The temperature here dropped a few degrees in the last week of August, a reminder (or warning) that autumn is just around the corner. This time of year Ray, Rusty and I would normally be taking a week away somewhere. Since that’s out of the question, my thoughts have turned to classes (not my own, those plans are already shaping up nicely). I’ve been looking at what else is available.
Most years I spend a lot of time browsing lit-fest brochures, highlighting things that I know I won’t get to. Travel, time and accommodation always defeat me equally.
Not any more. The upside of the continuing restrictions on public meetings is that many events have moved on-line. It has finally dawned on me that I can go anywhere in this virtual country.
Saturday morning I found Short Story September organised by Farhana Shaikh of Dahlia Books, in Leicester. I’d missed the first session, but there was a masterclass on Imagery and Structure in Short Fiction with Farhana Khalique & Anita Goveas that afternoon. A few clicks later and I was booked on it.
From ten-to-three we began to gather in our virtual classroom. Introductions were made, a few ground-rules laid, and then we were off, reading samples of stories, thinking about them, and trying out ideas of our own. Ink flowed. We broke away into small groups and compared notes, then got back together and wrote more.
Both tutors bubbled with infectious enthusiasm. That’s energizing. They delivered an hour-long session each, which provided contrasting and complementary approaches to the subject.
At the finish, I had rough drafts for several stories. This is the physical evidence of a good writing session.
As after any well-designed workout, I realised I was tired, but not drained. I’d been encouraged to stretch, but not strain, my creativity.
Later, having drawn breath and reflected, I felt freshened. I love seeing the literary world through the prism of another writer’s viewpoint. In addition to that, I’d been introduced to some stories I might not have discovered on my own, and I had five pages of new story ideas. That’s what I call a useful session.