What happened at Scribblory's first face-to-face creative workshop (ever since the pandemic hit) on May 20, 2023, Saturday, was unexpected.
Due to conflicts in location, weather, and whatnots, Aiko "Aiks" Gillera Hara and Nichelle "Nini" Dizon ended up conducting a face-to-face and virtual workshop simultaneously. Hence, while Zoom participants filled the whiteboard with colors and words, face-to-face participants enjoyed delectable food, good tea, and heaps of art materials lying pell-mell on the table at Conrad Hotel, C Lounge.
The workshop started with a quick self-introduction of the participants and a brief explanation on how letter writing and giving personal letters can satisfy a person's five love languages, as defined by Gary Chapman: words of affirmation, service, gifts, quality time, and touch.
The facilitators then led the participants into a warm-up activity called "Word Connection". A paper with random words and phrases pasted on it was passed around the face-to-face group while Zoom participants filled out a Word file and typed their writing pieces on Zoom's whiteboard. The challenge was to form a letter or story out of the words/phrases without rearranging their order. After 15 minutes, the participants came up with sweet and heart-warming letters and took turns reading aloud their works.
After the individual read-aloud, Nini introduced everyone to letter writing, highlighting the letter writing culture that still exists in the modern times, the proper etiquette in sending letters, and the different types of personal letters. The discussion was followed by a creativity-stimulating activity called "Window Writing", where each participant had to place four stickers on a piece of paper (or Word file for virtual participants) in the form of a window. Then, they had to write any type of personal letter or create a story out of the images on the stickers.
For the second part of the workshop, Aiks led the discussion on the writing aspect of penning letters. She gave practical tips on how to make personal letters more creative: using interesting and descriptive language, adding personal touches, exploring different formats, applying figures of speech, and more. The informative lecture turned out to be preliminary to the last writing activity, "Let's Go, Write!"
To start, the face-to-face participants were given twenty seconds to get as many art materials as they could from the heap on the table. Afterward, they were asked to write to their mother or to themselves or to God and, using the materials they had collected, apply creative expression on the letter. This activity was followed by an intimate and stirring "Sharing Session" where each participant showed and read aloud their letter to the group.
The setup was quite thrilling. In spite of having to multi-task, the facilitators still successfully kept the workshop fun, interactive, and therapeutic. Truly, it had not only sharpened the participants' writing skills but also sparked their creativity!