And so, my stint as writer in residence comes to an end. I never tire of coming home, but it’s extra special when there’s a creative job-of-work to do.
Provincial Ireland often apologises for itself, and Carlow self-deprecates more than most; it is a place that aggressively hides its light under a bushel. The home of saints (Columbanus, Moling), and scholars (John Tyndall, William Dargan), it is a small but beautifully formed gem-shaped county that, in sporting parlance, punches above its weight. Picturesquely nestled between the Blackstairs and the Wicklow mountains, salved by the biggest of the Three Sisters, the river Barrow, my home county, also consistently provides the restorative tonic of natural splendour.
The work, too, was life-affirming. A central component of my writer in residence role was teaching writing, an activity I have participated in for nearly 30 years and one that enriches me. My diverse background working in theatre, film, animation and radio suggested focusing on ‘dramatic writing’. Not everyone is interested in screenwriting, and for a novice writer getting a movie made seems an insurmountable task, but many have aspirations to write for the stage or radio. My view is that the principles of dramatic writing are the same across the different media.
We examined writing for film, the stage and even animation. I also set my students a radio monologue assignment, but I discuss that in more detail in a separate post.
I want to thank all at Carlow College, St. Patricks, County Carlow Library Service and, of course, Carlow Arts Office.
I hope the experience for the writers’ group attending my class was as rewarding as it was for me to give it. I did get some lovely feedback, so hopefully, that’s an indication of how the programme was received.
“Just want to say how informative and fun it was, attending your class. The power and appeal of stage and screen captivate me more and more….”
“Thanks a million, Marc-Ivan, for a wonderful learning experience.”
“This will sustain me and give me the push to carry onwards and upwards.”
“Marc-Ivan delivers a very interesting course. He is an excellent teacher and very helpful.”
“Marc-Ivan’s refreshing perspective seems to incorporate a multitude of views from world philosophy, theatre, cinema, radio and more to deliver an inspiring and informative learning experience every class.”