Exercise no.8

Three individuals were set the task of writing a story using 9 of the cards as stimuli, 3 images, three words, and three pieces of notation. The only rule I set was that each of the cards had to be utilised in some way - this, as predicted proved to be quite easy for the words and the images, and significantly more difficult for the notation. This was because the notation is not just something that can just be mentioned or described, or at least, not in a way that would make sense within the story. The individuals therefore had to set out to utilise the indication of movement in a productive way, which helped to describe the nature of events.

The responses to this task were extremely telling. One of the participants seemed to enjoy the task and focussed on it for about half an hour without interruptions and without any questions. She said that the activity was fun because it was testing, the different elements didn’t join together in a sensical way and therefore the outcome ended up being slightly ridiculous. She stated that she liked the prompts because they gave her the opportunity to be creative without having to come up with everything herself : “It felt quite therapeutic to be expressive.” Within this current series of exercises, any pronouncement of enjoyment or fun is a triumph for me - for people to gain something from the work even if it is just a few minutes of release, that is really great.

The other two, it seemed, found the cards restricting rather that freeing and expressed, as they were writing, the difficulty they found in including all 9 elements into their story. The cards stunted their creativity, as soon as they became involved in a part of the plot it had to come to an end so that the next could be incorporated.

I enjoy the stories because I enjoy seeing which cards prompt the most expression, which cards prompt the least, which cards trigger long tangents, or memories, which cards trigger which topics. I find the process of deconstructing the text absorbing, following the journey of each story and attempting to pinpoint where each card had influence. Of course, this is completely impossible at times - occasionally the card is so ingrained into the text, or so subtle, that it is indecipherable.