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Open Age Creative Writing Blog

Author

Hester Jones

At Open Age I am coordinator of Phone Activities for people who are housebound in RBKC and Westminster; which includes Creative Writing, Book Talk and Discussion groups. I am also a link up worker, tutor and facilitator of art, photography & yoga classes.

Six Unusual Writing Studios

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How wonderful and inspiring to see how other writers work and are inspired by these Six Unusual Writing Studios. we stumbled upon at Something to Write Home About – Jean Fischer’s brilliant blog.

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Writer’s Block?

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Then why not read these 30 indispensable Writing Tips from Famous Authors on Buzzfeed. Get some tips and inspiration from some of the world famous experts!

Without a Window

News Flash Writing Exercise

Today’s writing exercise is about ‘News’ from Open Age’s Creative Writing Phone group led by tutor and writer Robert Silver.
For your assignment write about an even in your life or someone else’s as a news story – 250 words max
The three most important things about news are
1) It’s always written in the third person (i.e. he, she or they – never I or we)
2) The most important bit of information goes in the first sentence. (No soft lead ins or making your reader wait, you just state it as it is)
3) No opinions (That’s going to be tough for us)
Also – don’t forget my friends the 5 W’s:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
Answer those questions – not necessarily in that order – and you’re half way there.
Writing News – Some Rules. 1. News stories are always written in the third person.2. The most important information goes at the top of the story.

3. This lead should be a single sentence which contains all the relevant information. E.g. Eighteen people were rescued from a burning factory by a stray sheepdog.

4. Keep paragraphs down to one or two sentences.

5. Keep sentences short.

6. Keep the language simple.

7. In Associated Press style, punctuation almost always goes inside quotation marks. Example: “We arrested the suspect,” Detective John Jones said. (Note the placement of the comma.)

8. News stories are written in the past tense.

9. News stories do not contain opinion. Avoid words (particularly adjectives) that imply that the writer has one.

10. Opinions can be quoted.

11. When you first refer to someone who’s quoted in a story, use their full name and job title if applicable. On the second and all subsequent references, use just their last name.

I Prescribe TV

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I Prescribe TV

If you want to see a doctor – simply turn on the TV

For every other programme’s medical, I guarantee.

We’ve Doctors, Medics, House, ER and also Holby City,

Embarassing Bodies, A & E, and also Casualty.

There’s Doctor Hilary, Doctor Chris, and Doctor Pixie too,

Steer clear of Gillian McKeith – obsessed with number two!

There’s Doctor Phibes, who loved his spouse, and Docs Evil, and No,

The soaps have medicine in them too, though not in every show.

Sherlock had Doctor Watson, who was always at his side,

And Doctor Henry Jekyll, who turned into Edward Hyde.

A TV diagnosis is the fastest you can get,

Even on a Zoo Visit, you are sure to see a Vet.

Of course my favourite medic has a surgery that’s blue.

I wish he was my GP – well – who else but Doctor Who!

© Pandora Varrakalion

Fundraising through art at New Horizons

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We’d like to share an engaging art blog post Review: Fundraising through art at New Horizons from Kensington & Chelsea’s City Living Local Life blog written by Open Age’s creative writing tutor Robert Silver: about an art exhibition at New Horizons Centre in Chelsea and Open Age’s endeavours to raise funds for such a great cause!

Proofreading & Editing Tips for Writers

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We have discovered some brilliant tips at Writing Forward for proofreading and editing your writing. From asking a friend or family member to help you… do-it-yourself… or hiring a professional – Click on the link below to read these 21 helpful tips!

“The human mind is a funny thing; it likes to play tricks on us…”

Here are the first 3:

  1. Proofread and edit every single piece of writing before it is seen by another set of eyes. No exceptions. Even if you hire a professional editor or proofreader, check your work first.
  2. Understand the difference between proofreading and editing. Edit first by making revisions to the content and language. Then proofread to check for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  3. Use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word when you edit. This feature saves your edits. You can then approve or reject those edits.

‘Broken Wings’ by Christina Simmons

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Thank you to Christina Simmons for sharing the inspiring and emotive song she wrote entitled ‘Broken Wings’. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did here at Open Age!

Broken Wings by Christina Simmons

I want to talk… want to walk

Want to run… want to fly

Just like the angel… pretty little angel

With the sweetest smile – as swiftly as lightening

chorus

Out of the cage flying high – flapping my wings

Free at last. Free and wild, like a wild cat on the ground

Looking like a butterfly…, flying high like a firefly – almost touching

the blue sky. Freedom so far-fetched.

Cos someone’s gotten a hold of me… won’t let go

No, no, no… he won’t let me go, holding on tight, broken my wings

Maybe I’ll die… alone without him, tired and weak; so very

slow, stuck on the ground; should be smiling, feeling

pretty, as fast as the angel…

Instead remains shaken, pick me up! Lift me up

Looks he gives is so mesmerising – making me paralysed

Released from his grasp and set free…

Flying high like a firefly… almost touching the sky…

Free at last…free and wild… looking like a butterfly flying high…

way above…

Repeat chorus

© Christina Simmons

Collage & Storytelling

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As part of London Creativity & Wellbeing Week 2015 here at Open Age we organised a number of exciting events and workshops including an exhibition with performances at Paddington Arts inspired by fairy tales, storytelling, folklore and all things magical!

These wonderful collages were made by members of Open Age Create Expectations art class led by myself Hester Jones at Olive House – a Housing and Care 21 sheltered housing – in Fulham perched on the River Thames. The collages were also exhibited at our Paddington Arts Once Upon a Time showcase in June with lots of brilliant feedback from visitors!

The accompanying stories were made collaboratively in a group storytelling workshop at Olive House. Many of the members in this group are living with dementia.

In our weekly class Create Expecations we certainly experiment with lots of different mediums, inspired by many different artists and writers. We have dabbled in Pop Art, Impressionism, Poor Art, papier mâché, decoupage, candle making, poetry by William Blake, photography, and storytelling.. the list is endless! We hope you enjoy these collages and stories as much as our members enjoyed making them!

“I’m Watching You”

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There was a big eagle in Grandma’s flat, a singing bird, a hawk. “If I was a blackbird” was her favorite song. There was a picture of flowers on the wall with a lampshade dangling down. She was just watching her lunch – the little mouse. Suddenly the big bird decided she didn’t want lunch and instead had a whisky on mice!

“Mary Had A Little Lamb”

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Once upon a time I was expecting a baby and her name was baby Sheila. She was a professional dressmaker and she made suits, and they were well-made. She also made evening wear for ladies. She knitted jumpers from the sheep’s wool too. She made lovely coats and lovely shoes to match.

“A lady called Joan”

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There was a lady called Joan. She was in her living room admiring her collection of nick-nacks. She was out of the bathroom, suddenly, a lion came and broke all the crockery.

“Don’t worry love, I’m not after you, I’m not hungry.”

“Motherly Love”

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Once upon a time there was a panda holding a baby in bed (the only two people to vote for the liberal democrats in the general election in Scotland)

“Hush baby, mummy’s coming now to feed you… some bamboo!”

“The Nanny Goat”

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There was a nanny goat. The nanny goat lived in a field where he used to play chasing the birds and butterflies around in the fields. There was a polar bear and a brown bear. The Queen of Hearts lived in the red hat and the King of Spades lived in the black hat. One day the brown bear decided to go for a walk in the forest, he saw a great big sheep with horns. Then came a lion and butt the sheep with his great big horns. Then, the sheep had a baby! A young lamb.

“Down Under”

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Once upon a time when I was in Australia in the outback I was pleased to see animals hopping about. The meerkats, the kangaroos, and lovely birds, parakeets, wallabies, snakes as well. The meerkats were walking on the sand.

“Oh what a beautiful doll!” “Oh what handsome creatures the way they walk, the way they talk, the way they are all looking at the sea. They were all running about chasing the butterflies and the sheep and all the native animals.

With special thanks to Haynesh Johannes the activity coordinator at Olive House for all her kind support.

The report Creative Homes by the Baring Foundation demonstrates how the arts can contribute to the quality of life of people in residential care. Open Age is delighted to be a member of Age Action Alliance Creative Working Group:

“A vibrant group of representatives from national to grassroots organisations across a wide range of arts activities with interests in active to the most frail and vulnerable people. These different perspectives allow for new innovative ideas to emerge.

We could be a “hot-house” for new ideas and ways of working to make creative arts mainstream for all. This work could bring positive benefits to older people at whatever stage in their life-course; for policy and decision-makers; organisations providing care services and arts opportunities; as well as families, carers and arts practitioners. The impact could affect neighbourhoods and have regional and national implications.”

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