Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Structure, plans & writing

“In the same way as a word can be the germ of a poem, so texture, form, or chance often decide the direction…” p38 Jordi J. Clavero, Fundació Joan Miró: Guide of the Foundation

I started my residency at the Gorman House Arts Centre on Sunday 10 August by writing a plan, a plan of what I’ll do each day. This follows on from the residency proposal, a plan which I put together for the application; and there are longer term designs which this residency fits within. I do like planning. Late last week I discussed with a friend and fellow artist the utility of planning, we both have plans and use different types: the conceptual largely consumed by artistic conceit; operating which assists with artistic practice; and specific for creating a piece or running a show. We were both positive about them, they’ve helped us be part of successful events and publications in and outside the Australian Capital Territory.

The use of plans was brought further into focus last week by another interaction. I am part of a writing group, we meet weekly in Civic shopping centre and each session work through writing exercises. The exercises include free writing, interactive concept generation, and character and scene building. We’ve got a good range of participants and at its best a session cycles through 1) breaking down barriers; 2) working the imagination; 3) developing concepts; 4) generating content; and 5) refining writing; this is all focused on building confidence and writing strength among participants, it is strongest when operating regularly and built on people also writing separately.

Interacting with these layers of writing exercises and structure is a chaos that comes from group dynamics. Sometimes I guess where another writer is going but mostly a session finds hidden lane-ways and ambushes. But last week I was caught by an effort to structure the writing by applying a particular metre as the starting point of an exercise. I struggled with that and I’ve thought about why. Writing for me is an opportunity for the imagination and having that constraint felt like a trial. I dealt with it by writing about the metre in its simplest terms, this writing wasn’t particularly creative but grounded in resisting the structure. I am still struggling with the idea of the tool as end point, but maybe letting form dictate can lend itself to better writing.

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