If there's a novel inside every one of us, it's useful to have a way to worm it out. Not all of us are dedicated enough to bang it out in a month and some of us are too chicken to go on an academic course. We need something, though, as day dreaming on the bus and getting distracted by the telly are not helping. So, after encountering one Jasmine Cooray reading a poem at the Natural History Museum, we tried out her brainchild, WRITELondon, which offers site specific creative writing workshops around this town.
Meeting at the fabulous V&A on a balmy July evening we warmed up in the Sculpture Gallery, talking to statues and breaking the group ice. After kick out time we hoiked off to Leicester Square to people-watch the pissed up hordes. Jasmine had prepared tasks and situations to shape our experience as we took on the role of sober observers and tried to find space in the carnage to imagine people's stories and scribble down some thoughts. Reuniting with the rest of the crew at intervals, to share, gave an opportunity for laughter and amazement at what other people's heads come up with.
Moving on through the night to Hungerford Bridge we were gifted a large red moon, rising behind St Paul's, in the distance. Suddenly, inspiration descended in the face of hundreds of Friday night revellers tripping home loudly. Snippets of chat informed one participant, a self conscious American amongst us imagined a self conscious American and one of our number was struck with a stream of consciousness and a story almost fully formed. Debriefing outside the Festival Hall after, we were let loose with chalk and inscribed the best of our words and shared ideas in spontaneous street art on the Southbank, feeling finally triumphant, despite our initial inhibitions.
WRITELondon is for anyone who wants to write, who loves words and London and who isn't afraid to experiment with like-minded folk. Jasmine is a delightful host, friendly, encouraging and enthusiastic and offers an informal, safe space for trying out ideas and voices. Tempted? The new WRITELondon season kicks off this Saturday with an all day taster workshop on the senses. If you like what you try, you can sign up for the whole Sense Series or drop into a character evening and really get writing.