Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Rural Writes: Belona Greenwood gives a project update
Rural Writes, our Arts Council supported project, in partnership with the Norfolk Library Service, is in its fourth week now and we are beginning to produce writing that can be featured on the dedicated project blog www.ruralwrites.blogspot.co.uk . I have to say, that all three groups of writers are very productive and there will be a swathe of writing appearing on the blog over the next few weeks. In some places, we have come to special arrangements, where a woman can’t make the meetings because of work commitments, then we are working via email with face-to-face pencilled in for the future. It has been important that no one who wanted to participate should be excluded because of any access difficulties and most of the women who have signed up are genuinely new to writing or exposing their writing to the public gaze.
The Gorleston, Swaffham, and Watton groups have settled into being very friendly, trusting units, where women from different backgrounds, experiences and ages are working together, supporting each other, discovering and learning about the lives of others, laughing and sometimes crying together as they share stories from their lives. These are proving to be very powerful gatherings; there is such a vast reservoir of experience, knowledge, quietly lived and quietly thought wisdom. I hope with all my heart that these groups will continue as places of friendship, support and creativity – in their regional locations but also uniting together as the project goes on.
It’s actually quite hard to write about the countryside; it is almost as if countryside invites a kind of generic response and, in the groups, we are concentrating on finding the particular and personal. There are themes that we explore in short texts and these are completely open to interpretation – the writing that is emerging is exciting, once we cross the border into writing directly from the heart.
These last two weeks, the women writers have been working with the poet Heidi Williamson and even those who thought poetry was not for them have changed their minds. Watch our blog space for some of the results.