Archives For Writing

'Old books' photo (c) 2011, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/It was recently reported that the Bible will be made available in almost all language groups by the year 2022 (Ted Bergman from the Summer Institute of Linguistics). Upon reading this, the mention of the year 2022 immediately piqued my interest on account of the fact that I am participating in this project about the year 2022. Given that this project centres around the libraryof Birmingham and libraries are about books, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to consider the Bible, the book that is widely regarded as ‘the book of all books,’ honing in on some of its literary styles and techniques that have shaped English language and culture today.

The Bible is mysterious in the sense that it has stood the test of time, it continues to be the best selling least read book year after year despite numerous historical attempts to destroy it. Religious controversy aside, the variety of literary means and methods make the bible interesting from an artistic standpoint as you can find various styles of poetry, drama not to mention stories of every genre under the sun.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic and Hebrew in particular is known to be a very powerful, dramatic and emotive language. When the King James Version of the bible was translated into English it did some interesting things for the development of the English language. It is no secret that the bible bore influence on many of William Shakespeare plays and of course Shakespeare is widely regarded to have shaped English Language and Literature.

Just to illustrate my point with a few examples, in English when describing a conversation, we would say simply say something like “And he said…” but the same thing expression in the Hebrew language would say something like “And he opened his mouth and spake, saying…” To give you another example, in English we would say something like “He got up to put on his coat and left.” In the Hebrew it would say something like “He arose, girded his loins and went forth.” Get my point? It all sounds much more dramatic and reading it keeps you on tenterhooks.

As we consider arts and culture in Birmingham and its progression in 10 years time, I think it’s important that we reflect on the foundations on which our creative expression is often built. In 2022, The Library of Birmingham will be that place where we can take the where it will be standard practice for visitors to draw on our heritage to help us make better decisions about our lives and our futures. When we consider where are coming from we will always gain insight into where we are going.

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Kerry + Amy illustrated by Reiss Hesson

Today we moved back into our FEED studios in Millenium Point, and carried on re-drafting and adding final touches to the articles.

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Today was laid back and chilled atmosphere as we used one of the coolest media rooms in BMC (Birmingham Metropolitan College). Our fingers were typing away on the Mac computers through lot’s of edited articles for this discovery season brochure. We managed to complete most of the drafts that was ready to be sent to our editor Dan, and printed for approval by Kerry.

It was also pleasing to see our creative team also getting their hands on some of the articles and grabbing what-ever was left to do. So everyone had steam through fingers, worked as a team and kept busy. We also had our own interviews with Siobhan explaining our roles within the project and what our favorite books are.

As we draw to the end of the week our targets to complete our drafts are on schedule, it’s just a case of re-editing ,planning and working with the creative team on their tasks for next week.

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Beautiful Illustration by the fabulous Reiss Hesson

 

 

Date: 9th July 2013 – Second day of the summer school.

All of a sudden the unveiling of the library is looming closely over us, what felt like months and months away has whittled its way down to only 55 days. And this calls for our team to get under away with articles and designing for our Brochure. In our eyes this is the first day of ‘proper work’ for us all. We have gone through and completed our preparation of talks and culture sector meet ups, which gave us our foundation, but this is now the real thing!

So today went a bit like this:

10.00 AM – Arrive for a soft start

(Which then entailed us sitting in the sun for 20 minutes gossiping about the secret insight to the library tour)

10.30 AM – Morning meeting and Briefing

(Back to reality of our project and studio time, we had a detailed overview of the day before kindly given to us by Dan, this involved the articles corresponding to the writers and then the plan for the day. Then we received a beautiful typed up table of the team members corresponding to their articles and word counts that they will be writing. Furthermore, we met our very own professional graphic designer who will be assisting us for the course of the summer school and the brochure. Keith has been extremely helpful in assisting us with our query’s involving word counts but the most important thing that he has brought to the table was his prospective layout designs, as these are only drafts it is still unsure as to what the final will look like, but I can assure you that they are admirable. He also gave his opinions and ideas on the style of the brochure and the type sizing and fonts itself.)

11.00 AM – Work time!

(The team split of into two groups; creative/journalists to work on the tasks for today. The Journalist got stuck down with their articles as tomorrow they have a deadline to hand in a first draft. This involved the research behind the piece and additional confrontation with Kerry and Amy and then heads went down in Word to create their glorious read.

The creative’s had a chat with Keith as to what will be needed for him as of next time we meet and ideas that we could work on. His feedback was that we could incorporate our own illustrations to go with the journalist’s articles as well as drafting out ideas for the front cover. After they got that knowledge it was a group discussion about what illustrations will be needed for each article and pinpointing individuals to correspond to that. Next the agenda was the front cover, this is a big deal as it will dictate who is going to essentially pick up the brochure. This called for one thing – a mood board! Some of the ideas generated as to how we approach the design was; bold colours, hand rendered designs, reference to the library, the library pattern, discovery theme and appealing to senses. Then Ta-Da we all got to work.

1.00 PM  – Lunch time!

An enhancing 45 minutes of siting in the sunshine and having a few odd footballs landing in our circle.

1.45 PM -  Back to work!

Arriving back from our refreshing break, we immediately got our thinking heads on and got back to work. From the Journalists perspective this involved more drafting of a chosen article and editing, and from the creative perspective it involved drafting illustrations and front cover ideas. The afternoon went well and we completed the tasks given.

3.30 PM – Debriefing!

Collectively we gathered around the table and evaluated our working day, it was apparent that we all managed to get through a lot of work. Then Dan gave a quick speech on what was needed for tomorrow!

4.00 PM – Home time!

Influenced by the Library of Birmingham’s mantra of ’re-writing the book’, fusing the traditional old-fashioned library space with new cultural mediums and concepts, the idea of re-writing classic novels (or at least utilising the main themes/plots) within a Birmingham setting materialised in my mind. For my first experiment, I took inspiration from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, a satirical text which focuses on a Spanish man so enamoured with chivalric tales that he himself becomes a knight, imposing his own fictional perceptions of the world on less-than-forgiving ‘sane’ society. This book choice was also important as Don Quixote itself features a main character who ‘re-writes’ himself into his beloved books of chivalry and re-fashions a new world from its existing forms and shapes, imbuing his surroundings with a unique vision. This is what I believe to be the role of the new library; to provide people with the tools and inspirations to alter their own lives, use their imagination, realise their own creative potential and to be the main character in the epic saga of their own lives. So, without further ado, I present my first part… Continue Reading…