Being Brave

It takes some courage to let people see deep into your mind. For writers, there is a strong drive to open up the lid and let strangers see in — even though it’s scary.

In Whitehorse there is a venue for this kind of vulnerable practice. It’s called Brave New Words, taking place at the Rah Rah Gallery again this season.

Brave New Words is a forum for writers to be brave and read their work. It can be anything from just-started to long-completed, and any kind of writing from scripts to stories to poetry to essays and beyond.

The first Brave New Words of the season took place on Oct. 1, and will continue on the first Tuesday of each month through June.

This season Susanne Hingley is taking the reins from Lauren Tuck, who moved to Australia. The format will remain the same: the evening begins with a musical guest at 7 p.m. and 40 minutes later writers present their work in 10-minute chunks.

Hingley will also continue organizing and hosting writing workshops in conjunction with the event. The workshops are called Brave New Writing, and they’ll take place on the third Tuesday of each month — the first one this season is on Oct. 15.

Hingley’s love of writing is such that she is now devoting herself to it. Her accomplishments include several manuscripts for children’s books, essays, poetry, and a play.

She is also passionate about helping bring the writing community together. The events create an opportunity for writers to come out of the isolation of working alone at home.

“One of the goals for me is to connect the different pieces of the writing community together — to collaborate with the different organizations,” Hingley says. “A lot of people have stories to tell, important things to say that should be shared — and that helps us build a stronger community. Hopefully we can connect them to resources that are valuable to writers.”

While the presentation nights give an audience to ideas that have already been born, the writing workshops are an opportunity for people to dislodge ideas and get them written down.

“I’m not teaching anything, I’m just helping people reach what’s below the surface of their consciousness,” she says.

During the two-hour workshops, Hingley leads the participants through a series of five or six writing exercises.

“We’re trying to reach different parts of the brain or the psyche,” she says. “(Last season) there was so much laughter, and there were tears — it was amazing.”

Workshop attendees come from different walks of life, and have varying levels of writing experience.

“A lot of people who are coming to the workshops have never been published and they want to be inspired — they’re looking for inspiration,” Hingley says. “Students, young people, lawyers, poetry writers in town — a lot of people were showing up. They were making the commitment to set that time aside to write something for themselves.”

The common denominator is that everyone is mustering the courage to take a look inside their own heads and bring the ideas out.

The Brave New Words live presentations take place on the first Tuesday of each month between October and June. The Brave New Writing workshops take place on the third Tuesday of each month. Both take place at the Rah Rah Gallery in Whitehorse, which is located at 6159 – 6th Avenue, and admission for both is by donation.

For more information about these events, contact Susanne Hingley by email at [email protected].

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