Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Parbold Festival Workshops with Beacon Crossing Retirement Community

This week I'm facilitating creative writing workshops at Beacon Crossing retirement community in Parbold.

The stories and ideas that the participants have been sharing are inspiring, thought-provoking and intriguing. The participants are really open to all the activities and we've done a lot of laughing over the last two days. In one of today's activities we used buttons to spark story ideas. We selected buttons from my button box (every self-respecting human should own a button box, didn't you know?) Buttons are like acorns. With some reflection time and conversation, a tiny button can grow into a garment and then a character with a complete life and personality. We talked about who might wear the garment, where the garment came from, how they feel wearing it, where they might go in it... The characters the participants created were varied and wonderfully rounded. Two characters, a naval officer and a dress maker, even began communicating with each other as we fleshed out the start of an interaction between them.

It's an absolute joy to be working with this group. They just have the best time sharing ideas and stories and have so much to contribute to the project. I feel like I'm learning a great deal from them. We have our final session on Friday - we are writing a collaborative prose poem that explores what sparks our creativity and using clocks as a stimulus to writing memoir and storytelling. The tall tale that I am curating which narrates the Parbold Festival story, about the dragon that lives under the hill, begins with the ticking of a clock, as the villagers await the dragon's arrival. I am excited to find out what ideas, words and images the Beacon Crossing writers come up with that I can weave into the final performance piece.

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