Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:34

15.5.2013 - Manchester Literature Festival - Postcards from The Past workshop

Nice review for my recent workshop for Manchester Literature Festival - Postcards from the Past.

  • Stories from the city, stories from the sea
  • Postcards From The Past Workshop, Saturday 11th May, 2-4.30pm, Stanley Suite, The Midland Hotel

Words by Desmond Bullen.

Long before the supposed modishness of flash fiction, prior to the chirpy burst of Twitter, wit at its briefest found its way inked onto the back of a postcard. Denuded of the envelope's discretion, its commonplaces and tidings were status updates on mass-produced cardboard. To come across one now, forgotten between the pages of a secondhand book, is to have the past blossom with the delicacy of a Polaroid before one's eyes.

The postcard is of a room. The room is in a hotel, the kind with a history; one whose inlaid angels have witnessed the relentless ebb and flow of guests and staff over years weary and gay, over decades heavy and light. The tales they could tell are on the tips of their tongues, but their tongues are still. The people in the room are not. They prowl and declaim, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, giving rise to an unintentional poetry, part Dada, part poetry.

And conducting this displaced cabaret is the quicksilver figure of Rosie Garland, a protean figure – neither poet nor mistress of ceremonies, neither March Violet nor author, but all, and more – now coaxing ink from pens in a workshop that is far more play than toil.

There is paper, too; the inevitable flipchart, the outpourings of the group in marker pen across it, like benign graffiti. And the pads and notebooks, their lines no longer flat, but beating with prose of which its authors might be cautiously proud. Each table has a soul or two brave enough to voice their new-found words to the room at large. Each has a postcard to send that's funny or thoughtful, angry or melancholy, flirtatious or droll.

Wish you were here? I was glad I was.

The Postcards From The Past competition, sponsored by The Midland Hotel, closes on 20 July.