Thoughts from Polesden Lacey's Writer in Residence: Ruth Brandt
It is hard to step inside Polesden Lacey and not be transported to another time: to epicurean dinners in the dining room; Christmas dances in the central hall; and billiard balls clacking across a smoke-cloaked table, while Billy Cotton’s Band plays on the scratchy gramophone. For a writer, simply entering Mrs Greville’s house brings a whole era to life. But how does one get those feeling and ideas down on paper in a form that other people will enjoy reading?
Putting pen to paper
Exercise: Writing inspired by a painting
- Choose a painting from any of the picture corridors or rooms. Don’t take too much time over this, just opt for the one that first grabs your attention.
- Take a really good look at the painting. First think about where the scene is set. What might you hear, smell, touch and taste? Make a note of these.
- Now look at one of the people in the painting. What is s/he doing there? Does s/he belong there? Is s/he aware of the painter or is this person being observed without knowing it? What is s/he thinking about? What is her/his overriding emotion?
- Finally, write a piece starting with the words: ‘I am the woman/man/girl/boy who …’
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