Once upon a time, we could do stuff. Stuff like go to the little Tesco without wearing a mask; stuff like wash our hands without singing ‘Happy Birthday’; stuff like…
…go to creative writing workshops.
I miss creative writing workshops.
Creative writing workshop: fact and fiction
Back in the olden days of November 2019 which, let’s face it, sometimes seems as far back as 1919, I attended a creative writing workshop, hosted by author, actor and Queen of Kindness Bernadette Russell of White Rabbit. I first met Bernadette when she hosted a live literary event in Ashford waaaaaay back in 2011, where one of my stories ‘I Can See Through People‘ was read out by the other half of White Rabbit, actor and writer, Gareth Brierley.
One cold November morning, a group of us met in a not-very-churchlike room in the huge and beautiful St Mary’s Church in Ashford which, when not full of god-botherers, is a music and arts venue under the name of Revelation Ashford. (At least, it is when we’re not in a pandemic and anything that involves leaving your house other than going to Asda gets cancelled, dammit.)
This creative writing workshop consisted of us going outside and looking at gravestones (which deeply pleased my inner-goth, I can tell you) and wandering around the church to get inspiration. Bernadette also asked us to get inspiration from the not-very-churchlike room we were in by choosing an object in the room and giving it special powers.
I decided to give a clock time-travelling powers and used this as the starting block for a short story.
Performing your own writing workshop
As well as Bernadette’s free creative writing workshop, a few weeks later, before the government ordered us all to stay inside our houses and stop having fun, Gareth hosted a free ‘performing your own writing’ workshop to teach us how to stand in front of an audience and bring our stories to life.
I brought my finished time-travelling story and read it out in what I thought was a clear and confident manner. It may well have been clear and confident, but it was also very fast. Gareth said I read it out in six minutes, when it should have taken about ten. In my defence, I’m an Essex/east London girl, innit. We all talk like that.
Wonder Event at Revelation Ashford
After the workshops, we were invited to submit our stories on the subject of ‘Wonder’ to be included as part of White Rabbit’s live lit event at Revelation Ashford on 22 March 2020.
If that date sounds familiar to you, that’s because it’s the day before the first lockdown of 2020 and you probably don’t need a time-travelling machine to tell you the event was cancelled.
Still, not to be deterred, Gareth and Bernadette streamed the event live with pre-recorded stories read out by Gareth, Bernadette and other actors, with live links in between, in December 2020 instead.
You can watch and listen to Gareth read out my story in the video below.
Putting the ‘Won’ in ‘Wonder’
In one of the breaks in the live stream, we were asked to say (by typing in the comment box) what we thought one of the wonders of the 21st century was. I watched as worthy comments such as ‘the Coronavirus vaccine’ appeared on the screen. I couldn’t think of anything to type but I didn’t want to feel left out of things so I typed a hasty ‘cat gifs’ and remained thankful everyone was on mute.
At the end of the show, the winners were announced and, lo! I won first prize. The winners had been chosen by one of the other actors who had read out the stories and she chose ‘cat gifs’ because it was happy and we needed happy stuff at the mo (or something like that – if the actor reads this, I’m really sorry I can’t remember your name, I think it might be Emma, but thank you very much for choosing me as the winner).
I won a tshirt and you can’t have too many tshirts. Yay for tshirts. I should have put ‘win a tshirt’ on my 2020 goals post.
Many thanks to Bernadette and Gareth for the fun and inspiring workshops and to Revelation Ashford for hosting them.