Explore your creative side

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Last night I dreamt I went to Menabilly again.

Two iron footmen parted, welcoming me home. Gravel crunched underfoot; I walked remembered twists and turns. Beeches bowed low, their long cracked limbs bending to caress me, whilst hydrangeas turned their heads, pink and blue, to gaze at their once-mistress.

Time stalled silently. Grey stone walls glistened like the sea, which lapped at the gulf of grass sprawled at Menabilly’s feet. The sun shone on perfect symmetry.

Sun rays can play odd tricks upon the fancy, even upon a dreamer’s face.

I could swear two eyes as black as snow and two lips as blue as blood and two hands as white as death haunted me from her window – Rebecca. I stumbled, breaking the troubled threshold of time and when I slept again

Manderly’s all-consuming fire had waned, leaving a skeletal ruin in its wake. Dark night lights glinted from gaping holes once filled with windows; bright shades bade me welcome through empty entrances.

She beckoned me; I entered.

Menabilly was no more.

***

You may have read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. If you have not, I recommend you read the first chapter, and the last few lines of the last chapter – if the first does not entice you to partake on the journey that is the whole novel. However, if you do struggle through the entire novel (which I urge you to do, despite the slog), you will have partaken on the psychological and emotional trauma of the unnamed protagonist’s journey with me and thus the significance of my clumsy description will become clear.  

Menabilly was the home of du Maurier’s motherhood and the place that inspired Manderly.

However, this post is not about the message of the novel, nor is it about my attempt at contenting myself with the (unsatisfying) ending of the novel. To relax, I write; to make sense of things, I write; to explore the world, I write. To explore my own mind, I write.

Descriptive writing is one of the best ways that I have found to explore my creative side. Even if you are not a ‘writer’ as such (or if you are!), I would encourage you to have a go at doing some descriptive (or even creative, discursive, persuasive…whatever floats you boat!) writing of your own. Who knows? It may be a calming/fulfilling/interesting exercise which you may find yourself surprisingly good at.

With my own piece above:

  1. I took one of my favourite books (Rebecca)
  2. and used the first, middle(ish) and last lines of Chapter 1 (in bold) to structure my description.
  3. I then did some background research on the author and her inspiration
  4. and used the narrative in the Chapter shape my description.
  5. For a bonus challenge…change some of the words in the sentences you chose. It can change the meaning of the entire piece and is a great way to include some nifty context.

It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be good – mine isn’t either! All you need to do is express yourself in a form that suits you.

Do tell me if you give it a try and find that descriptive writing works for you (include detail – I’m interested!). If its not your thing, what makes you feel calmed/fulfilled/inspired? Maybe I can try some of your own methods…