For the bored, locked-down and lonely

Activity Double Feature: Draw a portrait, write a haiku

I’m so sorry, Bowie

We’ve got a couple of quick and fun ideas for whiling away an hour or two today!

Flash portrait drawing

This is a pretty hysterical way to pass the time and get creative! You can do this with a live person, or even using a photo of someone as a reference. 

-Get a pencil, a pen, or a piece of charcoal, and sheet of paper. 

-Set a timer (1 minute is good, but it can be longer or shorter, just try it out). 

-Pick up the pencil, start the timer, stare deep into the eyes of your subject, and start drawing the portrait. BUT, you’re not allowed to look down at the sheet of paper for the duration of the timer.

– Once the timer rings, look down at your work of art. Your subject is bound to feel deeply flattered.

Try this with a friend taking it in turns to do the drawing, and see whether your art changes each time you create a new portrait! Do you get used to the time constraint? Do you find yourself focusing on specific features or techniques as you get more practice? How does your portrait differ when you change the time limit to 2 or 5 minutes?

Writing prompt: Write a haiku

Haiku poems are very simple: three lines of seven, five and seven syllables. They don’t even have to rhyme.

You can challenge yourself to try and express your mood in a haiku, or describe an activity you’ve done in the day.

It’s also a fun game with a friend, partner or family member. Pick a topic, like, for example: Corona. 

Then, you all write a haiku around that topic, and read the results out to each other:

Pandemic? Please don’t panic.

Instead, write Haiku.

That’s good shit to do. 

Activity: Write an ode

This year has been extraordinary in a lot of ways – but much of our everyday existence has been kind of mundane. As we’ve lived through lockdown, there’s been a lot of repetition: most of us working from home, seeing the same folks and the same walls of the same house day after day. I think it’s about time we show the mundane a bit of love – and what better way to do that than with an ode? An ode is a poem where you celebrate something ordinary. By writing an ode you’re challenging yourself to spend some time thinking about all the aspects of an object which make it special to you, and which we normally might overlook. Odes can be funny, serious, joyful, or nostalgic but the main aim is to bring your chosen object to life through celebrating it – make the ordinary extraordinary!

Here are some tips for writing your ode:

Pick an ordinary place or thing.

Give your subject praise or thanks. (Oh, _____________!)  Speak directly to the object.

Spend time deeply thinking about your object. Try starting by writing down everything of note without worrying how it might be a poem (you could even try a mind map). Then go back to pick out the most striking thoughts and shape them into a poem.

What does it mean to you? You might find that you associate this object with certain memories & preoccupations, or it may start you thinking about larger, abstract themes.

Try using verbs to bring your object to life. Think about what personality your object would have if it were a person – how would it move or speak or think?

Want some more inspiration before getting started? Have a read of these modern ode examples:

‘Ode to My Socks’ by Pablo Neruda

‘Ode to Shea Butter’ by Angel Nafis

‘Home Movies: A Sort of Ode’ by Mary Jo Salter