Week 6: Words from the Wild


Hello Everyone,

This week we are starting a new book for our new class ‘Words from the Wild’. William has chosen The Stubborn Light of Things by Melissa Harrison for us this term. For those of you who have a copy of the book, William and I read the first chapter and decided to focus on pages 9 – 16 this week for inspiration. The Stubborn Light of Things draws on writing that Melissa originally submitted to the The Times newspaper each month, describing the natural changes occurring and notes on the seasons. We have had to temporarily close the sessions at St Nicks during the current lock down, so this is a perfect book for us to begin looking at from home as it is a diary of natural observations from the writer’s home.

The book opens in August 2014 when Melissa was living in a rented flat in Streatham, London. During that time Melissa was regularly walking her dog Scout in the urban area and noting the wildlife around her. I thought this would make a lovely theme for today’s creative writing tasks as many of the people following this blog live within the city of York. So this week we will be looking at Urban wildlife dwellers and nature living in harmony with urban environments.

Task 1: (5 mins) Meg sent me a lovely video (see below) of a new hedgehog that has started visiting her garden. The hedgehog in question is a little rotund for the hedgehog house so has to reverse out of the opening once he has tried to get in! Using this as a theme write ten words describing a hedgehog’s journey in and out of the hedgehog house!

Task 2: (10 mins) Living in Harmony. Last weekend I decided to walk the entire length of York City Walls. It was a beautiful misty day. I had fun peering through the built in arrow slots with my children. I took a lovely picture of a beautiful tree, perfectly framed by the view. Write for ten minutes about the tree standing by the city walls. What is the tree’s story? How long has it grown there? What has it witnessed? How do the seasons affect the tree’s story?

Task 3: (5 mins) Pigeons! Anyone living in a city or built up area will be familiar with flocks of pigeons. I love drawing them and looking at all the different variations of colour and pattern on their wings. For five minutes write about a day in the life of a city pigeon. You can write either from the perspective of a pigeon, or write an observational account of a pigeon. (If you can visit somewhere where pigeon’s flock and write as you observe).

Task 4: (5 mins) The city at night time. Nature is often overlooked in a city, especially during the evening hours. Write about a night time experience of nature. Perhaps you have encountered a fox or bats near your home? What does a park feel like at night time or your garden if you have one? Use your senses to describe the experience, how do the sounds and smells and colours change between day and night?

I hope you enjoyed this weeks tasks! Please feel free to email me any words / pictures to look over, or to include on the blog. If you aren’t from York we would love to hear about your area.

With best wishes,


Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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