DWP: August 28

A grey stony shore of a stream, with the stream itself running along the lower half of the image. Cutting between shore and water, partially submerged, is a long strip of paper with not-quite-legible writing on it.

I’d like to mark that today is the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder. This isn’t our writing prompt, but if you don’t know about Emmett, please go and find out, and consider donating to BLM, Amnesty or another human rights charity in his memory.

Today’s prompt starts with another anniversary of a sudden death – that of Elisabetta Sirani who died of unknown causes on this day in 1665. Sirani was an accomplished and celebrated painter – though like many brilliant women such as her contemporary Artemisia Gentileschi, she has been forgotten until fairly recently. Sirani took over her father’s studio and was a great teacher as well as a great artist in her own right. So options for today are: to write as a teacher or student learning how to really look – what can you notice if you take time to properly see colour or composition, what can you see below the surfaces of things? If looking isn’t an option for you, use touch or hearing or smell instead – explore your sensory world as someone being taught to observe it fully for the first time. Or, to do a piece of ekphrastic writing using one of Sirani’s works, or to imagine and write a moment from Sirani’s life.

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