Green Things: Writing Through Objects


THE PORTED fingers of glass hang downwards. The light slides down the glass, and drops a pool of green. All day long the ten fingers of the lustre drop green upon the marble. The feathers of parakeets—their harsh cries—sharp blades of palm trees—green, too; green needles glittering in the sun. But the hard glass drips on to the marble; the pools hover above the dessert sand; the camels lurch through them; the pools settle on the marble; rushes edge them; weeds clog them; here and there a white blossom; the frog flops over; at night the stars are set there unbroken. Evening comes, and the shadow sweeps the green over the mantelpiece; the ruffled surface of ocean. No ships come; the aimless waves sway beneath the empty sky. It’s night; the needles drip blots of blue. The green’s out.

(Virginia Woolf)

How close can writing come to an object? For Virginia Woolf, a paragraph sits like an object upon the shelf of a well-curated essay. Good writing produces a definite order; the logic of a paragraph is similar to the logic of poetry; it is built around a central image or idea. If we think of the paragraph as a glass object, then that object can reflect several aspects when turned to the light. A paragraph holds one aspect or surface of that object. An essay holds several, accumulating aspects.

Reflecting upon objects and surfaces, and drawing upon parts of poetry – the stanza and verse – this session, led by Sally Bayley, will explore methods of small, well-crafted units of writing, beginning with the unit of the paragraph. The aim of the session is to build confidence in producing tightly focused critical and creative written statements and structure. The subject of the session will be the colour green.

Green Marbles Isabelle Puauat
“Green Marbles” by Isabelle Puaut (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)