Mini Workshop: Creative Questions

Hello and welcome back to writing tips with The Shouting Mute.
Is creativity really just a call and response process, or is it much more than that? Creativity is how culture develops. Creativity comes from questions. How many of us wonder what it would be like if Aliens came to Earth? Or if Charles was a fish and Ellen was a perfect dog? Those are some of the big questions of the world.
You can get creative by using a question you want an answer to and trying to answer it. It doesn’t have to be anything scientific or meaningful. It could be ‘Can I love chocolate or chips as much as I love a person? Then once you have a question, you can research it or let your imagination just go for it. Creative artists are more curious and questioning than the rest of society, but we mustn’t get confused. We aren’t policy creators but the arts is a great way to effect policy and start a conversation about something that interests you. Come up with some questions of your own and try to answer them in your creative writing.
Here’s an example –
My question is ‘What would you say to an alien?’  I will use Charlie and his friend Jordan.
Charlie: Hey Jordan. what would you say to an alien?
Jordan: do you have chocolate on Mars?
Charlie: it is from the celebration box. the round red box.
Jordan: I know . maybe the aliens psychologically sent messages from brain waves to humans to name chocolate after them.
Charlie :  I doubt that but Yoda could control me. I have no problem with that.
Jordan: a crush on a green alien from Star Wars. a bit weird mate.
Charlie: no. he would be cool to control me.
Jordan: Again a bit weird mate.
Charlie: you just taking it the wrong way.
Jordan: can aliens play football?
Charlie: it could be like wheelchair footy.
Jordan: good point.
Give it a go, come up with your own questions and explore the answers in your creative writing. You could even ask someone else to ask you a question to write about, or do this exercise with a friend and see what each of you come out with. I would love to know how you get on, so give me a shout, and I’ll be back with another blog on Friday.
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2020 Update from The Shouting Mute (Part 2)

I’ll still be blogging, and sharing writing tips, but I’m also thinking about the logistics of adapting some of my creative writing workshops so I can host them online, and possibly a spoken word event / open mic video call to bring poets, writers and creatives together. I would love to hear from anyone who would be keen to attend / get involved.

I really really want to hear from other AAC and communication aid users too, because I would love to host a specific online event to support other creatives like me. So if you’re keen on that idea, give me a shout!!

And I want to promote the creativity of other AAC users. I would love to see what you’re all up to, and if you have any poems, stories, or even films, I would love to share your stuff and shout about it online. So if you’re an AAC user, or you support one, use the contact page on my website to send me a message and a piece of writing, a poem, a story, or if you want to send a picture or video just say that in the message, and my team will make it happen.

I might not be making or doing physical work for a while but I will be doing more digitally, and I want to get the AAC community involved as much as possible. So give me a shout so we can talk about your writing and start sharing it.

Get writing. Get creative. Get shouting.

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Leading creative writing workshops at 1Voice

2020 Update from The Shouting Mute

Hello there. I decided it was time to share an update about events, appearances, and upcoming work from The Shouting Mute. Unfortunately because of Covid-19 all of my partners and I have come to the conclusion that all of our planned work will be called off or postponed to 2021, if it’s safe by then to do so. I will continue blogging and sharing online so look out for that and, just like many other businesses are moving online, I’ve been thinking about what else I can adapt to maintain this creative community we’ve built.

My team and I are researching the possibility of publishing a book of poetry soon, and I would love to know how much interest there would be for it. Would you be keen to own your own copy of a collection of my poems? It would include some much-loved poems that inspired my show ‘Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate’ as well as a whole bunch of fresh new material. Give me a shout if you think I should publish a book of poetry, not as any kind of commitment or pre-order, but just so I can gauge interest and decide how quickly I should make this happen. I can’t wait to hear from you…

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The brand image for my play Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate

Mini Workshop: Writing Song Lyrics

Welcome back to writing tips with the Shouting Mute.  This is song and poetry writing. Poetry and song lyrics are basically the same, to tell you the truth, people will probably tell you that is a lie but it is pretty much the same. Someone out in the big wild world might want to argue with me but I am going to say that they are the same and it’s pretty much the same process just with a slightly different outcome.
If you want to write song lyrics, start by listing words like we did before. 100 words is ideal but it could be more.
break bread. peach. hungry. drink. milkshake. chocolate strawberry. banana. apple crumble. rocks. stones. melt. hot cold chill ice. white. ghost. emergency. emery. magazine. paper. news . stories. events. places. space. moon sun. stars. gold diamond silver bronze. medal money. cash Slash. splash. out swim physical. run. wheel propel. drive. car van. place. poole. and so on.
Then take a break. Chill out for a bit before you come back to it.
Then pick a word from your list, and spend 20 minutes writing from that word, 30 minutes for eye gaze / communication aid users. Write sentences inspired by that word. My word is Poole. Here is my example –
Poole the birth. the place of me. it wasn’t for me. I learnt about the world.. the relaxing channel.. my heart beat is in the waves.  the sea washes me away. the cold sea touching my toes. the sand in my feet.. I will never forget the days sailing with my granddad.
Next you need to choose a little chorus from what you’ve written. My chorus is –

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

Rewrite the chorus into the lyrics roughly every four lines, or when your verses come to their natural end, a bit like this –

Poole

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The world wasn’t ready.

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

I learnt about the world.

Became the person who I am.

Is it for me now though?

Poole, the sand in my feet.

The cold sea touching my toes.

I love coming home.

Having cream teas with my family.

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

Poole smells fresh like seaweed at low tide.

We can’t see the sea for a mile.

It’s the most beautiful mile that you will ever see.

Blue wash with green trees on Brownsea.

I took somebody to Evening Hill to look over the harbor once.

They broke my heart with grit.

That won’t be the end of my Poole story.

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

I love my family home.

I will never forget the day I first drove my power wheelchair at White Cliff Park.

I will never forget sailing on Granddad’s boat.

The wind on my red chin.

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

The sea washes me away.

I will never forget the map of the town and where I like to go.

I will never forget the community that gave me my life.

I will never forget the chocolate on my face in most of the cafes.

I will never forget the strength that my school gave me and the life that I needed.

Poole, the birth of me, the place of me.

The relaxing channel, the sea, is washing me.

A life where I treasure friends.

A life where I worked my passions.

Those passions are now bigger than a place.

A life that is my family and I love them.

Poole, my home, a place in my heart.

And that’s it! You should now have a song type poem, with verses and choruses. You could even try singing it, or getting another person to sing it for you.
Just to recap – pick a word, write from your word, reorder it, put a repeating chorus through it – and you should have a simple poem that could be a song.
Let me know how you get on, and look out for my next blog 🙂
lyrics

Mini Workshop: Writing Funny as well as being an Activist

Welcome back to writing tips with the Shouting Mute. Today I’m going to talk about events to propel your plot along, so we can develop the story. It’s very similar to action and activism. If you’re just writing fantasy your story will have action and activism in, but sometimes we don’t want to be so serious, talking about politics all the time because, to be frank, you and your audience will get bored of being the disabled writers, or the writer who writes the same play seven different times (who’s probably much more successful than me and you) but I think that’s wrong and boring.

There are times to be political and be proud of who we are, we need to own ourselves, but it’s also good to get away and have fun, most importantly with our work and our audience. We need diversity because people have seen history but they can’t see the future. Plus you’re naturally being an activist just by writing and championing disabled people, but you don’t always have to talk about disability or diversity, or whatever. You can talk about chocolate instead, or something else. See, you’re getting bored now because I’m ranting. But do you see my point?

For this task, list some events like I showed you before but less political –
a date
a car crash
a family meal
a fire
an office meeting
going to buy snacks
a dragon coming
going to space
etc etc etc.
I’m going to use Charlie and the meeting with their crush, who I’ve decided to call Sam. I’ve picked a date and there’s a dragon coming. Here’s my example –

Sam: thank you for taking me out tonight. it was wonderful.
Charlie: Sam.
Sam: Charlie. why don’t you kiss me under the 2 stars. we are stars together Sam.
Charlie: that would be nice. I want to kiss but
Sam: tell me you have another partner. you look so beautiful. Am I beautiful Charlie? do you want to kiss me?
Charlie: we would but there is a dragon behind you. I think we should quickly run instead.
Hot dog seller: do you want a hot dog?
Charles : no thanks. but I would advise you to run and not sell hot dogs. goodnight.

The story can just go on from there. My tip today is to write funny, as well as political. I say variety is the ice cream in life. You can have lots of flavours. Don’t choose just one. choose at least two or even five. You can have as many as you like. The point is to challenge yourself. You can write funny and ridiculous as well as political or trying to be an activist, because just being creative is activism in itself.

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