Not only do I fail to keep this blog up to date (Tweeting has to substitute sometimes for active engagement here), but I don’t get my homework in on time either.
Homework? Yes, during term time I’ve been trooping off to Cardiff University – well actually to the National Museum in Cardiff – for a weekly dose of “Creative Writing”. The other stuff. I thought I’d better ‘fess up, so here’s a piece I wrote explaining all about it. (Recycling is good!)
And if you’d like to hear how we got on, here’s the recording of the end of term bash – some great stuff from others (I do a monologue which somehow manages to squeeze in the Manic Street Preachers). Oh, and Wales Book of the Year Author Philip Gross does beautiful readings at the end.
Creative writing at the Museum, 2010 class six homework: 300 words on your creative writing course Course tutor, Susan Morgan
I have been a professional writer for nearly 50 years since that first, paid-by-the-word, journalistic prose appeared in “Teen Scene” in the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of those pesky words later there has been: art criticism, news reporting, voiced radio scripts, appraisals, tender bids, university essays, presentations for groups ranging from 2 to 2000, Tweets, blogs, and reports, endless reports of immense expense to clients and comparable cost to the creative abilities of syntax, choosing the bon mot, engaging one’s audience, presenting facts, drawing conclusions, and, above all, staying awake. I am a creative writer!
Alarmingly though, not a “creative” enough writer even though I could boast – if asked – of a slim volume, half a century ago, of youthful poetry, some voiced on the Home Service radio program “Poetry Today” by the stellar Mary Wimbush.
So, off to the University of Cardiff Creative Writing at the Museum Course where I was to to spend 10 weeks focusing my gaze on every conceivable aspect of the Seven Estuary. I was to discover one of the world’s most important tidal reaches, rich in biodiversity, archaeological remains, myths and historical occurrences. This would provide an abundant resource, based on lectures from scholarly, witty and erudite members of museum staff, and objects from the National Museum itself, for the simple task called “home work”.
Go write a monologue. Produce a short poem. Collect an interview. Experiment with riddles and kennings. In short, discard those years of practice and produce succinct, accessible, vivid and above all well constructed pieces that communicate in a way that can grip, move, inform and, ideally, change people’s perceptions and lives!
That’s what others in the group did with varying degrees of, and often very profound, success every week. As for me? Well I’m signed up for the Autumn.