Mill life under the lens

In my last few posts, I’ve been looking at the landscape, the stories associated with it and how these narratives can shape our view of the places we think we’re familiar with. As a writer, I like to observe settings and situations from a slightly different angle. An altered perspective  can produce unexpected results which often resonate strongly with the reader.

Hilary Mantel once said, ‘Assume your reader is at least as intelligent as you’. To this I might add, ‘Assume your reader is at least as quirky/strange/weird as you’! There’s a challenge in committing your thoughts to paper; in believing that your own ‘take’ on the world is valid and worth reading. The greatest compliment you can give a writer is to say, “Page ten? That’s exactly how I felt!” It’s all about making that connection.

And to connect with people, you need to be able to connect with place.

At the moment I’m planning a workshop entitled ‘See it, feel it, smell it’,( although maybe not in that order!) How do we experience the mill in a slightly altered way, and can this affect/enhance our creative practice? We have five senses (arguably even six) but we tend to use only one or two at a time. The mill is the perfect place to practice using all of them!

It’s a very textured space: we have the roughness of the structure: stone, slate and timber. The softness of the finished product: flour, oatmeal, grain and dust. The fluidity and ambiguity of water. Our conservation volunteers are currently working on cataloguing the building’s ‘graffiti’, which I’ve mentioned previously, and this has given me the idea of getting up close and personal with the mill. Among other things, we’re going to embrace a new way of looking at the everyday (and indeed the past) with the help of a magnifying glass!

The workshop takes place on July 16th, 2016. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/Sandralowireland/barry mill under microscope

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