What a glorious day for a Moan!

WTC#1 16th Feb 2016


What a glorious day for a moan!

Today you are invited to COMPLAIN – about anything you like – genuine or not, large or small.

It could be a rant.

It could be a letter (Who to? Who from?)

A dramatic monologue – in the voice of someone else, fictional or real, from any time in history

You might want to get a transitional object to complain on your behalf

A list

A cry for help

What happens to us when we suppress our complaints?

How do we avoid a complaint being DREARY?

What elevates a grumble into a tirade?

Do please bear in mind this is creative writing, so take some risks!


Saunter up Marchmont Street, noting any blue plaques on your way, and popping into the School of Life (avoid 2 – 2.30) and asking their staff about complaining. You might also want to take a look at their transitional objects and discussion cards – which one did you pick out?

If you care to visit a park, St George’s is marked on the map, take a look at the plaque en route to Stella and Fanny, and at the names on the gravestones. Any of these characters might lend themselves to your writing.

Returning along Tavistock Place, note the plaques to Vladimir Lenin and Jerome K Jerome (see the articles on all these characters in your notes).

Make your way to Gordon Square. At # 43 you’ll find the Peltz Gallery, part of Birkbeck School of Arts. There is a drop-in event between 1 – 2.30 please visit during these times, and, once you have got the idea, feel free to leave.

You may want to cross the square and call in to the chapel, where there are slips of paper inviting your topics for Divine intercession.

Head back to Mary Ward via Russell Square.

We shall be sharing our writing from 3.30

The Pillow Book, by Sei Shonagon, is composed of: i) lists; ii) moments; and iii) anecdotes.

Lists – Deeply irritating things

A man who sets off alone in his carriage to see an event such as the Kamo Festival or the purification ceremony that precedes it, something that the men all love to go to. What sort of crassness is this? Surely he should invite along some other young men who’d love the chance to go, even if they aren’t of particularly high birth. There he sits, oblivious, a vague, solitary figure dimly seen behind the blinds of his carriage, gazing intently at the proceedings. How boorishly mean-spirited and horrid, you think at the sight of him.


Rain on the day when you’re to go out for some special event or a temple pilgrimage.


Happening to hear one of the people in your service complaining that you don’t like her, and someone else is your favourite of the moment.


Someone you don’t particularly care for, who jumps to ridiculous conclusions and gets upset about nothing, and generally behaves with irritating self-importance.


[182] It’s the middle of a fiercely hot day, and you’re finding it impossible to stay cool – your fan only moves the warm air about, and you keep dipping your hands in ice water and moaning about the heat. And then someone brings you a message written on brilliant red thin paper, attached to a flowering Chinese pink, also bright crimson – and you sense how hot he must have felt as he wrote it, and how much you must mean to him, and find yourself unconsciously laying down the fan (that was anyway proving so useless even when plied while the other hand soaked in ice water), your complaints suddenly forgotten.


The transition object also supports the development of the self, as it is used to represent ‘not me’. By looking at the object, the child knows that it is not the object and hence something individual and separate. In this way, it helps the child develop its sense of ‘other‘ things.

However the object is now intimately bound up with the identity of the child. Taking away the object now is also taking away something of the child itself.

The creation of a transition object is perhaps the first truly creative act of the child as it uses its imagination to create reality out of nothing.

The transition object is a tool that allows the child to let go of the mother and develop a more independent existence. It can take the object anywhere and receive a quick dose of comfort whenever it feels anxious.

The object may also be the subject of the child’s phantasies, for example where a teddy bear is spoken to, hugged, punished, etc. It thus becomes a tool for practicing interaction with the external world. By giving the bear a will of its own, the child is also phantasizing that it is not omnipotent and can yet survive this initially scary state. Play thus provides a pathway to independence.

Winnicott, D. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34:89-97