Our first two workshops at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre have gone really well. It was lovely to see some new faces, and to have a different space to work in and respond to.
At our first group, we experimented with writing short poems inspired by our names. Each poem had to start with ‘In my name…’, with the writer then going on to describe what they found there.
As an example, I used one that I wrote a few months ago at a writing workshop led by poet Mandy Coe:
In my name is a country house
with peacocks on the lawn.
A river meets the fishing lake
where swans swim up and down.
The peacocks cry ‘Eeeyah-eeeyah!’,
the swans say not a word;
While from the house the people watch
the many kinds of birds.
If you have five minutes, I really recommend giving this exercise a try. It’s great fun and a good warm-up for your imagination. When I tried it again at the first MCDC workshop I came out with something totally different:
In my name a sail flaps loose,
rigging hands, sullen from crosstrees.
Ankles dangling; capital punishment
in His Majesty’s Navy.
I have to say, execution isn’t something I normally find in myself, but some of my favourite books are Patrick O’Brian’s series set during the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve never channelled it before, but I suppose it felt like speaking to me on that day! If you do try it, please post your results in the comments.
We also spent some time in both workshops looking at the Forming Words exhibition, discussing the pieces, and responding to individual artworks. It’s been a really interesting experience to have so much stimulus so close at hand when running the writing exercises.
There are two free workshops left, on Friday 30th August and Friday 13th September. We’d love to see you there if you can make it. If enough people come along, we’d like to put together a book of the work created by the group in response to the exhibition.
Also, if you’re free tomorrow, head along to MCDC for their special Bank Holiday weekend event!