Saturday, 20 October 2012

Real and Imagined Lives at MShed

When I grow up I want to be a farmer like my granddad. I’ve seen pictures of him with a beard and a big hat, where he’s dug a field and it’s bright red, and you can’t tell whether he’s planted any seeds yet, though he’s grinning like he’s done a great job so it might be corn or wheat, but I hope he’s planted potatoes or sprouts because if you’re ever seen a sprout when it’s growing it’s totally mad, like a bunch of baby aliens on a big stalk. I hope it’s not flowers because that’d be boring, unless it was horse crippler cactus flowers, which are real and not made-up like you might think. And I’ve seen another photo of my granddad, only he’s not in it, just a field of red poppies for the men and boys who couldn’t wait to go to war until they actually got there, so sometimes it’s good not to get what you want, but he was happiest as a farmer and he had cows, which are madder than they look, so that’s why I want to be a farmer when I grow up. Either that, or a spaceman.
by Colin Pillinger, aged 8

Possibly the coolest writing project I've ever done, and certainly one of the most satisfying: a 200-word story about Colin Pillinger, inspired by no more than this portrait. It's part of a new exhibition at MShed (Bristol's coolest museum) in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. The portraits of people with a local connection, including JK Rowling, Stephen Merchant, Neneh Cherry, Rosamund Pike, Iris Murdoch, Tricky, Banksy, are hung alongside book-sized wooden plaques that open on hinges to reveal the 200-word stories by local writers, including Catherine Bruton, Cally Taylor, Holly Corfield-Carr, and Anna Britten. It was a real thrill to watch people's faces as they read the stories - as close as we'll ever get to the personal (private) experience of someone else enjoying our words.

The exhibition opens today and runs until 6 January 2013. Highly recommended!


Cally Taylor said...

Sarah Hilary said...

Hi Cally! Yes it was lovely to say Hello last night. And I'd love to meet up for a proper writerly chat soon. I'll drop you a line x