Every week, I attend a creative writing workshop led by author, Orla Broderick. Orla is the author of The January Flower. She is the creator of one of the most beautiful stories that I have ever read. Her lyrical, sonorous, graceful prose is otherworldly. Oh and when she reads out those delicious words in her lilting Irish accent, a rush of butterflies are released from deep, deep down inside of me, coming from places that I didn’t know even existed.
From the back of The January Flower: “Life and living can be hard. Our narrator, Mary, struggles to find her place in the world. She dances in Nature with her small daughter. She is on a quest to find her own truth. She must learn to focus on Light, on Love through all that life itself can fling upon her.
Mary uses a man to escape the housing estate. She uses his Mother to learn meditation and shamanism. She uses his sister for sex. Yet, her focus is the child. She simply wants to be the best Mother she can be.”
The January Flower paperback can be purchased from Orla or Amazon, and the eBook from Amazon. If you plan to buy the paperback, more of the proceeds will go to Orla if you purchase directly from here: https://councilhousepublishing.com/shop/
I attend Orla’s Sunday writing workshop at The Bike Shed, a community arts venue in Merkinch. She also runs another workshop from The Old Mill in Brodie on Friday evenings. All writers are welcome, whatever your level of ability. The details are at the bottom of this page. I highly recommend this class, and there is coffee and treats!
Orla has extensive knowledge in the area of creative writing…she is naturally talented, and she has been tutored by a wide variety of tutors and authors. I’d known about Orla’s classes for about a year before I finally found the courage to attend. I was extremely nervous, but as soon as Orla welcomed me into the class, I began to feel relaxed. My confidence has grown during my time learning with her. Orla challenges me, leads me out of my comfort zone; she takes me into the places that I would not have ventured alone. I am the type of writer where everything just pours from me unrestrained. Orla is helping me to step back, put a structure in place, and apply the taught skills and techniques to my writing.
This week we worked on narrative voice. We studied omniscient voice, the all knowing narrator. I found this difficult, but with Orla’s teaching method, within three hours, she had me writing in the God voice. One of the other writers, Lynne, was extremely comfortable in this area and repeatedly produced excellent pieces of writing. Listening to her writing was also a lesson for me.
We used props to help us to write and produce stories. There were photographs, maps, rusty keys, a little fish earring, smooth stones, and many more items to choose from. Orla gave readings from various texts, including John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, a favourite from my teenage years. It was like meeting an old friend, as I listened to the sentences forming on her tongue in rich tones. We listened to a C. S. Lewis quote, and we briefly discussed The Chronicles of Narnia…some of my favourite stories. Orla is very intuitive at knowing what her students have read. And of course, we wrote, and we rewrote, and we rewrote again! I won’t give too much away about Orla’s lesson plan.
Next week we will continue to study narrative voice…I’m looking forward to the class already.