Gulls scream constantly from the cliffs and sky. The retreating sea, crabs and pebbles are caught in cracks and contoured pools. We skim some stones across the smooth surfaces and watch the ripples. Consequences. Thomas walks back to the harbour.
I sit by the towels and re-read the very wonderful Rob Pope: Creativity (Routledge 2005). On page 258, ‘Child’s play, grown-up art, or just gaming?’, there is the following quotation from Hegel’s ‘Aesthetics: Lectures in Fine Art’ (1835):
Even a child’s first impulse involves this practical alteration of external things; a boy throws stones into the river and now marvels at the circles drawn in the water as an effect in which he gains an intuition of something that is his own doing ... The universal need for art, that is to say, a man’s rational need to lift the inner and outer world into his spiritual consciousness as an object in which he recognises his own self.
On the facing page is this quotation from Donald Winnicott, ‘Playing and Reality’ 1971:
Into the play area the child gathers objects or phenomena from external reality and uses these in the service of some sample derived from inner or personal reality ... it is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self ... There is a direct development from transitional phenomena (e.g. a child’s dummy/pacifier, a favourite object) to playing, and from playing to shared playing, and from this to cultural experience.
And, two pages later, this quotation from John Dewey, ‘Art as Experience’ 1934:
Life itself consists of phases in which the organism falls out of step with the march of surrounding things and then recovers unison with it – either through effort or some happy chance. And in a growing life the recovery is never mere return to a prior state, for it is enriched by the state of disparity and resistance through which it has successfully passed ... For only when an organism shares in the ordered relations of its environment does it secure the stability essential to living. And when the participation comes after a phase of disruption and conflict, it bears within itself the germs of a consummation akin to the aesthetic ... It is an experience.
And now the holiday experience is over. We have come inland and are entering a new academic year. I am hoping to support the launch of three new NWP groups – in Cambridge, Liverpool and Cumbria. They will provide more safe spaces where teachers can write together, can share and be re-affirmed. We will, perhaps, write about holiday experiences. NWP teachers' writing groups are laboratories of creativity - places to throw stones (metaphorically) and learn how classrooms may be transformed by practising what you teach.
Click here to join a teachers’ writing group . Click here to read how NWP teachers apply what they learn.
Best wishes for a year of wonderful writing experiences!
NWP outreach director