Friday, 14 February 2014

A new year resolution thingy...

I realise that this comes a little late - everyone else was doing the obligatory "see out the old, ring in the new" blog post back in January. The really eager beavers were doing it in December. I've never really been one to follow the herd, I wave a token placard now and then just to keep people happy (I have noticed people get a bit edgy if you appear to be deliberately wandering in a different direction to everyone else). But although I didn't choose to wave my New Year Resolution placard at new year, I had actually made one, a resolution I mean, not a placard! And not just my usual "I will put on half a stone and keep it" or "I will clean my windows more than twice in 2014". I made a proper, serious New Year Resolution. And aye, there's the rub. It was a serious one. And it was important to me. So I didn't sing and shout about it. But I did get on and do it and what's more, I got on and did it like the eager beavers, way back in December.  I had been dithering about joining a new writing project. I was not sure I was either A. good enough or B. Hartlepuddlian enough, to take part.  As I dithered, checking up on Facebook and Twitter (as you do) just in case some great event was errupting that needed my immediate and close attention, one of those auspicicious things happened. A tweet about a Creative Writing Workshop popped up in my Twitter stream. And then it popped up on Google. It was local too. I got the distinct feeling someone was trying to tell me something. I mentioned it to a friend who quite simply said, go for it. (He did have to say it quite simply several times, for which steadfast commitment to curing my ditheriness I am very grateful.) And so my NYR was formed. I would do something for me in 2014, and that something would be to take this writing lark seriously. I booked the workshop and I resolved to go to the first meeting of The Heugh Battery Writers Group. 
There'll be more on the Heugh later I'm sure, but first Shepherd's Dene!

Last Sunday I had a whole day of writing. Me. The tea maker. The not really a writer who was bullied coerced persuaded to join in by the guys in the library writing group. Imagine that. To say I was daunted would be putting it mildly, but I found myself in a beautiful setting with a bunch of lovely, and equally daunted people, plus two of the friendliest, most undaunting workshop leaders I have ever come across - Rachel Cochrane and Helene Dolder . 
Plus, it all began with coffee and cookies so, you know it was bound to be fine.

The day was all about the senses and observation. I was slightly hindered by a hideous headcold - held in check with max strength flu capsules (shop's own brand though other well known makes are available) and by the fact that I rarely seem to notice anything much. I actually do find the kind of exercise where you have to look at things minutely really difficult. Self-conscious at the best of times the intensity of such observation almost paralyses me. I look at an object and see only that - it's a chair, it has legs, I can sit on it... I marvelled at the imagery that others in the group created from their various observances throughout the day. I found myself writing pagefuls of words, with maybe a phrase or a line here and there that stuck a chord. I was not put off by this, and that is perhaps the measure of the small progress I have made in three years, because I have learned that three good words can be the trigger for something more, so I have gathered my words like fallen leaves and will spread them out later and smooth their crumples and see what I can make of them. 

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