Kingcombe residential weekend

2 nights, 6 meals, 4 workshops, 2 walks, 2 evenings of readings by tutors, 1 amazing sight of cliffs. Yes, we have been to Kingcombe centre in South England, near Dorchester. After an adventurous detour we actually found it. Me, Linda, and Laura – our carpool.

Workshop 1: Site Specific Endangered Spirits
Standing in the middle of a field and describing smells, sounds, shapes … What’s the spirit of this place like? Nature images form a narrative.

Workshop 2: Making a start
Sometimes opening a story seems the most difficult thing to do. How to engage the reader’s attention? Here is a piece from this workshop, a list of things that describe one person and open up his personality.

At Karl’s

 It was the physics books,
the unmarked tests,
a bag of Nacho cheese balls,
the radio playing popular tunes,
a black cat sleeping on the laptop,
an award for being a good teacher,
a photograph of a girl somewhere, out there. 

Workshop 3: Imagining yourself, remembering yourself
Using your own memories to create a story. How reliable are these anyway? How clearly do you remember? What do you add to the truth? Should you stick to the truth? We explored these questions with an exercise. First we wrote a piece about ourselves and then we swapped the pieces and had to write it all over again, adding elements, ideas, emotions, events from other person’s narrative. Fascinating how different my first day at school seemed when interwoven with Kate’s story! Will develop it further.

Workshop 4: Freeing the writer within
First just writing everything down that occurred in our minds. Everything. No stopping for five minutes. Doodling allowed. Freeing, really. Then imagining a character. Hopes, fears, want, secret, appearance, a thing (s)he is holding … Then a narrative about this person. This I will also develop further. I saw my daughter. The one that I don’t have. Her name is Maggie. When I closed my eyes and just let one person come to me in my mind, then I saw a young skinny brown-haired girl and knew I was her mother. Weird, isn’t it? At one point I also saw myself. My hair was black again and I looked very well.

Course meeting was surpsingly warm and nice. We, the students, were actually asked which modules/subjects we would like to have, how to make things better etc. Our opinion is heard, which is utterly great!

I am not able to engage myself with nature writing, for I lack the necessary vocabulary. The names of the plants, creatures, trees … also, I might not readily know all the poetic adjectives that seem to be vital for nature writing. I might succeed only if I really take time for it and spend hours with a dictionary and also read what nature writers have written in order to widen my knowledge of techniques and words etc. But it’s not my thing. Not now. Now the relationships are what interest me. Maybe someday. I have done some nature writing in Estonian. And won prizes even. Marimetsa moor is a really nice place to write about.

Poetry is also not my thing. At least not in English. I found it rather difficult to grasp it at once. Poetry needs time and needs to be read on a paper. Just hearing a poem is not sufficient. Again, I lack the poetic vocabulary. Also, poetry is quite intense, heavily loaded with images. Absorbing them is not easily done.

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