The Creekside Reading Meadows

The 29th January 2011 Creekside Reading Meadows

Theme: Open

Activities: Introduction of the Meadows

Reading & Peer Review

The very first edition of this Writing & Reading Club was held on the 29th of February 2011 at the Bookvilla Café.

It turned out to be an intimate tea, cake & reading affair. Everyone hit it off with pretty much everyone from the beginning which made it easier for the conversation to flow. After the individual introductions, Aisha Ali, one of the guests noticed that everyone introduced their writing identity as a secondary. So we had a lawyer, who is a writer; a kindergarten teacher, who is a writer… only the Roundquared Duchess identified himself as a writer first!

Why is writing a secondary identity, and not a proud one? Aisha Ali

Juliet Maruru, the Project Lead at the PP(K) introduced the club and the reason for its formation.

Apart from the website; the Creekside Princess Webisodes and the weekly magazine, the Princess Project team is committed to active involvement in making the community a better a place.

One of the ways we thought we could do that is by setting up a reading and writing club for young women in our community. The purpose of the club is to encourage active pleasure in the reading of material of outstanding quality, as well as creative writing as part of the voice of the young woman in today’s society. However, it is important to note that although the focus is on young women, people of other gender identities are welcome. This is because the world is diverse and so a young woman’s writing voice cannot be well rounded if it is restricted in it view.

The name of the club, The Creekside Reading Meadows, is inspired by the story that is the backbone of the Princess Project (K), The Creekside Princess, a young woman’s story as she finds herself and her place in the world. The ‘Reading’ in the name emphasises the need for active exploration of the written word for entertainment, enlightenment and empowerment. Meadows are field of flowers, often of different shades and indeed genus. This signifies the acceptance and encouragement for women to find beauty in their own uniqueness and in the diversity around them.

The Creekside Reading Meadows will encourage to a large degree the development of creative writing skills, with the goal of creating a thinking and writing revolution among young Kenyan women writers. So as well as the building of writing skills, the Meadows will encourage the exploration of different issues from Identity to Career options. Everyone will also be encouraged to keep a diary of reading lists and writing goals to be achieved within a specific period.

After this short introduction, the guests presents begun to read from their work.

Aisha Ali went first with a poem titled I See. Aisha’s poem provoked a conversation on grief and loss. The poem handled all the seven stages of grief and its vivid nature and the poet’s careful selection of words captured those present from the word ‘go’.

Aisha Ali - gesturing

Writing allows us to analyse and accept psychological processes.

Patricia Waliaulia was next with her poem Crazy, which set off a whole conversation on norms, acceptable behaviour, uniformity and the intolerance of anything different. Plus crazy is not limited. All of us are mad, we just ignore it and focus on the next person’s absurdity. Pretty laughable, ha?

Amidst this conversation the issue about readers being able to separate the writer from the persona of the story or poem came up. When a writer uses first person, does it necessarily mean that he or she is writing about herself? Sometimes a writer decides to use that voice because the story comes out better that way. Writing, in a sense, then, is science. A Formula has to work to get the desirable results.

Patricia - pretty in blue

Can you tell when the persona of a story or poem you read is someone other than the author?

Next was Imani Opar with A Conversation with Fear Personified. The listeners agreed that personifying emotions is a wonderful way to handle the topics surrounding them without necessarily preaching to the reader. But it occurred to us that if you personified fear, and met him at the Coffee Shop, he might turn out to be really cool, and then you might fall in love with him [reference to the movie Meet Joe Black].

Imani - cool black beauty in a hat

What emotion would you like to have a chat with?

Last to read was Mr. Roundsquare who read a Poem that was a conversation between the persona and his father about why women were blamed for mankind’s trouble. Mr Roundsquare obviously meant to provoke everyone, and he did.

We all agreed, feminism is the understanding that women are human beings, pseudofeminism is the ugly movement that turned feminism into an ugly male bashing culture.

What is your understanding of feminism and pseudofeminism and how would you potray both in a story?

Time flew and it was soon time to end the meeting, even before we were done talking. So the next Creekside Meadows is set for February 26th. The Venue will be announced later. The theme of the next meeting is identity. Take it whichever way you want, and let your writing do the talking.

And now, before we go away, please catch up with last week’s Princess Magazine:

First and foremost, the 1st Part of the Second Episode of the Creekside Princess 3

This two part episode follows Gabrielle as she is initiated into The Team. And then she finds out that not only is her boss, Michael Kigen of The Canterbury responsible for killing James and Kevin from Gold Rush in Season 2, as well as Timothy and his goons from A Mystery in Season 2, but also that he might be a serial killer.

And is that the Blackberry Princess floating around in The Team’s Hideout?! Who else is there?! Read Part One.

And then:

  1. 1. The Ivory Punk’s Chat with the Real Nightbirds.
  2. 2. A Review – Song of Lawino by Okot B’Pitek
  3. 3. Conjuring a Soul Mate – Poetry in the Punk’s Twilight Zone
  4. 4. A Good Man for a Princess – Society & Identity
  5. 5. Brand Advocates – Business & Internet
  6. 6. Skeletons in the Closet – Paper Mache with @soul_fool
  7. 7. Picking up the Threads of your Life – Chronic City

Have a fun and productive week!

From all of us at the Princess Project (K)!

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