Well that was intense with a capital ‘INTENSE’. A whole week of writing and interacting with other writers at the summer school for the Lancaster University Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing or DLMA to those in the know. My brain has only just stopped hurting. I now have shares in Syndol and have been indulging in a daily afternoon nap in the manner of old people since I came home.
But, oh, it was good. Well worth the pain, the ocassional humiliation, the requirement to sleep in a bed that was riddled with bugs that bit and had probably been home to strenuous casual student sex days earlier. But I don’t like to dwell on these thoughts particularly. It was even worth the separation from my daughter (although I won’t be doing that again in a hurry).
Pour quoi? I hear you ask. Well, for so many reasons that come to me now like a line of poetry, the cup of inspiration is so full. For now though, I will keep my head firmly out of my arse and tell you that it was mainly because of the people, my course peers, A ‘big up yourself’ to all my new friends whereever you might be in the world at this moment in time. You made that week for me. Our group of writers came from such diverse diasporas and cultural backgrounds. It was amazing to read and listen to their writing and to hear what they had to say about mine.
And the poetry. Who knew how good that was? Well apparently alot of people knew, at least nine people on the summer school anyway. But I am converted. I think my previous stumbling block might have been something to do with the rhythm. But listening to it read out, the penny dropped. I get it now. I will be writing it now. I am writing it now. I can’t stop myself. It’s bordering on being annoying actually. Every sentence uttered to me, every object I look at has become the first line of a poem. It’s almost like that time, I started thinking entirely in the second person. Now that was annoying : You hear the doorbell. You walk down the stairs to answer it. The vestibule door sticks against the new wood floor that has been laid so that you have to yank it hard to open it. For a brief moment, you wonder if your husband has rung the joiner about it, but you know that this is not very likely and that you will have to do it yourself. You have to do everything yourself. See what I mean?
And let me not forget the staff who led the course, the supreme Dr. Graham Mort and the very gracious Dr. Lee Horsley. All hail! And all the other visiting tutors – to be surrounded by passionate, clever, articulate people who were willing to impart their wisdom and experience was nothing short of mind numbingly amazing (hence the post summer school week long headache).
I’ve come away with a real sense of how I want to approach my writing in a different way. How the technique of constructing a poem might be used to fine tune pieces of longer prose . How to use dialogue without interrupting the flow of the prose. How much more work I need to do to embed the key themes of my novel into my narrative. And so many other things. Tiny nuggets of gold that I could not have come by without the input and interaction of my course tutors and peers.
So you see, I felt quite bereft when it came time to go back home and work on my own again and for a few days I desperately tried to resist getting pulled all the way back into reality, because as I said to my new friend, Clare, when you’ve considered the theory of mind, everything else is all a bit snore isn’t it?
But then the real world began to beckon me. Work offers suddenly started to roll in; I realised the house, which I left in a state of cleanly order was no longer that way; the onslaught of torrential rain exposed my very leaky roof and a waterfall appeared in my kitchen and then finally, yesterday, my car died a death in my daughter’s nursery car park. The magic of last week is now well and truely on the wane. Going, but still not quite gone. And so I sit here writing this, worrying that I haven’t done a coloured wash all week, but also thinking about an idea for a poem I might try and write and how I want to improve a section of my last chapter. And that’s a good feeling. I’m going to hang on to it as long as I can.