Sunday, March 25, 2012

So Many Different Stories

The theme of our Mastering Writing - How To Get To The  Heart of Our Story -resonated with an amazing array of stories brought to the all-day workshop by 12 talented women writers.  We wrote about werewolves and gypsies; men and women falling in and out of love; fairies magically appearing; two women sharing over coffee their obsession with writing; a daughter looking back after the death of her mother. 

The format of our workshop was centered around writing instruction, critique and the read-around. Writing instruction was led in the morning by my friend and colleague, Cindy McGroarty.  Cindy got us thinking about how to summarize our story; ponder the aspirations and motivations of our characters; bring a scene alive and create a mood . . . how to stay on track and not veer off on sidetrips that fail to pay homage "to the altar of our story." Job well done, Cindy.

The afternoon was devoted to critiquing each other's 5-page work, which had been read by the group in advance of  the workshop.  The format was clear:  Give the writer ideas on what works and what doesn't.  What does the story seem to be about? Did you connect to the piece?  How? Try to write a helpful comment on the manuscript.

Wrote Becky on soul cards passed around at the end of the day, "I brought my nerves about sharing.  I took away confidence and excellent practical feedback.  Awesome day!" 

Paula wrote, "I brought copies of each woman's writing and I took away the many voices I heard in the writing and many ideas." 

From another writer, "I received the objectivity of the reader's ear because my writing often lulls me so that I don't take that step out as observer and ask myself, how will the "other" read this and what more will she want to know?"

The day included a catered lunch by Wegman's and hospitality from the Fairfield Inn.  We are fortunate to have such wonderful businesses in our community.

We ended the workshop with the Women's Writing Circle read-around.  We gathered in a circle.  Our candle burned brightly, illuminating the myriad "talismans" we had brought to bring meaning and grounding to the day's session. Amethyst quartz, a colorful box that conjured a special memory, a sister's gold bracelets.  For me, it was a photograph of twin rainbows over the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson.  It was in the desert that I found renewal and magic and the energy to start a writing circle here in my home in Chester County, Pennsylvania over two years ago.

For it is always this community of writers, this sharing of our journeys that most inspires and energizes me; that, and the mystery and wonder of the creative spirit offering so many different stories.

Job well done, ladies!


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