Sunday, 10 October 2010

Write turn

Down to literary Bloomsbury for a day learning about writing at The School of Life, London's quirky 'social enterprise offering good ideas for everyday living'.

Tutors Rob and Molly cajoled, guided and inspired us through a long, active day of buffing up our everyday writing - hence the title 'Words for Life'.

So forget the novel, the slim volume of poems and the angst-driven autobiography.

Instead we learned how to zhoosh up such ordinary-but-often-essential writing tasks as the CV self-description, the holiday postcard, the letter of sympathy, the dating profile, the Ebay advertisement...

With lightning speed, Rob and Molly got us scribbling, reading our efforts aloud - and marvelling at the variety of our responses to the challenges set.

For example: write a 'welcome to your new home' in the style of a fairy tale', 'write a holiday postcard in the form of a list', 'sum up you experience of the day as if writing a recipe'...

Again and again, the tack was: approach the familiar from an unfamiliar angle. It worked - as, among the twenty participants, confidence grew and creativity crackled.

Rob and Milly emphasised that there were no 'wrong answers' - and their only rule was a gently enforced 'apology embargo': we were forbidden the luxury of making excuses for any of our efforts before reading them aloud. Inner critics were banished, as Molly counselled: 'Don't get it right, get it written.'

In between sessions, we were fed and watered in style, with the tip-top lunch proving an opportunity for some impromptu, unpretentious menu writing.

(And, so useful, I learned a new salad item: 'quinoa', pronounced 'keen-wah', a tip speedily taken after bumpkin moi uttered 'kwin-o-ah'.)

I particularly appreciated the tranquil pause when Molly read aloud Michael Rosen's mini-masterpiece Sad Book.

The hours whizzed by and I left dizzy, exhausted and, not a word I use every day, empowered.


Want to know what Rob and Milly do Monday to Friday? Check their business We All Need Words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, it's still quin-oh-a to me.... :)