Stop Motion Stories

In our January session, we came together to write a communal poem inspired by a simple yet powerful life-story poem, written by local hero Sara Dennis. (See below for full poem). In it, Sara lists a long series of events and actions, some of which seem to be behaviour patterns repeating, some of which are internal shifts, some of which are external changes. Each line starts with ‘I’, a simple structural device that makes the piece coherent and recognisably a poem.

We read it as a group, each person taking a line in turn. Our group is all ages, and many nationalities, but we all felt we could relate to the steps of Sara’s journey. As individuals, we wrote our own life journeys, using the same simple structure of ‘I’ statements. Then we each ‘donated’ a line into a communal poem. Written on slips of paper and laid out on the workshop table, the lines could be moved in order to test out new combinations. As a group, we decided our starting point, our ending point, and all steps in between.

Grouped into three-line verses, the three authors of those lines then became the artistic directors for a short stop-motion animation – and next week they will go on to be the film crew when we create those animations! Watch this space for the finished product, once Laura has been able to stitch them together!


I sold the car

I sold the house

I cut my losses

I moved away

I kept my job

I became a commuter

I dyed my hair dark

I joined a ukulele band

I made a new record

I lost weight quickly

I thought slim = happy

I was wrong

I still felt the darkness

I tricked myself

I took a wrong turn

I didn’t see that

I listened to my friend

I knew he was right

I was a Teesside girl

I thank him for that

I drank his whisky

I celebrated his birthday

I sang some folk songs

I treasure that night

I knew what to do

I recognised the signs

I felt the subtle control

I took my books

I took my instruments

I took my records

I took my clothes

I cut my losses

I do that well

I moved back home

I had no furniture

I slept on the floor

I had friends who fed me

I had friends who helped me

I will never forget that

I heard from my long-lost brother

I cried for weeks

I gained a new family

I got some work published

I got more rejected

I rebuilt my life, again

I was made redundant

I cried over the books

I grieved for the grand dame

I had a breakdown

I had therapy

I had kept it all in

I knew it would break

I put weight back on

I know this pattern

I dyed my hair back blonde

I became my own boss

I co-formed a band

I found my pack

I love them dearly

I was living my dream

I let some people go

I do that well

I have to, you see

I always have

I found true love

I knew it would happen

I just didn’t know when

I got a new job

I was putting something back

I loved my new friends there

I always will

I know, you know, who you are

I began to travel

I found a new country

I gave it my heart

I will always return there

I may live there some day

I got an incurable Illness

I will learn to live with it

I left my job

I still love my friends there, but

I needed to heal

I followed in my dad’s footsteps

I don’t know how I feel about that

I am quite torn about that

I am who I am

I make no apology

I found my dream home

I am back home

I walk my own path

I will not stray from it

I am, finally, my own

I am finally my own.


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