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Fragments of Inheritance: The Subject Behind My Object Series

1 Oct

For this Monday’s Blog we’re starting a new intermittent mini-series called The Subject Behind My Object (the name has gone through various permutations, which you’ll hear on the mini video below, apologies, if there’s a bit of a descrepency (!))

The idea for this  mini-series was inspired by the latest ArtiPeep Session we had on Wednesday where we looked at the relationship between subject-and-object. The ArtiPeeps were asked to bring  along two objects to the session: one that meant something to them in a meaningful way, and one that was pleasurable to them aesthetically. Our evening was spent talking through the objects and their meaning, and then we individually produced something creative from that engagement. This  engagement inspired this mini-series. So over the months  ahead we’re going to recurrently feature an object and the personal story and/or meaning behind it, for the subject. Initially we’ll feature the Peeps’ objects but if you would like to be part of this feature as well, let me know and we can gladly arrange this. Your involvement would be very much welcomed!

The first object we’re going to focus on is a meaningful one.

‘It is the function of creative man to perceive and to connect the seemingly unconnected. ‘ William Plomer

So,  here’s the OBJECT:

A piece of the Berlin Wall

Here’s the STORY behind the Object 

And here’s the SUBJECT  Behind the Object


‘I was born on the 4th of November 1937, just one day before Gun-powder Day! So, I celebrated my entrance with a BANG, yet far away from England then, in fact, in Leipzig, Germany. After the end of the Second World War, Leipzig in Saxony became part of East-Germany, which I left, illegally, in 1953. My family and I settled in West-Berlin, where I went to High-School, when finished there I left Berlin for Cambridge, England. I was a student of English for a while, took a BA Degree in European Thought and Literature and English History at Anglia Polytechnic University, where I also took a MA in Women’s Studies with a Dissertation on German History. I became a teacher of the German Language,Literature and History during my working life. I have now retired from teaching and find myself writing, reading and enjoying life to the full’.

Aftermath by Sigfried Sassoon
(March 1919)

Have you forgotten yet? …
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same – and War’s a bloody game …
Have you forgotten yet? …
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz –
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench –
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, “Is it all going to happen again?”

Do you remember the hour of din before the attack –
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads – those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet? …
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.

Hope you found this stimulating. Please feel free to comment.

All the very best!

Inspiration Point: Contrast Poetry

10 Sep

If you’re new to writing or just want to get a bit more control/pertinence into your writing, contrast poetry may be the way to explore this. Here’s what you do:

3 lines on one theme/object/idea and the 4th one on something contrasting

And that’s it!

You can be as flexible as you like; and, as creative as you like, but they’re brilliant for anyone who wants to give poetry ago and hasn’t done it before; or, if you want to examine contrasts within yourself.

Here’s me reading the contrast poetry I wrote at our last ArtiPeeps session:

ArtiPeeps Session Summary Wednesday 29th August 2012

30 Aug

Yesterday evening’s session was on ‘Contrasts’ (To compare or appraise in respect to differences. The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association’). And to explore this through art, poetry and self exploration.   For a broad overview of what we covered see the Sessions Page

NM and ST were peeping that evening, a small and perfectly formed pair; and, amidst a fair amount of chitty-chat, we managed to get through most of the material with vim and vigor.  We skipped our engagement with the notion of ‘Simultaneous Contrast‘ which you’ll find on the sheet I’m going to be emailing you. From now on I’m going to be producing formal session sheets which will always outline the core material we’ll be covering in each session, and it will be something to take home and put in an ArtiPeeps folder which I shall hopefully produce at some stage (!).

Anyway, our focus was primarily on the contrast poems through which we engaged with the contrasts in us. These were brilliant little, contained entities to produce: not too much and not too little. Just right. And ST was little miss completion: composing 3 on the trot (hurrah for you!).

To give you an idea, here’s one of the one’s I produced (ST’s favourite of mine):

I open my mouth wide like a tunnel.

Vowels pour out over my tongue like honey.

Spilling out, exquisite, into the air, -right over your slick, auburn head

But then the vowels gather, and together: jam, jar, concertina and shatter; jittering, tinkling, break- broken, dissipating o-so- quickly, never to reach, form, into the possibility of a future

When I email you I’ll give you an idea of the contrasts we explore within us. Overall, it was really revealing and creative. It was my intention that we would then turn the poetry and creative dialogue into some sort of formal painterly composition. But time did not permit.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 26th September, at 7pm. Hopefully we’ll all be together again, and we can also sort out A Dove Project Session. I’ve missed the  Paris ladies!

Peeps United!

Rethinking Some Thoughts

5 Aug

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the relationship between ArtiPeeps and what I want to do with my Self-Development on-line/1-to-1 course. How can they feed into each other? Can they? Indeed, what is the exact nature of them? What do I want from them, and what do I want them to give to you, and anybody else who might be a Peep at some stage? How can I best give what I want to give to you, and how can it be turned into a business with a conscience and with ethics? And, and……………and….

Lots of thoughts……………

I’ve been quietly coming to the conclusion that I can’t really think of them as two entities that can feed off each other. I think, after a bit of an epiphany last night, and what the last July session felt like. They need to be kept separate. One: specific, targeted to the individual, focusing on change over a finite period of time. You are here and you want to get there.  BAM!- (Lot’s of musings this morning over what I could call it: I’ve thought of  ‘FREEME’ or ‘FREEYOURME’, ‘FREEYOURCREATIVEME’: unlock your creative potential as the tag…unsure…still working on it.. Just musings at the mo’. It will come……..The other, our ArtiPeeps,  is about exploration, self-development and creativity over an extended period of time. We’re in no rush, as long as we’re creating, enjoying ourselves and moving forward. There’s a striking difference between the two;  and yes, people who are doing the 121s can come along but the INTENTION is very different, and I hadn’t quite twigged that, so it’s made me re-think about how the ArtiPeep sessions could run. Keeping up the themed element, focused on self-development, but in a less obvious way. Themes generated from within, from you. Still thinking about this…. I’m going to and set up a little back-log of themes which I can draw on, creating mindmaps in advance of sessions (This will all feed in beautifully when the other groups start, next year..). So what I’ve basically decided is to keep ‘FREEME’ completely separate from ArtiPeeps, a completely different product. I’ll remove it from the blog, and it will have it’s own site. So the Practice page will vanish, and a logo-link will appear on the ArtiPeeps Home Page to the ‘FREEME’ Blog…Still thinking that one through….


Session 9 ArtiPeep Update Wednesday 25th July 2012

26 Jul

Goodness me…session 9, eh?!

Many thanks to Sharon and Karin for their subtle, honest and interested contributions…much appreciated!! This was the first session with a direct self-development edge, and I have to admit I was slightly trepidatious about it. It’s all fine and good for me to find creative themes that we can explore with cardboard and glue, but linking it to themes and personal issues that mean something to the contributers, now that’s a responsibility!

I’ve put an outline of the session on our Session Page, and I’m going to insert a detailed  JPeg Mindmap of what we covered.  Just click on the link below and it pops up in your browser!

I shall also be producing a 1 page overview sheet for each session which can act as a back-up and a reminder of the themes we covered.

Session Mindmap Link

Overall, I found the session to be really productive, and a good mix of creativity and honest conversation about what we felt mattered to us/inspired us  and where we needed, perhaps, to focus as individuals in order to move us on in our lives. I’ll be sending out an email shortly outlining the specific areas we talked about individually.

Because we all weren’t together (for very good reasons, I hasten to add), I didn’t quite start the session off where I would have if we would have been together (does that make sense? ). But it gave me a really clear idea of how to move forward with the sessions structurally and thematically, which is great. It’s going to work really well! It’s quite exciting…Your input will be valued (and needed) all the way so we can develop this into something really special, fed and developed  by the ‘users’ themselves.

Our creative expressions of ‘what matters to us’ were really powerful;  and my goodness, did Sharon write a great poem!  which I hope she’ll be sharing via our blog. There’s a brilliant, clear voice there-really individual, cutting right to the nub of things. Fab! And Bard Karin produced another succinct and sensitive short poem, which I hope she’ll post as well when she’s mastered the WordPress login (Mrs Techno-Techno)…..

I also raised the idea of instigating an Admin meeting every so often so we could discuss the development of ArtiPeeps and any other more formal matters. We can perhaps combine it with a bit of a social.  We’ll discuss this when we’re all together.

We’re having the next Peep meeting on the Wednesday 29th August as per usual, and it was decided that we wont have a Dove Project meeting this month. We need an Amelia and a Vera

Once again, a  wholehearted  thank you to Karin and Sharon for their lovely presences (can you say that?)  and contribution (and Elaine and Gill, you were missed, but Paris must be fabulous. Many,many happy marriage anniversary wishes to you two).

Peeps United!


You & I

26 Jul

In response to what we heard through the walls  during our ArtiPeep session last night.


You & I (Marina’s Call)

A mother and a son should never live together (if they can at all help it) once they are grown.

The three of us came to that conclusion last night.

Hearing their voices through the wall  – paper thin-

Just because on this particular evening the windows were open and the warm summer air was shimmering in.

His words were pointed, jagged-toothed and harsh. They seared through the brick, seeped through the mortar.

Cutting  through contemplation, calm, soft utterances and understanding.

[‘You, You, You’  We heard. (imagine the looming figure with pointed finger, right up close to her face, desperately trying to make his mother SEE the he-position),

‘What about Me, Me, Me?!  (see  the lone tear trickling down her cheek, her black synthetic  wig, slightly slipping to the right as she tries to run her hand through her hair; the real white slipping out underneath, like a secret)

‘You don’t understand what it’s like for me. For ME. NOT for YOU. For Me. Me. Me.’

(A heavy mantra from a heavy heart.)

Her words were quieter. You could not distinguish them, the semantics merged into  soft tones,

She was holding her own though. One tough lady. Been through the wringer. So they say.

She was not defeated (though the weight of her heart was diminishing (feel) , as she saw no solution to the fearful dynamic. No words to really frame the relation, other than resignation).]

And she’d only told me two weeks ago that she thought he was the devil.

‘It’s like living with the devil’. She’d said.

And there we were ‘omming’, and meditating and talking about what we wanted, what our issues were, and there

next door,

right next door -red and horned

was life-the real nitty gritty-the harshness, the fear and the conflict, the mother-softness and the son-rock-rage.

Equally vulnerable.

It was like Ying and Yang.

Like black and white.

You cannot have one without the other.

The ‘You’ without the ‘I’.

The hope and the joy, without the balance of brutal words through mortar. Next door.

New Creativity Group Meditation

25 Jul

Here’s our new group meditation….probably trying it out at this evening’s meeting…OMMMMMMM 🙂



Overview: Dove Project Session 1 (27/06/2012)

28 Jun

Well, we’re off the ground! And what I got from this session was just what a multi-faceted play ‘The Dove’  is; and how much steady work we are going to have to put in to bring its complexity  to light in our project.

We had a good old go at an improvisation before an overall read- through. The idea being that the improvisation could provide us with a platform from which  to attempt to engage with the ‘energies’ of the characters before an actual textual read-through. This sort of worked (great characterisation by Amelia, Vera, and the good old (or should I say young deer) Dove), but as was pointed out to me, it was quite difficult to do the characterisations and energies justice when none of us have really got to grips with the characters as yet. This led on to a straight read-through immediately in order to address this fact.

The read through went really well- for a first- time reading of all the parts. Everybody really caught the flavour of their characters, and I can see how everything will develop. The read-through raised lots of thematic issues, and we’re going to have to spend a lot of time going through the text in micro so we can work out all the nuances and develop a rich, challenging piece that can resonate through into the now. A lot of what we had to talk about was connected to questioning the exact nature of  The Dove. Is she a manifestation of Amelia and Vera? Do we play her modern? Lots of points of ambiguity were found in the text which we will be making decisions about as we go along.

I also unveiled (if that is the right word), my first attempt at creating a film which could act as an example and embody the feeling of the type of audio/visual piece I had mind for The Dove Project. Cobbled out of bits of a recording of a short story and a few video clips film in the Country Park came  ‘Harvey Was Heavy’. I tried to pack in as many techniques as I could to see what I could do with the software and overall it was successful, but there was no real clear development in the piece, which their will be in The Dove Project.  But it was a good experiment, and I was in flow whilst doing it- which was fabulous! I’ll put a little snippet of the film up shortly…

I shall put my calendar- head on and plump for a date in July for the next Dove Session, and then we can see if it suits-adjusting accordingly. It was also agreed that unless otherwise stated ArtiPeeps Sessions would always take place on the last/4th Wednesday of the Month.

I so much appreciated all the concentration, energy and input of all the Peeps at the session. THANK YOU!

In Memory of Kit

28 Jun

This black, beautiful

wide-eyed male cat


demanding like a child


delicately affectionate

to touch my heart

he would lie near warmth

stretched out in relaxation

and smile

his smile was of

an eternal, lasting kind

which will remain with me until I go.

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