A word in your bin by 26 board member, author and crypto-gleaner, Elise Valmorbida
Look down! That’s what you must do in London. Not just to avoid the unpleasant stuff. There be unburied treasure. Leavings, losings, fallings from pockets. A piece of plastic widgetry. A painted sign. A scrap of paper, scrawled on, rain-soaked, grimy – and beckoning. What does it say? What does it really say?
In the aesthetic tradition of gleaning, 26er Andy Hayes holds hands (rubber-gloved) with Surrealists and other Modernists who find art in the accidental. This tall man stoops to conquer pavements and gutters. He pounces on half a hand-written will (who got the other half?), a dislocated drawing of a skeleton, a lost excuse for absence, a nocturnal plan that got away.
The gleaner obsesses. He wonders. He imagines stories. He collects. He fills folders and bins. What to do with this load of old rubbish? Take it to 26. For writers, anything and everything is material. A project group is formed in an instant. The gleaner has solidarity.
At Wordstock, a wonderful day of tents, tales, tweets (and bouts of alliteration), the tall man leapt upon a stage to brandish his lowly odds and sods high above our heads. He was wearing his rubber gloves. He led a scavenging spree along the streets of Clerkenwell. He shared his inspirations with us. He launched ‘Throwaway Lines’, a creative writing project which will magically transform 26 scraps into 26 stories, after randomly pairing writers’ names with lost and found specimens. The tales will take shape over autumn, season of lists and gusts, and the collection will be published online. Look down at the ground beneath your feet and look into www.throwawaylines.org.
Throwaway Lines is a creative writing project led by Andy Hayes, John Simmons and Elise Valmorbida, with graphic design by Alphabetical.
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