Last week was a busy week for me. On Tuesday, I got to read an excerpt from a story I wrote, and on Friday, I had the pleasure of leading a writing workshop on empathy and creativity at Lynne Cameron’s, exhibition, The Living Impulse.
So much time, energy, and thought went into those two events this past week. All worth it.
The reading was for the launch of the first Words and Women Anthology – a collection of 20 pieces by women living and writing in East Anglia. Although the story I submitted was not selected to be included in the book, it was one of the commended works. When the event organizers asked if I’d like to participate in the reading, I was thrilled to say yes! The hidden blessing in not having my story in the anthology (and there’s always a hidden blessing), was that I had the chance to improve and revise. What I read on Tuesday night was several drafts down the line from what I submitted last November.
To make the most of my 5 minute reading slot, I had to decide what part of the story to tell, and how. I jumped to the middle, and cut, and cut, and cut. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read my own words aloud, even though I read others’ words to my kids most nights. So, I practised. A lot. Just like I used to do for speech and debate. Just like I still do for orchestra. (I probably practised a little more for this than I do for orchestra, but nevermind.)
On the night, it was a flashback to all those piano recitals when you sit and wait for your turn, listening less and less as your turn comes closer, then feeling the huge flush of relief when you finally sit down after you have finished.
And during the reading itself? That was good fun. I left everyone hanging on a cliff (well, sliding down a mountain, actually). I hope I get a chance to do it again. Maybe next time, I’ll tell the rest of the story.
The workshop on Friday was such a special experience. People came from Central London, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, and other places. It was wonderful to hear the ideas and stories people brought into our reflections on the multi-faceted relationship between empathy and creativity. There were writers, poets, teachers, painters, scientists, researchers, a therapist, a movement specialist, and students. All these backgrounds suggest to me that empathy and creativity are ideas that resonate across disciplines, that empathy and creativity are innately human ways of connecting with others.
It felt like the workshop brought together so many strands of my own motley background: teaching, writing, event planning, conversation, meeting people with different backgrounds and outlooks. I loved that I had the chance to design and lead a workshop in just the way I wanted. I wasn’t trying to meet someone else’s educational objectives or bring everyone to a particular external outcome. It was a living thing, a learning lab, and we didn’t know what to expect. We left with more questions than answers. And that, to me, is what learning looks like.
About two-weeks ago, Leigh Chambers asked me to participate in a ‘blog-hop’ by writing a blog post about my writing process and then tagging 3 other writers who would, in turn, write a post about their writing process. Part of my writing process is changing the rules. I changed it to creative process instead of writing process. Another part of my creative process is not following instructions. I was supposed to have written the post sometime during the past week, but I was so immersed in various creative processes, I haven’t done it yet. (Sorry Leigh!)
However, I have a lot to say – at least 10 words – about creative processes. And I did find 4 other lovely people who said they’d like to share a bit about their creative processes. We’ve decided we’ll each write a post for our blogs next Saturday (14 June) about our creative processes. Will you join us?
Come back next Saturday to meet my 4 friends (and get links to their thoughts on the creative process). During the week, why not also think about your own creative process? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. See you soon!