ADVANCED GUNNAS WRITING MASTERCLASS TESTIMONIALS
- Testimonial 59
Catherine Deveny’s motivation is like a hot bullet to the guts. It hits, it spreads and the after effects can last for days. I’ve been leaking words like since I attended Deveny’s Gunnas Masterclass last weekend. She’s anecdotal, hilarious, bossy, damn bossy, she’s effective. She doesn’t believe in writer’s block and after a Gunnas Masterclass neither will you. We wrote, we talked, we listened, we ate and ate, we wrote more, we read. The atmosphere was leaisurly-collegiate and supportive and tribal. I loved it and I’d do it again and again. Thank you, Dev and thank you, fellow Masterclassers.
- Testimonial 58
Why should you do Gunnas Advanced? So that you can spend another day being challenged to write. And basking in the inspiring presence of Dev! Once again, you’ll get to spend a great day writing and sharing with other writers. But this time, Dev will make you read something you wrote. And you will enjoy it and want to do it again!
- Testimonial 57
I found the Gunnas Adbvanced immensely useful and stimulating and I was delighted and excited enough by the prospect of the first graduate class, to jump on the plane from Sydney, hoping for similar things. I was not disappointed. In fact, the day was so productive, it moved beyond the enematic metaphor to become, in spirit, a joyous, creative circle jerk.
Catherine Deveny, leading and inspiring our fecund and excitable group like an alchemist whose base metals are the force of her personality, humour, insight, anecdotes and experience, transmutes the creative journey, in miniature, for all in the room.
We each arrived with different ideas and hopes, united in a common objective; to write better and to write more. The day’s mix of exercises and practice, alloyed to the group commitment to sharing personal reflections and a piece of the day’s work – within La Luna Bistro’s house rules of ‘no judgment’ and ‘only positive feedback’ – created a unique space. I learned to trust my ideas and words more, privileged and inspired by the variety and sheer brilliance of the work and creativity of other Gunnas.
I went along with the idea of securing for myself another push on my rickety plank and chain swing. To postpone the eventual slow-to-a-desultory-stop over the scuffed, dogshit and cigarette butt littered, dirt square that declares the A-frame, suburban park ride of my personal creativity. I was hoping for a push from Catherine to help defy the inevitable slide towards entropy.
To my astonishment, I came away believing that creativity doesn’t follow the second law of thermodynamics!!! No external heat needed.
Within us all, waiting to be released, is infinite inspiration and energy that, exactly like standing on your swing and pushing your legs at the right moment, with the precise balance, focus and effort, will propel you skyward. Weightless, slightly giddy and excited and able to see the magic, faraway, changing horizon, reaching high then whooshing back through the arc, time and time again.
Once you have learned when to push, the alchemy begins.
- Testimonial 56
To all left hemisphere boundary sitters, professional and non – make a date with Dev and get to a Master Class. Be nurtured, entertained but mostly inspired as you discover the depths of your being ripe for plundering and discover what wealth is lying beneath the surface of your day to day musings. Plus you meet, you eat and you laugh. Do yourself a favour and do it. Did I mention there is cake?
- Testimonial 55
I remember learning about the original Gunnas Masterclass. It appealed because at the time, I was the very definition of a gunna. I enjoyed writing and playing around with words and found joy in the way that others strung them together. But I didn’t make time in my life for it or many other creative pursuits – I saw it as an indulgence that I shouldn’t waste time on. (Judgmental much?! Quite the achievement to use ‘indulgent’, ‘shouldn’t’ and ‘waste’ in such a short sentence! But it shows where I was pre Gunnas Masterclass.)
I leapt at the chance to find a way not to let my music die inside me. Desperate times called for desperate measures and even the promise of a creative enema appealed! If nothing else, I thought, at least I’ll be in the presence of Catherine Deveny herself, who is someone who strings words together in ways that bring joy, belly laughs and truth. Crippling self-doubt made me slightly nervous that I’d be busted as a fraud, as a Non Writer who wouldn’t even be allowed into the class, but I did my best to squash that thought while I waited for the day of the class to arrive.
Looking back at how much I changed the way I was in the world since spending the day on the back verandah at Brisbane’s Avid Reader Bookshop for the Gunnas Masterclass, I’m in awe. I went from a Gunna to a Doer. Creative enema achieved and music freed from within and playing out loud! I write almost daily now and enjoy getting lost in it. I have a blog and a commitment to do what I love.
When the chance to do an advanced version appeared, I was in. It was an instinctive response of ‘why not?!’ when I saw an email a few days before the big day. So on the Wednesday before a Saturday class, I booked flights and got my ticket – this is what life is like as a doer rather than a gunna. All I had to squash down this time was the to urge to squeal and do a happy dance worthy of a five year old with a sugar rush (lest I lost focus and accidentally booked a flight to Perth or Wellington instead of Melbourne). I was bursting with curiosity to see what a Gunnas Advanced would do, be, encourage, extract. I was excited by the challenges I knew the day would bring.
It was a collection of interesting and inspirational people gathered around Dev’s table upstairs at La Luna for the inaugural Gunnas Advanced where she wove her magic. She is so much more than merely a regular or reasonable story teller and her observations and tales of adventure got us going. She brought us together and lead us to amazing places, certainly to places I never thought I’d go.
We each came with our own stories, experiences, beliefs and backgrounds and there was a palpable buzz in the room that grew over the course of the day as we were challenged to write in new ways on all manner of subjects. The bar was lifted from the Gunnas to the Gunnas Advanced but it was a case of pushing myself to work to meet the expectations. And I’m unbelievably grateful that I did it. A day after and more than 1700kms away, I’m still buzzing after the Advanced Gunnas and I have a feeling it’s going to linger for a while longer. If you’ve done a Gunnas and have the opportunity to do a Gunnas Advanced – do it, do it, do it. Remember what you loved and what changed as a result of doing the first one and bask in the possibilities of where a Gunnas Advanced could take you next.