Inside Out Writers’ Workshop

As the dust settled on the strangely empty Shelley Park site, where The Shouting Mute’s sound installation of Prose In The Park had enchanted hundreds of Inside Out festival-goers in the last few days, I returned alone to the one tent left standing with my trusty notebook. My monday was spent revelling in the company of 15 other creative writers at a workshop presented by Thomas Lamers from the Walden Collective.

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The conversation was very philosophy based, which suited me just fine, and was probably led by many of us who embraced that side of Thomas’ knowledge. The assignments were short but thought-provoking and focused on expressing our interpretations of landscape. Although it wasn’t my usual cup of tea, my imagination thrived on the chance to do something a little different, to push my writing in other directions but, as we quickly learnt, there is no getting away from what we naturally gravitate toward writing about, which for me is the unfamiliar.

It was wonderful to connect with like-minded creatives, from various walks of life, with various red threads running through their work. I always find it fascinating to compare my own creative process with other artists, and kept coming back to the same track that we cannot truly see, or write, from any perspective other than our own. It’s impossible to ignore our natural leanings toward themes and styles, no matter how much we try to remove ourselves from a piece of work. But, for me, that is the absolute opposite of a bad thing. I think that is what makes each of us unique, and exceptional, as humans as well as artists. Everyone is made up of millions of individual factors, experiences, and personality traits, that make us who we are. Everyone has a voice, a message, a slant on things that can never be replicated by someone else. How beautiful is that?

Although I haven’t considered creating large scale art installations as part of my writing process, yet, I am beginning to see how that can be a very free-flowing culmination of a long exploratory project rather than words on paper and something I may feel compelled to attempt at some point. However, I also felt inspired by the ideas we discussed and debated over the course of the day. While scribbling notes of what was said, I found myself ruminating over pieces I have been working on recently, and inspired to scribble new directions to take them in. You never know when the muse will duck in and take over, and this was one of those days for me.

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