The Back of the Box: the story of Imaginative Writing.
I began with a pilot project in Autumn 2010, then ran classes fortnightly for over three years! For most of that time they were based at the Isbourne Holistic Centre, then in the Acorn Cook Centre at Whole Foods Market Cheltenham and eventually online! The aim: to encourage grown ups to play with words and ideas, to permit their own creative zaniness and to surround each other with inspiring wisps of stories.
Overall I ran 68 classes (including workshops and online classes, excluding free taster sessions)
51 students paid to attend at least one class over the three years + one term
Of these, 40 were female and 11 male: approx. 80% female 20% male
Of the 51 students, 22 only paid to attend one class and 12 only paid to attend two classes, showing that people knew pretty quickly whether my style suited them. I salute the courage of all my participants and I respect the fact that many people find spontaneous creativity a challenge. Five people paid to attend six classes, usually in a block, showing admirable commitment to their creative development. It was wonderful to watch your imaginative confidence improve and I’m glad you had fun.
Thanks to Dave, Denny and Joe for attending seven, eight and twelve sessions respectively, whenever you could, and for adding your eloquence and wit to proceedings.
Vibrant beams to another three students for their outstanding loyalty; they began in the first proper class in Spring 2011 and have supported the classes and their own awesomeness for three years! Congratulations to Judith for attending 30 sessions, Katey for attending 42 and Jane for attending 51 (that’s 75% of all the classes I’ve ever run!). A vast thank you for making the effort to be Regulars, for the whimsical and wonderful ideas you’ve shared and for completing a great many evaluation forms!
I intend to run three more online classes: Mon 13th and 27th January and Mon 17th February 2014, which I’d love to see you at. After that I’ll be on maternity leave for a few months. I will resume the online classes as soon as I can and the physical sessions when time, energy and practicality permit!
Five of my favourite exercises over the years:
1. Invent a breakfast cereal for robots
2. For the purposes of this exercise, the Isbourne Holistic Centre is advertising for a guru in residence. Applicants should include: a summary of your philosophy; a wise quotation of your own; how your policies will enable the Centre to ‘create positive lives through education’; and whether you consider a bowl of rice per working day an acceptable wage.
3. Imagine if shampoo and fire extinguishers swapped places in the world.
4. Write the menu for a greasy spoon café inspired by the style of the exaggerated M&S ‘this is not just a salmon…’ advert.
5. Write the diary of a sock, potentially including its adventures in a washing machine.