I sat staring at the large, faux mink blanket that hung on the wall in front of me, waiting for a response.
I rolled my eyes and asked the question again, this time out loud and slightly more impatiently, ‘Is it better to stay in one genre, or genre hop?’
Several seconds passed. Still no response
I looked around the gallery at the other participants, all feverishly scribbling in their note books, evidently having selected a less reclusive piece of art work. I returned back to the carpet, then sighed and found a chair to sit on to wait out the remaining 18 minutes of the 20 minute exercise.
I was attending a creative writing workshop at a local art gallery, and was starting to think that it may not have been the most productive way to spend an afternoon. The clues were everywhere; the slant towards poetry which I don’t have much of an interest in, another participant in dark glasses playing a lute when I arrived, and the deep, emotional, quite personal feedback people were providing on our first exercise; 10 minutes of free writing to a person who isn’t judgemental. It appeared the entire group experienced some level of self-discovery and insight, apart from me, who just wrote down stuff I already knew. Maybe I just missed the point.
We then had to go into the art gallery, find a suitable art work, ask it a question that we would normally ask an expert in our chosen writing field, and then wait for an answer. Now, as much as this might be an easy target to take the piss out of, it should be noted that I think I was the only person who didn’t get anything out of this. It seemed everyone else got some kind of deep rooted, emotionally rich, life affirming answer, and were grateful for the opportunity to ask it. If that’s your thing, then good for you. However, what I got was a large blue blanket staring stubbornly back at me. I was starting to feel quite out of my depth.
The nail in the coffin was when we discussed dreams being a source of inspiration for creativity. Anyone who knows me will be aware of my feelings towards dreams and how much I hate it when people tell me about their fantastical, wondrous experience that occurred just two nights ago, which didn’t happen, and I can’t relate to in any way possible.
‘… and my History teacher, Mr. Harris, was there holding a bouquet of flowers, and we sort of floated, but not really, through this door that wasn’t a door, but more like a motorway…’
For reference, the art work was Te Whare Pora, in the Mata Aho Collective. Let me know if you get anything more useful from it.