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Report from the Pyjama Front

 
“Though we live in a world that dreams
of ending that always seems about to give in,
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.”
~ Brendan Kennelly
(from his poem “Begin”)
 

In the Aesop’s fable about the hare and the tortoise, I always felt sorry for the hare. That silken runner had everything necessary to win that race. The fable says that he was so sure that he had a winning head start on the tortoise that he thought he’d lie down and take a nap.

If the fable took place today, he’d have stopped to check his emails, or gone onto Facebook, and gotten fatally distracted.

When it comes to my writing I’ve always been a binger, never managing to fit it in steadily. I would hare away on a writing retreat and produce 70 pages in 12 days. And then nothing for months, as I returned to my paying work, my livelihood, my overcommitted life.

Thanks to Pyjama Writing, I have much more admiration for the tortoise. The steady accretion of pages on my big projects, one hour at a time, four steady hours a week, feels like a miracle. The putting first of my own artistic practice—at least for those four hours—is a revelation.

In the last month, as pressure with work has geared up, I have also used those dedicated hours to produce other writing that I would have delayed starting on. It’s not just my artistic projects that fill me with anxiety—any kind of commitment around writing that will be read and evaluated by others can trip the procrastination switch. So recently I’ve also allowed myself to use the pyjama writing time to force myself to sit still and put words on the page. Messy first draft words, clay that can be shaped into something more elegant.

In fact I’m doing it right now with this blog post. The version of it you are reading (now for you, in the future for me), is nothing like the messy version I am typing right now. At least I’m hoping it isn’t/won’t be. 🙂

And many people who have come to Pyjama Writing over the last few months (and who are still coming) are also startled to find out how these hours of communal silence can add up to a significant word count. You can read their TESTIMONIALS here.

So this is a reminder and an invitation. I continued Pyjama Writing through April and will continue at least until the end of May. (That’s as far as I can see right now).

Except for May 10 (a Hakomi training event – the last one of the season and I’m getting very close to certification!) and May 31, when I will be leading an evening session for AWA’s Write Around the World on memoir with Stephanie Curry (which you’re invited to!) Click here to read when I am leading these sessions.

As Brendan Kennelly’s poem invites us, begin again. If you were coming before and have dropped away and if your dedication to your writing has suffered because of it, feel free to come back when and if it suits you. If you haven’t tried it yet, feel free to drop into a session and see if the quiet, dedicated companionship of other writers helps you keep your butt in the chair and your fingers on your pen or the keyboard.

As always, the sessions continue to be offered at no cost. All you have to do is register. (Although, if you want to make a donation to Amherst Writers social justice programs, all donations of any size are gratefully received. This year, in addition to building their program of writing workshops for Veterans and their families, they are offering scholarships to BIPOC and other individuals to make sure the AWA method reaches the populations whose unheard voices need to be in the world.)

You can see all the dates for the upcoming Pyjama Sessions till the end of May at this link.

Looking forward to writing with you soon in the way of the tortoise – slow and steady builds the manuscript!

Warmest,

 
 

Sue Reynolds

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Write Around the World


May is the month when Amherst Writers reaches out to writers everywhere by holding Write Around the World (WAW). This is their yearly fundraiser—Workshop leaders volunteer their time to lead AWA Method workshops. The sessions are offered on a donation basis because we want to make it accessible so people who have never experienced the method get a chance to try it out.

I will be donating my time to lead 3 WAW workshops and James will be leading one about poetry with Kate Marshall Flaherty.

Please go here to read more: Write Around the World with Inkslingers

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Spirit of the Hills – Word on the Hills – Sue’s interview


I was delighted when Word on the Hills, hosted by Gwynn Scheltema and Chris Cameron, asked to interview me a few weeks ago. The show is airing on Sunday May 2, at 1:00 pm on 89.7 FM, streamed at northumberland897.ca. If you can’t listen to it at that time, it will be archived by May 4, 2021 at wordonthehills.com.

 

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Registration is open for our Autumn Workshops:

Autumn Sanctuaries posted – Writing with Sue, Poetry with James

Dates and registration are up HERE for our Sanctuaries. This fall, while vaccination in Canada is still uncertain, sanctuaries will all still happen online. James is offering some Poetry-focussed Sanctuaries again at last now called “Write and Learn Poetry”.

We’ve also announced the dates of our year long workshops starting in September and registration is open for:

In January of 2022 we’ll also be doing an online version of our 8 week intensive “Navigating the Publishing Marketplace with Confidence”.

Looking forward to mentoring your words and your pages!

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