01 September 2020
Posted by Adrian Harris
Fruits Write (sic) for the Picking… (Blog Post 5) – Adrian Harris
Glorious June and July saw a short series of virtual creative writing workshops with participants from the community familiar with Poole Museum. Our goal was to explore a selected list of artefacts and find inspiration for a short story, poem or script related to the writers’ chosen object. A list of 15 stunning objects from Poole Museum’s collection, each one rich with history, was given to our workshop writers as seeds from which to grow a tall tale.
The list of objects were a tile panel from Poole Pottery, a lobster pot, a Chinese punch bowl, a Eustace Nash painting, a leather roller, items from the Studland Bay Wreck, a Persian Deer dish, a Roman glass head, a gold ring from the 1400s, an Armada chest, a bicycle, the Poole Logboat, the Swash Channel Wreck, a portrait of Benjamin Lester and a ships binnacle.
Our eight writers had a week of preparation to choose one or more objects to discuss the possibilities of creating a piece of storytelling around the artefact at the zoom meeting at the end of June. During the first workshop we talked about story structure, creating dramatic narratives and characters. Then we shared ideas on how we could focus on the owner of the piece, the object’s creator, who lost it or even who found it. Writers could explore the how and when the objects were used or even the importance of its rediscovery, a free rein was given over to creativity.
I was fascinated by the depth our participants had gone in their preparation and research about their chosen objects, they had truly found inspiration among the collection. Ideas about fishermen, stories about the clash of old and new related to the tile panel, and even a sonnet about a love lost and a golden ring were abound.
There were interesting provocations around Black History inspired by the portrait of merchant Benjamin Lester, and a time leaping story about the Poole Logboat that stretched across the centuries. With so many diverse takes on creative thinking being exchanged over Zoom I found that inspiration was not virtual but palpable.
Over the next week each participant emailed their drafts to me and I engaged in creative conversations individually, asking questions, offering notes and ideas towards developing their pieces, after all writing is rewriting.
And so, from these creative seeds towering ideas grew offering rosy fruit ready to be ripened into delicious short stories that could be devoured by museum visitors as shared inspiration to learn more about Poole’s history. But more next time about the results from our second workshop and further development sessions…