Friday, April 26, 2019

Life Writing Workshop

I took myself off to a writing workshop a few weeks ago, hosted by Graeme Gibson. (I would like to add that most quotes and advice come straight from his course pages.)

We are so fortunate to have these sessions made available for free in our local library. I am glad I went to support the chance for further workshops. I'd like to say there were a variety of ages there, but I can say without a doubt I was the youngest amongst my grey haired companions.

We were reminded at the start this was a workshop, we would be doing actual writing and sharing. I knew this, but I guess I hadn't thought about it too much before he actually said it. Thank goodness I took a notebook and pen! I was a little scared about writing real life feelings and memories and sharing them with 13 other people I hardly knew. Which seems totally ludicrous now because HELLO BLOG! Listening to others share, it truly reminded me that no matter what you circumstances, everyone has a story to share. Some more fabulous than others, but no less unique.

I thought I'd share with you what I learnt and wrote, because it's a waste to let the words languish in the notebook forever. But who knows one day I may just write a book!

Our first exercise was to just write, no being concerned about spelling, grammar or logic. It is more quantity, than quality.

Write in reckless fever. Rewrite in a cardigan. - DBC Pierre

The tip he gave us was to have a piece of paper and cover up the previous line of writing so you can't go back and correct. To let the story come out like a vomit, no holds barred. Graeme referred to the above quote. It reminded me of one I had heard before, "Write drunk, edit sober". Generally we had 7- 9 minutes to do each exercise.

The next exercise was to write a few lines or a paragraph that would be the opening of the story. This would be a 'hook' to get the reader to keep reading. This would be quality, rather than quantity.

"I arrived in Alice at five a.m. with a dog, six dollars and a small suitcase full of inappropriate clothes." - Robyn Davidson, Tracks

Our third task was to, as said by writer E. M. Forster, "Show, don't tell". This was to not just tell a story, but to write as you are setting a scene, so the reader can feel the story, like they were there. Showing requires more words than telling, and a balance must be found.

"A good writer describes everything. A great writer only describes what is necessary." - Bruce Chatwin

Graeme touched on  descriptive detail:
  • use adjectives sparingly
  • make the verb do the work
  • question the adverb

Sensory language gives depth, and brings the reader to experience the world that is being written about. Sight, sound and smell are universal, whereas taste and touch and unique to each individual.

Narrative is the fact telling of a story. The plot, using all of the above techniques is story telling.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and would absolutely do another one. I did actually share the last task we had to do, which was to write a descriptive piece about the workshop. I didn't hang around for the last 10 minutes to listen to an feedback on my writing because I had to rush off for school up. Next time I might get the girls to walk to the library after school so I don't miss out on anything. They've walked home from school on their own a few times this year, which is about the same distance, which is a good start.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Gratefulness works in mysterious ways

Gratefulness is something I do not do enough of.

There is much that has happened since the start of the year that has been challenging. Amidst all these challenges I have not taken the time to make time for me or my self care. I have soldiered on and the cracks have started to show, big time!

I have thought once I get over this I will take time. But as soon as one challenge is done with another is there to take it's place and I have not had time to breathe.

I did however at the start of the year begin to write a couple of days worth of gratefulness down. I was inspired after reading Osher Gunsbergs' book, Back after the break.

It is actually quite good to go back and read, and quite interesting! Interesting in that I would have never have ever guessed that I would be looking back at my first grateful thing on the 23rd January, and today not having that job.

The gymnastics club I was so excited to become a coach at two years ago is not the same club as it is today. It isn't even the same club that I left for summer holidays at the end of term 4 last year.

The dynamic has changed and over the last term it had become a source of stress and not a great place to work in. I won't go into it, other to say I resigned on the last day of term. It was last Friday. I also got the bloody flu on that day, so the last week I have been suffering. I have been sick and emotional.

In better news, we are currently in Adelaide, set to fly to Sydney for a couple of days and then cruise out of Circular Quay to islands in New Caledonia. What is even better, I can totally relax, knowing I don't have to come back to work. I have new adventures on my horizon to conquer!

Like writing down my gratefulness everyday.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

I must be having too much fun....

How the hell is it Friday again?! How is it April?!

My poor old garden and house is being sorely neglected right now, and to add to the crazy, Izzy fractured her arm during the week. We spent all day in a&e after she had her xray, to go home with a referral at dinner time. I don't know why the doctor that looked at her xray and sent us to accident and emergency, couldn't have written the referral then and there. It would have saved us waiting six hours in emergency. It sucked watching a days worth of patients go before us in triage.

We are back up the Mount this afternoon for her appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon. That after, not forgetting to mention, I make sure my son gets to his appointment for his monthly jab of medication.

I heard someone say "If you want something done, give it to a busy person".

After the gym club AGM last week I am now club secretary It's been a week and I've hardly been able to look at any of it.

Summer begins her netball experience on Saturday morning. She's been training in Tantanoola in the junior twos. She was SO excited to get her uniform last night.

Come Sunday I will be perched in the local IGA selling Easter raffle tickets for the gym club.

Bring on the end of term next week! I will be up to my neck in planning for Term two in the first week of holidays, then off to New Caledonia on a cruise for the second. Yes please!

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