Poet, Author, Editor, Creative Writing Consultant

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CLASS ENCOUNTERS : Above the Roar of the Aeroplanes

So the final class with my IMC students and we are sitting in the ampitheatre in the sun. The aeroplanes continue their overhead noise, almost as if they are saying, “We will drown your voices, listen to us roar.”We listen, allow them to roar, and continue in the breaks in between. What we won’t do for SUN to infuse us with life on cold mornings. The first bit is a me-speak on what creatives need to be: they have to have an open, exploring mind, they need to be able to ideate using whatever information they have imbibed/collected, they need to pick and choose the best (and not get all over the place), and they need to believe in and push their choices. We then do a writing exercise: to end a story with a particular sentence, where “you feel a skeletal hand grasp your neck…” After that, only god and our respective imaginations know what will happen. The idea is to build up a story up to this point. So we have a sleepwalking girl in a college who enters a laboratory and puts her skeletal hand around the lab. attendant’s throat (she is anorexic too), a fellow traveller in the mountains who changes into a monster with a skeletal hand, a skeletal hand around the captain of Sindbad’s ship, a woman takes her child to a ‘safe’ town, but feels the skeletal hand around her neck… and many more. Imagination is running riot. The sun is getting hot but we prefer it to a cold class.
The next exercise is fun, developing a protagonist with an existing individual as a basis. One of the students becomes a symbolic basis of the main protagonist of a novel which the students are writing. And they have to begin with her at the centre of the page and draw out lines leading to topics such as her family, background, place of stay, career, ambitions, qualities, etc. and then bifurcate these headings further. They can use coloured pencils, different fonts, drawings etc. Again, the characters that emerge are diverse, from someone like a young MeeraBai to an unwed mother. One major things which came up is that almost everyone called the protagonist ’grounded’. I believe that stemmed from the original symbol (the girl who agreed to be the symbolic representation). So the take away from this is that what forms the basis of our meanderings affects the final picture, though the final picture will emerge as quite different. We had fun in the sun. Another set of students hopefully set on the path to becoming more observant, vocal , expressive and creative. And I am already looking forward to those who will follow. I watch the aeroplane soar in the sky and blow it a kiss.