Sunday, May 26, 2013


Irises by the canal
So France has come and gone like a dream and I had the most wonderful time. My first real experience of  real-life (as opposed to on-line) poetry work-shopping and it was terrifying!! Yet everyone was so friendly and it was such a great group of writers and Pascale Petit exceeded my (high) expectations in every way!
The Chateau Ventenac was perfect and gorgeous and comfortable, our host, Julia, was friendly and efficient and wonderful at accommodating our every request. The scenery was like stepping into a painting, the food delicious, the wine too. There's not a single part of it I wouldn't heartily recommend.
 Most mornings Pascale would set up a writing exercise for us and in the afternoons we all had a couple of one-to-one sessions for individual feedback on our poems. One evening Pascale gave us a reading of some of her recent poems which will be published in her new collection due out next year. On the last evening we all had the opportunity to read our poems from the week in front of a small audience followed by champagne! There were ten of us on the course and I feel so lucky to have met them and be part of such a great group of writers. Most of all, what a privilege it was to hear Pascale read her wonderful poems in such an intimate setting and to have her edit my little poems was a tremendously encouraging experience.It was such an incredibly stimulating week, I've learned so much from the other writers as well as Pascale, I think it'll take me a while to process it all and come back down to earth!

The Canal du Midi
 
View from the writing desk in my room
Canal du Midi flowing in front of the Chateau Ventenac
Roses in the garden of the Chateau Ventenac







10 comments:

Clarissa Aykroyd said...

This looks insanely idyllic. Glad it was a good experience for you, but how could it not be?!

Marion McCready said...

Clarissa, it was! Book up for next year!!! :)

Titus said...

It's lovely to even just read about it! And fabulous pictures - sometimes you forget (particularly after 5 days up and down the M74 in my case) that there is another world just out there. So glad it was all you wished for.

Marion McCready said...

Thanks Titus! oh dear, five days on the M74 certainly doesn't sound fun!

Jim Murdoch said...

The problem I’d have with a place like that is that it’s too idyllic to write. I’d want to be out and investigating. I’d find it a complete distraction. Sitting here this morning there’s nothing remotely novel about this room. It has ceased to be of any interest to me whatsoever. Perfect for writing. That said I’ve always been one who’s arranged his desk so it faces the wall. Also I have a fairly long gestation period so if a place like that did inspire me (which is very unlikely) it’d be years before any evidence of the visit might appear in a book or a poem. But I’m glad you enjoyed the trip. It’d be a miserable ol’ world if everyone was like me.

Marion McCready said...

to be honest, Jim, we didn't have much of a choice! :) we were given exercises and a set time to do something and then regardless of whether we had a few notes, a couple of lines or a full poem, we went round in a circle reading out what we had! pretty terrifying the first couple of days but it really did force everyone to write, totally out of our normal routines and comfort zones and as the course was titled 'extending your boundaries' well it certainly did that!

Heather Walker said...

Wow! This looks so good. I understand the scary bit of writing and sharing, it takes some getting used to but feedback from someone like Pascale must be so worthwhile. What a view from your window - that must be inspiring!

Marion McCready said...

It was wonderful, Heather. And you're right, it was amazing getting feedback from someone like Pascale. She was so nice, friendly as well as being utterly professional, she went straight to the heart of the poem and picked out any problems immediately, I would recommend any course with her!

Roxana said...

madness!!!!!

this is heaven.

Marion McCready said...

it was rather idyllic :)