This wonderful six-week workshop series didn’t only get us writing about all sorts of things in styles we didn’t know we were capable of; it also makes us greedy for more. ‘Just write’, says facilitator Matthew Curlewis, and you do. The emphasis was definitely on actually writing, rather than merely talking about writing. There was a clear structure to the sessions and a clear line across the six weeks. All of this contributed towards creating a pleasant sense of being in good hands which, in turn, encouraged people to possibly step further outside of their comfort zone than they would have expected.
When friends asked me what the workshop entailed, I said, ‘Well, we write. We just write. And sometimes we read our writing aloud to the rest of the group and sometimes we listen.’ And you could see them thinking, ‘But how?’. After a brief introduction, Matthew got everyone to jump in at the deep end by giving us a choice of three situations to write about. We got roughly 15 minutes to write and then it was time to share. My two favourite themes were: ‘Think about a photo and start your writing with the phrase “In this one, you are …”’ and ‘Taking inspiration from a poem by George Ella Lyon, write a piece using the opening phrase “I am from…”’.
The pace was quite fast, with everyone writing at least three pieces in a session. During the reading aloud of the written pieces, I found myself moved, thrilled, saddened and intrigued, as well as laughing out loud.
Having attended the workshop, I’m seriously considering doing something with the collection of short stories I’ve been slowly building, and I know of at least four other participants who have real plans to finish and publish books they are writing. All of which should tell you how good this workshop series was.