I got back from Tallinn two days ago and I have unpacked the suitcase, filled the fridge and I'm now collecting the photographs and writing this post.
Tallinn is a most beautiful city. Its old town reminds me of Paris and Brno – full of charm and magic. And then it has this whole modern part with uber contemporary architecture and urban sass. It also has the sea leading out to two of its own small islands and onward to Scandanavia.
The reading and workshop was held at the Tallinn Backpackers venue and the events were organised by Míša Dlouhá, who organises Tallinn Creative Writers and had invited me to come to perform and host a workshop. There was a strong turnout of people for both my events and you can see the photographs at the end of this post, all kindly taken by Juan P. Ortiz to get a flavour. Unfortunately there were not many taken of my reading but you can still get a flavour from reading the content.
My reading on the 25th January consisted of a set themed on love, revolution and identity. The 25th January 2020 was the 9th anniversary of the Egyptian uprising – a time in history that I was present for as I was living in Cairo between 2009 and 2015. The set content can be read here: https://www.freewriterscentre.org/blog/tallinn-reading-poetry-film-set
On the afternoon of the 26th January I gave a two and half hour Creative Writing workshop themed on 'identity, distorted reflections and doppelgängers, looking at an extract from Murakami and working on characters, scenes and narratives producing pieces of writing within session time and utilising various writing techniques and methods.'
Míša mentioned about my reading and workshop in this blog post:
It was a true boon to not just be in Tallinn but to be amongst so many writers from various parts of the world and throughout my stay to be immersed in arts and culture as I visited many fabulous exhibitions, installations and performances – amongst them Kumu https://kumu.ekm.ee/, KAI https://kai.center/, met people from KORDON residency https://www.kordon.ee/ where I hope to go for a week's writer's residency later this year and saw A Streetcar Named Desire performed by the Estonian National Ballet http://www.opera.ee/en/lavastus/a-streetcar-named-desire/ and I also had a meeting with the backpackers regarding helping set up a yearly Creative Writing festival in Tallinn – watch this space.
I also visited Helsinki for a few days where I saw some further amazing art – you can see this reactions video I made for information about that: https://youtu.be/Fik_p4YmCx4
I wish to thank again all the people that donated to my crowdfunder campaign which enabled me to fund the travel to Tallinn and accommodation whilst there – you are all true gems.
Now back on Cornish terra firma I am looking forward to giving the full course material that the Tallinn workshop was sampled from and all interested can view and book for that here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/two-part-return-a-creative-writing-course-tickets-90009981277
Meanwhile, individual Editing and Mentoring Services are available by appointment. You can read about the process here: https://www.freewriterscentre.com/editing.html So get in touch if you want to check my availability. And the online shop is always open! :) https://www.freewriterscentre.org/online-courses.html
1. Ode for Cairo
Can be listened to as a live version with music here: https://m.soundcloud.com/linda…/cairo-the-definitive-version
I am coming to you, to your first stirrings in that dreaming sea
Did you hear it as I hear it?
This is an untrackable destination.
The muezzin calls, salutations rise as cars rumble in the wide belly of this night. We cross the Nile, cross ourselves, cross into gypsy heart opened, the tears of so many
whispered with longing for night to meet day, moon to meet sun in endless devotion, earth and sky making love for eternity.
Cruising Cairo by that star powered river; open top convertible, a black jewel speeding through the bracelet of streets. Downtown plunged into pharonic salutes, libations, talismanic truths. Anubis watching still.
The heat and the noise and the light. The heat and the noise and the light
We stumble out into the ongoing night and walk along streets of shadowed images, snakes and lovers entwine to the Nile.
I rise, demolished by drink and heat, demolished by love, everything passes like an hallucination. Lying in the darkness of the Cairo night I see my heart, my winged heart and feel the blood begin to descend and
I don't know, I do not know anything.
And now the totems come; crocodile deity at my knees, Sekhmet above.
Let them come, let them take me; here I am.
It's pouring down upon me; the realisations the abandonment the loss the love the fight the fire the beauty of your form
I want to touch you have your hands on me your lips to mine I want to start and never stop
This city, this madness of streetlife and cars
hawkers and call to prayer
big business and farmers in the mixdown
Oh Cairo you are some strange musical, some script of old, curling under the surface
There in your gypsy glamour and in cool girl heels, lipgloss perfect with perdita eyes
with your galleries and bars, your spoken prayers in fashion boutiques, your hijabs and tight pants, your men with eyes searching for a meeting, your desire for indulgence and dance with denial, your love, your closed doors, your chaos and sanctity
and here I am careering through your streets, changing my life, I felt I was changing my life
What's the time it takes for something
What's the time it takes to know
I thought I knew
I never knew angels had fear
I never knew any angels to ask
And did you hear the djinns in Cairo jaywalking across the stars
as wide boys marked hearts for target practice
Did you ever do what you wanted?
So the tears fell like a rain of white flowers, flushed with the sound of
emptiness is the dreadest weight
and thousands of words and beliefs growing
We are into each other. We fly, we run, we float, we eat the fruit of each other, we taste the possibilities and walk in real and imagined gardens, our souls stroll through rose temple paradises
seduced before the next S P L I T
2. The Cherry
The morning air did not dare to breathe, the trees tried to hide and even the birds kept their songs in on that day, on that day.
The man from the kiosk who always clapped his hands and shouted happily was counting anything he could count, his face turned into his work.
Some people ate breakfast, watching non stop television, aching for live death. Others waited. Waited to die.
And now the jazz piano plays, making you remember, what do you remember, what will you say you saw.
I went to the closed shutters, looked out onto the army tanks, row upon row, as they started to move. Each with a young man atop, like a cherry to the gods, his machine gun aimed.
We knew where they were going, we all knew. And we followed their path, watched and stored what we saw. We said We will not talk about this. We did not say anything.
I heard the sound of tear gas canisters exploding one by one and automatic gun fire scattering opinions yet still there was silence. I saw photographs of burnt bodies sat as charred husks and blood upon blood yet still people said there was nothing to see.
And now the jazz piano plays, making you remember, what do you remember, what will you say you saw.
I saw the tanks return, and those young soldiers were somewhere we could not see them, faces of the underworld forever turned to the dead they had created.
Some people celebrated. Others were quiet. The talking ones were taken away. And they renamed everything to make it clean and right.
But the air saw, and the trees saw, and the birds saw and the wrong stayed alive.
And now the jazz piano plays, making you remember, what do you remember, what will you say you saw.
Lest we forget
Rabaa massacre 14th August 2013
What stories did Nana Lynch read you
of Galway tales and
that blood in your veins that knew the wrongs that needed righting
that blood in your veins that sprang from a flame of red hair and a fight against famine and rule from many years before
I wonder if Eva Peron understood the sneer when you wrote and asked for a jeep
before setting out across that continent of inequality
did she even hold that letter herself, or was it read to her as she had another manicure of invisible blood and misplaced pride
When friends lay dead and Cuba was reborn
how long did the moment burn as you picked up the ammunition
leaving your physician's case behind
knowing the wounds that would have to be opened
within and without
What screams of pain did you shower into the unrelenting Congo night
when the news came of your mother's death
disallowed to enter the hospital
because you were her son
the son that gazed upon a sorrowful African earth and weeped with the canopy that covered your fire
Oh the songs you must have sang in Limerick as they welcomed you with sprigs
and Quinlan captured your thoughts in the airport bay
enroute to your last story with Fidel
and disillusioned with the new power you would leave
struggle to breathe in a Bolivian jungle
that fight for breath being the one fight you'd had all your life
and so few comrades came to help you
their eyes saw a Russian supremacy which wouldn't care for your ideals
Barrientos asked for your head on a spike in downtown La Paz
but it was America that got your hands
What Neruda did you last read
before they shot you in the heart
before they stole your grandmother's watch
before they concreted your dismembered body under the airstrip
and sent out the press release
your amputated hands; shelved as a trophy in the offices of the CIA
4. Kill Your Darlings Parts 1 & 2 Poetry Film: https://vimeo.com/367088816
5. Followed by the reading of Kill Your Darlings Part 3
One day you realise you don't know the exact date any more; the date it began or ended. That date which before marched in front of your head and gripped your heart tight - is lost. Just as the memories of touch are gone. Though I can remember your smile and your eyes. Thoughts of what happened come in flashes, sometimes after months of respite – only yesterday I tried to remember the last time you left the house, the final closing of the door - and I couldn't hear a sound. I closed my eyes to hear it; that angry shutting, that end; but the sound wasn't there. And then I remembered that it hadn't happened that way, with you. With you it was through the telephone only and you said you wouldn't come again, that there was nothing you needed to explain. For your heart had nothing to forget.
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Papa's gonna buy you a dog named Rover
Now those men like ghosts, I watch their faces; perhaps I am the ghost and what an advantage, those ravaged faces, time held upon them, magic and flirtations no longer available in their eyes – only age and the catching up of the body that has eaten them.
And behind their ghosts are the priestesses of Babylon in the temples of healing and the fish head priests, is the lapidarium, the stones standing as a providence within the realm of creation, epigraphs testify to the great importances now replaced, the musty odor of the fall of the Romans, the air of lovers now all gone, nations and empires now columns and fragments, the gates to historic cities dissembled to tombstones for their song, is the torn down theatre, citing fire hazard, some of the beauty remains but much has become defaced, ugly, built over, now one has to find charm in concrete. Some dirty charm. Like a stolen fuck behind an abandoned building.
And if that dog named Rover won't bark
Papa's gonna buy you a horse and cart
Yet for him the tree was emanating light. It quivered and moved, an archaic divine bird, a super conscious being; sparkling, remembering, opening, responding, speaking, awakening. Bright, white light. So much so, that it hurt his eyes. He was looking for a way out of there, for a more comfortable place within that forest for them both to lie down. Perhaps there was a hut or covered area, for they were cold. He was stumbling in the dark, trying to give out that he had a plan, that everything was alright, that he could protect her – keep her warm – that it was just the night and nothing more, just some dark hours to wait through. And then as he trod slowly over the dead bracken and tried in vain to find a resting place there suddenly was the tree – somehow lit – alive with light.
And if that horse and cart fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town.
Do you remember when we experienced the tide turn, that very moment, that magical flip of the water's pull as it started to recede – just as we had begun to be oceaned yet still danced with our veils to our mistress' song. It was you and I and the great blue sea, it was you and I and an alchemical spell that formed a priestesses' alliance in our hearts. Do you remember when we felt that joy, sister, of embracing the path of the heart.
Memory, is like another land with no bridge. Only water that is too strong and too wide to traverse.
The absence of everything kills me.
YOU BEAUTIES! Target of £525 reached! (Picking up a cash donation tomorrow from several anonymous donators).Thank youuuuuuu!
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who funded this European writing project!
I am keeping the campaign page open as I shall be updating it (and here) with news from Tallinn.
And if anyone wants to add any additional amounts ie to cover day to day expenses when in Tallinn then let them know the page is still active :)
Stop the press! NOW ONLY £60 TO RAISE after an anonymous donor has just given £20! (Read about the project in the last updated post and on the Go Fund me page itself)
All amounts help move it on and so does sharing the post.
Only £60 left. Amazing! Help me get there!
View and donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/6k652k0
Please note: some donations have been given in cash, bank payment or Paypal so are not all noted on the site ie it says I have more to get still than I do :) But the figure I give you is correct - SIXTY POUNDS and it's done
I hope you are WONDER-FULL :) and here is my first 2020 newsletter:
I'm off to give a reading and workshop in Tallinn next week! and though they are hosting me for some of the nights there are no fees. Therefore I am raising money to help me with the travel and other accommodation costs that I have already had to outlay - I have spent £525 which consists of £135 on airfare, £95 on train fare, £75 on Stansted Hotel and £220 on accommodation that is not covered by the venue in Tallinn.
I have made a crowdfunder to and now only have £90 to raise! I have already received £435 towards the set goal; thank you Melissa, Jude, Shannon, Alban, Suzie, Zeyad and four other anonymous donors (the page only says £305 has been raised as two people gave me their donations by other means).
I approached several arts organisations but their deadlines had gone or they said there were no funds available.
Please help with ANY amount as it all helps me get out of the red. Link here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/6k652k0
ANY size donation is helpful and I will also give the following:
Apart from donations I would be very grateful if you could share my link where possible (if you can think of anywhere) so that I further my reach outside of my own networks.
Individual Editing and Mentoring Services are available by appointment. You can read about the process here: https://www.freewriterscentre.com/editing.html So get in touch if you want to check my availability. I've just finished interim work via email on an action thriller novel with a Humanitarian NGO worker as the heroine and I'm soon to resume work with a local writer and her book (plot is under wraps for now!). It's always inspiring and an honour to work with upcoming writers.
New course to come soon! – exploring the theme of distorted reflections and doppelgängers and using extracts from Murakami, Dostoyevsky and Alfred de Musset.
And lastly - I've finally joined LinkedIn! :) Please do add me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/free-writers-centre-77222319a/
Bye for now, Linda
Please help me raise £500 to #travel to #Tallinn for a #writingworkshop & #reading in January 2020. All amounts help! Click on the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/6k652k0 to read the #Gofundme campaign and please share it widely with others. Many thanks! 🙏
Here we are at the beginning of December and heading to the end of 2019 and the start of a new decade! Will we all see better in 2020?
That answer is unknown but what I can tell you is that from today through to 1st January 2020 I am offering you all a whopping £25 off all shown prices on any Creative Writing course from the Online Shop! Great for you or as a gift.
Go here: https://www.freewriterscentre.org/online-courses.html and after choosing your course apply this code at checkout: WordUp
All best, Linda
Feeling proud and happy! Today I received the first print run of the book I have been responsible for as Publishing arm for Hypatia Publications! Yay! #civilrights #womenshistory #smallpress
There will be a proper launch campaign via Hypatia Trust in due course! Today is just my personal happy place post :)
Yesterday's workshop 'Death of the Idea, Death of Self' was a real success full of dynamic interaction, dedicated learning, great writing and inspiration.
I love designing new workshops and courses and, even better, implementing them to such positive effect.
For many of you who may be wondering what we actually explored in the workshop - take a look at the poster within the photos for the brief but added to that after exploring situations where death of any kind/limitation/block can arise the writers began writing character study, key scene summary, pivotal points in the trajectory, key locations and sample dialogue. They produced a lot of valuable work!
Due to the success of this workshop I will be offering it again elsewhere :)
All the leaves are brown.. Well not all! Writing is evergreen so please read on for the upcoming delights!
As well as reading here please look at the other pages on my website where you can read about the upcoming news on the Live Courses & Events tab and also take a look at the Online Courses which are available, all six of them, via the online shop which means a protected payment at the touch of a button and immediate download of your chosen course.
If you're on Facebook be sure to get yourself ticking the Like on my new page there: https://www.facebook.com/freewriterscentre/
It couldn't be easier to #GetYourWriteOn!
Death of the Idea, Death of Self
A one off two hour workshop at Mudita House, Penzance, Cornwall as part of The Little Death Festival. All details on the poster.
Book now with a payment of £15 (and no processing fee) via: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/death-of-the-idea-death-of-self-tickets-77622522053 or contact me for other options. Pre-booking essential.
THEN WE HAVE:
Dreams & Writing Course
Wednesdays 6.30pm to 9pm - 6th to 27th November
This intensive 4 session Creative Writing course looks at how to use the alchemy of our own dream tapestry to weave into our creative writing. We can use our dreams to work on theme, characters and archetypes, dramatic structure and plot. We also look at how Jung dealt with dreams and drama and Dreamtime totems and the dreaming of landscape.
Each week we will look at a different subject whilst continuing to learn various techniques and
methods through exercises and grammar play.
Week 1: Focus is on The Dreamtime and You
Week 2: Focus is on Dream Characters
Week 3: Focus is on Living With A Dream
Week 4: Focus is on a Love Letter to the Landscape
Watch this short intro video
And though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that
will eventually startle us back to the Truth of who we are.
Hypatia House, Penzance
Side entrance (on Custom House Lane) of the Regent Basement, Chapel Street, Penzance TR18 4AE
Wednesdays 6.30pm to 9pm
6th to 27th November
How Do I Book?
Payment £80 if you secure your place in advance (discounted - usual price £100).
Via Eventbrite with no payment process fee! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/75832305467
Writer's Mentoring - 1 hour sessions available
And! I'm really chuffed that Airbnb have added my latest service Writer's Mentoring - 1 hour sessions available through the week, most weeks! to their Experiences. It's available throughout the week most weeks and if you wish to have a different time or day just ask! Otherwise book via the link: www.airbnb.co.uk/experiences/1233844?s=67&shared_item_type=2&virality_entry_point=2&sharer_id=190604581