Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday at Swanwick

Reliving Wednesday at Swanwick and wishing it could have gone on for longer.

The day began with a 2 part course called – A lyrical challenge. I love music and know the lyrics of far too many songs, so using words from popular records ticked all the boxes for me. Maria played six songs, and handed out sheets with the lyrics on. After listening to the music, people contributed their ideas as to ways of developing the story lines. One of te most interesting was MY NAME IS LUCA where different people thought that the hero was either a child, a beaten wife, or a prostitute. The songs were all fairly depressing but as Maria pointed out, that meant they were full of emotional impact. Other tracks chosen were IN THE GHETTO, PIANO MAN, and LONG BLACK VEIL.
I went away buzzing with ideas. The afternoon session was going to be used to develop ideas and share them with the class. I didn’t want to do that as I’d banned myself from writing for the duration so I switched to Myth Legend and Folktale where we explored the Campbell Cycle – a formula used in all kidns of stories from The Odyssey to ET. Between those session was our third class with Simon, looking at Plot in crime novels. He emphasised the importance of misleading the reader then pulled a surprise out of the bag that had the whole class shocked. I won’t say what happened in case he wants to use it again but it was very effective.

After afternoon tea, the Chairman, Xanthe Wells, ran a session on Accessing Creativity. This centred on finding, and communicating with, your inner child. The results were, for me at least, surprising. My inner child came through as an eight year old called Fray, in the guise of a dog. We had to use our normal writing hand to ask questions of the ‘child’ then write the answers with the other hand. My replies came through looking as though an 8 year old had actually written them. More intriguingly still, Fray refused to answer some questions - the writing was impossible to read, but if the questions suited, the writing became clearer. I found it interesting, emotional and very revealing.. I’m thinking of framing the picture Fray drew of an island it’s so peculiarly childish.

Before dinner the book room was open for a last chance to buy people’s books. I was delighted to see that most of mine had been sold. People were still coming up to me to say how good my filler workshop had been. I had all kind of comments, including one suggestion that I should try stand up comedy. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be giving that a try just yet.
After dinner, the speaker was David crystal, a professor of linguistics. I wondered if he might be a bit dry, but he was witty, amusing and interesting. I could have done without his use of extremely bad language though. I’m not a prude, but for some reason I object to people using swear words out of context and for effect. I also didn’t feel it was appropriate given the mixed ages and backgrounds of the audience, but that’s just me. From 10 -11, members of the committee ably assisted by a few guests, put on an episode of Would I Lie to you? It was really good, with some surprising revelations. Chief among those was the fact that the lovely Diana Wimbs had been arrested for soliciting! (If you want to know more, you should have been there!).
After that, the fun STILL wasn’t over. The lady who ran the Lyrical Challenge course ran a session of Latin dancing. I got there late, thanks to Would I lie to You, but still picked up the basics of the Samba.
I was in bed before midnight, just.

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I'm fascinated by the 'finding your inner child' exercise and would love to use this with my classes. Did you have 'free rein' with the questions that you asked your child? And where did the drawing come into it? And - finally - were you set a task/exercise to write about your child at the end or was it purely a character-creation exercise? Thanks!! By the way, Swanwick sounds fantastic! I want to go!!