Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2020 -21 (funded by Creative Scotland)
"Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough..." Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
It is an honour to be the first writer in residence at Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (PPMBT) where the Scottish National Children's Centre for Literature and Storytelling is based.
Check out their website https://www.peterpanmoatbrae.org/
I love to write new stories, I get excited when a new character pops up in my head and keeps knocking "write a story about me!". I've always wanted to be a writer in residence and I'm so happy that it is with Peter Pan Moat Brae. Even though I haven't been there yet, it's a place created for children to explore, to imagine and a place to play. Writing is very much like that for me and so we are the perfect partnership! I'm hoping to write more fantastical stories than I normally would, and I would like to try my hand at writing picture books which I find so difficult!
COVID-19: As I am unable to at the moment to visit the beautiful Neverland Discovery Garden at the Moat Brae in person there will be some months where I will rely on others to help me be inspired. Being safe at home does not mean that my imagination is on lockdown! It means I just have to find new ways of being a writer in residence.
I realised that there was so many different possibilities that can happen this year and I've already started a notebook of ideas and ways that I can make the my time in COVID-19 lockdown a creative and inspiring one. Dr Simon Davidson, who is the director at Moat Brae has kindly sent me sent lots of interesting archive material detailing the history of the building and Neverland Discovery Garden and I will begin to dig through it and see what treasures I can find. I've also ordered book on J.M. Barrie as I want to know more about him and why the garden was so special.
The next step is to invite children and community groups to send in photos/names of things they have found interesting in their gardens or on their daily walks. And then perhaps, I can use some of those wonderful things in new stories (or creative writing exercises I can share) and then others can be inspired to write too!
I will blog every two weeks so please do keep an eye open for how it's going.
I've begun this hashtag #GrowTallWithStories as we are always growing, unlike Peter Pan who was the boy who never grew up. It can be used on Twitter (@maisiewrites) or Instagram (@maisiechanwrites) to share photos of your gardens or or photos of trips to Moat Brae before it temporarily closed it doors.
Why #GrowTallWithStories? We are always evolving in some way or other. We will get through this time and we will have grown - we will have grown in height or weight if you are a child, in age, in maturity (perhaps), parents might have "grown" back into children as they spend more time playing (I know I have been playing loads since being at home with my two children). And when I think of it gardens, they are always growing and evolving as we are.
Stories connect us, like the clapping we do every Thursday night for the NHS. And we will look back and tell ourselves that we grew through this strange and sometimes sad time; and we will have many stories to tell each other about hope and friendship.
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone on the panel who selected me and all those who have supported me through my journey. Being a writer is not only about aiming to have your words in a book, it's about connecting and having fun too. I can't wait to get started!
Stay safe everyone!