One of the great things about Swanwick is that you don’t have to sign up for the courses beforehand which means that you can mix and match. Anyone who attends the School also gets access (via a password) to all the tutors’ course notes via the web site so if you missed a class, you can still read the notes and get the handouts.
Today I was torn between Shirley Blair talking about The People’s Friend and another session on NLP called manifesting your Goals. I opted for the NLP one which was OK then had to listen to everyone raving about Shirley’s session. In the afternoon I switched only to find that Shirley had covered all the interesting stuff (at least as far as I was concerned) in the morning which goes to show that you can’t win ‘em all.
I’d started the week at Della Galton’s short story course which was up to her usual high standard but again decided to make a switch for the remainder of the week. I went instead to Xanthe Wells’ novel writing course. This was a GOOD move because it was brilliant and exactly what I needed. It turned out to be all about accessing creativity and dealing with the inner critic and other blocks to good writing. Xanthe is one of my favourite Swanwickers, she’s not afraid to reveal her own insecurities when she’s teaching which makes the things she says even more effective. At times it felt more like a counselling course than a writing course but there’s nothing wrong with that. For example one of the things she covered was compliments and how it can be easy to dismiss them. Instead she told us to think of them as facts and just accept them. Something else you might want to consider goes like this – 90% of the thoughts we have today, we also had yesterday and will have again tomorrow.
The photo shows me with the lovely lady at teh last day's dregs party of which more later.
The evening’s speaker was Aileen Armitage who attended Swanwick for many years in the company of her husband, Deric Longden who died last year. I hadn’t met either of them as I only started going to Swanwick in 2011, but it was still an excellent talk full of warmth and emotion.
Afterwards I picke dup a copy of the Chairman’s Quiz. There’s one every year. This one took the form of a series of cryptic clues to literary works. The clues being in the form of a cat’s eye review of the book/play/poem. I’ll give you an example – Far too many humans and not enough rodents (Answer - Of Mice and Men) Everyone pools their answers so most of the entries are 100% correct but that doesn’t matter because it’s all about the tie breaker where you have to make up your own clue. I worked with my friends, Sandra, Trish and Betty but found myself stuck on a couple of clues which needed more thought.
There wasn’t time for that as it was The Writers Quiz. I’m good at quizzes but not literary ones. I don’t read the right books and I quite often can’t recall the names of authors but in the end we came 3rd with 30 out of 40, with 2 teams getting 34.
That still wasn’t the end of the day’s events because Monday is the night of the fancy dress disco. The theme for 2014 was the Wizard of Oz so the bar gradually filled with various witches and lions. In the end I didn’t go to the disco and spent time chatting instead, hitting the sack sometime after midnight. It was hard getting to sleep. The day had left me with an awful lot to think about…