Around the world in 3 hrs
by Ana Špehar
On Saturday June 4th 2022 Good Day Cork hosted a multilingual creative writing workshop at the artistic premises of The Living Commons. The project was made possible with the support of Cork City Council and the Heritage and Biodiversity Plan and it was all about nature. This workshop was held in support of the call for submissions to Pathways, facilitated by author Cethan Leahy.
Cethan Leahy is an award-winning author and filmmaker ( “Tuesdays Are Just As Bad”, “The Beast of Bath”, The Amazing” ).
The location where the multilingual workshop was held was a great choice. The Living Commons is an arts organisation and just being in a room full of paintings, handmade wooden stools and other interesting creations was more than enough to get the creative juices flowing.
It was amazing to be able to hear ten different languages ( Chinese/Mandarin, Malayalam, Urdu, Ndebele, Arabic, French, Croatian, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish ). There were 14 people from different culture backgrounds and age groups in one room, all connected to the love of writing.
For many of us nature writing was something new, a theme that we usually wouldn’t write about, but with all the creativity trapped in one room and the room breathing with art, it was so easy to open our minds and let the imagination take over. It was very inspiring to be in a group of writers and to hear some different points of view.
To hear so many different languages intertwine, and to listen to other traditions and compare them to our own was what made the workshop so special, and it definitely awoke the curiosity and inspiration in all of us.
One of the writing exercises that Cethan showed us was writing a short story in which we described a tree, without using the words tree or branch. It was really interesting to hear different descriptions, because each of us had our own idea on how to do it. And it was very helpful to get to hear where other writers found their inspiration for the story about a tree, so some wrote about their childhood memories, some about fictional trees and some about the trees that we currently pass by in our lives.
After the exercise we all agreed that this was something that we would never think to write about and at the start we were a bit concerned, but that made it so much more interesting. It is always helpful to discuss writing with other writers but what made it so much more interesting was the diversity of the group. To hear so many different languages intertwine, and to listen to other traditions and compare them to our own was what made the workshop so special, and it definitely awoke the curiosity and inspiration in all of us. Some of the people attending the workshop were writers, few were journalists or comic-book writers and it was challenging to step out of our usual format of writing to write something new and that’s why it was fun and interesting.
Cethan did a great job leading the workshop, so with his help and guidance we learned that we can even write about things that would never cross our minds before. Such as a three-legged dog on a building site, or an octopus grocery shopping. All it takes is a little imagination!
Cethan Leahy said, “It was my first workshop with adults face to face since before the pandemic and it was a genuine pleasure. I got to hear a wide variety of voices and look forward to what more they will produce! Hopefully this will be the beginning of much more writing in their life.”
The workshop helped us all to connect with each other, with ourselves and with the nature and we definitely left it full of ideas and inspiration. With so many languages in one space it really did feel like a trip around the world in three hours!
Cethan adds, “I’m very excited about the entries we will get for Pathways now!”