This morning’s #Writing My City workshop (re-arranged from last Friday when most people arrived too late to do anything, but never mind) took us to a whole new level.
Rather than prepare anything for group participation, I’d decided that we should just write, and then write some more. We had finished our previous workshop in writing mode and sure enough, stories had been written, at least partly.
I was so pleased to find that most of the group had written their stories in English (contrary to what they had told me they would do). I read each of them in turn in a quiet area, with their authors. And I had someone to help translate the two pieces which were written in Afrikaans.
The #WritingMyCity project is about the stories, not about how they are written, but reading stories phrased in the local vernacular is very pleasing.
The stories I read this morning are thought-provoking. They are disturbing and they have got under my skin. These stories have been told from the heart, and they are heart-wrenching. Most important of all, they are real. Powerful stories, written by women who lack power. All but one are from what we so tastefully call the ‘formerly disadvantaged communities’ as if they’re not still disadvantaged. All of these women have lived through very tough experiences.
For some, this writing journey has opened barely-healed wounds which are hard to deal with. But there will be support. For many of them it may offer a way to that special writing space which means so much to me. At least I hope so.
I’m saddened and humbled by their stories. I feel privileged that they have trusted me to read them. I am gratified that now they have the will and confidence to share them further by submitting them to the project.
When we let our stories out into the world next week we will celebrate… with cake!
I hope at least one eventually appears in print.