Supporters were treated to three events in one week at which Lynne Truss, speaking and her friendly and encompassing confidence, made truly enjoyable for those attending. The benefit of the intimate numbers was that real conversations developed and authentic connections were made; the questions people asked made for interesting discussion and a really jovial and stimulating time was had by all it seemed. The dinner and the afternoon tea spreads were, to put it mildly, generous and delicious whether one had a sweet or a savoury tooth.
We were treated to a really hilarious reading of just how much antipathy Lynne has for people who write those round robin Christmas letters from folk who live apparently near perfect family lives. There was no escaping Lynne’s accomplishment at assessing human nature and the choice of ways that the letter was demolished had us all giggling. The atmosphere was genuinely friendly and Lynne managed to talk to everyone.
The writers’ workshop was a great opportunity to respond to the challenges such a skilled and accomplished writer can offer writers. Most of us settle into a style and repeat it and repeat it. But Lynne was having none of this. She focussed on the theme of pests with her pet hate – crows – as the subject we were invited to consider and then write about. To get us into the mood, we listened to a recording of one of her natural history plays for radio. It was really marvellous to see what a professional actor can add to an already brilliant and well researched script.
It is a true wonder of the power of creativity that people are given the same stimulus from the same person and each response is unique: balancing the opposites where each treatment is both similar and hugely different. For participants this was, as ever, the outcome and, as a consequence, each person saw crows from very different perspectives. Different stories were revealed. And this one of the gifts Lynne so clearly succeeded in extracting from participants. She pushed us to learn to speak with another voice and, in doing this, we were richer for our own efforts and able to be the sensitive audience for other people’s treatment of the same subject.
Funny thing …. Two crows spent the day picking into the lawn at Manor Lodge. Were they eavesdropping? Well, perhaps, we’ll never know, but it was easy to imagine that they were!
Manor Lodge was the perfect venue, Katrina’s hospitality and cooking made it a thoroughly enjoyable day. The participants were keen to have more days like this and several people were really disappointed not to have been able to attend.
Please do get in touch if you, too, would be interested in another such workshop with Lynne.
COAST arts, once again are hugely grateful to Lynne for doing so much.
Look out for her article on these experiences in the next COAST arts magazine. If you have not been able to get a physical copy, you can use the link on this website to read it online.