A Creative Day

A Creative Day

Quote: “Creativity comes to those who don’t plan.”

Sometimes you have a day of writing planned or you have organised a trip to an exhibition, but sometimes a creative day comes at you from nowhere.

Easter Cakes

I was looking after a couple of girls for the day; one was imprisoned (self-imposed) in her room studiously revising for her exams and the other was 9, so we could do what we wanted. I had nothing scheduled but I knew 2 things: 1, we were going to the cinema later to see a subtitled film about Laos and 2, I needed a coffee.

After a catch up interspersed with readings and giggles from Calvin and Hobbs, we began discussing books and writing and I said I love Choose Your Own Adventure. The girl replied, “I have one but haven’t done it for ages.” So she ran to get it and there began our morning of rolling dice, battling creatures and pointing swords at old crones. This book was a little more advanced than the ones I used to read where you only got the option at the bottom as to what page to turn to next; this one was more suitable to Sheldon and the boys in The Big Bang Theory. It had need for a pen, some paper and dice (but if you didn’t have any then cleverly there was a picture of them at the bottom of the page so you could flick the pages and that was your ‘roll’). You could also buy things such as the Armband of Strength and the Headband of Concentration as well as potions and weapons. Once we’d left our morals at the door, entered a pretty useless waterfall cave and riled numerous creatures we decided to pause while still alive and go for a coffee.

Phew! We were parched after such an adventurous morning. Refuelling took place at Lavish Habit in Balham for a cappuccino and a hot chocolate. Next was the collation of materials for the afternoon’s events: Easter cake baking. Yay!

We baked and decorated like elves making toys at Christmas. Our cakes had carrots half buried in the middle so it looked like it was in a garden, Easter eggs, rabbit faces, flowers and colourful sprinkles. What was nice was teaching the 9 year old how to pipe icing, make carrots and create flowers – although I gave up on teaching not to lick your fingers whilst making the cake as it was a losing battle.

Easter Cake 2

I had a lovely time doing my favourite things. Then she took me outside to so something she liked: archery! A Katniss fan (Hunger Games) she had a bow and sucker arrows to fire at will in the garden. Time out to kick ass in the garden was fun, but short lived as we had to speed off to the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton.

We were seeing The Rocket, a foreign language film with subtitles. (SPOILER ALERT!) Set in Laos, ten year old Ahlo is a surviving twin who is said, by his grandmother, to bring bad luck. This film sees his journey to shedding his bad luck by entering the Rocket Festival: a dangerous competition where entrants compete to win money and to hopefully bring rain.

The films primary focus is on the unexploded bombs dropped on the country by the Americans during the Vietnam War. We see how the bombs have affected the villages and the lives of the villagers and also how outside influences end up determining the locals lives.

Director Kim Mordaunt shoots the film in a documentary style using a lot of non-actors and only a little direction to give a natural feel. The film is thoughtful and beautifully shot capturing poignant images of Ahlo, moving the cinema-goers to tears. Although subtitled there are actually very few and of the ones there are the text is limited, making it easy for the younger viewer to keep up with. There are a few hard hitting and shocking scenes which serve as a reminder to the existing danger these children and their families are still in. By using a Laotian boy as the protagonist Mordaunt hits home this point.

The end of the film is much like the rest but with a smack of sentimentalism. The Rocket Festival serves to stick one finger up at the bombs by firing explosives back into the skies and making a positive out of a negative. The end might perhaps do better to remind us that not everything will turn out well like in the movies. However, it’s a good film absolutely worth seeing and taking your older children to.

If only everyday was this enjoyable. Hopefully in the future I will remember to put some of my more mundane and unimportant tasks aside to allow for more creativity in my life and those around me.


Matched Trilogy


By Ally Condie


Dystopian Young Adult fiction has been doing the rounds for a while and is getting even bigger with The Hunger Games now being made into a series of films.  Matched, set somewhere in the future, follows a trilogy format and has been written specifically for this style.  Although it’s possible to read each independently I don’t think you would get the best out of the books.

We follow the thoughts and travels of Cassia, a 17 year old girl who is due to be ‘matched’ to her future husband at the extravagant and much awaited Match Banquet.  The Society record and measure their citizens to provide the best life possible for them – from calorie controlled meals, whom to marry, to the time you should die.  All of the results are collated and your life is predicted and controlled accordingly.  Cassia’s match has been carefully chosen to suit her (and his) needs perfectly.

Everyone including Cassia enjoys the structure of their daily lives and respects the order and expectations because it leads to a healthier, productive, happier society.

After the joyous Match Banquet, where in a rare occurrence Cassia is matched with Xavier – her best friend who lives in her district – Cassia is presented with an event which changes the course of her life.  Each person matched receives a Microcard with information about their future partner on it.  On viewing her Microcard, Cassia is momentarily presented with another face – Ky, another boy from her district.  Throwing everything into question, Cassia is confused: the Society doesn’t make mistakes.  Cassia loves Xavier and is relieved and thrilled to be matched to him – it’s meant to be, it’s been predicted.  However, Ky’s face won’t remove itself from her mind and this begins a slow change in her perception of the Society and even herself.

As the story unravels we, along with Cassia, discover the deeper workings of the Society and become aware of just what they’re capable of.  Without giving too much away, the end is the start of Cassia’s search for her future and the truth and the beginning of the next book.

As an adult I enjoyed this book and I feel it suits the YA age group. A lot of books are called ‘cross-over’ but have an adult voice – and although this does house adult concepts and the occasional word you wouldn’t expect a teenager to use (it can be forgiven because of the futuristic environment) you do still feel it’s a teenager speaking.  Cassia goes on a journey and like most teenagers moving into adulthood we see her opening her eyes and becoming aware of the world as a whole and not just her own little, egocentric bubble.  Although the protagonist is a teenager it doesn’t matter because the concepts of conspiracy theories, society’s control, love etc. are ones which draw us all in.  All you adults out there don’t restrict yourself to books with people of a similar age, sex and ethnicity to you – it’s limiting and a bit boring too.  I just like reading and am happy to devour any book that comes my way and if I don’t like it then it doesn’t matter – you can’t like everything but how do you know if you don’t try?

Crossed and Reached are the next books in this trilogy and I look forward to reading and reviewing them too.