[this is five of us on our way to SEE Castle Gallery in Cardiff—August 08]
History... That sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? Let’s travel back in time about two years. The Burrow, my writer’s group, was engaged in a conversation about ‘going public’. One of our number had a friend loosely affiliated with a museum in Austria and had this brain storm—what if we mutually promoted—our group writing short stories to paintings in the museum, and then the museum using those stories to promote themselves (and us).
That first iteration fell through, probably because the ties with the museum couldn’t quite sustain the grandness of the plan, but several months later, Tara walked into Castle Gallery in Cardiff and suggested a similar idea (cold—the brass!), only instead of short stories, she suggested drabbles, something our group was inclined to do for fun anyway.
Digression 1: Drabble Definition: A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 word—a great challenge to the writer’s ability to be brief. It originates from Monty Python, something all of us enjoy, but in reality, it is just a great little writing exercise.
The museum manager was very excited by the idea, and there were a few iterations of HOW this collaboration might take place, TONS of hoops and red tape, LOTS of work, culminating in an event they held last December, for which our group wrote… you guessed it… drabbles, for several of the works of art displayed. One of the drabbles was even featured on their invitation!
We decided, leading up to this event, that the Burrow also needed a public face, so we (read: Jason) worked very hard figuring out the format and content. Our buddy Joris helped ENORMOUSLY with the graphics. But we couldn’t just… go live… we wanted to have something SPECIAL…ergo, the Advent Calendar…
It’s a minority, within our international ranks, of people who are practicing Christians, but the majority do come from countries where Christmas is a noted holiday, and many of us remember advent calendars of our youths, filled with sweets, toys, or ornaments to put on the tree—we thought what better than to feature a new drabble each day leading up to Christmas, each paired with an image?
The Castle Gallery Event was a learning experience—one more successful in teaching us the art of grand production than in achieving world fame, though it WAS pretty cool. But the Advent Calendar was something that gave our group a cohesive, cooperative face and was just pretty darned cool.
Since that time we’ve had some months with these high labor features (my favorite was to a Renoir where we each wrote from the perspective of one of the characters featured), and some months we’ve just all written to a single piece, the drabble popping up randomly from the half dozen that have been written. But when we rounded again on December, we could hardly NOT do our advent calendar again. So go see!
A Little More About the Burrow
As writers I am the first out of the chute trying to publish a novel, but I just received Tara’s NaNo novel, so I am not alone on that prickly trail for long! Some day you will all be shocked and amazed at this cheeky bunch of