Category Archives: Events

Get your reading recommendations here…. more books added to the #100women100books library

Get your reading recommendations here…. more books added to the #100women100books library

Following yesterday’s post about our #100women100books library, I’m very pleased to list here some of the recommendations we’ve been getting via our website… ENJOY! And remember, we’ll be giving daily updates of our library on our Facebook page before revealing our whole library on 20th July when I’m off to the Compton Verney‘s Womens Library for our second writing residency there. Below’s a detail from one of the Compton Verney paintings!

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed.

Book title: Geek Love

Author: Katherine Dunn

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): When I first read this book as a teenager I felt like I had discovered another planet. The Binewski family were so vivid, so fascinating and so real even when I read it again 20 years later. Just incredible.
Chosen by: Cait Morgan

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Book title: Good Behaviour

Author: Molly Keane

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): A novel from 1981 by the sharp and witty Irish writer Molly Keane – very funny, and also utterly agonising on family life, as well as wild socialising, and all its ‘glamour and malice’. A keenly intuitive and observant lover of people, food, creatures, mischief and life.
Chosen by: Katherine Pierpoint

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Book title: Life After Life

Author: Kate Atkinson

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): Everyone’s life is the result of chance happenings and ‘roads not taken’ (after Robert Frost). This book brilliantly explores these many possibilities in the life of a woman called Ursula whose life spans much of the twentieth century.
Chosen by: Clare Dudman

 

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Book title: Olive Kitteridge

Author: Elizabeth Strout

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): It’s a beautifully written, wonderfully insightful book that follows the life of central character Olive Kitteridge from adulthood through to old age. Olive is a woman as women are, not as she ought to be: she is flawed and fascinating and magnificently human.
Chosen by: A J Ashworth

 

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Book title: To Kill a Mockinbird

Author: Harper Lee

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): I first read the book at 12 years of age when I was at my most ‘priggish’ about what was right or wrong. My moral compass has matured but still consider it most famous quote to ‘walk in another man’s shoes’ as a good guide. I wanted to be Scout

Chosen by: Cas Holmes

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Book title: The Road Home

Author: Rose Tremain

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): I loved the way she turns predudice on its head, gifting us a wonderful character and illuminating his situation from the off.

Chosen by Zoe King

 

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Book title: Devil’s Cub

Author: Georgette Heyer

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): Any of he comedies are beautifully crafted and represent the Regency era and the English upper class at its worst and best. She started the regency genre -underrated -writing for her money for her ungrateful family ( I think) she churned them out and surely she is worth a mention somewhere on the list.

Chosen by: Hazel Stewart

 

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Book title: Himself

Author: Jess Kidd

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): This is a rollicking read, with rich language and amazing characterisation of both the living and the dead. It made me laugh and sometimes cry and I loved it.

Chosen by: Cath Barton

 

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Book title: Voyage in the Dark

Author: Jean Rhys

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): Because Jean Rhys wrote about difficult subjects in a time that didn’t want to hear about it, including sexism, discrimination, and that one harrowing illegal abortion scene in Voyage in the Dark. She was incredibly intelligent and she used her own harrowing and bleak experiences as inspiration for her passionate, stylistic and hugely under-appreciated novels.

Chosen by: Holly Anderson

 

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Book title: The Key (And The Name Of The Key Is Willingness)

Author: Cheri Huber

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): It is quite simply the best book on spiritual practice I’ve ever read; brief, clear, down-to-earth (if that doesn’t sound too incongruous for a spiritual book) – and requires no faith in anything unseen, only willingness face what is.

Chosen by: Tim Pieraccini

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Book title: The Weather in the Streets

Author: Rosamond Lehmann

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): I read this book (published in 1936) many years ago but it still resonates. It’s about double standards, women’s vulnerability in general and the suffering of a woman after a backstreet abortion.

Chosen by: Patricia Borlenghi

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Book title: The Left Hand of Darkness

Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): It’s science fiction, it’s queer and it’s about friendship … and such good storytelling. And it is journey … so many topics I dearly love.

 

Chosen by: Alice Puck

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Book title: God of Small Things

Author: Arundhati Roy

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): Because it helped me understand the power and magic of words

 

Chosen by: Vipasha

 

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Book title: The Red Tent

Author: Anita Diamant

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): No other book has stayed with me like this book. The strong sense of sisterhood mixed with the horror of what happens to the main character, Dinah, is both beautiful and haunting. It made me really appreciate the female friendships I have and realise how I couldn’t survive without the strong, intelligent and courageous women in my life.

Chosen by: Hester Mackay

 

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Book title: Joan Makes History

Author: Kate Grenville

Why I chose this book (1-2 sentences): This writes women into history, eg when Captain Cook discovers Australia, the woman in the McCubbin painting, The Pioneers, and many more. Intertwined with the story of an ordinary family, with our own moments of history eg moving out of home for the first time,first day of school etc.
Beautifully constructed as usual Kate Grenville.

 

Chosen by: Joan Ryan

Voting for equality…

Voting for equality…

That’s what I’ll be doing on Thursday. I’m very proud to support our local WEP candidate in Tunbridge Wells, Celine Thomas, – and not just because she’s a lawyer, a parent and volunteers as a support worker for a local charity supporting women affected by domestic violence and has also been involved with supporting local refugee groups. Obviously I’m not telling you how to vote but let me invite you – whatever gender you are – to take a look at how the Women’s Equality Party are doing politics joyfully differently – for BOTH MEN AND WOMEN!

Even if Siobhan Sharpe doesn’t think we look the way a PR thinks we should….

Here’s the manifesto in brief…

1. A caring economy

WE offer a fresh approach that will build a sustainable caring economy that works for everyone.

2. Shared parental leave

WE will implement a fully equal system of nine months shared parental leave on 90% of pay, with a 3-month use-it-or-lose-it provision for each parent.

3. Free universal childcare

WE will implement full-time, high quality, free childcare for all children from the end of shared parental leave.

4. An end to violence against women

WE will repair the broken funding model for specialist services, including services that are for and led by BAME women. WE will put prevention, protection and provision at the heart of all our policies and WE will not rest until all women and girls are free from violence and harassment.

5. Unleashing women’s talent

By reforming our education system and tackling the reductive and often hypersexualised depiction of women in the media, WE will unleash the talent of all.

6. Equality in health and social care

WE will make sure our healthcare system works for women and men  alike, putting the furthest from equality first, and ensure that social care is recognised not as an adjunct to economic activity but as its underpinning.

7. Brexit

WE will build an immigration system with gender equality and social justice at its heart. WE will design trade deals that work for everybody. WE will make sure Brexit does not turn back the clock on gender equality through secondary legislation.

8. Invest in what matters

WE will invest in what matters and make sure our social infrastructure works as well as our physical infrastructure. WE will invest in homes, not houses, and restore our education, health care and social care systems. All our policies are costed and will not increase the burden on low and average income households.

And you can read more on the website here.

Some new writing workshop dates….

Some new writing workshop dates….

It’s spring! So do you want to get a spring  in your writing life? Well, here are some dates for you…

Put some movement in your writing – Saturday 22nd April, Tunbridge Wells

There are still a few places left for the yoga and journal writing workshop this Saturday at the Freestyle Yoga  Project in the High Street, Tunbridge Wells. You can come and join Anna’s wonderful Mellow Yellow class at 1pm and then write with us from 2.15-4.15, or just come for the writing part at 2.15. More details are here, but it’s important to note that this workshop is ideal EVEN if you’ve never done either yoga or writing (or both) before – it’s about opening up your creativity, trying something new and playing both on the page and the mat!

 

Share a poem – Saturday 29th April and Sunday 30th April, Canterbury

I’m lucky enough to work with the amazing Poetry Exchange who have found a completely new way of introducing and talking about poetry. Book a FREE 45 minute spot with us (I’m with John Prebble on the Saturday, and Victoria Field will be there on the Sunday) at the Wise Words Festival in Canterbury and bring a poem that has been a friend to you to talk about.I promise it’ll be an enriching experience, and you get a special recording of your poem afterwards as a gift.

HURRY THOUGH because these spots do get booked up – click here for the booking info. If you’re not quite in time to catch your spot, you can listen to the podcast here. 

 

Retreat from the world and nourish your love of words, 10-5pm, Friday 5th May, Canterbury

Last year we were sold out for this workshop in the yurt, and this year places have been going fast. COME AND JOIN Fiona Bennett and I as we encourage you to play with words, write in completely new ways, get tons of new ideas, and just generally spoil your writing self.

The details are here, and all you need to bring is a pen and journal. A CPD certificate is available for this workshop.

Some comments from last year’s participants..

I’ve discovered a new voice that I didn’t even know I could write in. Inspirational.

 I’m coming away with so much potential new work.

 I feel like it’s been much longer than a day, I’ve travelled a long way inside myself and with words.

New dates for Writing for Wellbeing Workshops

New dates for Writing for Wellbeing Workshops

Using writing for self-discovery and wellbeing has always been a cornerstone of my teaching practice. Over the last decade, I’ve been part of the tutor team on the MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development at Sussex University, trained in journal writing with American experts, run writing workshops with different groups ranging from teenage mothers, school disaffected adolescents, gardeners older people, yogis, business people, and PhD candidates in economics, statistics, biochemistry. I’ve worked with people who are confident that they are destined to become bestselling authors and others who come into the room declaring that they feel physically sick just looking at an empty page.

And, through all that, my belief that the act and practice of writing – particularly when guided – can make us more alive, increase our empathy, our self-awareness and even our contentment has grown. Largely because I’d never tell anyone to do anything or write to any prompt that I hadn’t done myself. Many times! My journals have been my very best friends over the years. 

 

So I’m really happy to tell you about some new dates for workshops and courses coming up. Join me! Let’s write together…

 

Mat and Page – a yoga and writing workshop 

Saturday February 11th 2.15-4pm

 Freestyle Yoga Project, High Street, Tunbridge Wells

what is it?

After our really successful retreat at Tilton House last year (that’s us writing in the yurt above), Anna, the founder of Freestyle Yoga Project and I have been working together to look more at how we can combine yoga and writing as a way of opening up and writing a new story for ourselves! The session will involve guided journal writing – both for exploration and creativity – and movement. You will be exercising and writing on the mat, with visualisations, breathing, and writing exercises.

do I have to be an expert yogi or writer?

No! We have designed this for both beginners and experts because Anna and I believe that every time you go to the mat and the page, the only person who directs your practice is you. Sometimes we want to challenge ourselves, other times we just want to go back to basics. We always want to be beginners in our practice – both yoga and writing – because that way we can surprise ourselves. It’s a chance to experiment in a friendly safe environment, and also to enjoy it.

where is it?

The Freestyle Yoga Project is in the High Street in central Tunbridge Wells. It is a dedicated yoga studio, with plenty of drop in classes. The best news is that it is only a five minute walk from the train station – with regular services from London. You don’t have to live in Kent to join us!

how do I book?

There are two ways of joining us – either come at 1pm for the one hour Mellow Yellow yoga session, and then stay on for the two hour writing and movement session. OR come at 2.15pm for the second session alone. The writing session is £20, on top of your yoga class. We are limiting the numbers, and have already been taking bookings so do contact us as soon as possible if you would like a place – info@freestyleyogapractice.com

  Writing for Wellbeing

March 1, 8, 15, 22 – 1-3pm at University of Kent, Tonbridge Centre.

This is a four week course, based on the acclaimed Journal to the Self © workshop, created by Kathleen Adams. The sessions will support personal growth, creativity and life management skills through different journal writing techniques. These will include character studies, letters, expressive writing, lists, visualisations, stepping stones and springboards.

It is suitable for all standards of writing. For more information and to book, click here or visit the University of Kent, Tonbridge Centre website. Full details of the course are here. 

 

 

Here are some lovely things writers have said about past workshops:

“Lovely time writing with Sarah Salway today. It was just like a spa. I came in bombarded by the world and finally felt as if I had two hours where I could think”. TG

A Saturday afternoon in a yoga studio. Tucked away for a couple of hours to explore our creativity. To let the words flow, from our minds, our hearts, through pens and onto the page. Creating new poems and prose. An hour ago we were strangers; now we sit here, a new group of writers. ND

You are such a generous teacher, it’s a total pleasure to be stretched by you. JW

I am not sure what I imagined but this was beyond my expectations. I think I had expected just to sit writing notes but your talking and exercises certainly made me think. I really hadn’t realised there was so much out there. I didn’t have the tools… but now I do. KB

“This retreat really helped to shake me out of myself and re-gather some perspective. Anna and Sarah were the perfect guides.” Amy

How to get a writing group buzzing

How to get a writing group buzzing

I’m so lucky with my writing groups – and the mix of people who come. One term, I did an exercise on getting them to share what they knew: we had talks on the different kinds of silence (from a psychotherapist), on volcanoes (geography teacher), photo journalism (a photo editor), mughal architecture (journalist), continuity in TV shows (ex-BBC producer) and much more. I suspect that only in a writing group would you get this variety of expertise, and complete equality round the table (I’m including me in that) – when we face the blank page , everyone is forced to go back to the beginning.

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And last night, one of our group – step up graphic novelist and beekeeper, Ellen Montelius – was doing a talk about Bees in Winter as part of the artist based Cross Pollination project, so given that it was a Wednesday night and that’s writing night, we held the writing session directly after her lecture. That’s Ellen above, organising a ‘Great British Bake Off’ demonstration on how to make a sugar and water solution to bring exhausted bumblebees back to life. There was a magic moment after this when a woman in the audience demonstrated how she often picked up bees she found on the ground and held them in her hand – her hand was cupped in the air as she showed us, her finger gently stroking an imaginary bee – until the warmth and the sugar she fed them revived what she described as little ‘flying motors’ she could feel whirring against her skin and – she opened her hand then, palm upwards – she could let it fly away.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one hoping to find an exhausted bee on the ground after this, just so I could help bring it back to flight.

So what did we do in the writing session? There was certainly enough material in the talk to generate a hundred stories, but we began by making a word pool. Writing down as many words as we could remember from the talk. Then we went round and shared one of our words, until we had a list of twelve – CLUSTER, WINTER, COTONEASTER, NECTAR, HIBERNATE, SURPLUS, SOLUTION, CHAMBER, TERRACOTTA, STINGING, SOLITARY, DRONE. Good words, eh?

From this we freewrote for six minutes using all the words above but with one rule – we weren’t allowed to write about bees. As a penalty, at the end of the time, I made everyone use all the words they had left from the list in one line of dialogue they had to insert into their piece.

It’s interesting what  happens when we change our own dictionaries. Too often we get stuck on using the same words in our writing, and it can feel stale to us. An exercise like this helps to shake it up, particularly if you take words from one discipline or interest and use them in a new way.

Our final exercise was to take Virginia Woolf’s short story, Kew Gardens, and write from the perspective of the bee – using the words and material we had all gained from Ellen’s talk. One of the things we discussed was how, in Woolf’s story, it is the momentum of the snail throughout the story that allows the reader to keep grounded in what is happening.

We also enjoyed a honey cake Ellen made for us… it’s important to remember all senses when writing…

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Lavender Maze, two toddlers run in circles….

Lavender Maze, two toddlers run in circles….

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I ran a workshop at the Physic Garden at Westgate Gardens in Canterbury today. That’s the garden above. And the sun shone, and the cake came. Look!

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But more importantly poets came too to write with me, some new poets, some already established, some drawn by the plants, others by the words. It’s the joy of the mix always, you can do the same exercise daily with different groups of people and get new results. First off, we mixed body parts with emotions with surprising and beautiful results – Blood is care for others -Fear is red, the moving life force of the body – A heart is a feeling that something good is going to happen… 

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Then inspired by Basho, Jack Kerouac and winners of the Iafor Vladimir Devide Haiku Award, we wrote haikus. ‘Walk round the garden now and write ten!’ I demanded. And they did. Sometimes it’s better to write like that, rather than trying to craft something perfect. We concentrated not on the 5-7-5 rule, but catching a moment, conveying an emotion:

Poets
on toadstools
read Basho… 

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Then after reading them to each other, we wrote our favourites out, turned them into Haiku bunting, which we left behind for others to enjoy and for the wind to blow our words this way and that…

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Next we talked about list poems, and hey, we made a group list poem:

We’d like to be kind,
to counteract disunity,
cure the common cold.
We’d like to find a way
to stop people being so angry,
make a remedy for greed,
and living with uncertainty,
in fact we’d want to stop all disease
and then please, to have a peaceful sleep.

Talking of curing things, round the garden, I’d put buckets of poems as remedies. Please pick one, I wrote…

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and lots of different people did as the workshop was going on… often stopping to unwind one, read it to each other and then take another. That was beautiful to watch.

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For the last exercise, I’d copied Geoffrey Grigson’s descriptions of plants, with their common names. Oh the joy – a poem in the words here alone…

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And what we did was to turn the plants into characters – wondering if they wanted to stay where they were planted – examining whether they might want another life – what their secrets might be. What if … what if…

And did I mention we had cake?

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The Story of a Collaboration – truths and tips from Vanessa Gebbie

The Story of a Collaboration – truths and tips from Vanessa Gebbie

 

I’m so pleased to bring you this guest post by one of Spreadsheet and Moxie‘s Associate Artists, the very wonderful Vanessa Gebbie. Sharing this sort of information – not just WHAT people are doing but HOW they have done it – is exactly what Viccy and I hope to do with our project, and I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning. It’s a privilege to have this honest account of how an arts project was set up, the things learnt and all the tips to pass on to others. And it’s a great project too, on at HURSTPIERPOINT until 30th September. Details are at the end of the piece, but for now, over to Vanessa (nb all the photos here were taken by Vanessa and show the work on display at the exhibition)… 

 

 

Last Friday, a disparate group of people met at a church in West Sussex. Armed with wood, wire, glass, slate and board, they worked all day, assembling the products of creative work that had taken months.

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By 6 pm all was ready for the opening of Reflections, the response of four women artists to the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme. The church is Holy Trinity Church, in the village of Hurstpierpoint. Designed by Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament, it is a glorious, high and airy space with beautiful stained glass windows.

 

So, in a beautiful edifice of stone and glass, four women created something else of beauty. But it was not all plain sailing!

It started just before Christmas 2015 with a poet (me) and Elizabeth Lamont, a maker of painted glass art – discovering a mutual love of stained glass, over a pizza. Before the bill came, we were airing thoughts of collaborating on a ‘something’ in which her glass artworks would respond to my poems.

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With a slightly clearer idea of what the ‘something’ was, an approach was made to Hurstpierpoint Festival to see if it might be something they would like to host… and it was agreed that the ‘something’ could be shown in the church for the duration of the festival.

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But what was the ‘something’? Elizabeth Lamont has experience of working with the National Trust, and she had brilliant ideas. Visits to consummately experienced exhibition designers helped to firm up the ‘something’ into a brilliant, professional plan. But brilliant professional plans, with help from brilliant designers, cost money. A call to the Arts Council indicated it was something they might look favourably on – so, cue much excitement as everything was costed within an inch of our lives, and I was delegated to negotiate the Arts Council Grant Application systems. At this stage we were three – poet, glass artist and Jane Willis, a photographer. Who also happened to be Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity Hurstpierpoint.

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TIP: PLAN WITH CARE AND COST WITH CARE

 

The Grantium portal is not your friend until you learn to negotiate the twists and turns and requirements of the system… and we were on the brink of a holiday. In deepest Extremadura, Spain – where the internet is not known for its speed or reliability. Or, in many places, even its existence. The Grantium portal requires six working days to validate you before you can so much as begin to enter your information, so Extremadura it had to be, with dropped connections, wobbly connections, and worse – no connections. I did not know what information the Arts Council would be asking for as each page opened on the portal – and did not have a list of necessary info, all ticked off and to hand – even if the laptop stayed connected.

 

TIP: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE TIME THINGS TAKE

TIP: IF YOU ARE COMPLETING A GRANT APPLICATION, DO IT WHEN YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME, ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND HAVE ALL NECESSARY INFO TO HAND

 

It took three weeks, but it got done. I heard back from the Arts Council very fast – Application Declined.

We had, thankfully, already considered what we’d do if this happened. We had already decided that it would not stop us, so we’d rethink.

 

TIP: HAVE A PLAN B

 

Bless Hurstpierpoint Festival Committee, who decided to still give us the contribution they had promised to help the application along. Bless a friend or two, who did the same. Bless whoever suggested inviting another woman artist to join us – Helen Mary Skelton, a stonecutter, whose work is legendary. Patients at The Dene special hospital were also invited to contribute. I led a poetry workshop there, but the patients’  resulting work was too raw and personal for them to want on show. So instead, they created two stunning wall hangings along the themes of the exhibition – and it is  moving in the extreme to see them.

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TIP: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK, INVITE AND SHARE

 

The exhibition opened last weekend. It is different and, dare I say it – in many ways better than it would have been had we stuck to the original plan. Without funding, apart from a relatively tiny amount, we had to go back to the drawing board in many cases, and the need for increased creativity in response to the drawback has served us well. The inclusion of stonecutting has added a new beauty – a strength and solidity to the exhibition, which was already beautiful. Instead of looking at techinically clever acetate prints, visitors are actually seeing the original glass art in all Elizabeth’s exhibits, set on lightboxes. It is glorious.

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Standing in the midst of all this gorgeous work at the opening last Friday, and watching visitors, glass of wine in hand, oohing and ahhing at the exhibits, I felt unashamedly tearful. It has been an extraordinary journey, and a privilege to work with Elizabeth Lamont (glass artist)   Rev Jane Willis (photographer) and Helen Mary Skelton (stone cutter). I will miss them when this is over.

 

TIP: LOOK BACK, SEE WHERE YOU’VE COME FROM, SMILE!

vanessa

 

 

 

REFLECTIONS IS ON AT THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, HURSTPIERPOINT, UNTIL 30th SEPTEMBER

Snake oil, giant frogs and a quick death….

Snake oil, giant frogs and a quick death….

Herbs have long been used as healing plants, but – as part of my research for next Saturday’s writing workshop in Canterbury’s Physic Garden –  I’ve just had a lovely little research side-track into some other natural ‘cures’…

Tuns out there really WAS snake oil…

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and a catchy product name here…

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Make your own opium..

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…or penicillin. Now I have an excuse the next time anyone looks in my breadbasket…

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What could possibly go wrong?

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Remind you of Rob Titchener, anyone? Surely this has to be the creepiest ad ever.

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Although this, on the other hand, looks very jolly…. Poor old HRH The Princess of Wales, no ticking the anonymous box for her…

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Although I have to say, being spoken to by a giant frog would make ANYONE nervous…

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But this one…. this one… YES!!!!!!

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Try your hand at a herb haiku, a basil ballad and some parsley poetry…

Try your hand at a herb haiku, a basil ballad and some parsley poetry…

Come and indulge your senses with a Herbal Infused Poetry Workshop at the beautiful Physic Garden at Westgate Gardens, Canterbury

Saturday 24th September – 11-1pm

Costs £4 (including tea and cake)

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How could such sweet and wholesome hours be reckoned, but in herbs and flowers?

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I’m running a workshop in Canterbury designed around herbs – their history, their myths and all the remedies – sensible and gloriously silly – associated with them. Enjoy a morning writing and reading poetry with me, inspired by the Physic Garden. We’ll look at myths, make up new remedies, explore the senses and have fun through a series of practical exercises – all you will need to bring is a pen and paper. This workshop is suitable for all levels of writers, and is a chance to play on the page in the beautiful surroundings of Canterbury’s historic Westgate Gardens.

Because numbers are limited, booking is strongly advised, please visit http://www.westgateparks.co.uk/events/ or telephone the Canterbury Ticket shop on: 01227 787787. There may be some spaces available on the day.

Contact Sarah Salway, sarahsalway@gmail, for more information.

This event is funded through Canterbury City Council’s Westgate Parks ‘Parks for People’ HLF Project

To book your place , click here 

Throw some writers in a bowl….

Throw some writers in a bowl….

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…. shake them round a bit, and you get ….

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I think I’ve probably talked a lot already about how I love my Tuesday writers – a regular group that meets at my house to write. We celebrated last night with an end of term reading – a mixture of novels in progress, poetry, non-fiction, short stories, flash fiction….

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Fifteen writers in all, oh, it was so wonderful just to listen, and not know what was coming up next! A real treat.

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And amazing to think that not everyone knew each other – it was a mixture of the old ‘morning’ group and the ‘evening’ group. But it didn’t take long before the words took over and we created a perfect literary salon.

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We normally start each session with a freewrite – here are some of the prompts we have used so far this year….

* If I could change anything in the world, I would…
* Mind dump – all the things you have on your mind right now
* Sentence stems – He’d thought he was on his own, but when he turned round…. The giant stamps his foot and… Your mother told you never to… I’ve called you all together to tell you that… The kiss was…
* The last time I danced…
* Things to do today
* First a mindmap – ‘the things I carry’ – freewrite from what comes up from that
* Images that don’t use sight – ‘senseshots’
* What I’ve brought back from my holidays
* My brush with fame
* The last time I was lost

And here is my favourite quote of the moment, by my favourite writer of all time, Colette, not least because it sums up Tuesdays for me: You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

Tuesdays will be quiet over the rest of the summer!