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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

driving on the left

I have been in Ireland for just a week, but in the way of being away I feel like it has been much longer. It is the stepping out of routines and assumptions that stretches time. Driving on the left, shifting with my left hand, just those two acts change my perspective, let alone taking classes in a castle, residing in a stone cottage, next to a stone barn and overlooking green fields marked out with stone fences.

Today is the first day of real rain, hard blowing wind and low clinging gray. There is no call to outside except for looking through the windows. As luck would have it my housemates from the conference are off to classes and I have the place to myself, so I’ve settled in the living room with a fire and cup of tea and have been mulling and playing at lines of poetry and beginning to let my head turn around to a new idea on how I can actually write this novel, how to tell a story I’ve been carrying around for years but only know snatches of, even though those snatches are clear, and the voice they are whispered in clearer still.

In the workshop I am taking

the first part of writing is dreaming, not a lazy summer afternoon day dream but a dream that sustains with dimensions and voice, until you so clearly inhabit it that all you have to do is tell the story as if it was one you knew by heart.  Simple, of course not , there is first letting your self go into free fall in order inhabit that place of dreamlike story weaving, what my teacher calls dreamstorming,  and then there is the discipline of writing it out, tending to the daily work of putting down words. The difference here that has turned me on my head is the time invested in that dreamstorming stage. Instead of writing draft after draft he advocates knowing the story through first and then writing it down.  It will likely change as you move through the narrative but the voice will be steady and guide (my words not his)

 So here I am with a few more days left in Ireland, another in the company of writers and then two on my own. The wet and wind and low lying clouds seem just right.

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