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Beating Writer’s Block

By Fiona McFadzean

 

As a long-time member of Ayr Writers’ Club, it was a shock to my system when circumstances meant that I was unable to attend the weekly meetings. I could still be an online member of the club, keeping in contact via the e-mail Google group. It just wasn’t the same and I soon developed Writers’ Block, that affliction dreaded by all writers. Ideas wouldn’t develop, leaving blank pages. Reading other members’ work as an incentive only produced frustration. Although I had already been published in magazines, anthologies, within education, and had won various writing competitions, it made not a bit of difference. The well was dry.

Fortunately, for all of us, there is always somebody who believes they have the answer. In my case, it was a fellow member of Ayr Writers’ Club, Tracy Harvey, an accomplished poet in both Scots and English. She knew of my love for the spoken word and introduced me to Cameron’s Bar, next to Ayr bus station. George Cameron has a passion for everything theatrical, whether it be drama, music, storytelling, juggling, or tap dancing. In other words, anything that entertains. His premises are open to anyone who shares his enthusiasm. George confesses that he doesn’t write. In his case, this doesn’t matter. His delivery of Holy Willie’s Prayer, and a’ things Burns, are legendary.

George Cameron as Holy Willie

Before long, I was taking part in his open mic sessions, performing poems from my own portfolio and showcasing my favourites written by fellow poets. The next step was Monthly Monologue Monday where I rekindled my liking for storytelling; drawing on life incidents which I could deliver from memory, without the discipline of pen to paper.

Stage Fright Wednesday followed. Anyone who is interested can join in. Writing prompts are given by Tracy and whatever is produced is shared while learning microphone techniques. Much hilarity usually ensues. I did join in, working from bullet points. And explaining to ordinary customers who ventured ‘through the back’ what was going on. To my delight, one or two joined in, returning the next week for more. And that’s what it’s all about.

Of course, a few more members of Ayr Writer’s Club are involved. George has reciprocated by becoming a Friend of the Club and is sponsoring the Drama competition, providing 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. The winner will be invited to put on the play in Cameron’s. Those placed 2nd and 3rd, too. Fortunately, there is not a shortage of willing actors/actresses in the Club. Everyone is encouraged to ‘have a go.’

Since becoming a part of the Cameron’s Camaraderie, I have been a performer; been part of the audience for drama students putting on their end of term projects; been lucky enough to enjoy the professional shows which George brings to the Bar; and been humbled by the amounts raised for charity through the efforts of those stepping up to the mic.

Writing at Cameron’s

To say that Cameron’s has been good for me is an understatement, even if my writing has been nil. Until now!

 

Fiona McFadzean is a member of Ayr Writers’ Club. The Club meets every Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at the Mercure Hotel, Dalblair Road, Ayr. There is a £3 charge for visitors, who are always welcome.

2 comments

  1. Great piece Fiona…well worth publicising this avenue for writers. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tracy Harvey

    Enjoyed that Fiona, and thanks for the mention. Cameron’s is definitely an asset to the town and a great hub of activity.

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