By Luisa Ternau
Celia Claase, the 2015 Proverse Prize co-winner, led a workshop to an intimate group at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondence Club. …The workshop started with Celia proclaiming her long and ongoing love affair with her camera and the awareness it brings when taking images of the surrounding world… However, in Celia’s own words, “images do not live up to reality.”
The main intentions behind the workshop were to invite the audience to have a love affair with the world; and to demonstrate how visual images can be used to develop characters, settings and scenes. Special attention was given to the sense of perception.
Celia asked the audience to close their eyes and picture a sequence of images that she was describing. After the audience opened their eyes and was shown the corresponding photos, it was clear how wildly interpretation and imagination differ from actual visual images.
Finally the audience was given the opportunity to interpret some of Celia’s images into their own words and share their creations. The workshop ended convincingly with the message to focus on all the visible components of the physical reality, which may assist a writer to create images in his/her work.
Here are some of the images and the writing that came from this evening, which include three poems by Gillian Bickley, a Fantasy Memoir by Luisa Terna, a Reflection by Sarah Cook and a Fun Poem by Juanieta Kotze:
all images on this blog @celiaclaase
Here I am, carrying flowers
for the funeral, and the signs
to tell you where to go.
No need to hurry. Death will
catch you too.
Gillian Bickley, 9 March 2016
Here I stand
writing poems on the stones in the park;
swiftly drawing; guards ignoring;
using water. Poems fade
and disappear. In my heart
are always clear.
Gillian Bickley, 9 March 2016
Wearing my best hat and ear-rings,
I sit in the glow of the life
I have lived;
thinking of him – – the husband I had
or the one I didn’t – – hardly seeing
the constant parade and flow of life that passes
and re-passes me
as I think of the past and ponder
Gillian Bickley, 9 March 2016
Colour It Beautiful!
Life is a void. Colour it beautiful then!
“Because, you see, I would not want to sound like a venting diary, I will tell you about my typical day: wake up at 6:08; allow myself to enjoy the second alarm call at 6:15; then get up, -no matter what- go to work; look presentable; smile. That’s important. My colleagues appreciate the little arch of my lips!
Then work. Discuss work at lunch time -because you are supposed to show that you love your job. You do not need a break even from work related thoughts.
Lunch and back to work. Look happy and be happy too. Remember: there are many out there who would love to have a job.
That’s my everyday routine. Somehow I slipped into it and now I cannot get out.” My listener is eyeing the wine. I’d better change the subject. After all, this is supposed to be a happy social gathering.
Trapped? Perhaps. I go on thinking. Who knows? Certainly the day starts and ends in a void. I look into it every night when my head aches of tiredness, like gazing into a well. So deep you cannot see if there is water at the bottom. I would love to throw a pebble in and from the sound judge the depth. No pebbles around.
Yes, the void. And the void reminds me of a colouring book laying open under the wondering eyes of a toddler left alone in a room with no colour pencils around.
I suddenly recall last night’s dream. I often wonder where nocturnal dreams come from. Are they really part of our life? They must be. At least some dreams are for sure. But who sends them? Why? Where from?
I’m in a rush. I have to be at the office in 20 minutes and the traffic is horrendous. What should I do? Take a taxi of course! Walking would be impossible -too many people on the street under the scorching sun. A kid is walking on the curb. No. She is not walking. She side eyes me and blocks me from reaching the curb. I need to stop a taxi but the child is in the way. “Move away”, I yell, “it’s dangerous to walk on the curb, especially in this heavy traffic!” She continues to run up and down the curb, makes funny faces at me. Now she laughs defiantly. “Just get out of the way, please” I say. I try a softer tone, hoping that she would eventually let me reach the edge of the road.
I get into the taxi. The driver smiles gently, I perceive a cheerful note in his voice. “Please take me to Marsh and Lokhard Road as soon as possible. Thank you!”
It felt good to be rid of the annoying kid. I look out of the window. The traffic is still. What time will I arrive? I check my watch, then my mobile phone, just to make sure. Helplessness and anguish prevail.
“Miss, are you ok? How is your day so far?” the driver asks.
“Why do you want to know?” I want to answer him. However, I spare him because of that cheerful note in his voice.
I start thinking about excuses to make for coming late when I finally arrive at the office. Are they believable? Hardly.
The taxi driver is about to say something when I notice the kid. She is sitting on the front seat, before me. This time she is dressed like a little princess with the crown on her head. That kid, again?
“What are you doing in my taxi?” I yell.
She broadly smiles and points her little finger at the taxi’s inner roof. And what do I see on it? Stickers of every shape and colour stuck on it each with a hand-written note on it. I can’t believe that I had not seen them before. How is it possible? I was like a traveler, lost on a foreign land, at night, failing to notice the beautiful stars.
The taxi driver smiles. “Miss, could you please write a note too? I always ask my customers to write something positive on a sticker, and then to stick it wherever they please.
There were messages of love, vernacular jokes, incitement sentences, some written in foreign languages. They all seemed to share a sense of happiness.
I agree to write a note. “Give me a sticker please.” I ask. To my disappointment there are only white stickers left.
“I would have liked a colourful one!” I complain and jot down: “Life is a void”. I struggle to find something positive to end off my message. What? What could I say or write? The traffic is stuck. The job I am rushing to is directionless, senseless. If I quit, I have nowhere else to go. No other choice -just white stickers. Why are all the colourful stickers taken? White is a void too.”
In my most polite tone I ask: “Are you sure you don’t have a coloured sticker left somewhere?”
Before the taxi driver can answer the kid answers cheerfully; “just colour it beautiful!” She hands me a bright pink pencil.
I complete my note: “Life is a void…colour it beautiful!” and stick it triumphantly, above my head.
I smile at the kid and wake up. The rays of an early sun hit my face. I go to the kitchen and ponder: In the end, the kid won. Ha! Just as Shakespeare wrote in his Tempest. “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
Luisa Terna, 9 March 2016
They hurried along enjoying the wonderful June sunshine and warm breeze both thinking about the meal to prepare, the children’s activities and other mundane, deliciously small items that all took place in a day. Really there was so much to do, and it was lucky that they both had their health and still the unswerving dedication and unquestioning loyalty. Oh, there was that old man again, yes we had given him the last of the coins, he was just trying it on again and no, we couldn’t spare any food because all of it was accounted for.
Relentless grinding poverty, seeing their mothers’ age with continual pregnancies, almost no employment and lack of any opportunities were some of the reasons why the church provided an absolute beacon in their lives while growing up in a deeply conservative country. Just the chance to be part of the organization meant that when that chance presented itself, they were both ready to take it. It came with strings attached, but the freedom it presented in leaving absolute unremitting drudgery behind, it was like spring air or a bright shining jewel. Gone were the chance to be mothers or wives but in exchange there was the joy of deep companionship, a chance to give with a worthwhile teaching or nursing profession and of course service, and the ultimate gift of absolute loyalty and love.
Oh no regrets. Well a tiny few perhaps. But life was so rich and there really wasn’t a moment to waste.
They hurried on.
Sarah Cook, 9 March 2016.
Thank you to all who participated in the challenge.