgin snow.  Ahead, he can see the silhouettes of his travelling companions.  He doesn’t know them well enough to make out identities from their backs; all present as harsh black outlines against the velvety white.  Standing still for a brief moment, he thinks about where he came from.  Where he ran from.  Another world away.

A reminder to myself

One of the links I’ve had on my ‘to read’ list was How To Read A Poem (part of a series) and is well worth a look at, or at least worth adding to your ‘to read’ list!  The website looks like it has lots of interesting things on but there was a particular article which caught my eye.  It details three ways of creating poems from others’ words and links to a blog post with a lovely couple of examples of found poetry.

This post is mostly a reminder to myself to revisit these links.