The instant I registered for this writing course, I felt a mixture of regret and angst. Is it the best use of my time? Will I get the right feedback? Is it the best course for me? Can I afford to take a week off?
The apprehension grew until I discovered a grand piano in the converted barn that first evening. It's an old straight-strung Broadwood grand that's gone slightly out of tune. Surrounded by rolling hills in the middle of nowhere, I found my home at last ---- in a piano.
We sixteen students had to split into four groups of four to cook dinner for each of the four nights. My initial reaction was that of being framed. I didn't pay to cook! I chose Tuesday night stir fry. At least, it will be quick, I thought.
That first night, the tutors asked us to introduce ourselves, our ethnic make up, where we had travelled from, and what we expected out of the course. The next morning, one tutor asked us to share a significant event in our lives. I talked about the triple whammy which brought up the subject of money. To this, several related how they either were given lots of money or had made lots of money. The allusion was that now we didn't have money but had time to write.
All during the course I wondered about my classmates. Why were they here? How good were they at writing? Will they laugh at my writing? Who will share first?
By the end of the week, everyone looked and felt familiar. We had heard and critiqued our works. We were no longer intimidated by the lack of familiarity.
My classmates did laugh at my writing. They were hysterical listening to my "Curling Iron" piece. One tutor insisted that I read my "Squat Toilets." The classmate who looked like Marilyn Monroe suggested that I make a book out of funny stories that were deadly serious at time of occurrence.
Interestingly I came on this course to write a novel about long distance relationships, love triangles, and unrequited love. Instead, I was to become a writer of humour not romance.
17 July 2004 Saturday
Arvon Foundation - writing courses