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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Creative Writing during lockdown

With extra time on our hands and with lots of very real issues to be concerned about because of the corona virus that can cause devastating illness it is easy to forget that the world still turns. Musicians still play, artists still draw, paint and sculpt and writers still write. For many that process provides a catharsis which they find beneficial.

Writing groups, workshops and performances have moved on-line and the focus of many is the current crisis and isolation is a frequent topic. For many writers that process provides a catharsis which they find beneficial.

Some find it easier to write about such issues later and meanwhile benefit from writing about other themes. Finding inspiration can be tricky when our minds are dealing with painful and worrying issues.

Recently while taking photos of my vintage typewriter I felt that it needed a few words on the page to add interest to the picture. Wanting something that might look like the start of a story I simply typed two lines without much thought:

“In the beginning there were

just the three of them.”

It didn’t really mean anything, but I picked up that paper a few weeks later and started to jot down ideas on it and it soon developed into a poem about my two brothers and myself (although it might well be any three siblings growing up and exploring their world).

Whenever I write poetry it starts off as a jumble of ideas or phrases placed fairly randomly on a page and after a number of edits it makes its way onto a word processor where the final edits take place. Here’s the poem that came from that initial, almost random, phrase. Perhaps the message here is to jot down, or to keep hold of, those seemingly random phrases because later on they can become just the inspiration your imagination needs.

Just the three of them

In the beginning there were

just the three of them.

And there was this world

full of plants and animals

and covered by seas

and wrapped in its sky

and the world was so big.

Beyond the sky there was infinity

and infinity included stars and nebulae

and unfathomable black holes.

Infinity is beyond comprehension

but that’s no reason to stop trying.

So the three of them read and

questioned and talked.

They took things apart,

reverse engineering before it was “a thing”.

Worked out how things worked.

They looked more closely

with binoculars, telescopes and microscopes.

The three of them went out walking

and camping,

they climbed hills,

together and alone.

They had adventures,

built dens from bracken and bedsteads,

and they built bridges and dams,

cut branches to make bows,

fired slender handmade arrows

and threw knives into stumps.

The seas washing onto the Achill’s sands

were the same seas tumbling Northumbrian pebbles.

Those seas held unseen wonders.

So the three of them read and

questioned and talked.

And they looked,

sometimes with their eyes,

sometimes with their hands.

They still explore their world;

walking and riding bikes, driving cars,

sailing in boats and flying in planes.

The world seems smaller now,

still astounding but less resilient,

they see its fragility

and they see their own place in it.

Veni, vidi, intellexi.

To understand is to conquer

and if they’ve not understood yet

they’ll keep on trying

And there are still the three;


but these three are not alone.

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