This was Susannah’s first workshop for us, and she told us she that had planned a slightly different format from usual. She began by laying out a mini-poster asking us: Have you seen Maxine? This proceeded to describe the missing Maxine and ask for information as to her whereabouts. Susannah then gave us twenty minutes to write an explanation for Maxine’s disappearance, exhorting us to write no more than 500 words, so that we would have time for a discussion after everyone had read back their work.
The subject evoked the usual variety of ideas, from the sad to the downright barmy. Among them a woman conned into ‘going missing’ for a TV documentary, a conman who finds himself double crossed, an invisible woman, a ‘shrinking drink’ tale in homage to Lewis Carroll, a crazed archaeologist, a disguised lottery winner (or at least the seller of the ticket who had eloped with the winner!).
Then we had Maxine herself telling us how she had escaped from abduction by the North Koreans and was now being followed everywhere by a giant panda, (told you some of them were barmy!!) and, to bring us back to earth, a poignant story of a dementia patient looking for her long dead daughter. And, of course, those are just a few of the seventeen stories scribbled last night.
The collective inventiveness of the group continues to amaze. All this in approximately 500 words! Susannah followed this by leading a discussion on whether we plan our writing or just go for it. Obviously, in our workshops there is no time to plan, so not surprisingly many of us agreed that is how we write anyway. Several of our members said that if they knew how their work was going to end, they wouldn’t be bothered to keep on with it. I must say, I’m with them. But we all agreed that the support and encouragement of our fellow Shorelinkers spurs us on, however we approach our writing.
So thanks to Susannah for a really good workshop. Reading week next Monday, the optional subject: The Impossible...
I’m looking forward to it! Sally