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15 July 2019

Posted by Joanna Barnard

Are you paying attention?

We began our last session at the Art House before a brief summer sojourn looking at the poem Snowdrops by Louise Gluck. It got us thinking about beginnings, about embarking on new things and about rebirth. Beginning anything new can spark a range of emotions, including excitement yes but also apprehension and even fear as we risk the 'raw wind of the new world'. Many of the so:write women can relate to this as they begin to put their words out in to the world for appraisal by agents and competitions, or come tentatively back to writing after a break, risking rejection and 'failure' but also the potential rich rewards of having our voices heard. 

We used these emotions as a jumping off point for our first exercise, along with a host of other words which we gifted to each other and which generated a range of stories featuring sinister hatchlings, secrets and lies, and journeys to new worlds, in labs, woods and aeroplanes. The richness of what we create in a short space of time always astonishes me and these pieces were of value in their own right but equally could each have served as the launchpad for a new, longer, piece of writing.

Next we heard and fed back on the new beginning of Rhiannon's novella, leaving us excited to hear more come September. Then we embarked on some 'mindful' writing which showed how even in a short space of time we can use writing therapeutically, focusing in very short bursts first on an external object, then on our own physical being, then on our emotional state. This was an exercise in paying attention, in working through distractions, and looking at ourselves in ways we perhaps don't often take enough time over. 

We have one more session at the Library this coming Saturday, 20th July, from 10.15am, and then the so:write women take a little break. I wish for you all a summer of attentiveness, engagement, maybe some risk, yes, and a great deal of joy. 

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