16-19 May 2014 – Warburton

Maya’s preserving words

Transforming Writers workshop presenter Maya Ward writes:

“If you’re sure you want to do this, you’ll have to get onto it right away. They are almost too ripe, and they won’t work if you leave it any later.”

So this morning I bottled blood plums. Don my neighbour brought three bags full of them from his tree, plus the Fowlers Vacola bottling kit that has been slowly rusting under his house for the last twenty years. He also brought twenty-one large bottling jars that were covered in dust and filled with leaves, a few with the remnants of mouse homes inside. So I spent the first couple of hours at the kitchen sink, the sun pouring in through the east window, onto my sudsy hands and onto the old rippled glass of the jars. The water blackened and my fingers wrinkled. I was happy though, bringing things to order, making clarity where there was grime. Yet I questioned my choices – I had so much to do, so many other obligations, why was I spending my hours like this?

All this time, washing jars, then plums, then stuffing plums into jars, I’d not thought to taste one. Finally, I did. It was dark all the way through, richly scented, softly spicy, sweet and melting.

That’s when it all made sense. What a gift that tree was giving, making just about the tastiest fruit I’d ever eaten. An abundance of fruit, too much to eat all at once. My work was to preserve the gift, keep it so we could return to it, and rediscover that rich luscious intensity many times through the dark and cold of a Warburton winter.

Our writing can be like this. Nourishment for lean times. A warm home to return to, with memories shining like light off rippled glass. It’s using the gifts, capturing the inspiration when it’s perfectly ripe, so we can feed ourselves, our families, our neighbours. So keep at it. Keep practicing the craft of preserving.

Maya’s workshop is Writing from depth and mystery  – Saturday 9 March from 2pm to 4.30pm. Book today.

Explore how to cultivate a writing practice of depth, and produce writing that can heal, open and transform both yourself and your readers. Inspired by Buddhism and the poetic traditions, we will explore techniques and processes that can open us to inspiration.

 

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