‘Writing for everyone,’ creative writing workshop.

9 09 2013


I’ll be running a creative writing workshop during Wiv Words literary festival in Wivenhoe, Essex, during the weekend 12th-13th of October 2013.

‘Writing for everyone’ will be a relaxed and fun workshop for everyone, so if you haven’t written a thing before and just fancy having a go, this is the workshop for you. We’ll be using photographs and pictures of art to get our creative juices going and the writing flowing.

The workshop is on Sunday the 13th from 5-7 pm and is located at Open space in Wivenhoe. For bookings and more information, please contact me on 07801273211 Read the rest of this entry »


New Evening Creative Writing Course

27 08 2011

This autumn I will be running an evening course for the first time as opposed to during the day as I have been doing for the last two years, as I want to reach out to those who are busy during the day and would not normally be able to join my classes and have fun with trying out creative writing.

This course will introduce the elements of short story and fiction writing, and through writing exercises you will practice  how to build believable  characters, plot your story, set the scene, find your ‘writing voice’ and many other things.

We will read and discuss short stories and extracts from longer works to explore the  structure of stories and how they ‘work’.  We will also read  and try our hand at different kinds of Creative Writing such as memoir/life writing and travel writing.

More than anything, you will have a lot of fun connecting to your creative side and allowing your imagination to run wild!

Whether  you are a complete beginner or someone who is already writing, this course is suitable  for  you as each person can go at their own pace and do as much or as little writing as they like.  I have found that there is a certain kind of magic that happens with a group like this, and the support and enthusiasm of such a group group is a big part of the experience.  This is a great opportunity to try out and share your writing, but no-one is forced to share if they don’t want to.

The course begins on the 5th of October, from 8-9:30 pm and runs for six weeks.  Please contact Wivenhoe Bookshop on 010206 824050 to book a place.  I advice that you book early as places usually fill up quickly.

The end of another great course

1 11 2010

Another great course has finished, and as always I’m amazed at the quality of the work the participants produce.

Some of the group had never written anything before, some had written when they were youngsters but nothing until now when they had retired.  There were also some participants from previous courses which is lovely for me and must mean that they enjoyed the previous courses.

I called this course Memory, Place, Belonging, as I’m interested in how we see ourselves in our environment, how we feel connected to the place where we live, or not. I wanted the participants to explore where they had come from and how they had ended up where they did.  So few of us live where we were born, but to live happily, I believe it helps if we have an emotional connection to the place where we live, and I wanted the participants to think about those connections.

We explores some of the history of Wivenhoe, where the course was held and where some of us live, and discovered hidden stories and quirks that bring the past to life.  The participants enjoyed all those activities and I believe they left the course feeling more connected,  and certainly more interested in their own physical journey  through life.   We used photographs a lot which is something I always do, and people find very interesting and fun.

I found that they were particularly interested in their own past and that of their ancestors, and I think there may be a whole new course in there somewhere!  Creative writing genealogy perhaps!


22 10 2010

The American writer Raymond Carver, who is considered by many to be one of the most accomplished short story writers there ever was, wrote this about writers:

‘Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks, or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block.  At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing-a sunset, or an old shoe-in absolute and simple amazement.’

This is so true. The writer is always writing, even if he or she isn’t holding a pen or a laptop at the time.  The writer is always looking and thinking; observing; being curious about things, even things that to other seem un-important and trivial.

This looking and thinking opens the gate to the imagination. It lets ideas and inspiration in. And inspiration and ideas feed writing.

So keep your eyes open and allow yourself to be curious about the world around you.

Words down the line

17 07 2010

I wrote this little piece for a grass root community based arts initiative here in Wivenhoe called ‘Off the rails.’  The writing component of the project is called  ‘Words Down the Line’, and the idea is that commuters and travellers will pick up  leaflets showcasing Wivenhoe writers, on the theme of travelling, trains, Wivenhoe  and all kinds of subjects in that vein, and that they will pass their journey reading poetry and prose; hopefully making it more enjoyable and inspiring!  Have a look at the website www.offtherailswivenhoe.net

Longing for trains.

I grew up in a country where there are no trains. Not a single track and not a single carriage. There are cars, buses, ships and aeroplanes, but no trains.

My childhood introduction to England and English ways was through imported programmes; ‘Brideshead Revisited’, ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, ‘Upstairs Downstairs’, and the occasional episode of ‘Benny Hill’ that would make my dad chuckle.  Trains and train stations were rarely at the centre of these programmes, but they were there in the background; for me, an astonishing part of daily life that people seemed to take wholly for granted. Arriving visitors being picked up from Victorian wrought iron stations, ornate black railings, colourful hanging baskets and station masters wearing dark blue shiny buttoned uniforms.  There was waiving from platforms, handkerchiefs and sometimes tears; happy arrivals, hugs and lifting of the ground by delighted husbands of equally delighted wives or children.

I longed to be a  character in one of those episodes;  to  push down a train window, reach down to open the door while the train was still moving which seemed both dangerous and exciting, even more, have that done for me by a dashing, dark suited gentleman. I dreamt of sitting in a smart carriage and for the uniformed steward to ask me “Madame, would you like anything from the refreshment cart?’  Thankfully I didn’t see ‘Brief Encounter’ until much later. I say thankfully because goodness knows what that would have done to my romantic little heart.

Trains and train station came to epitomise everything that was exotic, glamorous, exciting and beyond all; foreign. It was so foreign that it never occurred to me that one day I would live in an English village, a stones throw and a whistle calls distance from one of those Victorian stations.  But here I am, and every time I pass the station and hear the whooshing sound of a train coming into the platform, I glance to see if a beautifully coiffed girl in billowing skirt and pillbox hat is being twirled around by delighted uniformed boyfriend, or if a child in a stiff buttoned coat is rushing into the arms of a tearful mother, dabbing her eyes with a delicately embroidered handkerchief.  The stationmaster whistles and it pleases me that the uniform is still dark blue and shiny buttoned.  There is a distinctive metal clonkclonk as the train departs the station, and I smile to myself, astounded  at having ended up here, and feeling that perhaps finally I am a character in an exciting and foreign serial.

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