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Treasures Workshop – 15th June, 2013


We arrived one-by-one at the designated time, huddling together for warmth while we waited for the last stragglers to arrive* and listening to the rain as it pelted hard on the wide stone shoulders of the bard, who stood guard outside. When it was time, we began.

…It was quite a good laugh, actually.

Ayr Writer’s Club was well represented at writer-director Ewan Morrison’s Treasures writing workshop on Saturday, numbering five of the eight in attendance, including Ewan and the facilitator, writer Ross McGregor. Also in attendance were Teddy and Fluff Monkey – venerable old friends of Linda and Babs’ respectively, a representative from the Mesozoic Era (who sat in stony silence throughout) and various other much-treasured objects.

Ewan, author of several highly acclaimed books, including Menage, Swung, Distance and Close your Eyes encouraged us to briefly introduce ourselves and our treasures before giving us a breakdown of the key elements that he suggested should be worked into our stories; the what, where, when and why, and how they might particularly apply to writing about our objects.

From this section of the workshop the keys points were: that however precious our object is to us, its owner, our task as a writer is to find a way to make our story resonate with readers by finding a common theme; to remember to describe our treasure, physically, emotionally – to make it real for readers who haven’t fallen asleep with Fluff Monkey cuddled up close, or spent hours searching nose-pressed-to-the-sand for an elusive cowrie on a wind-swept northern beach; and thirdly to be true to the memory of what our treasure meant to us – when we first realised it was an important piece of our jigsaw – and not ‘learnt’ details filled in after the event. My own ‘cowrie’ for example, should remain a pretty little seashell, the cause of sibling rivalry, and not transform a la Wikipedia into a ‘marine mollusc (genus Cypraea, family Cypraeidae) with a glossy, domed shell and a long narrow opening’.

Ewan proceeded to quiz us one-by-one about our treasures, skilfully drawing a story from each of us by asking questions around our object, about families, memories and emotions, then zoning in on what really made each of our treasures significant and trying to identify a ‘conflict’ for us to use as the basis of our tales. Suddenly our seemingly mundane objects became the means to bare our souls, launch of into wild flights of futuristic fantasy, or examine the ever shifting society around us; the possibilities were endless!

All in all it was an enjoyable workshop and I think we each left feeling inspired to find the story hidden somewhere within our treasure.

*Janice

Ewan Morrison’s treasure story
Ross McGregor’s Treasure Workshop blog post

written by FN

 

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