Fierce Women Talk Honestly
If any of my blog readers follow my Instagram or Twitter feeds, you’ll have already been bombarded with messages about One Weekend In Falkirk – a four-day programme of arts events, which took place from 25th – 28th January.
My personal highlight of the weekend was an event I hosted, where the aptly named “Women With Fierce Words” took over our usual Rooftop Writers writing group meeting. We also had some beautiful instrumental guitar music by Belgian musician, Nico G.
The evening started off with a writing prompt, the way we would normally begin our writing group meeting. This time, we used Nico G’s music for inspiration, and I instructed the participants just to write down whatever they felt while listening to the music.
For me, the music evoked feelings of nostalgia, of reflecting back on a special memory, and this is what I came up with:
Reflections / staring deep into the mirror of my past / Long summer days at the lake without a care in the world / jumping in naked then wrapped together in blankets by the campfire / And then you kissed me underneath the stars / A kiss that formed new galaxies in the universe of my soul / A kiss that created memories to last a lifetime. / And now, I would trade the remainder of my life / just for one night naked under a blanket with you / with your lips pressed to mine.
Unfortunately for me, the memory wasn’t a real-life one, but I was pretty impressed that I managed to come up with that in the space of a few minutes. Writing to music is definitely something I’m going to try again in future.
Then it was time for the take-over. Women With Fierce Words is a collective of poets and writers from all over Scotland. They come from different backgrounds, but they are all outspoken and passionate when it comes to making their voices heard. The ethos of the group is all about support and encouragement for each other and for other writers (both male and female.)
The fierce word of the evening was HONESTY, and Lesley Traynor and Emma Mooney spoke to us about the importance of being honest in your writing. It can be a frightening thing, to let go and be completely honest, but it can also be therapeutic, liberating, and satisfying.
The thing is, with honest writing, everything is laid bare, the emotion is completely genuine and nothing is contrived. The reader gets to know the real you. I think honesty is a good mantra for real life too, not just for your writing.
A fabulous thing then happened at the event. We had an open mic, with the opportunity for writers to get up and read some poetry or stories. Nobody had been briefed in advance that we were going to be discussing Honesty, but yet some of the performers gave a very honest account which left us practically gasping for breath. One performer spoke about being raped, and another person who had never performed in front of an audience before, felt inspired to get up and share something he had written about his father passing away. It’s the unscripted moments like these, which really turn an event into something special.
The following day I felt inspired so, just for fun, I took part in the “5 things you didn’t know about me” on social media. In no particular order, my 5 things were
- I was a member of the Robson and Jerome fan club.
- I suffer from Trichotillomania, a hair pulling disorder on the Obsessive Compulsive spectrum. At times of stress I pull all my eyelashes out, and sometimes I also pull my eyebrows and head hair. If you ever see me wearing false eyelashes, then that’s why!
- I used to be able to run the 100m in 13 seconds, and one of my biggest regrets is not pursuing a career in athletics
- I studied at St Andrews University at the same time Prince William was there, although I eventually dropped out, as I didn’t see myself fitting in with the other students who were mostly privately-educated and had millionaire parents!
- My previous jobs include – Waitress, Data Analyst, Plant Hire Administrator, Selling Vintage Clothes, Tanning Salon Assistant, Librarian, and selling sweets on a market stall.
Of course, none of these are earth-shattering admissions. But I’ve never admitted them to anyone before, so it felt like a huge thing just to get these off my chest. Completing this exercise made me think about other ways I can be honest in future. Perhaps I will incorporate some of these into my work in progress…
The Women With Fierce Words produced a canvas and encouraged us all to get up and write a word which makes us feel fierce. My fierce word for the evening was CONFIDENCE. These women and the writing community as a whole give me the confidence to keep on doing what I’m doing, they are an inspiration to me, and although I may not seem the most confident person in the room, the transformation within me since I first started writing and performing is immense. I can now say I am confident in my writing abilities, I just need to work on my confidence in performance, and that’s something I look forward to working on at future events.
I’ve met some amazing people since I started my writing journey, and I continue to meet amazing new people at every single event. I left the evening with an invitation to read at Tell It Slant’s Express Yourself anniversary event, celebrating women in poetry. I also arranged a collaboration with a writing group in Edinburgh, so watch this space. So many exciting things to look forward to this year, and I can’t wait!
All photos in this post by Sweet P Photography, courtesy of The Write Angle
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