I’m locked away again today with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign dangling from the doorknob. When I finished my 1,200 words yesterday I wasn’t sure where my almost teenage boy was going. It appears the hormones have already kicked in or perhaps it’s also his nature, but dialogue is not really his thing. So I went to dinner last night wondering if I was stranded with this strange, inarticulate boy, who admittedly has some sterling characteristics. I like the boy. It’s just dialogue isn’t his way of communicating.
There’s no point losing sleep about it or pushing the river. So I did some knitting last night before bedtime and figured something would turn up. I’d been using Mark Illiss’ suggestions for character development. I figured out what could be a secret but that didn’t help me out with where I had left him in the kitchen with his mum.
At 6:30am I woke up. I picked up my notebook, which was beside the bed. I began to expand on some of the Arvon character development exercises Mark gave us last week. I scribbled for about ten minutes.
Those close to me know that I do not voluntarily or easily wake at 6:30 at any time! But here I was awake and somehow I knew I would get him out of the kitchen and even though he’s not a talker I’d figure it out. I knew he was going to meet with a kid from his school. And I knew one other thing about him. He was smart but he also wants to be happy. Both those things are relative and so far in his short life mutually exclusive. I also knew that this kid embodies the qualities of wolf. Wolves are pack animals but they can also effectively operate as lone wolves. I took him out of his pack and watched how he operated as a lone wolf.
After breakfast I wrote another 1,400 words having imbibed four cups of tea. (Why are the cups so minutely sized in hotels? Do I know need to add my own mug to the packing list?) At breakfast I actually managed a little civilised conversation, which is probably a first for this trip. (On the first night I warned my companions that I don’t really talk until I’ve had a lot of tea; it’s not that I don’t love people, it just the effort is too Herculean in the morning. Mornings are bruising experiences for the likes of me.)
I had to stop right before the story concluded for lunch. My mother brought me up to be prompt and polite. So I saved the document and went down to meet with the group who have been either working away on their own projects in their rooms or doing a workshop with Kate Ennals.
We are off to the Lowry Studio Theatre tonight where I’ll get my ear attuned to how a dramatist works dialogue. I’ll also be watching out for any less articulate characters to see what the actors convey with body language. While we have some people particularly interested in writing drama on this fortnight, observing the characters’ dialogue will help us all.
A friend posted an article on Facebook this morning “18 Things Highly Creative People do Differently” (I kind of hate all these ‘numbered’ articles so popular on the web and with SEOs, but I forgave the writer just this once.) It is certainly true that we need solitude. Yet, I have witnessed some creative colleagues over last week write in very public areas of Lumb Bank. And yes, creative people do seem to have a way of growing roses when they are showered with shite. They are noted for noticing – people, details, EVERYTHING – as well as being change agents. I could relate to a lot of the listed characteristics in the article but one thing it didn’t mention was that creative people tend to cluster. Julia Cameron writes about this in her Artist’s Way book.
We are a creative cluster this week, envoys of creativity from Cavan. As we talk over dinner or in workshops we are striking sparks on the flint of creation. We don’t work in a vacuum. It’s not a competition. It’s the great unfurling of creation, the wise spiral that is our DNA.
We were all born to create.
Bee Smith is travelling in March 2014 with the Leonardo da Vinci Life Long Learning Programme “Developing Creative Practice Across Borders” to Yorkshire and Lancashire organised by the Cavan Arts and the Social Inclusion Unit offices.