In Publishers Weekly this morning I read that Amy Hempel, a creative writing tutor, always asks her students…
‘Why are you telling me this?’ Someone out there will be asking, and you better have a very compelling answer. Is this essential? Is this something only you can say—or only you can say it this way? Is this going to make anyone’s life better, or make anyone’s day better? And I don’t mean the writer’s day.”
Something like this makes me sit up and pay attention.
North Londoners make note, Greenacre Writers Blog this week has featured my upcoming workshop in Barnet. It’s a Saturday morning 19th March 11-1. Click thru the link for more detail.
On Midsummer’s Day Josie ran a workshop at the Artisan Gallery with writers who gathered to respond in words to the Puca MacGuffin show by artists Elizabeth Porter and Alex Stewart.
Alex and Lizzie write: as children the toys we loved most were the ones with which we could make our own worlds. Using lead soldiers, puppets and stuffed toys, trains and cars strewn across a landscape of cushion and carpet.We’d both had Pollock’s theatres and wondered if we could make our own.
We wanted to give writers the kind of treat visual artists have when they go to museums and fill a sketchbook with ideas. So we developed a series of playful exercises to help writers bring the characters in Lizzi and Alex’s work alive and encourage tale-telling, tall or otherwise, in a group.
Writing in a gallery can free you from self-imposed rules. You can give characters who are absurd, magical or abstract to begin with their own logic. Anything can happen. When we respond to an artist’s work, fragments of stories arrive from our own depths, wearing new clothes. A line can indeed go for a walk, a colour can soak a paragraph.
And there is a long tradition of artists and writers using miniature theatre to develop ideas and speak the unspoken. Like fairy stories, or cartoons in the late 20th century, the tiny theatre is a form which became a children’s entertainment. But it has had a much wider audience throughout history. The French tradition of Guignol for instance, popular during the French Revolution, starred a kind of Everyman for whom nothing was sacred. Alfred Jarry and his contemporaries in the early twentieth century credited the birth of Ubu Roi to playing Guignol theatre as students.
The poetry and imaginative work that came out of the day inspired some of the participants to carry on writing and Pearse & Black looks forward to seeing where this goes.
For the festival season Pearse & Black have created Murder in the Library, a light-hearted writing workshop for adults. Lasting two hours, there will be exercises and writing time. You will probably come away with the bones of a short story.
Learn how to get your plot in a twist and kill your darlings.
Tickets North Finchley
Occasionally we just get a group of writers together without a theme to explore things they are working on and may be a bit stuck with. If this kind of group would interest you, let us know.
“Penny is a narrative chiropractor.” Sarah C., writer and director.
“… the focus is on the process of writing, what helps, what hinders me from being creative… and figuring out what my own process is …. thank you for everything. I truly believe in myself as a writer and feel confident in telling people I’m a writer and what I’m working on.”
Karen M., Getting it Written.
….a novel. play, memoir, or maybe I don’t know what form it’s in yet….it’s story! I have a story to tell!
We’re looking for writers who want to explore techniques and process in a group of other writers, new and experienced.
Join us on 5th February and beyond..
or click on the Courses tab for more information, costs etc….
We think we’ve have discovered a gem of a place to write. It’s very central – near Tottenham Court Road Station – and steeped in writing history. The room is very quiet and we’ll be writing around a huge 400 year old table. Just for this taster, we are focusing on place, and giving you a sample of what Josie and Penny can offer as teachers and mentors to your writing. Does place matter to your writing life? Writers often have a favourite place to write. We can be quite attached to our rituals. Nothing wrong with that but is the perfect place essential for a writing session, or is it just habit? Does it matter? It is a revelation to see that one can write on trains, in cafes, anywhere. It frees up the process sometimes. And what does it take to evoke place in writing? Do we have the same associations as our readers? Unlikely perhaps. Then how do we take them to where we want them to go? Our workshop is rooted in practical exercises, and there will also be a bit of block-busting should you need it, in the good company of other writers. This session costs just £10 as it is a taster for the 8 week course we are starting in January. See the courses tab for more detail about that. Hot drink and a biscuit provided and writerly networking of course. To book email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The first full-length course with Pearse & Black starts on Thursday, 9th January 2015 at a venue near Tottenham Court Road. The times of the course are 7pm to 9pm.
For information, please fill out the form below and we will get back in touch with you.