Sometimes fate introduces you to someone in a heartbeat. You don’t have time to cultivate an enduring friendship, but that person still leaves a lasting impression.
In June 2015, I found out that a Writer’s Weekend Workshop was about to take place on my doorstep. Barbara Large and Adrienne Dines of Creative Writing Matters were coming to Jersey to host a workshop at the Art’s Centre. I couldn’t believe my luck. It was a rare treat and a brilliant opportunity for aspiring Jersey writers to hone their craft.
I was feeling apprehensive about going to my first ever Writer’s Workshop. My writing output for the previous few years had been sporadic and I was looking for a creative push to get me back on track.
The first time I met Barbara Large, she hugged me. I hugged her back, wondering if she’d mistaken me with someone else. Maybe the apprehension I felt showed on my face… but that hug made me feel welcome and at ease.
I had gone to that workshop hoping to kick-start the creative flow. Ten days after my first meeting with Barbara and Adrienne, the flow had turned into rapids of salivating creative juices and I was several chapters into the first draft of my first novel.
Barbara and Adrienne returned to Jersey together for another two years, but last year, Adrienne came on her own, due to Barbara’s failing health.
It was with a heavy heart that the writing community learned the sad news of Barbara’s death on 4th March 2019.
It hasn’t sunk in with me, yet. I can still hear her soft, but firm voice in my head. Get rid of everything ending in LY.
I feel I have known Barbara for a long time. The truth is our meetings took place over three weekend workshops, but it was long enough for her make an indelible impression on me.
Barbara Large, MBE was the Founder, and for 34 years Director, of the Winchester Writers’ Conference. She leaves hundreds of motivated writers in her wake, inspired by her drive to make creative words matter.
She will be so much missed by all those who were lucky enough to have met and learned from Barbara; a warm, caring person, as well as a passionate and inspiring Creative Writing tutor.
Look, Barbara… no LY’s. Sending you hugs through the ethereal divide.