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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

03 May 2020

Posted by Tabby Hayward

DEAR FUTURE ME

11-14 group - 11 attending
15-18 group - 7 attending

This week, we were writing letters to our past and future selves, to give them advice about our current lockdown situations!

In the younger group, we began with a letter to our past self. To start generating material for this letter, we came up with:

3 things we didn't realise we'd miss during lockdown (e.g. maths lessons, school uniform, annoying relatives, long car journeys, supermarket shopping with your family, etc) 

3 things we have actually been starting to enjoy about lockdown (e.g. spending more time with family, having more time to be creative, less pressure to compete with others, etc)

3 things we wish we had known about in advance (e.g. everyone would go bonkers buying toilet roll, the days can feel very long, you've got to take things at your own pace, etc)

We then read Helen Dunmore's poem 'To My Nine Year Old Self' as inspiration, looking at how she addresses her younger self as a combination of an entirely different person and a part of herself too, and the specificity of the images and events she focuses on to explain things to her younger self.

Putting all this together, we wrote letters to our past selves (in January!) filling them in on the important parts of lockdown!

After this, we then shifted things around to write a letter to our future self (who could be one year in the future or many years in the future), telling them:

3 everyday things they should never take for granted again

3 things we have learnt from this experience

The first thing(s) we are excited to do when lockdown is over - Lighthouse Young Writers in person even featured as something people were looking forward to!

In the break between the 2 workshops, I had a quick glance at the Guardian and realised they had totally stolen our idea(!) and asked a range of famous people, including writers, to write a letter to their future self. With this in mind, we started this workshop by generating material for our letter to our future self, before looking at some of the letters from the Guardian (including playwright James Graham's, and novelists Bernardine Evaristo's and Mark O'Connell's) as inspiration. We looked at the different tones of these letters (comic, serious, thankful, angry) and how they addressed their future selves (in Mark O'Connell's case, as 'sir') and the particular images and anecdotes they included. Inspired by this, we wrote our letters to our future selves. These were all beautifully written and provided a real insight into our writers' lives - and again, it was lovely to hear that Lighthouse Young Writers online featured as a positive aspect of lockdown in some of these letters! Other important topics included building a closer relationship with an older brother, going for walks as a family, going for a bike ride with yourself (and having a frank conversation with yourself!), reading more, baking,  etc.

In the time we had left, we had a quick look at 'To My Nine Year Old Self' and made some notes for letters to our past selves, which we hope to continue with for next time!

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