re-imagine and re-story your life and work

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.”

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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

Creative Wordshops Whats on December 2020

  1. The Drama of the Moment: Zoom Writing Wordshop
    Zoom: Sun 29 Nov 09.30 – 12.40 R340 pp (12 max)
    To the pens Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. Coming back is not the same as never leaving. (Terry Pratchett)
    Dramatic moments are not always about living and dying. When the sky
    cracks open. They are about the silent and vocal in-betweens – when
    change knocks on your your front door, when a dream calls you to attention, when you pack a bag. All writing, in whatever genre – life story, fiction, poem play – is about drama. Paying attention to the moment, to how the present changes, to what happens next. The impact of weather.

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Creative Wordshops December 2020

Dear seeker of words and images

So absolute, it is
no other than
happiness itself, a breathing
too quiet to hear.
(Denise Levertov)

The Education of the Heart

In Thomas Moore’s book (1996) he pays tribute to the sources
that he drew from in Care of the Soul, Soul Mates and The Re-
Enchantment of Everyday Life.
In this letter I wish to pay tribute to four wellsprings, flowing
from an underground stream that I draw from to quench my living
water thirst. They speak, as mystic do, of abundant life beyond
the illusion of borders. These books/poems/stories have been
resonating in the world for years before I stumbled upon them.

http://dorianhaarhoffblog.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Dec-2020-letter.pdf

Creative Wordshops Newsletter November 2020

Dear seeker of words and images
I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” “You’ve caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business, how can I sell sorrow when you know it’s a blessing?” – Jalaluddin Rumi

The Cup of Grief
Grief keeps the heart flexible, fluid, and open to others. (Francis Weller)
Peter Fox, my friend, showed me recently. Francis Weller’s, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. (see youtube video Newschool Comonweal Oct 2016) So grief arrives once again on this month’s newsletter radar.

To write of grief is to write of love- not only in their spacial co-habitation but also in volume – the galaxies of words that have hosted these two shooting stars ever since the first person scratched the first signs and symbols of sorrow in the sand. This letter is rich in a scattering of quotes that have inspired my spaceship’s navigation in such a fathomless cosmos.

The cosmos nescientia – the cosmos of unknowing. Here be skydragons, hurled rocks racing through space. From an unfolding galaxy of light years of literature, I share a scattering, a handful of grief stars. They remain constant even in the unseen dazzle of the joy of the day.

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Creative Wordshops Whats on November 2020

  1. Zoom: The Rough Writing Road: Keeping a Journal
    Sun I Nov 2020 09.30 – 12.40ish R340 pp (14 max)
    Why the rough road? It’s writing that has not been crafted or edited.
    Spontaneous. Rough also as in rough days. It’s the place of beginning.
    Many writers have kept journals. The journal is a
    vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me
    as emotionally and spiritually independent.
    Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my
    actual, daily life but rather—in many cases—offers
    an alternative to it. (Susan Sontag)
    Journals inform and support all genres. As a think
    book a plan book an open-hearted one. Instants
    of inspiration. As William Blake says, kissing the
    moment as it flies. This wordshop will lead you into
    keeping that vital journal.

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Creative Wordshops Newsletter October 2020

Ancestral Karma
Let’s begin with numbers 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024
These numbers = ancestral multiplication. We are at the bottom, the vortex, the focal point of an expanding V. Two parents, four grandparents , eight great-grand etc. etc. In 10 generations over 1000 people are alive in our cells, directly. Singing the chorus of our bodies. We are a choral work.

In Present Moment Wonderful Moment, Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us ‘If you look into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. You are the continuation of each of these people.’

One day we too will be ancestors. If we extend the other way, passing on genes and DNA to those who come after us, we’re into diminishing fractions – ½ ¼ 1/8 1/16 1/32 – half of us in our children , ¼ in our grandchildren, etc etc. Most of us concede that genetic influence, physical attributes, disposition, unresolved issues run down-hill, given that the past influences the present. This is so yet if we move beyond linear time, there are those ever-present moments that TS. Eliot writes of in his oft-quoted meditation:

Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past.

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Creative Wordshops Whats on October 2020

  1. Fiction and Life? The thin line. A Zoom Writing Wordshop
    Sun11 Oct 2020 09.30 – 12.40ish R340 pp (12 max)
    Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream. (John Cheever)
    We love stories for we are stories – living walking talking stories. The Psalmist reminds us we live our days as a tale that is told. We make up as we go along. Our memories are tricksters for we are forever interpreting what has happened in different ways. This wordshop considers how this can increase our sense of aliveness and enrich our lives and writing.
    A fiction writer’s memory is an imperfect provider of detail; we can always imagine a better detail… the most truthful one is what could or should have happened… Being a writer is a strenuous marriage between careful observation and just as carefully imagining the truths you haven’t had the opportunity to see. (John Irving)
  2. The Rough Writing Road: Keeping a Journal
    Sun 25 Oct 2020 09.30 – 12.40ish R340 pp (12 max)
    Why the rough road? It’s writing that has not been crafted or edited. Spontaneous. Rough also as in rough days. It’s the place of beginning.
    Many writers have kept journals. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather—in many cases—offers an alternative to it. (Susan Sontag)
    Journals inform and support all genres. As a think book a plan book an open-hearted one. Instants of inspiration. As William Blake says, kissing the moment as it flies. This wordshop will lead you into keeping that vital journal.
  3. Magic Carpet Writing Group R690 (6 sessions)
    Next Zoom Wed 28 Oct 17. 30 – 19.30
    Need to be part of a fun-loving supportive thinking/being group of aspirant writers?
    …. we meet in an art studio. Writing exercises, conversation, energy, soup and wine. Beginners are welcome… make writing friends ….
    Our 2020 theme? – Once upon a life…… Fairy tales – ancient, modern and us

http://dorianhaarhoffblog.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Oct-2020-whats-on.pdf