It would be so easy to do an “All Curious Cats” analysis on this poem.
The poem seems to make the point that our past thoughts and experiences act on our physical appearance and offer evidence, in the present, of our pasts.
Things in the past are connected to the present.
Write a paragraph where someone talks about their past experiences and how they have made them the person they are today.
Take a look at the links behind these phrases.
- “I have lived a thousand years.”
- “More than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.”
- “I have died multiple times and the doctors have brought me back.”
- “I have just knocked over a cat and killed it. What should I do?”
- “I have been to the mountain top.”
Choose one of the people involved, or create a character based on one of these people. Write about how their experiences have changed them in some way.
The task here is to reflect on the experiences of the people involved and imagine how they have affected the character’s lives and perhaps still affect them in the present.
You could write in the first person, which means you will need to imagine how this person feels about his or her past experiences and describe them as if you, the writer, have been in their shoes.
Or, you could use the third person, in which case you will still need to use your imagination but you can also take on the role of omnipotent author and describe things that your character perhaps does not consciously know or feel.
Word count and process
The first thing to do is to look at the links and choose one. Read the information in detail and make notes about the things that have happened and the effects they have had on your character. Think about the physical, but also about the emotional changes that have happened. How has your character’s life been changed? Has his or her appearance changed? Has their work life been affected? Have your character’s personal relationships been more difficult because of what has happened?
Take your notes and turn them into sentences. You could imagine that the person is talking to a friend and trying to explain what has happened and why they are the way they are today. Maybe your character is apologising for something that has happened as a result of their past experiences and the effect it has had on them.
Write as much as you can then take a break. Read what you have written and edit it. You might want to add bits of detail, delete things you have written, change the order of events. You might want to think again about the causes and effects you have described and rewrite all of it.
This is quite a complex exercise as you are writing explanations for things that have happened in the past. You should probably aim for at least 500 words if not more. A thousand…?
When you have written your piece and are happy with what you have included and the order in which you have written it, have a look again but this time for issues of accuracy. Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar. In particular, check that your piece makes sense in terms of the tenses you have used.
Make sure you are happy for people to read your writing!
At This IS The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating.