"Be a figure in a famous painting": always a good prompt for a subject to write about. It was our prompt for the new writing group yesterday. What a wonderful cast of characters we heard from -- heavily French. This is a group that, so far, writes simply for fun and no critiques happen-- that bothers one member who would like criticism. But we are feeling our way and I have some doubts that the group can continue after August.
i wrote as Madame X, painted by John Singer Sargent, an American in a dress that was then scandalous and now seems the epitome of elegance We heard from a Degas prostitute, a Cassett young lovely, the female part of Grant Woods' American Gothic, a Renoir dancer, a darling child in a three-child photo, the haggard woman in a Burke-White photo, a modern day woman whose self-portrait the writer actually has in her home. And so it went. Very delightful to be among a group of women willing to do a little research and use a lot of imagination, create a voice very different from their own.
I've just read in an Oliver Sacks book (he's a neurologist) that occasionally an older person experiences a sudden burst of creativity as if some long time repressions have dissolved. Some of the members of this group still exhibit the inhibitions but others may be freeing themselves. I hope I can encourage some of that in the writing classes I teach. Once in a while I think is actually might be happening.
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