Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a writers’ workshop with Brenda Flanagan, novelist, poet and short story writer who also happens to be a Cultural Ambassador for the US embassy.
The night before, I’d been to see Brenda read at the embassy, although “perform” would be a better word for it. As she strode back and forth, refusing to stand behind the podium she told some of what it was like to grow up one of 14 children in Trinidad, she sang to us and she read to us a short little page and a half story, “The Girl from Bahia” from her collection “In Praise of Island Women and Other Crimes.” A story which has been in my mind ever since.
So, you could say I knew it was going to be an interesting workshop. What I hadn’t been expecting though was the level of energy in the room, the openness of sharing between the fifteen female novelists, poets, journalists, short story writers who turned up. In two and a half hours we shared our thoughts on writing, we gave each other advice, we analysed a poem and a short story and even had time to write as well.
Without doubt it’s the most enjoyable Friday morning I’ve spent in a while. And it reminded me that in this solitary pursuit of writing, how important it is to get away from the desk and around the table with people who see the world in a little of the same way.