Friday 11 May 2012

Writing the Book of the Ancestors at Wise Woman Weekend: Interview with Monica Corish

Monica Corish Creative Writing at Wise Woman Weekend

Monica Corish will facilitate a Creative Writing Workshop at the Wise Woman Weekend in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim on the weekend of May 25th - 27th 2012.

“My idea for the Writing the Book of the Ancestors workshop is to offer writing prompts to evoke the stories of our ancestors, both our most immediate ancestors, and our aboriginal, first ancestors. I am aware that for some people the stories of their immediate family have been lost for a variety of reasons – but we can always imagine. Every family story is, in truth, a mixture of imagination and memory. At the workshop we will then combine our writing with images, and bind these together into handmade books. If participants wish to, they can bring along family photographs, and I will have a photocopier available so that they can integrate these images into their books without destroying precious originals. But, as in my own Book of the Ancestors, it is not necessary to use actual photographs of family members – sometimes it is more interesting to "tell all the truth, but tell it slant", to quote Emily Dickinson.

“My own writing draws inspiration from many sources, including my family history. Some of my poems and stories are based on my own memories of childhood (some good, some not so good); others are based on stories told to me by older members of my family; still others are inspired by snippets of information gathered by my sister Breda, in the course of her research into the family tree.

“The idea for my workshop at this year's Wise Woman Weekend, Writing the Book of the Ancestors, grew out of a commission which Breda gave me, to create images representing my four grandparents, and the four roots of our shared family tree.  This idea grew wings and took flight – I spent days searching for ways to represent each of my grandparents – I didn't want to use actual photographs of them, but rather images that represented them in some indirect but more accurate way. And I went on to write a short poem to accompany each of the four images that I had created. You can see the results of my efforts here.

“I imagine that the "books" that come out of the workshop will, for some women, be an endpoint; for others, the workshop will be the starting point of a longer journey into the book of their ancestors.

“My gem of wisdom for women is to Follow your bliss. Do the thing that you love most in all the world. If you're too busy or too pressured to do it all the time, do it just a little bit of time. And if you don't know what it is you love most in all the world, spend time doing whatever it is that makes you smile from deep down inside yourself."

Monica feels that the greatest challenge facing women today is worrying about money and the future, for themselves and for their children, and holding on to faith in the possibility of joy and a more joy full world.

“I am an artist and a writer, of poetry and short stories – my first collection of poetry, Slow Mysteries, will be published by Doghouse Books in June of this year. I also facilitate writing workshops (I am trained as an AWA Writing Group Leader) – and Goddess/creativity workshops for women ( I have trained as a facilitator with Jole Bortoli of Art to Heart)."

For more details of Monica’s art, writing and workshops log on to:

To attend the Wise Woman Weekend, contact

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