So, it seems there’s this rule…. As chairman, (part-time some might say), if you miss three meetings on the bounce, then when you get to that point in the meeting where you ask for a volunteer to pen the month’s blog, everyone looks at you with the sort of expression that says, “You’ve been away three months, and you’re looking for someone else to volunteer?”. Hey-ho – the price you pay when your daughter decides to opt for a Cyprus wedding, and thinks everything will happen, “just like that.” I’m still trying to work out where April May & June went to – did 2017 decide not to do those months?
But I must confess to experiencing a real feeling of Home Coming when, at the beginning of July, (seems so long ago now) I walked into the meeting room to see familiar faces already gathered, chatting to each other, foraging in bags for notebooks and pens, drinks on the table and new faces to say ‘hello and welcome’ to, (hope you enjoyed it Cody & Dad-David.) – three months really is too long away from the gathering that never fails to remind me why I love writing and why I do it, yet also keeps me grounded, and mindful of how lucky we are to be part of a group that counts within its members writers of real talent, wit and depth, yet still sees its raison de’etre as the encouragement and nurturing of talent – whether new, young, or.. a bit longer-in-the-tooth.
By way of contrast – and warning – I heard while I was away of the demise of a Cyprus-based writing group, not the one I attend when I am there, but a ‘break-away’ faction who, following some rather silly, intra-group politicking, decided that not every member of the original group was taking the business of Creative Writing as seriously as they should be. (!!) After some rather fractious meetings, these ‘serious writers’ decided – apparently – that the achievement of their writing goals would be best achieved if they confined themselves to sharing their scribblings only with those whose writing experience was, generally, on a par with their own – as opposed to newbies, novices, and others who are only just discovering that there may be a writer within them – (Hands up who can remember that feeling?? Yup, thought so!) The upshot has proved to be – surprise, surprise – that after a period of three years, during which, believe it or not, they enacted a policy by which they actually interviewed ‘applicants to the group’ to assess their writing ability before allowing them entry to their fold, the group has, finally folded – having seen their number dwindle to a mere handful. What a shame.
It strikes me that nothing is as self-evident as the need for any writing group (in fact probably any arts-based group), to continually seek to reach out to the new – young or old – and to not just embrace but rejoice in the fact that writing is, for most of us, a never ending journey, one where we must continually investigate the by-ways and shrouded footpaths that lead who knows where? And what better way to decide to explore those paths than by hearing a voice that is different from our own, one that makes us think, ‘that’s a bit different. I might like to have a go at that’ or ‘If I keep practising, I may be able to write like that one day.’ And that’s exactly what I like to think VRWG does! Long may it do so. See you all in August!