Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Setting the Tiger free

This 'Good' Article I borrowed from writing your way home am not sure about the copyright of doing this but as I am acknowledging source and advertising is always welcome, I thought it would be ok.If anyone thinks different let me know.It looked simple and fun and could be applied to images too. I sometimes grab an image and start in the middle of my Journal(always a good place I feel) and work intuitively from that image asking questions and adding words occasionally and sometimes more pictures.
(Picure by Tancred on used under creative commons licence, with thanks)

Rhiannon Hopkins

Setting The Tiger Free by Rhiannon Hopkins

The Funky Crone
(aka Rhiannon)

Recently Kaspa wrote about how Ted Hughes likened writing a poem to catching an animal. Finding the words by careful attention on an object or idea and letting them come rather than trying to write about it, “as if you were working out mental arithmetic”. But all too often we capture our word animals only to fence them round with our school trained minds and the rules of grammarians and other pedants. Our creativity then becomes a caged tiger, beautiful but powerless, instead of a creature roaming its territory free to follow its true tigerish nature.
Our first creative efforts in life are messy. Scribbles and daubs as we gleefully discover colours, shapes, textures, in the days before criticism freezes our hands and our creative spirits. Before too long we learn the rules – colour inside the lines and don’t use the lovely red crayon for the elephant, everyone knows elephants are grey. This process continues at school – best handwriting, keep the letters on the lines and never write inside the margins. The cage door is slammed on our creative tigers. The rules of grammar and punctuation turn the key in the lock and many tigers never escape from their confinement.
Just as the rules make the cage, breaking the rules can open it. And, yes, there are reasons why we have grammar, punctuation and correct spelling etc. But writing with deliberate disregard for the established rules is akin to those early messy creative efforts and the results can be truly surprising.
Try this exercise and see where it takes you. Open a notebook at a random blank page. Not the next blank page in the book, that’s another bar of the cage, another rule and the first I am encouraging you to break. Now choose a word or phrase that has meaning and resonance for you or just select a word at random from the dictionary. For five minutes you will write about your word without pausing to think or evaluate the last sentence, just keep your pen or pencil moving. If you do not know what to write or you think this exercise is crazy write that. What you must not do is write neat sentences line by line, don’t worry about punctuation or spelling and write across the whole width of the page including straight across the margin. You could try writing with the notebook turned sideways on or even upside down, you could try going from right to left for a change (that’s left to right for some people, of course) The thing is to keep the pen moving and to give yourself permission to be messy, to disobey every rule you have ever been taught about presentation, and just allow creativity to step outside of that cage.
The thing to remember with a free tiger is that it will not cause harm to anyone if it is left strictly alone to be what it is and pursue its own tigerish ends. This exercise may disturb your habitual thinking and expand your boundaries but you risk nothing more by opening the cage in which other people have enclosed your creativity. In the words of the seventeenth century poet Joseph Addison ‘”There is sometimes a greater judgement shewn in deviating from the rules of art than in adhering to them.”
I’d be interested to hear how you found this exercise and what, if anything you discovered by doing it if you would like to send me a message.

(Picure by Tancred on used under creative commons licence, with thanks)

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