Sunday, 17 November 2013

#storymooc Week 4 - Ideas & Inspiration

(Still from the film "The Illusionist" which was the director's love letter to Edinburgh)
Where do you come from? What are the stories from your home town that inspire you?

This week's creative task was very enjoyable. We watched a few videos of some of the tutors giving us their recommendations of books they find inspiring and useful, and then our task was to create our own video of some books, film, artwork etc that we find inspiring. The idea was that we would be able to share loads of amazing books and ideas between us.

For my video I chose to base my objects around the theme of "place". Place, location, landscape is so important in any story, and it can almost be a character in itself. I didn't just want to choose any random books, so I opted for ones that had a sense of place at their heart, and that had inspired me. I actually wanted to go out into Edinburgh to film it, but time has defeated so I made a boring talking head video. Hopefully the ideas still come across. I went for:

1. Poems of Ted Hughes - he wrote about West Yorkshire where I grew up, so many of the locations in his poems I can relate to. He writes about the hills, woods, and valleys, the memories of particular moments in the fields or the streets, snapshots of nature and people he observes. This is inspiring when you have a writer who has used familiar locations to inspire their own stories, images & characters. Listen to Ted Hughes read his poem "The Thought Fox" here

Q: Who are your local writers? What was it about their writing that distilled the essence of the place you grew up in?

2. Ghost stories of MR James - I chose this because a sense of place & atmosphere are essential to these stories, and James was a master.As we approach the depths of winter these stories are a brilliant accompaniment to the dark nights - sat around the fire with the wind rattling at the windows! The BBC also made several superb adaptations of the stories, many of which are available on YouTube. Look up "Whistle And I'll Come To You" for a brilliant example.

Q: What stories generate a sense of atmosphere for you? And why?

3. RL Stevenson - Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. This is a very well known story but I chose it because it sums up the city where I live, Edinburgh. Although the book is set in London, it's commonly held that Stevenson based it on Edinburgh, on the dual nature of the Old & New Town's of the city, and of real characters like Deacon Brodie - a respectable member of society by day, a thief by night. I love it because a landscape became a character and a story all of its own just through the writer's imagination. It is also a profound story about human nature which has been interpreted many times since. I love the idea of Stevenson dreaming the story up from just walking around the streets I walk down each day. Here is Alexander McCall Smith talking about literary Edinburgh 

Q: Is there a story that sums up the personality of your town or country?

4. The Edinburgh A-Z Street Atlas -
this was a bit of glib choice, but I wanted to make the point that there are stories all around us - in our cities and towns, our neighbourhoods and our streets. The most amazing stories can be right under your nose, or - like Stevenson - can be dreamt up all from a sense of place.

This MOOC has students from many towns and countries, so my challenge is to tell me about the stories and tales that have inspired you about your home town. Is there a story that sums up where you are from?

How could we share it? On a Google Map? As a Pinterest board? A Flickr group? A ThingLink graphic? A YouTube channel? Any ideas? Please share in the comments below!

Above is my video for this week's task. Please also take a look at the fantastic videos from my fellow students here on Aunt Renie's YouTube channel...

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