So this week for ENG210, was assignment time! Eek! We needed to write a reflection on a creative piece we have written, so we needed to provide the the creative piece, the reflection and anything that showed our inspiration. This is only worth 10% of our mark and is a good way to start the unit’s assessments.
Here is mine:
The Art of Folding
By December Medland
Origami is hard. You need to concentrate, trying to remember the sequence of moves. Your fingers attempt to recall the memory stored within their muscle. The tendons and flesh seem to have a mind of their own. Sometimes, it feels like your fingers are right; but oft it feels like you’re all thumbs.
The creases need to be very precise. As the paper scrapes upon itself, there is a slight pause… Careful, careful! Line it up correctly. A little tap on each end to begin the fold and then a harder press as you run you finger firmly along the line. You check the edges, running your fleshy digit along the edge. They seem smooth and even. Papercut smooth. You feel confident with this fold. There’s a sense of victory in the air.
You turn the paper over, uncertain of the next step. Confusion lingers as you turn the page around and over, in wide circular motions as you attempt to locate your starting position. You feel lost, like you’ve no idea of your destination or how to get there. The lines and patterns on the page only muddle you further, with the green and blue page markings swirling together in your haste. In desperation, you unfold your last move, watching your old confidence slink off into the void. Only moments before you felt victorious, yet now…
Sullenness masks your features. Origami is really hard. A moment’s pause as you take a laboured breath. You steady your nerves; calm the fingers. A flash of clarity; a moment of memory. Ahh! You quickly redo your last manoeuvre. The following crease comes easily. And now, it is almost complete. Surrendering to the joy, the ultimate folding gesture is swift, sharp and decisive. Your heart explodes with a strong sense of pride. Your face beams with accomplishment. It is done. It is perfect.
You look down at your prize before gingerly handing it to him. He lowers oversized binoculars and rests them on his chest. You see them dangling from the neck strap that bites into his flesh on hot days. You quietly hold your breath and send a silent prayer to the Atheist Gods. You watch his face. He takes the paper from you and glances down. He smiles briefly, as if somewhat surprised at your skill. His lips curl into a satisfied smirk as he says, “Oh well done! You finally managed to fold the map!”
Referent = Map
Word association by meaning – the signifiedMap
Map of Countries
Cities & Towns
Places on map
Map of places
Where is the map
Greens & Blues
Word association by sound – the signifier
Map foot feet
Deal is Done
Use a GPS by the time the map is folded?
Get the male lost?
Have the male fold the map with difficulty (role reversal)
Show they are travellers, sight-seers
Explore the paper visually
Are you lost or just finished with the map?
Paper folding mimics a journey
Turn the map into a paper plane
Folded map – impossible for women compared to men (less spatial ability)
Deference to male – to show the importance of accomplishing the goal?
Inspired by a task by Smith (2005), I decided to begin with the word ‘map’ as my referent. A map can be associated in different ways: they are related to travel or journeys but these can just as easily become ‘journeys of the soul’ and ‘travel within’. Maps are also related to goals and achievements, as in a ‘map of life’ and the term ‘map’ is often seen as a guide. Therefore, ‘map’ was a good starting position.
I started by drawing together a word pool – using association, connotation, meaning and sonic based signifiers and a little smattering of disassociation and leapfrogging. All of these techniques helped me to pinpoint what aspect of the word ‘map’ I wanted to focus on.
Excited by the concept of writing a visual poem, I considered writing in the shape of a road map. Once the initial idea of folding a map came to mind, I was instantly struck by the word “origami”. I started to highlight words in the word pool related to folding. I immediately felt the urge to start writing and it was at this point, I realised I would be writing prose and not poetry. Therefore the visual poem idea was dropped.
Several days later, I re-approached my piece and decided to refine it, editing out unnecessary words, going over word choices etc. I added extra details, and I considered whether or not the concept of folding a map and origami were too dissimilar. In the end, I decided that the subtle twist at the end of my prose was enough. I felt that people would understand the connections, especially with the additional information about the man in the final paragraph.
I realised that forming a word pool associated with one word (map) had completely moved me to write a piece that seemed almost entirely unrelated (origami). The key to both of these ideas was ‘paper’, and that the words I had highlighted when I originally started were also related to paper. So now, I understand that my referent wasn’t actually ‘map’, but was in fact, ‘paper’!
Smith, Hazel. “Playing with language, running with referents” in The Writing Experiment: Strategies for Innovative Creative Writing, Smith, Hazel, 2005, 3-26
Reflection Word Count: 347