The first of the monthly Creative Writing In_tuition workshops kicked off at blankspace last night and proved to be great fun. For those wishing to join in the monthly schedule is as follows. First Tuesday of the month is Fine Art; second Tuesday is Literature & Creative Writing; third is Moving Image, and fourth Tuesday of every month is freestyle for artistic collaboration. 6.30pm to 8.30, suggested donation of £1.50. Sessions take the form of friendly and informal discussion on any aspects of the subject at hand, cups of tea, biscuits and cake, a chance to meet other people, workshop your work, and all the rest of the good stuff; did I mention the tea and biscuits?
The turnout was modest and was largely Blank Media members, new and old, but the conversation was lively, and jolly good fun. As it was the first session, we weren’t workshopping (didn’t want to scare off the casual joiner-in), so we chatted about the sort of writing we do, or want to do, and how we get started writing (both practical and inspiration). There was a weird metaphor about running a bath; podcast and blog publicising; a discussion on originality and whether it is worth striving for in a world where everything has already been done, or if concerns for originality are just another excuse to put off doing any writing.
|BLANKSPACE, 43 Hulme St, M15 6AW|
Speaking of originality, I notice that I automatically begin writing similar to whatever books I am reading. I start to use similar vocabulary, phrasing, and structure, and not just in my writing. Sometimes it even slips over into the way I speak, and in extreme cases affects the voice of my inner monologue. I am currently reading The World of Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, Don Quixote by Cervantes, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne, hence some ridiculous archaic turns of phrase that occasionally seep into my writing. I think reading Wodehouse makes my writing pompous. I first noticed this phenomenon years ago when reading Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I wasn’t writing at the time, but my internal monologue completely changed into an Edinburgh accent and remained so until I had finished reading the last page. Don’t ask me to do the accent; I can’t. The ability to do accents has eluded me all my life. I can say ‘vowel’ in a Welsh accent (after hearing it said repeatedly on an episode of Countdown), and ‘never!’ in Ian Paisley Northern Irish. Not much use really.
One of the art pieces in the current blankspace exhibition blankexpression is Rachel Gittins’ Adopt-a-Word. It’s an interactive conceptual piece where you chose an obsolete word from a card file box, fill out a little adoption form, and pledge to use the word, try to reintroduce it or take care of it in any way you see fit. We used this as a starting off point for some In_tuition discussion. We had a laugh looking through the words, and eventually took five minutes to write off the top of our heads using our adopted word as a starting point. I am now the proud father of the word epalpebrate; an adjective meaning ‘lacking eyebrows’. I have no idea what to do with it. Perhaps it’s redundancy is for the best.
Next Tuesday at blankspace is the Moving Image In_tuition. If you can make it, please do, and also head down to blankspace whenever you are free to see the exhibition, and meet members of the blank media team.