re-imagine and re-story your life and work

Creative Wordshops Newsleter May 2021


The architecture of text
Dear seeker of words and images

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran (Coleridge)

Imagine entering a book as if a building, where the writer is the architect. Anne Michael’s depiction of an architect’s design in The Winter Vault, offers such a metaphor:

Sometimes… when I’m looking at a building, I feel I know the architect’s mind…. there are choices that strike me as so achingly personal, and there they are in stone and glass, for anyone to see . . . a man’s mind laid bare in the positioning of each doorway and window, in the geometric relationship between windows and walls, in the relation between the musculature of a building to its skeleton, the consideration of how a man might feel, placing his chair here or there in a room following the light…

Sometimes it seems as if the architect had full knowledge of these thousand other details in his design, not just the different kinds of light possible across a stone facade, or across the floor, or filling the crevices of an ornament, but as if he knew just how the curtains would blow into the room through the open window and cause just that particular shadow and turn a certain page of a certain book at just that moment of the story.
And what of architect poets? Michelangelo, sculptor, painter, engineer – less known as architect and poet. At 74 he took over as architect for St. Peter’s Basilica transforming the western end and dome.

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Creative Wordshops Whats on May 2021

Wherever you are in the world… join a ‘virtual’ group or enjoy one-onone
mentoring…talk to me about choices
I create a space that is safe, supportive and encouraging

  1. Greyton
    Zen Pen: A Writing, Being & Meditation Retreat (space for 10)
    7-9 May 2021
    Fri 17.30 -19.30 Sat 11.30 – 18.30 Sun 09.30 -13.00 (Sat light lunch provided)
    Cost structure: between R780 – R680 pp .you decide
    Accommo: source your own @ reasonable prices

Zen (Chinese chán ‘quietude’) be present,
write simply
Pen (Latin penna ‘feather’) practice the art

in a safe ‘playpen’
In this retreat, surrounded by and part of nature, we explore our connection to writing and meditation. Both these states of grace slow us down so we can live in the moment.
Beginners are welcome. I encourage beginners’ mind. I create a space that
is safe, supportive and encouraging
Come and breathe life into words and let words breathe life into you
Venue: Ronel Wood’s home 9 High Str Greyton
Ronel ronel@ovation.co.za 083 455 6208


We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our silence. (Yeats)

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Creative Wordshops Newsletter April 2021

Dear seeker of words and images
Where shall I write?
You can read in the space of a coffin, you can write in the space of a toolshed.
(Annie Dillard)
Lorianne’s bamboo writing desk, seen in a recent
Emoyeni Zen Pen retreat.
(Part of this letter gleaned from The Writer’s
Voice.) In mid 1994 I visited friends in an English
village. Rebecca pointed out of her back window. ‘Do
you see that shack?” A small outbuilding. “That is
where Roald Dahl wrote.”
So I went to take a look. The single room left as he
had used it in his life time. An armchair and a green
board that Roald Dahl fitted over the chair. Pencil
rubbings still on the green board.

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Creative Wordshops Whats on April 2021

Wherever you are in the world… join a ‘virtual’ group or enjoy one-onone
mentoring…talk to me about choices
I create a space that is safe, supportive and encouraging
[

  1. Temenos McGregor
    Zen Pen: A Writing, Being & Meditation Retreat
    16-19 April 2021
    Booking and payment through Temenos www.temenos.org.za 023 625 1871
    We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see
    their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with
    a fiercer life because of our silence. (Yeats)
    Zen (Chinese chán ‘quietude’) invites us to be present, to live and write
    simply.
    Pen (Latin penna ‘feather’) refers to both practicing the art of writing and to
    the implement we use. It also invites us to play in a safe place – as in playpen.
    Time to write, walk, circle the garden, sit amidst blue
    glass, breathe and be….
    What do writing, being and breath share in
    common? They all bring alive and expand the
    present moment. They invoke a conversation with
    ourselves and others. An exchange of energies.
    Writing is a skill drawn from attention, presence and
    openness – an organic process rather than a talent.
    On this retreat in a sacred space (Temenos) discover
    the writer inside you. We explore our innate creativity
    and imagination as we connect writing to
    mindfulness and bodyfulness

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Creative Wordshops Newsletter March 2021

Images, Triangles, You and Me
The tale is often wiser than the teller.
Recently I was storytelling in Namibia engaging with therapists teachers and cousellors who work with children at risk – courtesy of the Carl Schlettwein Foundation. The theme ? How creativity and imagination offer a path to healing. In one of the exercises I offered one of my ballads, Night Flight, which Erna Buber illustrated. The guiding question – how could you use this with children? Here is the poem and two of the images.

Night Flight

Last night as I lay dreaming
A Zebra came to visit me
I jumped upon his stripy back.
We soared towards our tree.
The tree grew near the window
of our house in Donkeydraai
It rose so high above the ground
Its fruit reached to the sky.
“What is your name?” I asked her.
“and why did you come for me?”
“My name is Zeb,” she answered,
“and just you wait and see.”
Just as we passed the branches
Zeb picked an orange with her teeth.
“If we are travelling all this night,
We’ll need a bite to eat.”
“Now you must keep this orange.”
She rolled it on her back.
I caught the juicy orange moon
and put it in my sack.
I held on to the Zebra’s mane.
As we rose, I stroked her pelt.
I could not see our donkey
who grazed the nearby veld.
We rose above the village
Where people sighed and snored.
Up away in the cool night air
Zeb flapped his wings and soared.
“I think dear Zeb you chose me
Because my shirt is striped?
My granny made it for me
In rows of black and white.”
“You are so kind to the donkey
that lives in the village below.
By the time that morning comes
There is a lot that you will know.”
The moon was full and golden
As we rose up through the night.
“If we get any nearer, Zeb
We’ll soar beyond its light.”
As Zeb and I jumped the moon
she wore a smiling face.
“Molo, dear sister” we greeted her
“Tonight you shine in space.”
Then we flew back above the veld
Near river, jackal and hare.
“These are your family too” Zeb said.
They all looked up to stare.
So we flew on in silence
as I peeled the orange moon.
We made up a song to thank the tree
And then we made up the tune.
Just as the sun was rising
we headed back to Donkeydraai
I still could not see our donkey
We dropped down to land nearby.
“The spirit of life is in everything,
in the tree, the moon, the hare.”
And as Zeb spoke she vanished
And the donkey stood right there.
And as I climbed back into bed
In the village of Donkeydraai.
I opened my arms to my family
in the river, earth and sky.
Dorian (Feb 2004)


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Creative Wordshops Whats on March 2021

  1. Magaliesberg, Emoyeni Buddhist Retreat Centre Zen Pen: A Writing, Being & Meditation Retreat (bookings emoyeni.org.za )
    26-28 Feb 2021
    We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our silence. (Yeats)
    Zen (Chinese chán ‘quietude’) invites us to be present, to live and write simply. Pen (Latin penna ‘feather’) refers to both practicing the art of writing and to the implement we use. It also invites us to play in a safe place – as in playpen. We explore the connection between writing and meditation. Both these states of grace slow us down so we can live in the moment. They increase our awareness and wake us up. We look with new eyes and hear with new ears. We write and meditate on the many changes and transformations we experience as we journey along the river of our lives. We consider how creativity steadies the boat and how writing helps us dip the oars into dark water so we may navigate the river safely.
  1. Your Life, your Movie: 3 Sunday zoom(erang) storyshops-
    21 Feb 14 March 28 March
    Life is a tragedy viewed close-up and a comedy in the long shot (Charlie Chaplain)
    eImagine that you are directing your life as if it’s a movie and scripting (writing about) it. These 3 storyshops offer you an opportunity to do just this. While I suggest you enrol for all three, they also stand alone so each one will benefit your writing and story-telling. These wordshops will explore many questions.

What music score? Songs that evoke memories? Landscapes and seascapes? Places that hold energy for you? The architecture of the buildings?
Session 3: Synchronicities, Mysteries and Rolling Credits? – Sun 28 March
Synchronicities? Mysteries? What recurrent themes and repeated patterns? What symbols carry power for you? How would you represent them? What angles, lighting? What close-ups? How would you use the zoom? Where do you cut? What incidents do you leave off screen? And the ending… and rolling credits?
Payment:
SA: All 3 = R990 Single = R360
USA: All 3 = $140 Single = $50 ($ equivalent in foreign currency)

What music score? Songs that evoke memories? Landscapes and seascapes? Places that hold energy for you? The architecture of the buildings?
Session 3: Synchronicities, Mysteries and Rolling Credits? – Sun 28 March
Synchronicities? Mysteries? What recurrent themes and repeated patterns? What symbols carry power for you? How would you represent them? What angles, lighting? What close-ups? How would you use the zoom? Where do you cut? What incidents do you leave off screen? And the ending… and rolling credits?

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Creative Wordshops Newsletter February 2021

Your life as a Movie

In Wally Lamb’s novel, Felix, a film scholar and lecturer, runs a Monday-night movie club in what was
once the Garde vaudeville theatre. Ghosts from the
theatre’s past appear. Lois Weber (1879-1939) a silent
film actress, screenwriter, producer and director gets
Felix to enter the screen to revisit his childhood in the
1950s and 1960s. Lamb writes:
“That’s what movies are, right? Thousands of still
pictures taken months or years or decades before—
streams of images burned onto celluloid that are
reeled in front of a lamp and projected onto a screen,
allowing us the illusion that they’re alive. Flickers of
light and dark. Brightness and shadow that won’t stand
still—like life itself.”

http://dorianhaarhoffblog.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Feb-2021-letter.pdf

Creative Wordshops Whats on February 2021

  1. Babushka Dolls and you inside You: Zoom(erang) Writing Wordshop
    Zoomerang? We hurl our words across oceans. They return to us with images
    hidden in the curve – like a boomerang.
    Sun 24 Jan 2021 SAST 15.00 – 18.00. USA east coast 08.00 -11.00 (14 max)
    What can these peasant crones [ teach
    us? Russian Babushka (crone) wooden dolls
    (stacking or nesting dolls), are rich in symbolism.
    They offer us wisdom about living and writing.
    Babushka has inspired other sets of dolls. e.g.
    Inside a Pushkin (writer of Russian fairy tales, love
    stories and ballads) nesting doll are other authors
  • Tolsoy Gogol Turgenyev. The dolls connect us
    like the do-ray-me-far music scale to inner and outer harmonies as we
    unpack the different layers in our story.
    Payment: $50 (Payment secures place)
    for UK and European folk the equivalent US$ rate in your currency
    pay via PayPal through my email dorianhaa@gmail.com. ref: your name
    For SA participants (R360)

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Creative Wordshops What’s on January 2021

Wherever you are in the world… join a ‘virtual’ group or enjoy one-onone
mentoring…talk to me about choices
I create a space that is safe, supportive and encouraging
[

  1. Year Begins: 2 Zoom(erang) Writing Wordshops
    To take us through the gate of the year
    Zoomerang? We hurl our words across oceans. They return to us with images hidden in the curve – like a boomerang.
    a. My Collage, Images and Words to Welcome 2021
    Sun 3 Jan 2021 SAST 15.00 – 18.00. USA east coast 08.00 -11.00 (14 max)
    Collages open us to the patterns, themes and rhythms of
    our lives. They can be made simply with a number of
    pictures cut out from magazines and pasted on a large
    sheet. They offer us insights and surprises. And access the
    deep self.
    Explore your creativity and imagination and write about
    the emerging images from your collage – around the
    theme that chooses you. Through this ritual of beginnings,
    we become playfully present. We set intension, possibility
    and evoke courage.

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Creative Wordshops Newsletter January 2021

Dear seeker of words and images


A word is dead when it is said, some say.
I say it just begins to live that day. (Emily Dickinson)

Losing and Finding Words
Words. What are all these slippery symbols? Strung together with gaps between them to create meaning and nuance? To elevate and deprecate? Inspire and insult? Soothe and disturb? Enough words have been written about words to encircle the galaxies. So as we approach another year, this letter offers a minuscule reflection on losing and finding words in one language of the many tongues – English with its vast vocab.
What happens when we begin to lose a world of words? Lose a language with its nuanced imagination? Through ageing, shifts in the culture, stripping significance as we rush into a future? “Words strain, crack and sometimes break, under the burden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish, decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, will not stay still.” (TS Eliot)

http://dorianhaarhoffblog.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Jan-2021-letter.pdf