Student Cafeteria

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Taking Arms
'Take Arms' we said as the mannequins were distributed amongst the Year 12 student body. Naked without identiy the mannequins were claimed by students with the task of expressing that which will give them the strength and protection needed as they undergo the battle that is life.

The mannequins nudity was confronting enough. Many students felt compelled to 'dress' them for the journey home. The idea of accompanying a naked mannequin revealed a host of inhibitions and vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities that must be shielded and protected if they are to survive in our world. The act of carrying a mannequin put them in the spotlight as fellow passengers looked on with curious puzzlement.

'Naked without identity!' Claiming the bodies and giving expression to that part of themselves that can endure the drought, the storms, the inevitable crisis, grief and loss is a fundamental step. Not since they rose to their feet and courageously took their first step will they have made such a plunge into a new world. Innocently they stand by the crossroad, ready to discover a new path - a path that leads within, to the world of the subconscious.

My own work, participating alongside others in just such a project, provided a personal milestone. Since undergoing this 'rite of passage' I have a renewed sense that my strength is sourced within a deep root system. I now know that my legs are well grounded, with roots tapping far enough within fertile soil for me to find the nutrients I need during the tough times. Discovering this was one of those defining moments. I am proud of the warrior who emerged as I took arms and created an Amazonian figure who now lives within my writing space. She is a source of inspiration!

You can join us and begin by brainstorming in your journal. Think about what you will do when you take the plunge and bring home a mannequin who, until armed, will remain naked without identity. How will you arm your mannequin to meet the challenges of life? How will you protect your creative spirit?

Friday, April 05, 2002

Writing Competition
Bad Girl On The Block

Whenever I run writing classes with adults they are soothed by colouring in exercises. Hands up if you lusted for a set of 92 Derwents! When I was at school only a handful of students had these glorious pencils and we drooled when we saw a full set. Happily they are more within my reach these days and not so long ago I joyfully bought a complete set. It was not easy to convince my children that they were mine and to be left neatly in the beautiful tin.

So how about digging out the textas and the pencils? Go directly to Colouring Stories. Print out a copy of the wicked Cooltoon Angelica and write a story entitled 'Bad Girl On The Block". There is a prize! Yes! You guessed! A small set of Derwent Coloured Pencils.

So add your story to the Story Starter Forum, making sure to include an email address.