Writing prompt – sparkle

Sparkle street. Photo by Judy DarleyJPGWe recently moved to a new home in a different town and have been heartened by the volume of festive lights. It all feels very welcoming!

But imagine if January comes and goes, then February and March, and the Christmas lights remain?

What if it turns out we’ve accidentally moved to a town where it’s always Christmas? How will we fit in? And how will we retain our sanity in the face of festive year-round cheer?

The same premise works just as well for Halloween, Valentines’ Day or any number of seasonal celebrations. Can you turn this idea into an unnerving or comic tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – adrift

Floating island in Avon River by Judy Darley

This floating island drifted past on the River Avon. It made me think of how species can travel from landmass to landmass thanks to flood, tide and chance.

I wonder what could have got caught up in this tangle. Might they have been peacefully dozing, only to wake up on their move to a new home?

I love how this castaway seems to float on a sea of clouds, suggesting a voyage not only between landmasses but between worlds.

Can you turn this into a story, or other creative work?

Could this be an opportunity to explore the growing plight of refugees and immigrants?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – pat a cat

Cat graffiti at Bristol Harbour. Photo byy Judy Darley

Bristol is renowned for exceptional graffiti and for its particularly eccentric turns of phrase, which can also be heard across Somerset, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, including ‘Pat a cat’, an urging to nuzzle a moggy… Ahem, why does that sound rude?

Quite simply, anywhere you stroll in Bristol away from the hectic centre, there’s a high chance you’ll meet a cat seemingly keen for a stroke

This gorgeous artwork appeared at Bristol harbour a while back, and is one of many giant feline portraits to pop up across the city in this style. The attitude of the cat makes me wonder if they’d welcome a pat, though.

The artist who created this work must have had to balance precariously over the murky water, or paint from a boat. What might their motivation have been? Part of me feels it could have been one of the many local cats with inky paws, tempting gullible humans to come in for a stroke and get a scratch!

Can you turn this into a tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – arch

House arched over by a rainbow in a blue sky by Judy Darley

Rain and sunshine = a November full of rainbows, often showy-offy double ones arching enormously across the sky.

Walking in Bristol’s Totterdown area, I can track them up hills and around corners. This one rose ahead of me for quarter of a mile, with a twin rainbow sharpening and fading as light particles danced with clouds.

Then I turned a corner and saw it had morphed into a single impressive arch engulfing a home. It feels like a great scene to spur a piece of exquisite magic realism.

Who would you populate this house with? How could such a close encounter with a rainbow affect them?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – interloper

Spider at RWA by Judy Darley on porcelain sculpture The Legacy of Shadows by Juli Bharucha MA

One of my favourite art exhibitions, the Annual Open Exhibition, is currently on at the RWA, Bristol. I’ve already visited twice, and there are masses of sculptures, paintings, and other creations that could prompt works of fiction.

There is, however, an unexpected, uncredited act of performance art taking place within one of the display cases.

Inside a case with a gorgeously delicate-looking white porcelain sculpture by Juli Bharucha MA titled The Legacy of Shadows, I spotted a teeny spider. A week later I returned, and the spider waved at me shyly.

It seems quite happy in there on its porcelain web, but definitely trapped. I can’t help wondering if it is a stowaway, a prisoner, or a really passionate fine art fan.

Can you weave this into a fantastical tale?

I’ve let assistant curator Olive know and she’s promised to launch a tiny rescue mission…

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – very small chairs

I encountered these less-than half-sized chairs in a sort of storage room of a school that had given some of its spaces over to an art trail.

SmallChairs cr Judy Darley

Something about all those little seats waiting to be set down and put to use got my imagination whirring.

Imagine a school of the future where a population boom makes space so valuable child must sit in tiered rows at school. Who chooses who sets where? Is there an advantage to the comfort of ground level, or are the children set above, with better views and potentially boosted courage due to their daily climb, more likely to thrive?

What might they see from their perch?

Or perhaps these small chairs bring something else to mind. What can you weave from this sight?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – flap

Red Admiral by Judy Darley

I never expected to see a red admiral butterfly flapping around my neighbourhood on a chilly November day. This one is clearly aware of its naval namesake, as it’s perched on the boat motif that adorns Bristol wheelie bins.

And yes, it is the butterfly that’s upside-down, and not the photo or the bin.

It’s an odd image, though, isn’t it? There are so many directions you could take this prompt in, from a climate fiction tale on butterfly sightings in November, and what this bodes for our planet, or a fable about a red admiral butterfly meeting a naval admiral, or even, taking into account the butterfly’s topsy-turvy posture, a piece revelling in the natural world’s eccentrics. It’s up to you! Take this idea, and fly with it.

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – debris

River mud and debris

Rivers carry all traces of our lives, from rubbish to sewage. Looking down on the debris covering the mud, I can’t help wondering how those things ended up there? Were they thrown or did they wash up? Have they been lurking beneath the silt for years and only just emerged? Who did they belong to?

There’s nearly always a bike or a shopping trolley.

What will future generations make of this disarray?

Can you turn this into a fable that suggests a less wasteful future?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – snap

Photographer, robin and squirrel_Photo by Judy Darley

A photographer’s lens can offer a precisely edited view of the world, and raise questions about why they chose to capture that particular scene rather than another, as well as what exists beyond that frame.

Look at any instagram feed and you’ll receive an artfully skewed impression of a life. What does the selection of shared images tell you about the photographer? Why is this the story they’ve chosen to tell? What might they have opted to leave out?

If you look at your own photos, what themes or preoccupations can you spot? What does this suggest?

Can you use this to inspire a tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – dove

Statue_JudyDarley

This statue in port of Kaleici, Antalya, is of a sea captain named Mustafa Ekizler, who lived here between 1905 and 2000. Mustafa is famed for having been present at “numerous events” including the 1919-21 Italian Occupation and Turkish-Greek exchange. He earned his living from the sea for 85 years, but is mostly renowned for bearing witness, and is regarded as an icon of the area’s tumultuous history.

My favourite thing about this statue, however, is the bronze dove on the captain’s shoulder. What better way to prevent pigeons crapping on your monument than by suggesting that job’s already taken? In fact, the dove is there to symbolise peace, and is so covetable that it’s been stolen twice previously.

If someone created a commemorative statue of you, what should be sitting on your shoulder? What could it symbolise?

Can you use this to inspire a tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.