In 2000, a small group of writers led by Clare Crossman met at the Reading Room to absorb its history, and think about the changing scenes it had witnessed, and all the people who had passed through it over the years.
Here are three extracts:
Two bearded philanthropists gaze benignly into the distance
A comfortable space and a book to read should be every man’s right, they thought
A room with a past, the photographs tell us that
You gaze at us we wonder what you read and how you lived
Listen hard enough the walls still whisper
Wood has absorbed all the years of speaking
Whispering a gathering place for gossip, away from the women folk
Men sat forgetting their families and thinking
A place of otherness. Where interaction is.
Everything and we can begin to be ourselves
Then absorbed in books we journeyed beyond these walls
This room this space; yet we were strangely still, moved but not
Yet moving. Carrying the thoughts thought here out into
The world pondering them over plough lathe and the bell
Coming back for more like visiting the well.
The roof is held up on a barn oak’s crucks triangles and curved arches sit on top of the walls.
Beneath them a space which is nothing without all that happens in it
The room endures outlasting wars, kings, queens, anniversaries but
Events come and go, people arrive and depart
The maps, the images remain to tell us who we were, to ask ‘what are you now?’
‘What have you done with all we left you?’
We answer: We live in the now.
Change in an ever flowing river which shapes and reshapes sediments
Of the past/ but this creative workshop is one thing we have done.
Reading Room become writing room
Passive become active.
We write the now.
These pieces appear on the Weston Colville Sharing Stories website