I’m looking forward to Jude’s online class next week about creating story cloths. I have a reasonably good background in art and literature – I studied both at degree level – and at one time I wanted to write and illustrate children’s books. And yet I struggle with turning abstract ideas into pictorial images. It’s not about skill or confidence, I don’t think: I like to think I can draw competently, though I know not brilliantly. I don’t know where the block lies, or even whether there is one. Maybe I don’t recognise that I’m already doing it in my own way.
Having been thinking about stories, I’ve started to re-read Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment. I first came across this while studying for my Masters degree many years ago. It’s about why stories are important, and how stories help us make sense of a bizarre and unpredictable world. As I read, I like to write down any ideas that strike me as particularly significant, and I also make little drawings where the words suggest something. At the same time I was thinking about my magical trees of many colours and thinking they ought to be part of a landscape, and that landscape should be populated by other living things.