Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Creative writing class - a Dam-Burst of Dreams?

 A Christy Nolanesque tumult of poetry? (Note to self: Must read Dam-Burst of Dreams again.) A Joycean stream of consciousness?

My Emotional Dam Burst by Astrid Dahl
In my case, more of a damn burst of dreams. These dreams I have; this idea that writing comes easy.

It most often doesn't, let me tell you. It especially doesn't when faced with a timed writing challenge.


It was a lovely group of writers, reassuring and welcoming. I felt cherished. Roddy, the main man, made me a cup of peppermint tea. And still my brain froze.

The exercise was to choose a couple of words at random - words which were completely unknown to me and turned out to be Yiddish - and craft a story round them, giving them meaning, any meaning. Oh and in your spare time, the theme was...

Title still from the movie by Shueti
 My words were Tsuris and Plotz. Their meanings, it transpired, were trouble/woe and to burst/explode. How wonderfully ironic!

I froze... and then I thawed a bit. It was SUCH a good exercise. There were some brilliant writers there who, in twenty minutes, produced complete stories with beginning, middle and end. I managed the first half chapter of something a lot longer starring Uber-Captain Zincbath. Yes, I know...

Then everyone read out wot they had wrote. It didn't feel too threatening at all.

I learned that I CAN write even when my brain is telling me it wants to crawl under the duvet with a hot water bottle. That it's important just to keep going, no matter what.

Like Ray Bradbury says, in Zen in the Art of Writing: "An athlete may run ten thousand miles in order to prepare for one hundred yards. Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come."

So thank you Roddy Phillips ,and all the members of the Lewes Creative Writing Class, for an inspirational and thought-provoking evening.

I will return. And I will do my homework. Honest.