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almost smothered

by Janina Aza Karpinska |

"A chance discovery of Tom Phillips's 'A Humument', which piggy-backs the pages of a published novel, not only inspired my own experimentation, but gave me the words I lacked at a time when I was painfully shy and socially mute, and became a favoured way of journal-keeping, and the subject of my dissertation.

Many years later I was invited to join a 'Twisted Fairy Tale' exhibition, which led to creating The Goldilocks Files – a collection of variously published Goldilocks books, which I treated or altered in many different ways (and have kept up the practice ever after). I love how one very familiar story can yield so many interpretations. I also like how I can explore Jung's concept of the home as symbolic of one's body/psyche. The whole premise of the story is one displaced little girl in search of a home, and her place within it, which can only come by appropriation and testing things out for size. The ultimate aim is the search for a safe place to be unconscious (sleep), something that was missing previously. There's a sense of unease and oppression in these examples. it's an effective way of exploring such feelings in a contained and creative way.

There have been so many spin-offs and off-shoots from the technique, which I have used in creative writing workshops for people who insist they can't write – there's no need when the words are all provided upfront! The method also suits those in need of expression, but with little time to spare introspection – those in a caring role; new parents; those working several jobs, or struggling with the effects of long-term unemployment. I feel very fortunate to have discovered a lifelong resource, and do all I can to share it with others."

| Janina Aza Karpinska is a multidisciplinary artist and creative storyteller.

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