Can you write for The Pavement? Well, yes, it turns out you can!
Today, four other budding writers and I – all drawn from different walks of life and who’ve all experienced homelessness – were at a pilot project run by The Pavement magazine and Poached Creative. We each responded to an advert, or an invitation, to come along to Poached Creative’s London office to discover how this nifty little magazine is put together – in the hope that we, too, would join its merry band of volunteer writers.
The staff (and Fudge, the office dog) were very welcoming and friendly. The previous day I attended a get-to-know-you interview where I met Carinya (The Pavement’s deputy editor), Jess (Poached Creative director), Alice (The Pavement intern) and Fudge (head of the welcoming party). Even Jess, as director, was not above making me a cuppa – and very nice it was too.
Today, the team – now including Grant (Poached Creative writing and communications mentor) – was joined by us five newbies. After a discussion about the types of media we prefer to access and what we liked about them, we learned how The Pavement is put together and then… our first task: writing for its blog. This is the result!
– Martin Langford, ‘Word On The Street: London’ workshop participant
The day started well, with the sun shining, the birds singing and people smiling. I decided to walk from Hackney Central station to Celia Fiennes House, the venue for the Word On The Street journalism course. As the saying goes: ‘Nothing can go wrong now’. How wrong can one be? Due to some very dodgy and totally erratic directions, I eventually arrived at the venue after walking for about an hour and passing Lidl three times. I was met at the street corner by a very friendly, apologetic and embarrassed member of staff, who had been attempting to lose me and defeat my sense of purpose. Politeness and respect for a lady prevents me from mentioning any name or describing the person.
So I duly arrived. I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere and the welcome I received, considering I was over half an hour late.
After introductions, I began my introduction to the world of journalism. First of all discussing what journalism is. After my initial nervousness I settled, and I felt this group of strangers were becoming a unit, willing to discuss and give their opinions unreservedly.
I felt I am going to enjoy myself, believing I will learn and benefit from this (unfortunately) very short course and I will take from it as much as I can.
– McTaggart, ‘Word On The Street: London’ workshop participant
Here I am, encircled by people who all wish to tell a story. No, I am not at Custer’s Last Stand. I am at participating in Word On The Street: London – a course on journalism.
So now I am in the charge of the Light Brigade. Here I am being guided by people who know the ropes, so even with cannons to the right of me and to the left I will survive.
It’s like being part of the D-Day Landing. I will be victorious.
The great thing about this course is that my fellow warriors are also sharing their knowledge and feelings.
Today I can be reborn or revitalised. I hear of a person who runs a blog, another who wants to tell her story with pictures.
I am now Hannibal – not Lector but the general who took the elephants over the Alps.
– Ian S. Kalman, Word On The Street: London workshop participant