Writing has been an integral part of my life for a couple of years now. It’s been a kind of duty, but also a deep pleasure. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to fully devote myself to my creative writing during the last few months. I’ve never learned how to write properly and everything I’ve ever posted on various kinds of websites and on social media was created with the use of a trial-and-error method, which resulted in better and worse outcomes. Sadly, I’ve never had a chance to participate in lessons or workshops which would be led by people who would be experts on the art of writing and the ones who could give me some useful tips together with the right feedback. It turns out that there are such places not only in Poland, but all over the world, where passionate people are willing to share their knowledge and provide the less experienced authors with valuable tips. What’s more, they do it in a pleasant and encouraging atmosphere. These are people who not only give some constructive criticism, they are also eager to learn from others.
I’ve been observing some of the libraries located in Charlotte, U.S. for quite a long while. This activity brings me lots of pleasure, as the above mentioned libraries organize workshops for the aspiring writers coming from different backgrounds and writing texts belonging to different genres. Such meetings not only boost their creativity and let their imagination run wild, but they also allow its participants to create the community, which functions not only during a particular workshop, but also in its participants’ free time. It’s a place, where one can find not only writers, but also real friends. Today, I’m truly pleased to introduce you to Pam Turner – a happy mom, author and meditation trainer, who created workshops titled ‘Write Like You Mean It’ for all those, who would like to express themselves, their creativity and believes in the form of a text. All these things and much more is offered in one of the libraries located in the earlier mentioned Charlotte.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Pam: I am a mother, writer and meditation trainer, who has dedicated my life to nurturing and educating children and adults in various creative ways. Formally trained as a musician, my work experience has included arts administration, grant writing, public art production, classroom gardening, wildlife education, and now career support services. The common denominators in my life have been service and creativity and I am grateful to utilize both in my work at the library.
Passion Piece: You’re interested in many fields such as arts, nature or gardening to name just a few. How did they lead you to creative writing?
Pam: I have always been a writer, though it has not been a primary focus until the last 20 years or so. Writing became a way to express frustration or joy and to capture a moment in time. When my children were small, I used the time waiting to pick them up or during lessons to write and was encouraged to submit work and share it more widely. Nature is a wonderful muse, so my interest in gardening and wildlife definitely has led to some writing.
Passion Piece: Inspiration is the key to creating stories which move people’s hearts, and the ones which can’t be forgotten for a long time. What do you usually make use of to stimulate your imagination?
Pam: I usually start with the moment and the emotional state I am in, or a remembered moment and emotional state.
Passion Piece: Are your passions helpful or do you search for new ideas further than that?
Pam: Most definitely my passions have led me to new ideas, also to meeting new people which adds to the pool of ideas.
Passion Piece: Being an author is not an easy task. No matter whether you write poetry, prose and what kind of experiences you have. Is there someone you admire or someone who made you a person you are today?
Pam: Yes, my dear friend Cordelia has been a great inspiration. She is a visual artist but has read and edited and loved my work for many years. Because of her, I applied for and received a grant to have a book published.
Passion Piece: You take up lots of different challenges and you love being surrounded by people who share your love for writing. What’s your main role in the Charlotte’s library?
Pam: My primary role in the library is developing and facilitating programs that serve adults, from career-related programs to writing programs to community conversations.
Passion Piece: Do libraries in the USA today resemble the ones from your childhood? How have they changed?
Pam: Well, I am in my 50s so definitely libraries have changed. I remember card catalogs and copying information onto notecards. Now, especially in Covid19 times, we are moving to offer every imaginable service on a virtual platform.
Passion Piece: You work with a writing group Write Like You Mean It, who are its members?
Pam: I started Write Like You Mean It over 4 years ago to invite library customers to be creative, even if they had not considered themselves to be writers. Some of the regular members are accomplished writers, while others are very casually interested.
Passion Piece: What’s the main purpose of this group?
Pam: The primary purpose of the group is to begin some creative work and to encourage/inspire each other through our sharing and feedback.
Passion Piece: How do the programs for writers look there?
Pam: Since March, we have been meeting online in a virtual space, so it looks a little different. In the library, we would have a room set up with coffee and snacks, writing supplies and prompts. I always begin with five affirmations from Pat Schneider for writers. It is a lovely soft way to open.
Passion Piece: What aspects do you mainly focus on?
Pam: We often respond to a quote or picture, sometimes using artwork or a collection of random objects from my home. Writers are free to write in any genre and to write whatever appeals to them. After a few minutes of quiet writing time, they are invited to share with the group. We offer comments to each other that are encouraging.
Passion Piece: Is there a person who was a participant of your course and who has gained success in the field of writing?
Pam: Several of our current members have published books, not necessarily as a result of the group, but they enjoy the diversity and fun of the group experience.
Passion Piece: Maybe, someone has published a good book? How do you feel about their successes?
Pam: I love to celebrate the successes of our group members. It really adds to the community feel of the group that we celebrate together and encourage each other.
Passion Piece: What new projects are you working on right now?
Pam: My current personal project is a book of poems about love. I am also collaborating on a book that will combine visual art and poetry.
Passion Piece: Which new courses would you like aspiring writers to take up?
Pam: I encourage aspiring writers, first of all, to get busy writing. So often I meet someone who tells me they are going to write a book, but they are not actually doing much writing. In my experience there is a large volume of writing that happens before a single book results.
Passion Piece: What are you passionate about?
Pam: I am passionate about building relationships and seeing the magic that happens in community as a result of the creative personal connections that arise.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
Pam: I am excited by the new opportunities created in these unusual times of quarantine. I am also a meditation trainer and am sharing supportive techniques through meditation workshops to help support the whole person.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Pam: No act of kindness, however small, is wasted. (from Aesop) I believe that the kindness I show to myself and to others has a profound impact on the quality of my life and the quality of my community.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I do hope that we will soon have a chance to read your book of poems!
I believe that Pam has encouraged you to express your thoughts and feelings in the form of a text, which could possibly move more than one of your future readers. It’s worth looking for groups which would allow you to develop yourself and your interests, no matter which field they are related to. And you? Where do you get your inspirations and encouragement for creative actions?
See you around!
Photos by: Pam Turner