The Creative Power of Historic Sites

As a writer, and a complete poetry addict, I was so excited to receive our first poetic contributions to the Wachtzeit project yesterday. Written by participants of facilitated Wachtzeit sessions in Aalen they take inspiration from our suggested sites in the city.

I was especially excited to see participants using the Pantoum, a form of poetry, Malay in origin. I’m absolutely fascinated by poetry forms, both traditional and modern. I find it wonderful how they travel across the world and enter into and diversify different cultures, literatures and language.

This is the essence of the Wachtzeit project; diversity and celebration of different approaches and interpretations. Inspired by the interactions between people in Aalen and the Roman heritage of the city we’re using international channels both physical and virtual to explore how people respond to historic environments today, and the ways in which these historic sites are linked, of course by history, but also by the people who visit them.

Creative writing is a wonderful activity to undertake and a site such as those which inspired the poems I received can do wonders for a writer’s imagination and inspiration. Being somewhere and staying for a while (as Wachtzeit asks you to do) may help you to engage with the environment in a deeper way. Using the senses to really be there, this will lead to more vivid and imaginative writing.

Our participants had the option to use prompts such as this:

What do I hear, what do I see, what do I feel when I stand in front of the gate of the Aalen cavalry fort…

Perhaps you could ask yourself something similar on your own Wachtzeit? Remember, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. Spend an hour at a heritage site (ideally Roman, but if you don’t have any near you, just pick any heritage site or local landmark) – When you’re there just keep watch for your hour, engage with the environment in your own way. That may be through writing, it may be through art or it may be just sitting in silence.

However you spend your Wachtzeit be sure to share with us @vhsaalen and use the hashtag #wachtzeit…

Adam Ditchburn. Wachtzeit Worldwide.

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