This week’s prompts for the Documented Life Project were to use writing and more specifically the phrase “words with friends”.
If you have followed my art journalling for long enough then you will perhaps have noted that I do not particularly write in my journal. I certainly do not write anything overly personal. I suppose I use blogging if there is anything I want to express in a more public way but otherwise I am very private. The idea of recording thoughts and feelings in a journal does not appeal to me. I did actually maintain a journal from when I was about 10 through to my mid-teens. However, as my sister could tell you (since she was sneaky and read my diary) all my journal recorded were my thoughts on current affairs, global issues and reviews of books and movies – nothing personal. This week’s challenge, therefore, was not – on the surface at least – a comfortable fit for me.
The friends bit also had me stumped. Writing about or even drawing my friendships felt too personal for a public forum (I share my pages on the DLP’s Facebook page as well as on my blog) especially because, having moved so far away from all my close friends, it is a more emotive subject for me, a vulnerable topic. I decided, therefore, to be a non-conformist and ignore that second prompt entirely. That decision made inspiration easier to come by.
Sunday was Burns’ Night, a traditional celebration of Scotland’s national poet. We marked the evening as best we could – including a small glug of recently sourced Irn Bru, Scotland’s other national drink. As part of that, I read ‘Address to a Haggis’ and ‘To a Mouse’. Ping! That was my inspiration.
I drew the little field mouse on the wheat stalk with coloured pencils and then sketchily outlined it with black gel pen. I then used the gel pen to write the text of the first verse of the poem on either side of my drawing. Yet again, I just used my own handwriting for the text but, following the typography lesson with Joanne Sharpe that I undertook as part of the Life Book course, I felt completely OK about doing so this time.