Poet Tom Way­man In­tro­duces Writ­ers to The Im­por­tance of the Lo­cal

Moose Jaw Express.com - - FACES OF THE REGION - By Janet Kil­gan­non for Moose Jaw Ex­press

Tom Way­man, a poet from Ver­non, BC, is an author that is of­ten in­vited to the Fes­ti­val of Words as an au­di­ence favourite. He was part of the open­ing day of this sum­mer’s fes­ti­val, pro­vid­ing a three-hour work­shop for other writ­ers on the topic of ‘Place-Based Writ­ing’. Way­man never dis­ap­points.

He be­gan with a se­lec­tion of prose, po­etry, and songs that use place as a sig­nif­i­cant marker - like the James Tay­lor song ‘Cop­per­line’. Way­man notes “There al­ways has to be a story, but Ein­stein showed us how space and time are linked. We re­mem­ber our child­hoods, and we carry threads of mem­ory all through­out our lives.” Way­man then gave a def­i­ni­tion of ‘plot’ as “a re­sponse to a so­cial dis­or­der” and en­cour­aged the ses­sion at­ten­dees to work with it. “We all want to live where there are things that we can count on, both in fam­ily and in so­ci­ety. Great lit­er­a­ture at­tempts to un­der­stand dis­or­der.” The work­shop then al­lowed time for writ­ing. “Imag­ine you are pro­duc­ing a film. You are the set de­signer, and ev­ery­thing you choose tells the time pe­riod, the mood, and might even show where the con­flict is. Un­der­stand the mi­crosense of the space, and con­stantly check in with your­self as to how you are feel­ing about the space you are cre­at­ing.”

Work­shop at­ten­dees then tried their hand at pro­duc­ing a set­ting, in words, that con­veyed nar­ra­tive in­for­ma­tion. Then they added in some emo­tional in­for­ma­tion, whether the emo­tional state of the char­ac­ter or the mood of the piece. “You could even iden­tify some­thing as seen by each of two char­ac­ters ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fer­ent (or op­pos­ing) emo­tional states. De­scribe a chance en­counter - per­haps on a street in Moose Jaw.”

The fi­nal steps were to craft a char­ac­ter who rep­re­sented the lo­cal. “What does this char­ac­ter most de­sire? What mo­ti­vates their ac­tions? What are the obstacles they face? Wrap that in a lo­ca­tion that drives the so­cial dis­or­der of the nar­ra­tive.” Now to go home and write that novel.

Tom Way­man, a BC author and poet, shared the ‘Im­por­tance of the Lo­cal’.

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