By Zoe Jessica Dawson
I’ve known this SCAB was coming for a while. In fact, there is a post it note on the pinboard above my desk that says clearly, in black sharpie, ‘SCAB due OCT 17,’ which I stuck there in week 1, the last time I was on top of my organisation.
In week 1, I had a million ideas for SCABs. In fact, weeks 1-5 I was full of words. The pages of my various notebooks (one for school, one for journaling, one for poetry, one for ideas) were filling up with the inky vomit of my thoughts. Putting pen to paper felt like putting a plaster to a cut; like absorbing blood or thoughts or whatever as they spilled out with reckless abandon… In other words, I was writing a lot.
But I didn’t have any days in the SCAB rota.
So, my bloody word vomit (really Zoe, stop with the bodily fluid metaphor) stayed firmly in the pages of my own journals.
And now here we are, OCT 17, SCAB due in 25 minutes and my journals are dry. There is no metaphorical bodily fluid to be seen. I have nothing to say. No ideas. Nada, nout, rien, nothing to say.
We’re creatives, and we don’t seem to be able to control our creative ideas, or at least not yet.
But part of being A Creative, rather than just being creative, is having ideas on demand. And that’s why we have creative techniques. When we learn creative techniques, it’s exciting. But when I need to use creative techniques, they seem to evade me like a penny lay flat on a bar. Right now, my SCAB idea-scape is a bar run dry, and I need to pick up a creative penny and get an idea out. Conveniently, today we had a masterclass on creative techniques (my favourite kind of masterclass) and were introduced to the four Rs. Originally named, because they all begin with W. I’m WRong, and probably shouldn’t be a WRiter. They are not originally named at all. To recap, here they are:
- Related worlds
I’m going to RANDOMLY pick one of these RANDOM Rs which happens to be number 4: RANDOM. So here goes.
First I’m picking a colour: yellow.
Now I’m looking for a yellow book on my bookshelf: Any Human Heart, William Boyd.
Next, a number: 356.
Page 356, time to squint my eyes and wait for a word to jump out at me: shivery.
Word association starting with shivery: Scarf, mittens, winter, ice, frost, jack frost, january, depression, anxiety, panic, fidget, play-doh, toy, child, baby, kill, murder, jack the ripper, guts, butcher, meat, vegan, broccoli, stir fry, asia, japan, sushi, chopsticks, fingers, mittens, scarf, shivery…
A story: jack frost, notoriously a dickhead, clumsily attempts to murder a vegan with chopsticks whilst wearing mittens. His inevitable failure leads to a deep depression and in January, he’s too anxious to lay the frost. In therapy, he makes broccoli out of play-doh.
Ideas are weird. Creative techniques work. Maybe we’re learning something, after all.