We invest objects with emotional significance. Although they are simply things, they can represent something that connects us to a person or a time in the past. I have used objects as the starting point for creative writing exercises, and they can be useful for brainstorming ideas.
I try not to accumulate too much clutter (!) and only keep the few items that are precious, always mindful of the day when I’m no longer here and whoever is left behind will have the unenviable job of sorting out my stuff! But on a windowsill, I keep a few “ornaments”.
My cyberman model/toy – with moving parts! I’m a Dr Who fan and my favourite (and scariest) monsters were always the cyber men. When I was a child, I would hide behind the sofa when they came on TV. Something about the clanging metal, the unforgiving nature of a machine, the hollow empty space for eyes sockets – no emotion or humanity – gave me the creeps. The stuff of nightmares. However my more recent developing interest in cyber technology, sci fi, robotics, and neuroscience gives me a different viewpoint. How many of us who grew up in the 70s wanted the special abilities of the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman? (Without the pain and injuries, of course!). Machines and technology have limitless power to transform lives for good. I sometimes wonder, when experiencing heartache and loss, how it would be to feel absent of emotion. A concept that is hard to imagine.
The Golem – My brother brought this back from a trip to Prague. According to good old Wiki, “in Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter.” The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, who reportedly created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava river, and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations to defend and protect the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms. There are a whole host of legends and literature around the golem. My first ever encounter with the concept was a 1966 British/American film entitled It!, starring Roddy McDowall, who was at that time one of my favourite actors. I was about seven years old when I saw it.
This model is a symbol of my fascination with creation. I’m also intrigued the golem was associated with fighting oppression, which in turn connects to my loathing of bullying in any form. (See my post http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/which-fictional-character-would-you.html)
My clay horse. And, strangely, in writing this I see there is a link between my clay horse, Ernie, and my golem – that they were both born from clay, an amazing substance which resonates with spiritual significance. I made Ernie at school in art class when I was a child. I enjoyed shaping the clay and using my hands to create the shape. I couldn’t do the legs however – they kept snapping off – so decided to make a horse lying down to obviate that problem! His tail also fell off, so he became a cob. Ernie reflects my love of horses since childhood, and because I couldn’t have a real horse, I kept creating them – in my stories, my drawings and in plasticine and clay. When I left home at sixteen, Ernie was still living on my mum’s windowsill, where he stayed for many years. After she passed away, I brought him home with me and he took up residence on my windowsill. Ernie evokes a range of childhood memories and happy thoughts of mum.
I love the way that, unknowingly, all three of these objects are linked by common threads and themes; connections which I had never noticed before.
Creation. New life. Changed reality. Words we could also use to describe what we produce when we write. Wonderfully strange.
To find out more about Jane’s creative story, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk
Her recent e-book, Joyrider, is available from Amazon