Take a group of highly creative people sharing their art for the first time, a keen supportive audience, and an array of literary genres and you have a recipe for Creative Magic.
On Friday, October 13th, Creative Magic weaved its spell over an anticipating audience. This event was the successful vision of organizer Cindy Shantz, a teacher and writer, who believed that all those with a creative talent should have a venue to showcase their work – and what better venue than the Nanaimo Art Gallery? The chosen venue was adorned with artwork by a couple of the participants and lent a cozy space with a proper stage-like area for the presenters. Shantz’s vision began in February during the course of her morning pages ritual and has taken flight since that time, through her efforts and support from participants, creating an energetic network of familiar and unfamiliar faces to build the project. All proceeds for the evening’s events go towards a scholarship for one of the presenters to attend the Victoria School of Writing (VSW) 5-day intensive workshop, and VSW will select the winning participant based on their talent.
The evening’s risk-takers were Fran Thiessen (Storytelling), Andrew Brown (Poetry), Eliza Gardiner (Musical Drama), Lorna McNeil (dramatic monologue), Rebecca Friesen (Novel Excerpt), HawkOwl (Myth), and Cindy Shantz (Personal Essay).
“The Creative Magic event is made possible by our first-timers and, essentially, risk-takers presenting their work in public,” said Shantz. “The presenters will aim to evoke the audience with their courageous, outrageous and, hopefully, contagious inspiration for the art of the written word.”
Creative Magic was designed to encourage aspiring writers in all genres to step out of their closeted comfort zones to test their projects on a live audience, which was an intimate gathering, yet large enough to gather a valuable response for the presenters.
“The main goal for the evening is supporting these artists and writers. We are encouraging the artist to make connections and establish support,” said Shantz. “We also hope when people see the show they may be inspired to do their own works.”
The performances included storytelling, dramatic monologue, a novel excerpt, a drama piece with musical accompaniment, commentary on myth, and a personal essay. During the intermission, audience members were encouraged to mingle with the presenters to give feedback and support on their performances – essentially the second part of the goal to create a supportive environment.
Writing is a solitary act and, in keeping with any artist, those who subject themselves to this craft find the process as highly personal and experience certain vulnerability in sharing the results of their labour. Shantz emphasized the importance of “following your bliss and your passions.” As Shantz described in her personal essay ‘On Writing: The Work, the pain, and the Magic’ of writing – despite the sometimes agonizing pain of writing and, sigh, rewriting – there is great satisfaction in knowing “the most joyful part of writing is writing.” The rewards of writing are taken to an even greater level when the words are shared.