Wednesday 30 April 2014

Freefall writing

Freefall writing workshop

Last night I was at the Freefall writing workshop in Bath, put on by Vala publishing co-op & run by Barbara Turner-Vesseligo.

Barabara spoke about how she'd come to develop the Freefall writing method and explained the 5 precepts:

1 - Write what comes up for you
2 - Don't change anything
3 - Give all the sensuous detail
4 - Go where the energy is, or go 'fearward'
5 - The ten year rule

Full details of these are in her book Writing Without a ParachuteWriting without a parachute

Barbara then gave us a choice of two prompts - "Coming home" or "A sound heard in childhood". The majority of the writers in the room, at least the ones that read out their stories, went with "A sound heard in childhood" and each one read out were very good. Not sure mine is any good at all but is below. We were given eight minutes, with a one minute warning before the end.

I'm a natural 'pantser' but find that longer pieces require some planning. I find planning a bit dull and a chore to be honest so this method seems to call to me. However the second precept is very, very difficult. As Barbara says in her book "this is the precept that most writers find hardest to follow". As a taster it was great, I'm sure that I'll get a lot from the book and would love to do another workshop with Barbara in the future.

A sound heard in childhood

It's Greensleeves, that's also the sound ice cream vans make. That Pavlovian ringing plinking that goes from brain to stomach to drool reflex. I remember that the smell of the diesel failed to mask the sweetness of the vanilla gloop of the ice cream. Of course you want a flake, of course you want syrup, of course you want sprinkles. You know you won't like the cardboard blandness of the cone, but you'll eat it anyway. Greensleeves plays to me down the phone. A drone that steals childhood memories and squashes the life out of them. The hold music for my generation. Sat on the IVR wanting to track down and torture the person saying 'Your call is important to us' over and over and over again. Important to you? not nearly as important it is for me!
I just know that once the interminable Greensleeves finally ends and I am released from this purgatory, I will have to deal with a bored teenager or someone a thousand miles away. The Czech republic seems to be flavour of the month. They won't think my call is important. I'm just another moron, in a long line of morons, who steal their time as they watch the clock as its hands crawl forward. As they wait for their toilet breaks, and their miniscule lunch allowance. I can always hear it in their voices when they answer. 'How may I help you'. Note may, not can. 'Can' implies a satisfactory resolution. 'May' implies a probability in being able to help. That probability is sometimes low. Can implies an ability to help.
Greensleeves makes my ears hurt. If their systems actually worked, I wouldn't need to be on the phone at all. I wouldn't now be craving an ice cream and my blood wouldn't be boiling because a hundred, or a thousand, other people are having the same problem as me. So that's it, I have a vanilla problem.

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