Creative Isolation

By the sound of things, we’re all going to be spending a great deal of time at home over the next few months. After the novelty wears off (about two days ago), to stop ourselves getting too fidgety and going stir crazy, we need to do things. Getting drunk and throwing crisps in each other’s mouths from across the room will only keep us entertained for so long – what can we do after those two or three months?

One option is to get creative. With all the extra time to play with, we can try things without immediately spitting the dummy and giving up when we don’t nail it first time. It might just be the kick up our creative arses to make us realise we can do and write and create and play anything! We’re freakin amazing!! Let’s try some shit out! And if all else fails, maybe keep a bottle of Shiraz and a pack of Wheat Crunchies at the back of the cupboard, just in case.

Write a book
Why not? They say we’ve all got a book inside us. The only things stopping most people getting down to writing it, are a lack of time and motivation. Well, we’ve certainly got one of those in spades now, and if we can muster up some motivation from somewhere, we could soon be a nation of Charles Dickenses and Barbara Cartlands before you know it! (That’s right, they’re the two most important literary figures of the last 200 years).

Alternatively, why not gather some inspiration by ticking off one of the classics from your To Read list? Don Quixote, Brave New World, Mr Tickle, there are so many phenomenal stories to get lost in, to find that pure, quiet escapism that you can’t get from watching the box. Any reader recommendations are always gratefully received, just Tweet us @bn1magazine, and use the hashtag, #creativeisolation

“What do you mean all the copies of 50 Shades have gone?!”

Draw a picture
As easy as that. Everyone’s got a pencil and paper, why not try your hand at drawing something? It gets weirdly addictive, and can be either hilarious (if your drawing skills are at my level), or immensely satisfying (if you’re several levels above my level). You can set challenges for each other, drawing mystery objects, or drawing against the clock. And don’t stop at pencil and paper, if you’ve got paints, bust them out! Paint a local landmark, an imaginary scene, or if you’re at home with someone, why not try and paint each other – just be prepared for the fall out: I accidentally bestowed a beard upon my girlfriend when I tried painting her in what was supposed to be a romantic gesture. (I’m as good with romance as I am with drawing.)

There are even some kind souls who are putting on free learn-to-draw tutorials online to help parents entertain their kids at this time. For example, acclaimed author and illustrator Rob Biddulph.

Learn a famous poem. Imagine the scene, you’re at a party, you’re in a group, and a smoking hot man/woman/gender neutral human (delete as appropriate) reels off some impressive quote. Low and behold it just so happens to be from the poem you know! You continue where he left off, reeling the whole poem off as he gazes into your eyes, love blossoming right in front you… It’s almost bound to happen! And that love with last at least until they realise that’s the only poem you know. But, true (if temporary) love aside, it’s also a great brain exercise, and you’ll get to know something beautiful that you didn’t. Win win. Or, add some spice to the idea and turn it into a competition – set a challenge with a friend, and see who’s the first to learn it off by heart. (Loser buys the loo roll).

And if you get inspired, why not try your hand at writing one, too? Or start with some limericks:

The world hurts from coronavirus,
Just as much as from Miley Cyrus.
But like East Seventeen,
The COVID-19
Will hopefully soon all be behind us.

It’s no Man from Nantucket, but I’m happy with that. Tweet us yours @bn1magazine! #creativeisolation

Take up an instrument
Apologies to the parents of anyone that heeds this suggestion and takes up the drums or trumpet, or some other instrument that’s an onslaught to the ears for the first three years (but when they eventually make their millions, I’ll be claiming 10%, thank you). But what a perfect time to learn a new instrument, or to dig out that old dusty acoustic guitar that you had in the corner of your bedsit at university to impress girls with. Assuming (with, I’m confident, 100% accuracy) that it didn’t work as the love prop you bought it for, why not give its primary function a whirl, and see if those long stringy things on the front make some nice noises? This is the jackpot in terms of learning an instrument – we’ll never again have this amount of time to dedicate to penning that first platinum-selling record! (Cue all the hipsters reaching for their ukuleles).

Lesson 1: Play a flaming guitar

Write a letter to your grandparents
Grandparents, elderly neighbours and friends, or anyone who may be at home isolating for several months. Why not brighten their day by rediscovering the art of letter-writing, and send them something to open in the post? I know we can call them, and they’ll no doubt love that too, but there’s nothing quite like getting a letter or even just a postcard in the post, especially for the older generations. In fact, you can go one further and start an old-fashioned correspondence with them. They can take their time with it, and enjoy writing back to you (hopefully a neighbour or friend can post the letters for them). It can help keep their minds active, as well as form a little bond between the two of you that doesn’t always exist digitally.

Get creative in the kitchen
This one might be forced upon us anyway, what with there being so many empty shelves in the supermarkets. So, we might necessarily be trying out new, made up recipes and combinations – who knows, maybe jelly babies go with spaghetti? (They sure don’t go with Ritz Crackers, let me tell you – I took a gamble. It didn’t pay off). But even with a less outlandish approach, and assuming you can get the ingredients, try a new recipe, try a few new recipes, or take an afternoon to create something that no one’s ever cooked before. These days, something like 85% of the TV schedules are given over to cooking shows, and it’s not like people are shy about what they’re eating on social media, so there’s endless inspiration. Sit your loved ones down and treat them to (or inflict upon them) something they’ve never tried before. There’s always Deliveroo, if it’s inedible…

Join an online choir
A prime example of something beautiful coming out of something terrible, there are suddenly a raft of online choirs that you can join, enabling anyone to sing along as part of a group, even when in isolation. (And, as quick as you like, with the lightning fast reactions you only acquire with fame, celebrities are getting involved and making it all about them). Perhaps taking inspiration from the Italians who so spontaneously and compassionately, burst into song from their windows and balconies, these virtual versions are just as uplifting and welcome anyone and everyone no matter what ability. Heart-warming doesn’t even come close.

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