26 recommends

Steal Like An Artist. Inspiring. 

Warren Zevon’s biography, Nothings Bad Luck.

A bit of a hint. 

Poetry by Tony Hoagland and Joe Brainard. Both dead. 

Author/Poet/Teacher Kate Clanchy publishes tween/teen poetry.

Alejandro nails it. 

26 Flashes

Fab work. 

A photo every day

– John Jordan

– Wendy Jones

My recommendation this month has to be Picasso on Paper at the Royal Academy. A breathtaking exhibition that demonstrates what a genius Picasso was – not just on paper but on canvas, in bronze, in media of all kinds. I hadn’t expected that the exhibition would bring quite so much together. Particularly wondrous to see films of Picasso at work. Make sure to see it (once safe to do so).

– John Simmons

Books: The Mirror and the Light. Obviously!

Films: Rocketman, Knives Out, Bombshell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (finally), Judy, Official Secrets and Le Mans 66 (it was a long flight).

– Lisa Andrews

Clean Prose is London’s first co-working space for writers. It hosts events and workshops and has a communal area as well as quiet desks for writing. Not cheap, but you can book a free trial and also get a pass that’s valid for a few sessions a month.

I also recently discovered The Bookseller podcast, a monthly round-up of news from the publishing and bookselling world. It’s hosted by Cathy Rentzenbrink and is really worth listening to.

– Jill Hopper

My current reading project is re-reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, which is hitting very close to home and reminding me of the power of fiction. I’m re-reading it for a module I’m teaching on at London Met about genre fiction. The module has, in the past, felt a little distant for students who aren’t already genre fans, but I think the situation we find ourselves in right now is making particularly science fiction, speculative fiction and dystopian fiction seem a lot more relevant. I also started This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay before we knew the severity of this outbreak. It’s a humourous nonfiction novel about his experiences as a junior doctor that’s also taking on new relevance! Lastly, I’m recommending to my students that they return to the books that they loved as children and teenagers. Reading an old favourite can be comforting and calming in anxious times. It’s like reconnecting with that childhood friend who you fall right back in with, even if years have passed since you last spoke. We know the souls of our favourite books and they are part of the fabric of ours.

If members are looking for writing exercises in the face of social distancing they could try this one that I’m suggesting for my students:

Take a picture, or make note of something everyday, particularly if this thing, image or event causes you to feel fear, anxiety, worry etc. This doesn’t need to be something special or extraordinary; it can be an ordinary object from your home. Then do a quick, 20-minute writing burst about that object that is funny, silly or outrageous. The crazier the better.

Bonus points for sharing the photo and an excerpt of your writing on social media with the hashtag #socialdistancestories

This is an exercise that both helps with creativity (the 20-minute minimum is essential because research has shown that it can take up to 19 minutes to break into a creative ‘flow’ state) and can support good mental health by strengthening our ability to reframe experiences.

– Sinead Keegan

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