Last week I gave a writing workshop at a government office in Stockport, as a part of the Pride week activities. I just received the nicest email about it, including this report from one of the participants:
Summer of Pride Event
Workshop with novelist Paul Magrs
I attended this workshop, arranged as part of the DWP’s ‘LGBT Summer of Pride ‘ celebration. I really enjoyed the session with the novelist and artist, Paul Magrs.
Paul immediately made the group at ease, with his friendly manner. Paul explained what he tends to do in these workshops, and usually starts by reading to the group. On this occasion; as most people in the room had attempted to, (or were thinking of ) writing a novel. Paul decided to get us all ‘Burning off steam’, as he phrased it.
This exercise was to get our brains in action but not racing. It was the first step in Paul’s list of 9 pointers. He asked us to think of a favourite word, and then write something about that word. Mine is aardvark. Never been sure why, but now I’m thinking about it! What is an aardvark? Where do they live? What do they eat? Who thought of the name? Who named everything in the world? Is it a favourite word because it breaks the rules? Two vowels together, but not e’s or o’s! Absurd!
‘Ok’ says Paul, breaking my thoughts. ‘That’s enough of that exercise, 10 mins should be enough to get you prepared’.
‘I want to tell you all of someone who inspired me as a child, and maybe this will encourage you too. My first school Teacher, gave each of the class an exercise book , to be known as ‘your busy book’. She explained that no one will be reading it ; She would not be looking at it. It was your private book to write in, draw in, anything and everything you want to put into it. I still have a ‘busy book’ on the go, and find it enormously helpful, when I want to write.’
What a great idea, I’m thinking. I have 2 helpful hints already, and we have only been here for 15 mins.
Paul gradually listed the other 8 helpful hints on his list. All really valuable , to the ‘budding writer’.
He encouraged us to use all our senses, to remember through sounds and smells as well as the spoken word.
Paul, cleverly, manipulated the group into interacting with each other, through conversation and thought processes. He showed his note books which ‘live’ in his leather bag. I identified with the contents as; like me, Paul writes on bits of paper, backs of envelopes, bills etc. He notes ‘trains of thought’, situations, overheard conversations and characters, he encounters each day. All of which can provide invaluable material, for when your ready to start that book!
Before I knew it, the session had to come to an end.
Well, I’m truly inspired! I feel more confident, feel empowered , feel I could actually write my memoirs that have been stored in my head for ever !
Watch out! Maybe the next J K Rowling is about to emerge!!