What if everyday is a writing day? What if we don’t wait ’til we know how to do it? What if we trust our pens to move across the page, to make black lines on cream or white parchment? What if we cast our lines back through time and place as we listen to winter’s wind roar through the landscape, whistling its song down the mountain track, finding its way through thick stone walls, curling up over cold steps to reach you. What if we cast these lines inside to catch the thoughts that move through our inner rooms, each living hour? What if writing and marking these become our way of honouring our human lives, their frailties, their mysteries, their twists and turns? What if the pen becomes the way we tune into the invisible inner eye that sees into the dark, the inner ear that listens below skin memory, that can sink down through flesh memory, down to the very bone of things.
What if we write as if our lives depended on it? We do it because this is our holy work, our markings across the page become a work of faith, a step into the dark mystery of our beings. We are like the farmer who marks out each line on the land, reaches into the cold earth of winter and drops in a seed that contains the memory of all seed, ancient and new, flavoured by wild landscapes, plucked from here and there, flown on bird’s wing, from wild far off places, like blessings bestowed on us.
Each word like each seed has the memory of all human and life history, mysterious and whole. We mark out the shape of things, we find words that match that mood, that colour inside, that feeling that reaches to the winter skyline, that sees the fragile etching of bare branch against the darkening sky, the wide open space of sky and mind, that feeling that catches the crow call of morning, the reddening sky when the world sleeps, the words that bring us into the darkness, into the depth of being alive now to witness this, to hear that wind, to see that sky, to receive the blessings of being alive to now.
Creative Writer’s Sanctuary In Lismore
“All your life, you have been ‘writing on the air’, and that has built craft and confidence and voice. It is all there ready and waiting for you”. (p.15, Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and with others.)
Come join me for 5 Saturdays of creative writing in beautiful and tranquil Lismore.
- 8 October, 2016; 5 November 2016, 3 December, 2016
- 28 January, 2017; 25 February, 2017
- Fees for all 5 Days is 430 Euro Single Days are possible and will cost 90 Euro.
You will have an opportunity to write in an encouraging, confidential and inspiring setting in response to suggested exercises.
These writing days are specifically for writers who dream of writing but who find it hard to get into a committed relationship with their writerly selves. You will be encouraged to develop your own unique writing voice and you will generate material for further work between meetings. The group will be small and intimate. If you are working on a project there will be opportunities to present your work and to get feedback in order to bring your writing to the next level.
There is no way to get it wrong!
Come prepared with walking shoes, pen and paper. Weather permitting we will spend some time outside each day. Teas/Coffees and a light lunch will be provided.
“Writing a story is like crossing a stream, now I’m on this rock, now I’m on this rock.” Ann Beattie (Paris Review, 2011).
I’ve become very interested in ‘hanging out’ with my resistance, an old friend, that comes along whenever I have some writing project in mind. I just have to dream a project and suddenly I’m doing everything else except writing – baking, gardening, even cleaning the house. One day I actually went as far as making fish stock rather than write! The activities I end up doing are creative and engaging. Before, I used to ‘push’ myself through this resistance and, yes it worked to the degree that I got to write something. But these days I’m more interested in what function my resistance plays in the larger scheme of things. These are the things I’ve noticed so far to work with resistance:
(1) If I set my timer for just 5 minutes of ‘writing’ my resistance doesn’t have time to catch up and suddenly my 5 minutes can stretch out to be 30 minutes, 1 hour.
(2) If I tell myself that I’m just going to ‘play’ with a piece and let the words fall out willy nilly. Trust that I know how to push the pen across the page. Leave the words there for a few months and when I come back I’m surprised that this work was written by me – these thoughts were my thoughts and I like them!
(3) There’s something I do with the word ‘writing’ or thinking of myself as a ‘writer’. It has a weightiness that stops me in my tracks. So what is this about? And I think that yes writing has been pushed into the elite echelons of the ‘chosen few’ in my schema of things and I haven’t been invited in yet. I don’t come from a ‘writing’ or ‘literary’ family. Indeed, I grew up in a house without many books. My reading material as a child came from the ‘comic books’ I borrowed from a friend. Isn’t this interesting? What is lost by this idea that writing belongs to the chosen few. Actually, I believe that writing comes first and foremost from that part of us that gives ourselves permission to write.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
Sometimes we have to go back and start again. Starting again after a time of ‘listening to the world’. This is what Mary Oliver does over and over again. Each morning she heads out to the world and listens with her notebook. For me writing is a practice that I have to learn over and over again. I realize that I’ve always wanted to write, waited for the right time to write but now it’s a practice for integrating and processing my experience. Most of my writing is in notebooks long forgotten in the busyness of life, and I realize that to be a writer means being committed to a stance of looking and listening. In this wonderful interview Mary Oliver inspires me to start again and to see that maybe my scribbling, my scraping sounds on paper have value.
I need to go back and start again.
“I don’t have huge faith in the possibility of psychotherapy to change people as I used to. In fact, I now think poetry has more capacity to change people than psychotherapy. If you read a poem and it gets to you, it can shift your perspective in quite a big way, and writing a poem, even more so.
Neuropsychology can help to explain poetry, to demystify the impulse. There has been work done on why poetry can send shivers down our spine. The poem activates the same parts of the brain that react when a child is separated from its mother. A deep sense of separation and longing”. Sean Halldene, Psychotherapist and Poet. Candidate for Oxford Professorship, 2015.
Creative Writer’s Sanctuary
“Stories have to be told or they die. And when they die we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd.
Come join us for an inspiring day of creative writing in beautiful and tranquil Lismore.
You will have an opportunity to write in an encouraging, confidential and inspiring setting, in response to suggested exercises. The focus will be on dipping into the well of memory and trusting ourselves to write the stories that want to be told. There is no way to get it wrong!
If you are working on a project please feel free to bring it along whether it is story, a poem, a blog, a memoir, or whatever is whispering in your ear.
If weather permits we will have time to walk the ‘wild garlic trail’ of Lady Louise’s Walk. Come prepared with walking shoes, pen and paper
Places are limited and are filling up fast!
Anne is a certified Amherst Writers & Artists Affiliate