Midweek writing prompt – future

Ruined tower by Judy DarleyIt seems fitting that on the final day of 2014, we should look to the future. I passed this building site on a bus and was struck by the bleak beauty of that one remaining tower – ready to come down to make way for whatever’s coming.

Ruined tower1 cr Judy Darley

In a way we need to be that ruthless with our creativity. Tear down old ideas to make way for fresh successes.

This particular shot reminds me rather of Anselm Kiefer’s ‘heavenly palaces’.

With this in mind, I wish you a very happy, fulfilled 2015, and hope that if you’re out celebrating tonight you stay safe, wake warm and recover gently.

Interpret this scene however you like.

If you write something prompted by it, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.

Book review – Waterlog by Roger Deakin

Waterlog by Roger DeakinFew books can claim having seeped into as many lives as Roger Deakin’s Waterlog. An outwardly simple account of one man’s aim to swim across as much of Britain as possible, this quietly joyful tale has gained cult status (and spurred on countless wild swimming societies) since its publication in 1999.

Prompted by his own love of wild swimming, and John Cheever’s iconic short story The Swimmer, Deakin’s account blends his love of nature, a wealth of historical and geographical titbits and a very contemplative view of our country’s waterways.

There are moments of drama too, as in when he visits the aptly named Hell Gill in Cumbria – a canyon with water funnelling through it. “Courage up, I returned to the turbulent rim of the gorge and did what u knew might be an unwise thing. I couldn’t help it. I began to slide into the mouth of the abyss itself.” It’s a dizzying read as he slithers, swims and careens down “Hell Gill’s dim, glistening insides”, descending into the darkness: “I felt like Jonah inside the whale.”

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Merry Christmas!

Little Christmas Tree2 by JDarleyI hope your day is filled with laughter, contentment and warmth.

And if you wanted to know how our little tree is getting on, it survived the year and is thriving!

Here’s how it looked last year…

Little Christmas tree cr Judy DarleyAnd at the top of the post is how it looks now! Last year I called it “a reminder that from small beginnings, great things can grow…”

This year I think I’ve learnt that patience, love and plenty of sunshine is needed too.

Midweek writing prompt – ice skating

Ice skating cr Judy DarleyHow nostalgic is this winter scene? It could be twenty years ago, or last week! When I was a kid ice skating was the best fun in the world, but as I got older and taller, falling seemed more perilous and the soaring joy diminished.

Why is it that as we age, our mortality looms? I had a conversation once with a man who’d been cleaning the windows of a skyscraper for a decade and was just beginning to develop a dread of heights. The idea intrigued me.

Use this as your prompt this week and create a character who loses their love of a potentially dangerous activity that previously held no fear for them. It could be Banksy growing afraid of being caught, or a lion-tamer now terrified of wild animals.

How do they overcome their new-found trepidation? And if they don’t, how does it change their life?

If you write something prompted by this, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.

Geese among the trees

Lost Garden of Heligan geese cr Judy DarleyChristmas is coming and the geese are getting fat…

But actually this post is about something entirely different. The lovely folks at Liars’ League Hong Kong are hosting a literary night of performances on 29th December, and invited me to submit a tale. Always a pleasure!

Susan Lavender will be reading my short story Geese Among The Trees as part of a special festive showcase. She considered performing Night Flights again, but thought it might be a little dark for the occasion. That’s probably true!

Geese Among The Trees is a bitter sweet tale of hope and possible redemption. Susan Lavender will be performing it as part of the Liars’ Trump night at the Fringe Dairy jazz and cabaret club in Hong Kong on 29th December. The event starts at 8pm. Do go along if you’re in the area – I wish I could be there!

Samantha Gilraine land stories

Rusty Trees cr Samatha GilraineWild, windswept landscapes and reaching trees fill the artwork of Samantha Gilraine with a sense of restless movement.

“I have felt compelled to record the world around me and express what I see and feel in various ways,” she says. “I did dream of being an artist but never really realised it was truly possible until a few years ago. It was people’s reactions to my work made me believe that I could do it as a profession, not to mention my passion for the subject.”

Samantha treats her artistic endeavours as a journey, “exploring and recording the world around me and then experimenting with different media.” She says the process itself “is a real joy. But the best feeling is when someone connects with a picture that I have made and I get to see the true enjoyment they receive from looking at it. This spurs me on to create more.”

Wish that I'd worn wellies cr Samantha Gilraine

Wish that I’d worn wells © Samantha Gilraine

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Midweek creative prompt – image flowers

Corner by Judy Darley

Something a bit different to get your creative juices flowing, or indeed, flowering, this week!

Launched by Cheryl Brooks, Image Flowers is a collaborative art project, with which you’re invited to participate. All you need to do is browse the images hosted on the Image Flowers site and create a visual reply to any that move you. This can be a painting, collage, photograph, or whatever comes to mind. I supplied Corner, the image at the top of this post, in response to Exmouth by Mike Lumley (shown below).

Exmouth by Mike Lumley

The project began when Cheryl, a fine artist, began a series of works exploring visual connections generated from one starting point.  In my recent work “I have been exploring natural geometry especially in relation to flower heads, so this and an exhibition I saw where two photographers had over time created a visual conversation by responding to each others images, is the inspiration behind this project.”

 

Image Flower 1 by Cheryl Brooks

The image that started it all, by Cheryl Brooks

To take part, simply spend some time at Image Flowers and find a picture that intrigues or moves you. Then email the picture to Cheryl as directed on the site, including the details of the image that spurred you to get creating!

Of course, if you find yourself moved to produce a written piece instead, that’s fine – just send it to me instead of Cheryl.

If you write something prompted by this, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.

Midweek writing prompt – flock

Soul of Sir Hitchcock cr Maciey MakowskiIt’s always interesting to see one piece of creative work inspired another, in this case a photograph inspired by a vintage film.

This glorious image is by Maciey Makowski and is one of the monthly winning shots chosen by The World Photography Organisation (WPO) and luxury cruise line Celebrity Cruises in their monthly ‘Global Encounters’ competition.

Maciey took the photo on the outskirts of Pink City, Jaipur, India. I love the power and energy in the image, and the sense of transience.

“I was just hanging around, walking out of beaten touristic paths, and reward came,” says Maciey. “While I was walking through one of the gates of the city, I noticed big clouds of birds. I just released the camera shutter instinctively and three seconds later the magic of this moment just gone. I named it Soul of Sir Hitchcock after one of my favourites movies.”

And yes, those birds, looking stunning as they do, are humble pigeons!

You can take this prompt in any direction you like – imagine the story behind this particular scene, draw inspiration from a well-known film and apply it to what you see in your own neighbourhood, or seek out the magic in the most unassuming of creatures.

There’s still time to enter the photo competition too, which encourages photographers to capture and share their shots from across the globe. The monthly competition is open until 31 January 2015. Find full details here.

If you write something prompted by this, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.