I’m writing these words in Garn Isaf, West Wales. I’m here for a couple of days of rest, relaxation, and rediscovery, after a short but incredibly intense Freefall Writing workshop with Barbara Turner-Vesselago (www.freefallwriting.com).
There is something about her method that enables me (and a multitude of other writers over the years) to get out of our own way when we sit down to face the blank page. The carping voice of the editor/critic that we all carry inside, recedes into the background long enough for our innate creative energy to flow unhindered.
Instead of trying to craft a narrative, wrestling words to fit our intentions, images and scenes emerge from memory and imagination. They demand to be told; they draw words out of us. The language is fresh and unclichèd; the action moves ahead at just the right pace; adjectives and metaphors are exact and evocative; all of our senses are engaged in the process. We are freefalling towards the source – the well-spring – of writing. ‘Go fearwards,’ says Barbara. ‘Find what has energy and follow wherever it leads. Write without a parachute.’
The results are extraordinary. In three days, 12 writers produce a book and a half’s worth of stories and memoirs. We listen, enraptured, as Barbara reads aloud the fruits of our work. We learn from each other and we imbibe our teacher’s wisdom. The intimacy of the group provides encouragement and support to each member. Trust and mutual respect grow as we (anonymously) share our talents and our lives with each other. We leave reluctantly when the workshop finishes, having grown as writers and as human beings.
Thank you Barbara – and all my fellow freefallers.