Immrama, Lismore Festival of Travel Writing here in Co. Waterford has become one of my annual highlights and more than anything I look forward to the Writing Workshop which is held on the Sunday at the close of the Festival.
This year we were treated to Paul Clements, who lives in Belfast, and who has vast experience as a writer, journalist and tutor. As I drove to Lismore from Tramore, listening to Leonard Cohen’s Greatest Hits, I wondered what this One DayWriting Workshop on Place and Landscape Writing would have in store.
Paul Clements, with his soft Northern accent, is one of those people who has the gift of putting people at ease and waking up senses in a hypnotic way. He transported us – twenty or so strangers – out of early morning Lismore up to the Vee Road – where we fanned out to make ‘nibble notes’ about the vista that opened up ahead of us – Tipperary kissing Waterford. Twenty-five precious minutes to absorb …..
Back at Lismore Heritage Centre, we wrote about our observations for fifteen minutes. I suspect everyone was expecting that we would be sharing our jottings. But, no, Paul Clements is a man who believes fervently in learning from ‘the masters’ and thus began a new journey. We were introduced to delicious extracts from writers that Paul Clements has come to admire and who have been, and remain, teachers to him. Reading aloud, absorbing descriptions that flowed as poetically as the tiny streams at the Vee, hearing startling metaphors through accents as diverse as the styles before us; returning through each other’s lenses to the Vee Road ~ an afternoon that opened up paths, valleys, hues, sounds, ideas, scents, imaginings and strangers like no other in my experience.
Immrama 2012 may be over but the the seeds sown by Paul Clements yesterday are only beginning to settle in the moist soil and those of us who shared the experience have new worlds, pages, margins and friendships to explore.
16 thoughts on “Immrama Lismore 2012 ~ Writing Workshop with Paul Clements”
Hello Jean, sounds like you had a wonderful time in West Waterford. It is a lovely piece of prose accompanied by images of Waterford and the hinterland.
Hi John, yes, an absolutely super-duper day. So fortunate to have been there!
Jean, your photographs are as luscious as your descriptions!
Nancy, many thanks for writing. ‘Luscious’ sums up the natural beauty around Lismore in West Waterford where the festival was held. Co. Waterford is a great County as we have great diversity in lanscape – miles of stunning coastline and to the West, both mountains and ‘luscious’ valleys. What more could one ask for!!!
You have captured the day so well. I too treasure the experience of Paul’s workshop and his great generosity towards everyone. It was a most stimulating and enjoyable day.
Margaret, great to have met you at the Workshop and I’m delighted that you you enjoyed Paul’s workshop as much as I did. A day to remember for all the right reasons.
What a lovely post, Jean. I think the only shame of the day was that we didn’t have more time to get to chat to each other!
Lucy, thanks for writing. Hopefully we get to chat online and meet at Immrama again next year!
Great post about a fantastic day! I’m afraid we didn’t get to talk much, if at all, but it was great meeting so many writers! Love the photos
Eve, I’m delighted to hear from you and hope that Paul’s Workshop was just the start of connections between us all. Glad you like the photos. I thought the cloud formations were amazing that morning, especially the way they hung over the mountains.
Hello Jean, I have read your post several times over the last few days and each time your words take me flying back over to the mountains and to last sunday – you just got the time, place and experience down so brilliantly. Thank you!
Nikki, my pleasure to write the piece. It’s so hard to believe it is less than a week since the Workshop in Lismore. I reckon it will have a lasting impact on us all. I’d love to hear about specific points that really resonated with those who were there?
I seem to have been thinking an awful lot about the power of shared reading.
I know Jean it’s crazy, it could have been a month since passed, the after-effects (shocks?) of the day for me have been significant this week. Interesting about the power of shared reading. It is a long time since I did it. All those different voices – those diverse accents! – singing the same song..
Yes, the diverse accents and even the different tones ….. but most of all the naturalness with which the reading flowed.
Thinking of naturalness, so many thoughts but stones and that piece by Jan Morris have really stayed with me – though what about colour and especially blue …..
Thanks for your warm account of our trip to the Vee and the workshop afterwards.
I can only concur with the comments that all the other participants have already made.
I came away with a lot of practical new ideas for writing. And, of course, with a book list that opens up new vistas. I’ve already ordered ‘The Old Ways’ (Robert McFarlane) & ‘Trieste – The Meaning of Nowhere’ (Jan Morris). Incidentally, R. McFarlane had a very interesting article in the Guardian on Sat (16 June), ‘The Road more travelled,’ – a discussion on the upsurge in the numbers going on pilgrimages. Well worth reading!
I’m busy wrestling with my Blackwater project, ‘Walking the Munster Blackwater,’ which, I hope, will see the light of day, perhaps, in a year’s time.
Happy walking, travelling and, especially, happy writing.
Jim, it’s great to hear from you and it was wonderful to hear you read that lovely piece from ‘Walking the Munster Blackwater.’ I expecially liked your reference to the way bridges featured in the walk as markers and places from which to read the mood of the river.
Thanks for the Guardian Rererence – catchy title!
Keep in touch and good luck with your writing.