Today, I did something I haven't done for ages -- I took a class instead of giving one! I did a one-day workshop with Nova Scotia children's writer Sheree Fitch. Sheree calledher workshop "Breathe, Stretch, Write" and we did all of those things. Best of all, I've come home inspired both as a teacher and a writer. Which explains why today's blog entry is entitled, "I Love Sheree Fitch."
Sheree did a number of exercises to loosen up our writing muscles. She calls the kind of work we did today "first burst" and says this kind of material is "vulnerable making." She encouraged us to read our first bursts aloud, telling us she is not "concerned with good writing... [but] with authentic-voiced writing." I thought all that was right on! Sheree's method helped us workshop participants get back in touch with the more playful side of writing.
Sheree also told us a wonderful little story that I want to share with you, dear blog reader. She was listening to an interview with author Anne Copeland -- listeners were invited to phone in and ask questions about Anne's writing process. So Sheree decided to phone and ask Anne how she deals with "demons and doubt." Here's how Anne answered: "I do a creative visualization when I sit down to write. I take each of those critical voices and I imagine them as mice. I take those mice by the tail and put them in a real jar with holes on the lid. Then I put that jar on my top shelf, behind some books. And much later, when I'm all done, I let the mice out and I let them help me edit." What I love so much about this story is that "demons and doubt" have their place. They don't need to be locked up forever, just sometimes... and they come in handy during the editing phase.
Check out Sheree's website to learn more about her and her books. At this very moment, she is on the overnight train to the Gaspe, where she is going to meet some very lucky students come Monday morning. Thanks to Sheree for "sher-ing" so much with us today, and to Carol-Ann Hoyte, organizer extraordinaire for talking Sheree into doing today's workshop.