I’ve been working on a community project for the last 18 months that has culminated in a beautiful book – Life on the Hill. The sessions I have facilitated with Cilla Sparks have taken place at the local library in Colehill, Dorset. Faced with closure, local residents campaigned, saved the library and kept it open. It is staffed entirely by volunteers and is the most welcoming of places, and very much part of the community.
Each Thursday morning people gather for one of the many groups that meet there – Knit and Knatter, Local History, Family History and Just Write. Cilla had asked me along to talk about my writing on one of the fifth Thursdays that occur on occasional months. Little did we know that things wouldn’t end there.
I talked that morning about my writing inspiration – my family. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know how important family is to me.
I loved listening to my grandma’s stories and I truly believe we all have great stories that we want – and perhaps need – to share; some people find it easier to write them down, some by talking about them, others by taking pictures. It doesn’t matter which method you use to record them as long as you capture them before they are lost forever.
The talk was a success and inspired, we decided to use the fifth Thursdays as a writing project, bringing together the people of Colehill to write about their memories, their families and why they love Colehill. Those who attended were enthusiastic and, buoyed by success, we decided that with self-publishing being so much more accessible we should publish a book. So we started the project and invited people to contribute pieces with a word limit of 500 words. All of the pieces were to have a connection with Colehill.
As the stories flowed into the inbox what shone through the words was people’s love and commitment to Colehill. Many of the contributors were not born there – or even in Dorset – but they had come to love the place they called home. And it’s so wonderful to be able to share that pride of place.
Cilla has put an enormous amount of her time, skill and patience in bringing this project to fruition and it wouldn’t have happened at all had she not given of herself so much. These things don’t happen in a vacuum.
The book launch takes place at Colehill Library on Saturday 12th November from 10.00 – 12.30 and if you can possibly get there please come and share the fun we are sure to have.
If you are stuck for something to write why not write about your home, your place of birth, your house, your garden – something that moves you, something that means everything to you. When you love something the words will flow. Don’t try to get it perfect the first time around, let the words fall onto the page, you can tidy the up later. Let the happiness you feel draw you forward.