who is stuck on words?
As a child I filled every scrap of paper with words. My office was a red wooden desk with matching chair and a cubby underneath to store precious stories.
Even as my legs became far too long and gangly to fit comfortably I insisted on keeping that desk. Eventually, my mother insisted I inherit my older brother's 'grown up desk' once he finished school.
My words still came. Great tumbling cascades of imagination.
Then I stopped. I worked, studied, travelled.
Over the years I bought notebooks and pens, only for them to lay empty, perhaps the first page filled with stuttering prose.
Deep in a bar one night a girl I worked with told me she had a blog. The next morning I typed the scrawled address and read.
Who knows what she wrote about but something in that experience encouraged me to write again. Slowly at first, but I pushed. Eventually the words reappeared.
Two years pass. I am a literacy teacher in London. A colleague pulls me into a meeting during lunch; wedges me into the corner of a booth so I cannot excuse myself.
My reward for being polite was a project I had no desire to be part of. We had been gifted a writer in residence, through English PEN, who would facilitate writing workshops over a six week period for the young people we worked with.
Week one, I was hooked.
Since 2012, I have witnessed how writing has given people a voice, allowing them to re-imagine the world. I have seen people develop the confidence to stand at the front of a room full of strangers as they share their words. People experienced the power in sharing words that might have just sat at the bottom of a draw or not been written at all.
To achieve this all they did was tell stories - funny, heartbreaking, angry, joyful, complicated stories.
How can you walk away from opening that door for people?
I now combine my experience as a creative writing and literacy teacher to create programs which pull apart the writing process by focusing on the analytical and creative side of writing.