But London is rather a long way to travel for a writing workshop day. Instead I’m heading off to Hexham this morning, a short distance of only 17 miles, to participate in a Bank Holiday Monday writing day under the auspices of Claire Lynn, who has been tutor and mentor for writing groups for many years. I was lucky to join one of her groups in the autumn of 2019, and the experience has been wonderful, life-enhancing.
I had thought that writing was supposed to be a solitary pursuit, a kind of personal agony of blood, sweat and tears at the keyboard, but it turns out that it can be quite participatory, communal in experience, a sharing of craft and ideas. A space for personal growth, a haven for understanding some of the challenges of the genre, a classroom in which to broaden the mind.
I’m not sure what will transpire from this day of interpersonal writing and sharing, though it would be lovely to chat, in person, with writing mates from earlier years, from before we were all physically segregated, only zooming in to online sessions. I guess there will be various stimuli, techniques to open up our imaginations, to see what serendipity might bring us, and to consider how we can best craft a response that might similarly intrigue other readers.
After a delightful, full-on weekend of boisterous, bouncing family, pets and planning for the future unknowns, it will be lovely to indulge in some quiet reflection in the here and now. The magical present of the moment is a stimulus all by itself, of course, but it can be salutary to see what others might make of that interval of time, based on a shared prompt.
My only worry is about the tools of the trade: the keyboard is my natural interface, and my laptop is still dodgy. I’m pretty confident that we’ll be expected to compose throughout the day with pen and paper, and my fingers don’t do that kind of writing much anymore. Maybe I’ll be able to commune with my little screen at some point, after a few scribbles with the pen that will turn out to be completely illegible!
On the other hand, it might be instructive to see how the thoughts percolate out through a pen onto paper, rather than through dancing finger-tips. Getting out of the comfort zone, I think they call it. However the process goes, the thinking exercises should be fun.
So there’s joy in anticipation, and then received joy in the actual doing, and then, with any luck, post-creative joy in what we’ve achieved, separately but together. Who could ask for anything more?