A Reflection by Diego Gonzalez

It is the end of October, and my group has been working with Pendas Productions. My name is Diego Gonzalez, I’m in my third year studying English and Creative Writing, and I am one of four other other people in my group. The first time that I met with my group at the home of our community partner, Penn Kemp, I did not know what to expect. I was delighted to see how the shrubs and trees in Ms. Kemp’s front yard seemed to allow her house to withdraw from the street outside, while inside all the walls were bursting with colourful paintings and books.

Our group’s project has emerged in a very straightforward way. As soon as we arrived, Penn served us black tea and told us about her upcoming project, and the ways in which we could help her in the areas promotion and production. After seeing the many things that need to be done, and the many people involved in producing a literary work, I would use the word “nebulous” to Penn’s overall project.

In spite of this, she made sure that we each would have the opportunity to produce certain “deliverables” that would demonstrate our contribution to the project. In my case, I will be working with her and another student to produce an interview with Penn and find somewhere to have it published. We will also be helping her with editing and and several promotional materials.

Although we have set manageable tasks for each member of the group, I know that the ultimate goal of everyone’s work is to help a London writer in the process of producing a play. Already I have learned that the process of producing and promoting a work is not straightforward; in Penn’s case, a play that will be put to the stage has additional people involved in the project due to the actors and producers and people who are responsible for the dramatic aspect of the work. It is my hope that my groupmates and I can contribute to the overall effort, while I am personally looking forward to see Penn’s the Triumph of Teresa Harris unfold from a draft to a finished work that I will hopefully be able to attend in spring of next year.

From my experience up to this point, the goals and tasks of each group member have been very manageable. This is because each group member knows what their job is, which I think prevents us from feeling overwhelmed or feeling as though we are not exactly sure how we can or should contribute. While there is good structure in assigning everyone tasks, there is also flexibility because we can help each other on various jobs which I think makes the whole project more enjoyable and also allows to work together and be creative. An example of this is a stage prop that I am planning to design and/or build for the Triumph. I don’t have a lot of experience in doing something like that, but I am looking forward to learning and at the very least hopefully give Penn an idea of what she wants the final product to look like.

While some challenges have come up from having to be self-directed and in part working alone in order to finish an individual task, the only remedy for this is to stay on top of the project and stay connected with Penn and the other members of the group. Part of the challenge also lies in being creative, such as in having to come up with an idea for an interview, and coming up with questions to ask Penn. Good questions must be thought up, reading has to be done on Penn’s biography and previous works, and an interview time and place must be decided.

I am looking forward to completing the interview and having it published, as well as working with Penn moving forward, and engaging with her and other members of the literary community in London in the upcoming Words Festival.

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