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Writer's Slot - August                                                        

Local innovations

In 2003 she became Writer in Residence for Somerset Libraries and also for the Merlin Theatre, this latter at the suggestion of then director Paula Hammond (who wanted the theatre to be a hub to support writing in Frome generally). Among her innovations was the regular Poetry Café, held at the town’s Garden Café. With this she began writing poetry herself; not serious stuff, she insists, but they were published along with some of her short stories.

Crysse follows the energy, and when she feels enthused by a particular genre, something new and challenging, she works at it till she feels she’s ‘got the tee-shirt’, but then, like a tee-shirt, she pops it back in the drawer and moves on.

‘You need to be persistent, but it has to be judicious persistence.’ And the plaudits she gains demonstrate that ‘judicious persistence’ succeeds.

Crysse Morrison

When she was voted Bard of Frome, a comedy competition organised by Frome’s Tim O’Connor for the Frome Festival, Crysse was ‘absolutely thrilled’. She felt appreciated - and there’s a lot to appreciate. She has what she describes as ‘a patchwork portfolio’. Though she’s written all her life, her first magazine article, a gentle guide to friendly divorce, wasn’t published until 1970. Since then she’s written two novels, 50+ short stories, poems, 100s of articles and reviews, and now – plays.

   For many years she contributed a styles column to Writing Magazine, and currently reviews drama for Plays International, a medium she uses to promote Frome and the South West. “I see this as my role,” she says. “Along with my blog, it’s a way of actively supporting the local literary community.”

Crysse Morrison loves writing. ‘I’ve never felt it was a chore, more like a box of chocolates – a necessary, addictive luxury. To me it’s as important as eating and drinking.’ 

Travelling

In 2000 she branched out, initiating a Creative Writing class. Her teaching soon took off. She travelled the UK, and further, with her writers’ workshops. ‘My courses have taken me all over the world - from Thailand to Chile,’ she says. She still runs holiday workshops, mostly in warm Mediterranean settings, believing beautiful environments inspire creativity.

 

Dramatic moves

She has moved on again. Currently she sees her future as a playwright. As with many turns in her life, it happened almost by chance. On holiday with a friend five years ago, she was handed a laptop and challenged to produce a short play. She did, in three hours - and she was hooked. Typically, with her ‘judicious persistence’ this new talent has blossomed.

 

Playwright Rosie Finnegan asked her to co-found a pub theatre, and Nevertheless Productions was born, followed by the Frome Scriptwriters group. These are aimed at supporting and encouraging local writers. Her own dozen or so plays are mostly produced by theatre companies in Bristol, as a result of open competitions or company sponsorship. Her main focus now is the autumn performances of Nevertheless Productions, the new way to enjoy local dramatic talent.

You can follow Crysse’s celebration of Frome’s cultural scene, My Blog – a writer’s life, at http://crysse.blogspot.co.uk/

  And if you’re a writer who lacks confidence to promote yourself, Crysse has this advice:

 

  ‘Do it the way you’d like to do it if you could. You’ll find that you can.'

 

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