Archives for November 2018

‘Living Legends’ to tutor a Scriptwriting course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We are proud to announce a very special Scriptwriting week with Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, described by the British Comedy Society as ‘Living Legends.’ They are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a FeatherGoodnight SweetheartThe New Statesman and Shine on Harvey Moon.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

And in a new incarnation, they’ve written hit stage musicals, such as Dreamboats and Petticoats and Save the Last Dance for Me, as well as film scripts and award-winning stage, TV and radio plays. And it’s not just comedy: Marks and Gran are producing serious dramatic works as well.The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Listening to words of wisdom on a previous Scriptwriting course

Laurence and Maurice’s week-long course will show you how to craft your work from your original idea through structure, character, plot and finally, script. They will lead you slowly through what makes classic television comedy, using one-to-one tutorials, team writing sessions, and most enlightening of all, studying films and TV series that have become ‘classics’.

They cannot guarantee success, of course, but they promise that you will leave the Watermill a considerably better scriptwriter than when you arrived.

Seeking inspiration in the glorious scenery around the Watermill.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Lawrence Marks and Maurice Gran

7-14 September 2019

Scriptwriting

To find out more about this unique course please click here.  

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Time for a lunch break on a previous Scriptwriting course

 

Before you paint: stop and think why, says Keiko Tanabe

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Keiko’s wonderful watercolour from the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, one of our Watermill painting locations

Our delightful Japanese watercolour tutor Keiko Tanabe is returning next year for her fourth visit to the Watermill and we are delighted to have her back. Keiko will be with us for a special week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 18 May to Saturday 25 May 2019. There are more details below.

When people come on a Watermill painting course, they are always keen to put brush to paper to begin to capture the glorious scenery of the mill at the surrounding Tuscan countryside. But, says Keiko, just take a moment’s pause before you start.

Painters, she says, choose to spend a lot of time in their lives, um, painting. They have an innate passion for the process itself, the sheer act of painting, which drives them on.

 Keiko says: “So let’s make the time spent painting really worthwhile before we actually do it by thinking why: Why do we choose a particular subject?  Why is it so appealing?  Why do we think it’s worth our time (or life, really)?  She adds: “We all can, or should, take a moment before putting anything on paper or canvas, to think what is really inspiring us to spend the next hours of our life with.  Knowing that also helps us make an even stronger statement in our painting as it should be a focal aspect of our visual expression.”

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A rainy day in Fivizzano where we go to paint on market day

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Keiko Tanabe was born in Kyoto, Japan but now lives in San Diego, California. Her paintings show stories of everyday life in different corners of the world. Keiko is a much sought-after instructor and has led more than 130 workshops around the world.

She says: Watercolour painting is a vehicle to communicate my artistic vision on the joy of living and the ingenuity of human creations.”

Keiko is also an inspiring and sympathetic tutor. Her workshops at The Watermill are designed for students who would like to gain a better understanding of methods and techniques to make watercolour paintings that are full of light and atmosphere.

Here’s what one student had to say: What a wonderful and memorable week I have had!! The ambiance was just perfect, and Keiko was a wonderful teacher.”  Another added: “Keiko is a fabulous artist and I learned a lot with her…  I had a truly wonderful week at the watermill. It was perfect in every sense… a magical experience.”

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Evening light on the Watermill vine Verandah: an idyllic setting for aperitivi.

You can find out more about Keiko and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.  We already have eight painters booked in for this week, so we still have room for four more (and their non-painting partners if they’d like to come). And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird 0ffer: there is a discount of £75 if you book this or any of our other 2019 creative courses before 31 December 2018.

Come and join us for a magical week with Keiko!

Keiko Tanabe
18-25 May 2019

Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Start telling the stories only YOU can write! (and damn the consequences!)

Here are two pieces of very good advice on writing from masters of the craft. “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

That comes from Neil Gaiman, best-selling American author of The Sandman and Stardust.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.You can learn how to write about the real you, as only you can do, on Jo Parfitt’s unique Writing Your Life Stories course at the Watermill next June. If you’ve been itching to write some of the stories of your life, as a full-blooded memoir, a shorter journal, over a series of anecdotes or even a blog or two, we’d be delighted to welcome you here. Here are some comments from guests on Jo’s course at the Watermill earlier this year: Thank you so much for the most magical trip to Tuscany, which will stay with me forever!”   “The Watermill is a very special and beautiful place, and everything was organised so perfectly. Everyone was so hospitable, and Joe is a brilliant tutor. Thanks again to you and your team for such a life affirming week.” “What a joyful and inspiring world you have created there… magical days.”

The Write Your Life Stories creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories. Jo says: “The course at the Watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

Jo will be with us again from 15-22 June 2019 and we’d be delighted to welcome you on her course. And don’t forget, if you book now you can take advantage of our enticing Early Bird offer. Yes, there’s a £75 discount if you book on this inspiring writing course before 31 December 2018. You can find out more about Jo and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

And that second piece of writing advice? It comes from the inimitable American author Mark Twain, who said: “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

So, the Duke of Wellington said “publish and be damned!”, but Mark Twain says: “undamn and be published.”  I suspect in this day and age, however, where we are used to much stronger language in print and elsewhere, that our editors would leave in the damns so it’s up to you to delete the verys.

Learn more about the fascinating craft of writing with Jo Parfitt this June.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Some of our guests on Jo’s Summer 2018 creative writing course.

Learn to add the ‘grace notes’ to your Italian

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our good friend and painting tutor Mike Willdridge recently sent me this picture of another friend, Ivana Castelotti, owner of the Elvetico café in the square in Fivizzano, pointing at a sign in her café which highlights the importance of ‘grace notes’ in the Italian language.

The translation of the text is: A coffee: €3; A coffee, please: 2 Euro; Good morning. Can you make me a coffee please? €1.

The point is that these little extra linguistic twiddles are an important part of the Italian language. Most people wouldn’t think of going into a café without saying Buon giorno, and always saying please and thank you.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.You can learn more about the importance of ‘grace notes’, and much else beside on our unique Italian Language course at the Watermill next year. You learn your Italian from the graceful Francesca la Sala, another good friend of ours. That’s her above explaining the intricacies of the language on the Watermill vine verandah. You can join Francesca, soaking up Italian and enjoying la bella vita Italiana from Saturday, 11 May to Saturday, 18 May 2019.

This really is a ‘course with a difference’. Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but you will also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area around the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what you’ve learned.

The Watermill has teamed up again with the prestigious language school Langues Services in Florence to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

A comment from a guest on this year’s course: “Our teacher was brilliant, and the lessons were always engaging, and all the other staff were remarkable in their efforts to make the week so perfect. I enjoyed every second. I loved the tranquillity and the natural beauty of the river as well as the wonderful food and convivial company…”

But don’t forget to say buon giorno to everyone you meet. Grazie mille!

Langues services and Francesca la Sala

11-18 May 2019

Italian language

To learn more about Francesca and our language team at the mill, please click here.

 

 

 

Architect or gardener? Try a bit of both to improve your creative writing!

Architecture…

It is said that there are two types of writers, the ‘architects’, who have everything well-planned before starting to write, and the ‘gardeners’, who have the seed of an idea and simply let it grow as they write.

… and gardening!

I suspect that the successful writer is a little bit of both: you need some sort of blueprint from which to construct your stories, but you also need to allow your creativity to flow spontaneously and let your idea flourish. During Jo Parfitt’s inspiring Write Your Life Stories course here next year she will be helping you with both your writing gardening and your storytelling architectural design!

Gardening: Jo says: “I always include plenty of spontaneous exercises where I present an idea and immediately give students five, 10 or 15 minutes in which to write something. I give them with a seed of an idea, let them start gardening and just see where it takes them; how it grows. For me, I start with the germ of an idea, one that is not yet fully formed, put fingers to keyboard and go with the flow, writing from my gut until my ideas run out. I work out what I am going to say while I am writing it.”

Architecture: Jo says: “After a break (a few hours or more) I return to the piece to put some structure onto it, adding subheadings if I feel I need them, maybe moving the text around a bit and cutting unnecessary words.”

Jo adds:It makes no difference whether you are a gardener or an architect, or, better still a bit of both. It is okay to start off with a detailed plan or with just a seed. What matters is that you accept who you are and learn to craft your natural style into a coherent piece worth reading.”

One of the best ways to begin writing is with stories from your own life, whether it’s for a short blog or full-blooded memoir. Or just a record for your grandchildren to enjoy and to understand what you did and how it was when you were younger. You’ll need motivation and courage, but the rewards will be great.

We had a wonderful Write Your Life Stories course with Joe last summer and here are some of the comments from our guests:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Some of our guests on Jo’s May creative writing course here this year.

“What a joyful and inspiring world you and Lois have created there. Very glad to be back in touch through our shared love of writing and beauty, in which your oasis in Tuscany abounds. With great affection whenever I think of those magical days.

“I had an excellent time at the Watermill and thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality and the company. It is a very special and beautiful place and everything was organised so perfectly. Jo is a great tutor and I think we all had an amazing time. Thanks for such a life affirming week.”

 “Thank you so much for the most magical trip to Tuscany, which will stay with me forever!” 

Why not hone your own writing (architectural and gardening) skills on Jo’s Write your Life’s Stories week here next year? It will run from Saturday 15 June to Saturday 22 June 2019.

Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

She adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo Parfitt has published 32 books herself, helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

Jo Parfitt

15 June to 25 June 2015 

Write Your Life Stories 

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Find a quiet corner to start writing your life’s stories