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Week 04 Episode 02: List of things

Table of contents

  1. Listen
  2. Transcript
  3. Exercises



Hello, welcome back to Parallel Worlds. It’s great to have you listening. I hope you are well and safe.

Yesterday you listened to Six House Parties by Ross Sutherland. What did you think? Did you immediately head off and subscribe to Imaginary Advice? Did you find it spoke to you, or it wasn’t your cup of tea? If you liked it, that’s great – I really hope you can find the time to listen to all of Ross’s work – there are some great, award-winning films on the Imaginary Advice page too. But if you didn’t like it, that’s fine. It’s always useful to know what you want to avoid, what you don’t want to do. If you didn’t like it, think about why, how you’d like to do something differently. Negative definitions can be really useful in defining your own practice.

For the rest of this week, we’re going to be working, like we always do, in parallel between reality and fiction. We’re going to do four exercises, one each day, that firstly get you thinking about stories and topics you’d like to work through on this course, and also how you want to project yourself into your work. What do you define your work as? What do you aspire to, what do you want to avoid? How can you frame yourself as a creative practitioner so that you enhance what people perceive of you?

Yes, these are big questions, sometimes existential ones, but they’re exactly what we’re here to ask. One of the goals of this course, besides making a great audio work, is to think about how you can use practices from world-building to enhance and augment your work. Hopefully over the next few days and weeks you’ll be able to think about this a bit more.

But, let’s get on with today’s exercises.

Firstly, you know the drill. A 5-minute freewrite. Or free-record, talking into a phone. Or free-draw. Or free interpretative dance. Whatever helps you to record the here and now.

What’s going on? What’s new? How are you feeling? How were you feeling?

If you want to go a bit off-piste today, get into the fantastical, go wherever you want, go for it. Let your mind wander, just make sure you keep going, and find a way to capture your thoughts.

Five minutes, starting…now!

5 minutes

OK, welcome back. How was the exercise? Feeling warmed up? Did you go somewhere new, or stay somewhere with a well-trodden path? Do you feel you’re developing a style with these things? Is there a way you can change your voice tomorrow, become somebody new?

Today we’re going to do a very simple exercise. It’s just making a list. A list of books, movies, TV shows, artworks, ideas, themes, anything that excites you, but that is in some way ‘established’, that has an underlying concept. I’d like your list to be as diverse as possible. Think about things you enjoyed when you were a child, albums from your teenage years, stuff that people you know have recommended to you, things that take you back to a place and time, the book you read that shifted your perspective, the first film that you couldn’t stop thinking about, the song that you can’t listen to any more because it reminds you of someone you lost. I don’t want you to use any sort of filter, except that you’ll know these things well enough to describe them, to summarise the concepts that lie under them.

So take things from what we’d call high and low places. Soap operas, operas, speeches, political movements, films, songs – whatever you know, whatever you like, or dislike. You’re going to take ten minutes, that’s ten minutes, to make a big long list of these things. Just listing things! Simple. As you’re listing think about the strange journey you’re taking around your mind, how you’re listing and linking concepts, places, times, and contexts.

OK, ten minutes to make the longest list that you can, of pre-established work - artworks, albums, songs, tv shows, fashion movements, protests, films, encyclopaedia entries - basically anything that could have a Wikipedia page, anything that has some sort of underlying concept you could summarise, starting now.

10 minutes

Welcome back! That’s it for the day. We’ll come back to this list tomorrow, so keep it safe. Also dig out your list of contexts from week 2, episode 5. If you can’t find this list, please go back and do the exercise again – you will need it tomorrow.


  • 5 minute free write / free-speak / free draw / free something, to record the here and now, or to let your mind wander
  • 10 minutes - make a list of ‘things’ which have an underlying concept, from any area of human culture. You could list films, TV shows, books, poems, soap operas, operas, songs, games – whatever they are, make sure you can summarise their key concepts in a sentence or two.

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