In case you haven’t visited the link at the top of the page, I think its about time that I officially introduce an ongoing project of mine, called Urban Investigator. The project charts the adventures of Leonard Luther, a fictional character, who is stalking the streets of Bristol in order to seek out what could be termed as a ‘sense of place’ about the city.
Combining historical research with descriptive writings and some abstract photography, the aim is to give readers an interpretation of the area as it is encountered by Leonard and bring to life some of the hidden stories that lie in wait in the corners of this city.
At present, he’s been exploring the streets around the Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, where some of the oldest buildings in the city still survive. Once he’s finished there, he’ll be moving on to other areas, so be sure to keep checking back for more adventures.
Click here to read the latest part.
It’s the last chance to catch the Real & Imagined Lives exhibition at M Shed in Bristol and read my piece on Kwame Kwei-Armah!
Exhibition runs until 6th January. See here for more info.
Last month, I found out about a short story competition that was asking for submissions under the theme of ‘bridges.’ This was open to interpretation, including physical, mental or symbloic bridges and I quickly realised that I already had an exisiting idea that could be reworked to include a bridge in the storyline. However, there was something disingenuous about this way of writing and I felt that I it would be more satisfying to try and come up with a new concept.
It was at a new exhibition at Bristol Museum that this happened. I was looking at photos from a project around ‘Harraga’; immigrants from Morocco and Africa who try to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to get to Spain. It was eye-opening to read about the situation and I realised that they were trying to cross a type of bridge.
I read up more about it, including first hand reports of children who live at the port of Tangiers, trying to make it across by hiding under lorries. I also discovered an insightful photo essay by Jan Sochor that helped to form a picture in my mind of the kind of environment these people are living in. From this, I forged a narrative about two boys who try to board a boat by hiding underneath a frieight lorry.
It’s been a satisfying process of creation and I thought it was worthy of noting down. Up until now, I have often relied on my imagination to conjure up storylines, often with much difficulty, but believing that the most interesting or unusual scenarios would ultimately come from there. However, basing my idea on real events, especially on a current social issue, is not only fulfilling, but ultimately connects my efforts with the wider world as opposed to just my own thoughts. It’s something I’ll be considering when it comes to future ideas.
I am now featured on Ether Books! Find my work available to download at http://www.etherbooks.com/. You need to download the app first (providing you have a smartphone) and you can then search for work on the Writers page.