When did you last look at the world sideways? Or upside down?
Why would you need to?
Try it. See? What are all those weird shapes and colors that you hadn’t noticed a moment ago? Look at all the details that merged into the background when you were right side up! And check out the relationships between the details. What’s that smell? Don’t you find the view far more interesting and lively looking at it sideways?
Looking from a different physical perspective can give a wonderful creative boost.
Is it because of all that blood flowing to your head or to your elbow?
Travel is an easy way to look sideways. Surrounded by so many differences and impressions makes you ultra-alert, hyper-aware of details.
I had a sideways moment recently while I was on holiday, going into Newcastle on the metro. I’m not at all familiar with Newcastle and as I looked at the metro map, the names of the stations just popped out at me, crackling with ideas, images, characters and other worlds. It was as though the names had cracked open and were revealing something deeper.
Walls End – Meadow Well – Monument – North Shields – Brockley Whins – Walkergate – Simonside – Four Lane Ends – Chillingham Road – Byker – Manors – Seaburn – Motherwell – Bank Foot – Pelaw
I didn’t have time to write then so I jotted down the station names. I knew right away how I was going to use them and this week will sit down to see what happens with my idea. It’s going to be harder work now because I’ve moved on from that particular state of mind but I’ll just have to look at them sideways.
Won’t you join me?
Write using the station names in sequence. You do not have to use the station names as such, or even as a place. You can translate them into an event or character, or use the spirit within the words, or interpret what might be the meaning or origin of the name in whatever way you like. Go with sound and change the spelling if that appeals. Feel free to split a name into two words. Or more. In other words, use the names as creatively as you like. Use all stations.
An extra challenge (because you’ll be so familiar with them) is to use the metro or train station names in your own area (if you’re not in Newcastle). These won’t feel at all exciting to you. But try looking at them sideways.
Feel like sharing a sentence you’ve written using one (or more) of the metro names? Use the Comments box below!