Caturday Quickies: Susan McMaster Workshop

Susan McMaster

Susan McMaster (Photo credit: pesbo)

When I originally indicated that I was going to change my blogging schedule to weekends only, one of my online writing friends commented on how wonderful the idea was of a ‘flurry of posts’ on the weekend.

I’ve been posting fairly consistently on the weekends since, but I realized that I have a few things to catch up on.  So this weekend, though the weather is sunny and cold here in the Sudz, I’m creating my own mini storm of blog posts.

Who is Susan McMaster?

Susan McMaster is a past-president of the League of Canadian Poets, poet, and spoken word artist.  She’s given a workshop in the north before, and this time, I decided to partake.

The Sudbury Writers’ Guild had enough funds in its coffers to pay Susan’s fee for the afternoon workshop and to secure space at the newly rebuilt south end branch of the Sudbury Public Library.

The theme of the workshop was Writing through the Emotions.

Susan gave a brief introduction and offered up a couple of samples of her work and the work of other poets to illustrate.  Breath and space seemed to be the key elements to evoking emotion in poetry, and so, when Susan gave us our writing assignment, I was expecting something a little different.

For the first part, we weren’t to write a single word.  Instead, we were to map out what we were going to write in terms of beats.  Long, flowing sentences would be represented by lines and short, curt sentences and breaths by carets.

Though I think several of us (fiction writers, in particular) struggled with the concept, we all dove in with enthusiasm and gave it our best.

Afterward, we had the opportunity to read from either our work of the afternoon, or something that we had brought with us.

Though only two and a half hours, the workshop was interesting and gave me a different way to look at my writing that I hadn’t considered before.