How Words Became Art I Hold In My Hand

There’s a video at the end of this post…and it’s good too! But don’t skip the words between here and there. They only make the video better!

Conversations|Reconstructed

The Concept

I’ve always been fascinated with the question: “What if?”  What if we did that another way? What if something we value suddenly became something of no value or vice versa? What if the same words could tell a totally different story?

Several months ago, late at night, a ‘what if’ conversation led to an idea…What if I could take apart stories and rebuild them to tell completely different ones? This led to an experiment…which repeated itself several times over…leading to countless conversations…which turned into bigger and Bigger things…until it became…Conversations|Reconstructed.

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For me, I have to pursue writing and art in the same way I pursue breathing.

It must happen to stay alive.

This project is that “next breath” for me, in pursuit of creating, pushing boundaries and collaboration. Myself and everyone involved have been awed by where it has gone, and we are eager to see where it will continue to lead us as artists and creators.

The Notebook Where The Words Go

The Questions & The Details

What if I could take apart some of the greatest poems and use those words to reconstruct completely new stories? Could it be done? Could I do it? Would the words be able to tell different stories? Would I lose my voice if I could not choose my words, not a single one? Do words have enough meaning to tell different stories while they stay the same?

These are all the questions I asked myself as I began this journey. It was frustrating not to be able to choose my words but, as I started doing it, I saw the words, the same words, telling new and different stories.

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Once I completed a couple of reconstructions it became very apparent I needed visual artists to help bring my stories to life. I started searching out artists whose aesthetics, I believed, would interpret well with this project.  As each artist joined the project, (six in all: Illustrator, Sculptor, Graphic Designer, Painter, Lino Cutter/Digital Printer, and Street Artist) a beautiful collaboration began between these artists, my reconstructions and the iconic poets. Not only were we able to bring the poem sets to life visually (“poem set” being the term we use to describe an original poem, de-constructed word list and reconstructed poem), but each artist involved used the words to inspire their own story. 

You will recognize some of the greatest poets of all time in the works: Yeats, Kipling, Henley, Dickenson, Hughes, Frye, Brontë, Poe, Donne, & Frost.

As our team comes from various places in the world, you will also find an international flavour to our exhibition which brings an added dimension to these conversations.

I worried about the constrained creativity this project entailed. I mean, come on, a writer who doesn’t choose any of her own words?! I won’t lie, it was a struggle, and not only for me as the writer but for the visual artists as well. But we discovered even when you put parameters on and constrain creativity, creativity will not be constrained. Words carry meaning individually, and words together tell stories. You take them apart, put them back together and they can tell completely new stories. These stories then take on imagery, collaboration and multiple interpretations. Soon you find you are having new conversations out of the old ones! And…

The words became art we hold in our hands.

This is the true power of collaboration.

Together, more is possible than ever would have been on our own.

Here’s a sneak peek to aid your curiosity:

And here is a sample of a reconstructed poem:

Unto One

One robin fainting in his nest.

Or one heart breaking again.

One life I live in vain.

If I shall stop,

Cool, the pain,

If I can live, can ease,

I shall help.

Not vain or not from aching

unto one.

Reconstruction by Stacey Covell – (Original: ‘If I Can Stop’ by Emily Dickenson)

Conversations|Reconstructed tells beautiful stories, both written and visually, on the power of words. The power they have to change and stay the same, to cross cultures, to exhibit great beauty, to affect all our senses.

We are eagerly awaiting April 1st when we get into the gallery for set up and open the Exhibition a few days later! There is an opening evening reception on April 4th (RSVP). The exhibition then runs until April 19th. If you are in the area please stop by! Otherwise I hope you’ll visit via here or the exhibition web page.

If you like what you see why not consider donating to help fund this project. Costs cover venue, to the production of our Art Book and promotional materials, to hopefully being able to tour the project! Check it the specifics on the indiegogo fundraising site. There are loads of fun rewards you get for contributing too! You can also share and follow the campaign and exhibition there (under the video on the indiegogo page).

Here’s the link: http://igg.me/at/conrecon/x/5548328

You can also subscribe to the Conversations|Reconstructed webpage & blog, www.conversationsreconstructed.com, to learn more about the artists, keep up to date with the exhibition, and see behind the scenes pics!

And now, here’s the promised video. Benoit did an amazing job! Hope you enjoy it!

What do you like most about what you see? Leave a comment below. I’d love to talk more!

Conversations|Reconstructed

1 Exhibition

1 Writer

7 Visual Artists

10 reconstructions

20 poems

1,048 words…x3

4 April-19 April 2014

The Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Ireland

For the next few weeks I’ll be talking more about this exhibition, its artists, the art, the words, the poetry, the places…It’s all very exciting!!! Hope you’ll join in the fun!

Hand Sanitizer, A Child’s Sled, Succubus, Semaphore Flags…Say What?!

So what do all those things have in common? A story of course! This week I’m participating in The Iron Writer ChallengeThere are four of us in taking part in Challenge 22. I had 4 days, these 4 prompts and 500 words to make it happen. It’s been a fun experience already. 

Semaphore Flags

Go check it out! If you enjoy my story, The Event, please VOTE. And if you really like it, pass it along to some of your friends. Here’s a sneak peak:

The Event

The wind echoed in the darkness and ricocheted off the surrounding jagged peaks. It was the sixth month of the sixth year. The time had come. Ashal waited. 

 

In the days leading up to the Event those at The Refuge lived on as normal, though it was never far from their minds… 

 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of The Event. (The fourth story listed)

I’d also love to hear your thoughts so if you have anything to say drop me a comment here…or there…you know where to fine me. =)

Voting is open for the next few days. Thanks Everyone!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Color

Colour. Color. No matter where you live or how you spell it, colour is what gives our surroundings oomph, sparkle, and delight.

I’m so glad I can see colour. I’m so thankful there is color in this world for us to see.

In February I was fortunate to be able to visit Malta for a Creative’s Retreat. We spent time together creating and sharing our art. It was really great to have artist’s from different mediums together. It enhanced and challenged my thinking and perspective.

Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea south west of Italy. It’s an independent country and part of the EU. It feels like no where else I’ve been in the Europe. With multiple European and North African influences, the palette of Malta reflects all these cultures with beautiful mixes of boldness and subtlety. Sandstone, the most common stone, and used in many buildings, is a beautiful BLOND, TAN colour. It’s very different from the damp GREY stone so commonly seen in Ireland. There are also bright bursts of color in doorways, windows, walls and a miscellany of other things.  The Sea was so BLUE and the fields were already blooming GREEN.When we arrived these colours struck me. It felt bright (and warm!). It’s the sunniest place in the European Union and you could feel it. A welcome change from the freezing temps we’d been experiencing in Ireland

We soaked up the sun and the change of scenery.

Each day we had contrasting word themes to inspire us as we went around and experienced the islands (Malta and Gozo). There was writing, photography, painting and inspiration. There are more things to share about this experience than I will be able to here. But here’s a few more:

Eventually the week ended and we flew home to Ireland. I found it striking how several of us, at different moments, individually commented as we looked out the window at our own very, GREY, yet very, GREEN country, and said “What would we do without the green?!” and “At least we have all this green.”

Sometimes it only takes a few days to make you appreciate something you forget to see.

Beautiful Home

Beautiful Home

The Writing Room (continued…)- The Drafts

Well, after 4 (yes! FOUR!) coats of paint, the job is done! The walls are now white and I’ve spent part of yesterday and today making the space functional. It’s taking shape as I imagined it. There’s still organising and adjusting to do but the hardest part of the project is behind me.

The Writing Room

The Writing Room

There are a few more things I am excited to share about this space but that will have to wait for now…

I’ll be seeing you in The Writing Room from now on.

I Need A Name – The Drafts

The DraftsI’ll be honest. I’ve been having a hard time lately. It seems when there are certain challenges going on in my life I find other things that normally are very enjoyable to me, overwhelming. This is where I’ve been at with posting lately.

But by no means are things here, or YOU, forgotten!

So, back to The Drafts.

On a very happy note, I’ve submitted a short story to two journals. Now I will wait the 11-12 weeks to hear a reply. Since it’s the first I’ve done this I’m holding things very loosely. Mostly I needed to do it to have the experience of submitting a creation of mine for unknown eyes to read (and evaluate). That’s worth a lot to me no matter what the outcome!

Today I’m going to share the opening of a short story I’m working on. It’s very new and it’s already been causing me a lot of tension. I’m hoping that’s because it’s going to be important. Again, time and putting in the effort will tell. 

It still needs a name. Leave a comment giving your suggestions! It will be a challenge with just this little peek but that will make it all the more fun!

Also, tell me what you see when you read it. What do you imagine the main character to be like? What does the apartment look like? Where do you think the story is headed?

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He didn’t need anyone to lay next to him most nights. His heart was full. It didn’t matter if she was near or far. It didn’t even matter that she didn’t know this. He loved her. And each day of doing that was enough to fill him for the next. Sarah was the most beautiful creature. She was strong and virulent. She felt things greatly and inside out she was wonderful. There was nothing about her Luck didn’t love. Each day with her made him a better person; more whole, more complete. He would never forget the day he met her. She’s been walking down the road. He’d been walking down the road at the same time and came upon her since he’d been walking faster than her. They both turned to go into the coffee shop to their left. She’d gotten to the door first and was attempting to open it. He’d been able to reach out and hold the door for her.

“Well, aren’t you the Renaissance man. It’s not like I need you to do that for me or anything,” she’d said. He had smiled and she walked right through the open door.

That day had changed everything for him. Was it love at first sight? He wasn’t sure. But he was sure he was now different now. It was at that moment that he’d felt himself start to become more himself. His true self, there all along, but had lain stagnant since the times he’d had to set it aside to survive. Sarah was fire. Or better put, she was the heat source.

Stretching Luck got out of bed, pushed the curtains open and opened every window in the apartment. He loved morning air. It was the first air, the freshest air. Humming along as he went, he showered, dressed.

“What the hell Luck!”, His roommate said coming into the kitchen, “It’s freezing in here! Close some of those damn windows!”

“Don’t you just love the first air in the morning?”

Ooooh No!” We are NOT having this conversation again! Close the damn windows before we all freeze to death!” James said as the door to the bathroom closed behind him.

Making some toast for himself he took in the sun streaming in the windows. It wasn’t sunny everyday but when it was the apartment lit up inside. It was sunny the day he’d viewed the apartment and was probably the main reason he’d bought it. He finished his toast and then for James’ sake, he closed the windows. All but the one right outside the bathroom door.

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Talk to me in the comments!

See you there!

Today I Will Write For Myself – The Drafts

Monday, Monday, Monday.

Here are some thoughts to start your day.

I wrote this last night in pen. I finished the last line this morning when I woke up.

“Today I will write for myself. If the world happens to look over my shoulder and see it, I will smile, for I have friends. And if no one ever sees or knows of its existence, I will also smile, because with words, I am never alone.”

I hope that there is something that speaks to you similarly in your own life. If there is, or if there isn’t, tell me about it. Leave a comment and we’ll have a chat.

How To Say More With Less – An Interview With Robert Bruce

Brevity. It’s fun to say and challenging to achieve. For me brevity is that annoying voice in the corner that keeps telling me I can say more with less. To cut, tighten, and pare it down. It challenges me and I’m, no doubt, better for it.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Bruce.  He is the VP of Marketing at CopyBlogger by day, and a Master of brevity, writing very short stories at RobertBruce.com by night (or maybe also by day, I don’t really know, but that’s beside the point). The point is Robert is an artist. He manages to paint complex stories in a few vivid strokes. He doesn’t know it but Robert introduced me to Flash/Micro Fiction.

So in the true spirit of Brevity. Here are Robert’s thoughts…

Stacey: How did you become interested and start writing
very short stories?

Robert: I have a sickness for words, and I am a very impatient man.

Stacey:. Can you tell me about the process you go through
in creating one of your stories?

RobertIt usually starts with some kind of hook that I find interesting. If you can get your hands on one of those, you then hang it on a very basic plot. Of course, there’s not a lot of room to move around in these things, but I’m not going for a detailed literary inventory. When they work, the reader is left to fill in the gaps with her own imagination, which is much more powerful than anything I could ever write down for her.

Stacey: Which one of your stories continues to speak to you despite being done writing it?

Robert:  Soon as I write them, I forget them. I need to get the next one down, and then the one after that.

Stacey: Out of all your characters who would you most like to meet in real life?

Robert: None. I find al of these characters interesting in one way or another, but to meet any of them would instantly strip that away. Just like life, right? 

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I think we all can learn a lot (and say a lot less!) from Robert’s points. Finding hooks and filling in just enough to entice the reader but not so much there’s nothing left to imagine is a challenge. When it’s done right it’s amazing. And whether you are writing a post on health and fitness or writing the next great novel, when well executed, brevity gives a power and punch to your work that make these stories hard to forget. Ironically, it creates more voice.

Thanks so much Robert, for sharing your thoughts on brevity and story! It’s been fun.

You can read Robert’s stories at RobertBruce.com

Or follow him on twitter at 

Epic – The Drafts

The Drafts I have some exciting things planned for this week. Now that the major writing project I’ve been working on is coming to a close I am excited about what’s ahead.

It’s time for The Drafts again this cold wintry morning. There is snow on the ground in Dublin. It’s a rare event here. People have mixed feelings, most of which are not happy ones. Me. I find the snow for this native US Midwesterner warming. It’s ironic, I know. I’ve been smiling about that all morning. =)

In honour of the snow I have some micro fiction for you today.

It’s also to go along with an interview on brevity with the person who introduced me to flash  and micro fiction. It’s going to be a good week! Stay tuned! For now…

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Epic

She’d been happy to walk in the only snow of the year. Then one step changed everything. As she could now see her feet above her head, she knew she was going to come down hard. It was an epic fall. And everyone but her remembered it. The 2013 snow and subsequent fall forever erased from her mind.

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I keep debating about whether to keep or take out the last sentence. Is it stronger without? With? Share your thoughts on this or whatever else is on your mind this morning.

Chat soon.

 

The Denial – The Drafts

The Denial

He wore a turban on his head even though he was an Episcopalian. He just liked the feel of it and the assumption there was long hair hidden inside. In reality his scalp was sore from the large amounts of glue he had to use daily to make his denial look otherwise.

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Happy New Year everyone! It’s been pretty quiet around here but I’m ready to start kicking up some noise. Hold me to that!

This weeks Drafts is a piece that I’ve had ruminating for a while. Frankly, I’ve felt nervous to share it. But today is Monday and I’ve been making a point to be less self censoring, (even if that means causing a stir sometimes) so I decided to go for it. A small step. But hey, everybody has to take their first steps before they start running.

Hope you’ve been enjoying your new year so far! Chat soon!