Saturday, April 5, 2014

My personal take on a writing workshop

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop under the auspices of GRIT LIT.  The presenter was Catherine Bush, author and Assistant Professor at Guelph University.

Catherine was introduced by Jen Jones, a member of the GRIT LIT committee.

Her presentation was called Writing with Prompts and was from 10:30 to a little after 12 noon.
The time sped by as the group was very receptive to her talk and to her ideas.  She had a wonderful way of making people feel comfortable and welcome to express themselves.

She set three exercises for the group to do over the course of the talk which could only be 5 minutes in length.

One of the exercises I particularly liked.  It was to tell something that was outrageous that you want people to believe.

Here is what I wrote just for the fun of it.  Remember, it was only a five minute exercise

"I'm falling, I'm falling, I cannot stop myself.  I see them, wreathing and hissing in the pit and taunting me as I fall.  My mind is shrieking "stop", "stop", but no sound comes out. I don't want to die but how can I get away?  My eyes, wide with terror, my head reaches the outstretched form of the hissing, weaving cobra.

I wake up, covered in sweat - terrified - unable to sleep again tonight,

Obviously this is not too likely to happen in a cold country such as Canada, as fortunately Cobras are not native to here!  While reading aloud, the group was believing that I was in danger up until the last sentence where I let them know they could breath again, as it was just a nightmare.  Of course, this could not be read in a monotone voice, it had to be dramatized a bit!

Another of the exercises was using a lipogram. For those of my readers who do not know what this is, take heart, neither did I until she explained what it meant.  It means leaving out a letter such as "i" and writing a scene, a paragraph, a poem etc. etc.  That was quite difficult.

It was great fun though.   Here is what I wrote and I had to change it so often until I finally managed to ditch the letter "i".

"A cat, whose face was orange, pushed through the crowd to see what  he could see."

I was so sorry to see this workshop end, I could have gone on for much longer as it was so very enjoyable.

Here is a picture of our presenter and then one of us together.

Catherine Bush - our presenter

Catherine Bush and myself

I also have written a more formal article about this workshop on my Writing and Publishing blog.

Thanks for dropping by and come again soon if you are able.

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