Our Inscribe Arvon week, 12-17 August at Lumb Bank, provided 14 participants with alternating fiction and poetry workshops with Rajeev Balasubramanyam and Dorothea Smartt respectively. Monday our group arrived between 4-6pm, with some latecomers and an unfortunate last minute cancellation. After our first dinner, we gathered in the Barn for the Inscribe tradition of an Opening Circle, where we introduced ourselves to the group, and stated our hopes and creative expectations for the week. Participants were encouraged to attend both poetry and fiction workshops, for the overall benefits to their craft. Most present opted to attend both. We also asked for volunteers to work on putting together the group anthology for the end of the week!
Our first full day began with a fiction workshop in the morning. After lunch our 1-2-1 sessions began, there were enough slots for each participant to have two appointments with each tutor across the week. This worked well, allowing the fiction writers more in-depth time with Rajeev, and similarly for the self-defined poets with Dorothea. Some writers opted to use a session with Dorothea to explore and discuss creative/professional development options. That Tuesday evening the tutors read their work to the group.
Our Wednesday evening guest writer, Sai Murray was a wonderful choice. As an Inscribe Original, on the cusp of publishing his first full collection in a few weeks, he was an excellent role-model for the benefits of Inscribe and Arvon. He spoke with affection and appreciation about his first Arvon (a partnership with Inscribe) experience, the ongoing nurturing and support he enjoyed from Inscribe, and how these contributed to his development as a writer. He gave an animated and polished performance of the poems that would feature in ‘Ad-Liberation’, his forthcoming Peepal Tree poetry collection’.
On Thursday and Friday evenings we enjoyed readings from the participants. Each was also asked to introduce the group to a favourite book or author. These recommendations were later compiled into a list for the group to take away. On Friday afternoon Kadija George, Inscribe’s other co-Director, fed-back on professional development queries from the group – these were compiled into a handout. Working in small groups, the participants then discussed and developed their own short, medium and long-term goals. They aim to continue supporting each other as a closed Facebook group.
Overall there were a great mix of writers on the course, they really gelled together, sharing experiences and information. There was quite an age-range with the youngest being 22 and the eldest over sixty, and this added to the diverse richness of the group. The week seem to fly! It had its still quiet moments, and its share of laughter, revelations, and epiphanies. The simple act of cooking, and eating together around the wood dining-table, reinforced a sense of community, a sense of belonging. We were all writers on different stages of our journeys, but writers all the same. This Inscribe Arvon week we were able to acknowledge our writer selves, make space for, nurture, honour and respect it – in a week that was described as: “enlightening…, fun…, scary…, challenging…, and eye-opening…”.
All photos by Paul Floyd Blake/Arvon
Inscribe Arvon Residential – 12-17 August
Plans are coming together for our next creative writing residential. We’ll be offering a lo-cost opportunity to Inscribers to spend five days at the lovely Lumb Bank Arvon centre with talented and insightful tutors.
More details to follow…