First we scribbled down our ‘notes to self’ and shared a few – a mixture of the trivial, worldly and ontological – the doubts about the day of the week, insurance, families, Stow on the Wold – as well as reminders to ‘take time and make time’ for ourselves. We often use writing to get a grip, to hold on, to remember. But in the trusted writing group there is time to let go, to collide with the words and thoughts of others – to allow ourselves to go with what we thought we heard, even if we weren’t sure, and to surprise ourselves into – or out of - ourselves.
Authentic writing can become distinctive and compelling when writers
- let their 'colours' diffuse unconsciously,
- allow themselves to let phrases and ideas lead them,
- and resist the distraction of too much premature ‘in-flight editing’.
It’s one process amongst many.
The group has met eight times this year, and is practised in using the collections to re-collect, in discovering human stories behind artefacts and in animating inanimate objects. For some in this group, writing together is a sacred space for themselves and a way of holding on to what matters. Several use writing to gather and shape thoughts and feeling about personal and issues. A few are several chapters in to imagining and recreating family histories from the inside out, but for the majority, there is little writing between the monthly 2-hour sessions. Hence how treasured these opportunities are.
Victorian mourning necklace
A chain around the neck. Unremitting black, chiselled, hard. No light reflecting. Fettering rope of rings and blocks. But look closer and just see the delicacy of tendrils etched on the faces of the pendant lozenges. Parody of diamonds. She snaps the clasp at her neck, links angular against her skin. Heavy too. Four more seasons of this. Chin up, shoulders braced, grim set of her mouth. Swish of black crepe skirts as she sweeps silently from room to room, muffled, squeezed in her public face of mourning. Still shackled after all.
Enjoy the summer!
NWP outreach director