A few weeks ago, I received a lovely email from someone who had been here for my Autumn workshop day. Its subject line was ‘Poem inspired by your tablecloth.’
The email was a kind of goodbye, because the writer was about to leave the area and move to Spain. In it, she said, ‘I think I mightn’t have done all this life changing stuff if it wasn’t for the experiences I’ve shared over the years on your courses and workshops.’
Much as I’d like to think that discovering a new sense of adventure is a particular benefit of my workshops, I imagine it’s a common side-effect of doing lots of writing.
When we write stories, instead of focusing on what is, we’re adjusting our focus to consider ‘what if?’
Any habit of thought creates pathways in the brain; old ways of thinking fall into disuse like overgrown tracks as we favour and carve out new ones.
As well as changing the way we think, writing can change the way we feel, because when we put our protagonists through trials and troubles which mean they have to be brave and bold, we are experiencing that courage and mastery in our self.
Things we might not previously have dreamt about begin to feel possible and survivable, and simply feeling that we could do something new if we wanted to can make the current status quo feel like a choice, and not a trap. Writing creatively leads to living more creatively too.
Of course, if you dare to dream, there’s always a risk you might just go and make that big life change, and change carries risk. New adventures always involve some element of difficulty, and they can go horribly wrong.
But they will also bring colour and excitement, learning and opportunity. I’m looking forward to following Lizzylarkwhistle’s adventures in Spain when she starts her new blog – all I can tell you so far is that she has met Jesus and Gabriel, and I can’t wait to hear more.
I’ll post the link when I have it but, in the meantime, here is her poem, written in the workshop, at my table. She chose a dead umbellifer from the tray of Autumn offerings I found in my garden.
The Picked Umbellifer
I hope to stay here now.
In some quiet corner, shadowed by firelight
Dreaming of my old roots.
Back on the shifting cliff in Spring,
New, eager growth will push through my old ways.
White, sea scented sprays,
Soon hardened by salty air and beaten by gales and rain,
To a brassy, brittle, bone coloured thing,
As delicate as the cobwebs spun between its flowers,
Flinching from dogs and booted feet
Or a gust that may toss it into the sea.
After all that has passed, I’m glad to be here,
Spun slowly by a gentle hand,
safe in a house, above a table squared
With the colours of summer.
Do you feel writing has helped you to live more creatively?