Category Archives: Word Shed

WordShed Lite visits Gravesend

Photo of the Word Potting ShedAs part of the wonderful Footfall Project from the Gravesend Arts Consortium, we are running creative writing workshops – a version of the WordShed lite.

The first workshop was held on 19 April and the next one is on 10 May.

“My daughter and I just took part in the workshop “The Word Shed” and really enjoyed it. I have to admit I don’t consider myself great at writing, but I enjoyed the different styles we tried, from Haiku, to a creative monologue. My daughter is only 9 but she really enjoyed it too and came away wanting to do more. Thanks for letting us be a part of it.”

Here’s a collective poem we wrote inspired by the phrase ‘Heart of Darkness’:

Heart of Darkness
The Heart of Darkness, a book about time…
When love was shaken to the core and the beating stopped
Silence fell, all breathing was heard
In the church, nobody said a word,
But then organ blasted out and shook the walls
Tumble, rumble, the foundations fall.

A bit like ‘poetry consequences’, each writer only sees the one line immediately before the line they write, so sometimes the poem goes in unexpected directions. Sometimes though, they work!

The next free workshop is being held in Gravesend market, in the Footfall project space, from 1.30-3.30pm on 10 May.

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Writing workshops at Footfall project in Gravesend

Gravesend market door pictureSam is happy to be involved with an exciting arts project in Gravesend, where she will be hosting two free writing workshops as part of the Footfall project.

Footfall is a project organised by Wendy Cottam, of Gravesend Arts Consortium.

The project brings together artists from Gravesend and beyond, to make work publicly in spaces in Gravesend’s market. There will also be a series of workshops and exhibitions, to be held every Saturday from March 22 to May 31 in Gravesend Borough Market, off the High Street.

Sam will be hosting a version of the WordShed in the market on 19 April and 10 May (tbc), from 1.30pm-3.30pm, where attendees can expect to do a range of fun writing exercises, inspired by their Gravesend location.

Find out more about the Footfall project on Facebook.

 

2013 – our highlights in words and images

Happy New Year to all our followers and friends! 2013 was (again) a busy year for ME4Writers.

ME4Writers was started in 2009 by Sam Fentiman-Hall and since then, the collective has worked with over 500 members of the Kent community (focussing on Medway), on over 40 literary projects and events, with the aim of bringing more words to Medway.

ME4Writers is a loose grouping of Medway writers who work on different projects, also doing their own writing projects individually, though is held together by Sam and Barry Fentiman-Hall. Writers and creatives will join us for one or more projects at a time, and most of our projects and events are open and accessible to all. (ME4Writers is now part of Wordsmithery, a literary development company set up by Sam, which also encompasses 17Percent, an organisation which supports female playwrights. www.wordsmithery.info)

Some examples of the sort of events we have run are:  poetry open mics in alternative venues; new writing shows at the Dickens Festiva;, an open exhibition about memory and place – ‘Letters Home’ – in two Medway libraries; a Medway-wide poetry treasure hunt game for National Poetry Day; creative writing workshops and tutorials; took ‘possibly the world’s smallest writing retreat’ to the Fuse Festival 2013; published an anthology of creative writing about cities; and created a walking-writing tour of Rochester and other events for the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival.

A few highlights from this year:

  • May-June: The WordShed at Fuse Festival – we received a Spark Commission from Medway Council to pilot our new writing shed. We lead four creative writing workshops in Strood, Rochester, Walderslade Village and Chatham libraries in advance of the festival. We also made a printed booklet The Seed Catalogue with highlights from the workshops, which was given out at the festival, and online we published The Seed Compendium, a collection of everything (legible) from the Fuse Festival weekend. Find out more about the WordShed on the WordShed blog.
  • July and October: Rochester LitFest – we created a number of literary delights for the new festival. In July at the Garden Party we did a version of WordShed lite in the garden at The Good Intent. Then in October, at the festival proper, we played Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game (in the pouring rain) on National Poetry Day, launched our first full-length book (published by Wordsmithery) City without a head, and led a walking/writing tour of Rochester. For 17Percent, Sam also produced a theatre show; She Writes – What’s through the door?
  •  City without a head: This is the culmination of a long standing ME4Writers’ project. Extracts from the anthology were published in parts as part of a guerilla distribution scheme, where we hid issues of a limited edition fanzine around Medway and further afield (some went to Sweden, Australia and America!) Wordsmithery launched City without a head on 8 October 2013, you can still buy a limited edition issue from Wordsmithery. In November we read extracts from the book on Fizzer’s Radio Show, which you can hear here.

    “this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable. It’s not an easy read – some of it will make your head spin in the sheer density of its intimacy (I now feel like I know each author personally) but it is rewarding.” **** Female Arts

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ME4 go mad for literary fun this October with the Roch Lit Fest!

We are really happy to be involved with the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival (RLF), and Sam is producing several live lit events for it. The RLF is a great idea, there are a lot of festivals that go on in Medway, but none that really focus on literature. (Of course, you can say but what about the Dickens Festival?, but that doesn’t deal in living authors and new work, and also doesn’t have much of a participatory element, unless you like dressing up…)

For the RLF, ME4 are producing three literature events (and also a theatre show, as part of Sam’s other lit dev project, 17Percent). The events are varied, and range from a walking/writing tour of Rochester, to the launch of our very first proper full-length book, with a healthy dose of our yearly poetry treasure hunt Poetrymon, and a night of new plays by women thrown in for good measure.

We kick off with Poetrymon – our yearly poetry treasure hunt around Medway. This year, the poems will have a watery theme. The poems are unique, so follow the clues and find yourself an individual piece of poem-art. (3 October)

On 5 October, see some new writing by women, in ‘A night at the theatre’, where you will have a chance afterwards to ask some of the writers, cast and director about the process of making theatre.

We launch, hot off the press, our new book, City without a head. You might have been lucky enough to pick up one of the original zines the publication grew from (the Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), but it’s grown up a lot since then. (8 October)

After the fantastic response to The Word Shed earlier in the year, we thought it was really important to have some participatory writing fun, so have come up with ‘Write around town’ an opportunity to write about the myth and reality of Rochester and also to invent some myths of your own. (10 October)

You can find out more about our events on the ME4 at RLF2013 page.

Or by going to the Rochester Literature Festival website, where you can find out about all of the events scheduled for the 10-day festival, including ME4 regular Roy Smith’s ‘The Skywatcher investigation’, an interactive story game.

Word Shed on the road #1

We are delighted to say we will be taking over the shed in the garden of the Good Intent, as a temporary squatted home for the Word Shed during the afternoon of the Rochester Literature Festival Summer Garden Party!

Come along and sit in our lean-to between 12noon and 4pm on Sunday 14th July 2013, at the Good Intent Pub in John Street, Rochester, where you can do some writing themed around summer. The party will feature a delightful cultural mix of performances, open mic, storytelling and a special edition of Seasonally Effected.

There might even be an opportunity for you to sit on Charlie’s Chair and get inspired by a local literary ghost!

See more on the Rochester Literature festival website.

The Word Shed at Fuse over… watch this space for what’s next!

Girl writing on pavement paper
Pavement stories…

We had a fantastic response to our project  The Word Shed at the Fuse Festival. We had almost 100 people from ages 3 (with some help from mum!) to 90, who took some time out from the festival (and the sometimes rainy/windy weather), to sit in the warmth and shelter of the shed to do a bit of writing. A lot of those who visited had never had a go at creative writing before, or hadn’t really done any since school, and told us they really enjoyed the opportunity to share their stories.

For those little ones who weren’t quite up to writing in the shed, we also had large pieces of paper on the pavement in Gillingham and Chatham, where they could express themselves in words or pictures, and we had about 30 children writing and drawing on the pavement paper during the two days, with one visitor telling us she had come specially from Gillingham to Chatham the next day, as her children had enjoyed being at the shed so much!

On the last day of Fuse, we launched our Seed Catalogue booklet. This is a creative writing pamphlet containing a selection of writing done during our creative writing workshops (WordShops) in the run up to the festival. We handed out a copy to anyone who came to the shed who wanted one, and also did some readings from this new publication. A few remaining copies will shortly be available from the libraries where we did our WordShops. You can also download it from The Word Shed blog.

Picture of booklets
The Seed Catalogue

We will be typing up and getting all the photos together this week and next, and hopefully have a full PDF of everything we could type up ready to download by the end of the month.Here are some bits of feedback we received:

“This is an excellent, inclusive event. I really enjoyed it and so did my daughter!”

“Being under pressure to think is something I’ve not experienced since exams a decade or so ago and is a singularly uncomfortable experience… But quite good fun!”

“More local artists to be included in the Fuse Festival – Wonderful Word Shed – more, more, more!”

“I heart Word Shed. I think it is cool and fun. I would love to see it next year.”

“We only came to Chatham today because the kids enjoyed the Word Shed at Gillingham yesterday.”

“It’s a wonderful idea, I will come back with the grandchildren.”

Once again, thanks to Fuse festival (The Word Shed was developed with the aid of a Spark Commission), and to Passmores who loaned us the shed for the weekend.

Fuse Festival update!

Picture of a young man writingin the shed.
A shedder in action in Gillingham!

We’ve had a great response to our Word Shed project this weekend, so far.

We positioned the shed in Gillingham on Friday and yesterday we were in a windblown Chatham, along with the other acts in Streetart day.

Today, we are in Rochester Castle Gardens, and it’s your last chance to contribute to the online version of our publication The Seed Catalogue (Download it from the Word Shed blog).

Today we will be alternating a writing session and a reading session, where we read extracts from writing collected during the project.

We will be typing up everything we can from this weekend and adding it to an online version next week, which will be available from the Word Shed blog.

See you in Rochester! (Bring a brolly…)