I spent last week at Moniack Mhor, “Scotland’s creative writing centre”, a right wee gem that had completely passed me by until a couple of spots opened up on their Playwriting course with Simon Stephens and Lucy Kirkwood, featuring special guest star, Laura Wade.
It was brilliant. I cried a lot about a lot of tiny revelations.
Five nights around a fire, talking about theatre, singing songs, drinking wine. Stars, stars, starts. The Northern Lights even turned up. Abundance. Food, food, food everywhere. So much laugher. So much quiet peacefulness. Spectacular views. Thinks clicking into place. People. Animals. I spent quite a bit of time strolling around the farm and forests around the centre, talking with the beasties that looked as curiously at me and I did to them. Poor cows. They’re going to get munched.
My biggest takeaway from the confetti-canon-of-fantastic from the week is that I’m not shit. I’m not shit, by the way. That’s news to me. Which is quite exciting. I’m not utterly shit. I didn’t realise that I wasn’t fat until I was 27 and I didn’t realise that I’m not a terrible writer until I was 29. I think a lot about needing permission to write, but man, I’m the only one who needs to give me permission.
One evening we shared some of our own work with the group. I'd shared dialogue from two different plays with Lucy and Simon in one to one tutorials. I wanted to try out something that was very different from my usual practice because the group had made me feel powerful enough to try to share something which was far rawer and closer to my heart. And they were ace about it.
Thanks to support from Moniack Mhor. Without their contributions, I couldn’t have made this journey. Moniak Mhor offer grants for all their courses. Find out more at http://www.moniackmhor.org.uk/courses/grants/