Tuesday, June 2, 2015

tHe PoweR of raNdomiSing sTories - coLLaboraTive coLLage poEtry

what can you do to convey an old life event/story in a way that alters it in the telling and alters you in the telling?

don't we sometimes get caught up in telling an old memory/story in a constantly predictable way - with all the emphases in the right place...the characters/events re-told in the same tone...so that we no longer have a unique perspective or any chance of transformation?

and yet - the story wants to be told....and the transformation wants to happen....

what happens when you combine a creativity that is both deliberate and random to the story-telling process - and combine with other peoples' stories as well?

Janieke is a homeopath, nurse who loves to facilitate healing and who identifies creativity as an additional means toward this. I am a musician, teacher with a personal interest in mechanisms of healing. 

The creative and healing processes have some facets in common:

1. The unpacking of layers to discover/convey a core of 'truth'. The sifting of information/feedback to arrive at the nugget or essential aspect of a thing.

2. The messiness of arriving at an essential aspect of creation or healing. Often times, the process is one of increasing chaos, indecision and lack of clarity before a breakthrough of sorts.

3. The need to trust this process and rely on instinct when all is not necessarily logical or coming about in a logical way.

4. The value of interacting with others for a greater/different perspective - whilst needing to feel a sense of control or self-determination and contribution.

5. The effectiveness of removing intense gaze 'at a problem' to a broader bird's eye view at times - the effectiveness of play in allowing the subconscious 'problem-solving' brain to be activated. Greater discoveries are made at times when one is relaxed and one's eye is not so keenly on the ball.

Janieke and I wanted to gather people together for the purposes of creating and explore opportunities for healing at the same time. We wanted to develop a toolkit of processes that would allow this to happen.

We decided to try these processes on ourselves first to see what would eventuate.

My belief is that the power of the creative process comes in combining a number of factors and allowing them to cross-pollinate in their own way.

The Background:

For our self-imposed experiment, Janieke and I chose an event/pocket of time that was common to us both - her 5 day trip to Australia. This period of time was to be our 'resource-gathering' time - and a time where we could become attuned to any particular thoughts/experiences. 

We agreed that we would take note during this time - Janieke collected images - taking numerous photographs during her time away. At times she would send me the photos and I would add text to them.

This part of the process may not be a necessary step to the creating which happened two weeks after Janieke returned, but it served to focus our attention to any themes, interests.

An interesting event happened during Janieke's trip...on the night we went to the airport to drop her off, there was a massive amount of rain - so much so, that there was flooding on the Kapiti Coast. We were fortunate to have gotten into town because shortly after we left at 3am, a slip happened on the Coastal Highway, which is pretty much the main access route from the Coast to Wellington. Hours later, as Janieke was arriving in Sydney, I was at a school in Whitby scrolling through news photos to see what was happening back in my local area when I saw the following pic...

Photo courtesy of The Kapiti Observer / www.stuff.co.nz

This is Janieke's house! Later when I got back to check, all seemed good until I noticed this inside....

For me, this was in an odd way, a joiner between Janieke's and my experience - a strange collision of realities - Janieke's house is leaking while she is overseas and I am someone on the ground to tend to it.

The Creating:

The aim of the collage poem process was to create poems that combined content from both of our thoughts and experiences.

We chose a couple of themes:

1. Travel - Janieke's recent trip and any travel memories I had that came to mind
2. any internal condition/questions we had been going through recently

Step 1:

We wrote mini poems/thoughts on pieces of paper - as many as were required. It was great combining both a concrete experience (travel) and introspective thoughts.

Once these were written, we read them to each other in their original form, and handed them over to the other person who then cut chosen words/phrases out and placed them in one of four jars.

Once this process was complete, we both chose two jars and two backgrounds each and proceeded to empty a jar and order the words contained into a poem combination of our own choosing.

The Results:

These are the completed four pieces of writing...


I am in habit so steep
The magnitude collecting in a bucket
How am I Mt Agog - telling a hole in it
A voyeur in Basil - rows, paper, incense on corners

How to place the middle of nowhere
It was the papers
the same air

You need not fall forwards - crow
I watch an eclipse
Kindness, swipe me


Scared to travel - Lap it up

Under construction the long way
Peoples' homes view it
petals, rice, sand on an airport

Wayan around, as if above such bad news
And when questioned says,
Oh wait, I don't pocket them
Colour, children, strangers

I put everything for a moment
Through the turnstile

 Being in a Place

This place I travel through might
I gather, install
Point A, Point B

One day I was at myself
I was water, matter
But don't mind me
Point me to the General Electric

So my driver takes me, shoes off, of his affairs
No knowing my movement
Have I really mechanisms of control?

Why give him one step in front
To inhabit my world
Everyone lap it up
Be in the same

Thank you is here


Placed with Doorways

Collect this bit
Rest your body differently each time

Tiny island street
A minute of drink, new food
Wondered how I got there?

Make my offerings
Take the next day with feet in the freedom

I kid
I leave a home and return different

The Presentation

We placed the four collage poems up on a mirror wall (of all things) and surrounded them with the remainder of photos and words - in mural fashion. It is at once a finishing, and the beginning of a second iteration...


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