The tedium that is part of not being employed drove me into joining a creative writing class. I knew I hated groups of any kind and, though I was over 65, wasn’t keen on old people either. I struggled with these prejudices to tentatively join a class called “Enjoying Reading” run by the WEA. It was the WEA bit that attracted me, its ethos. I read a lot too.
The class was my worst nightmare – a group of old people – but what a revelation –
stimulating and invigorating and challenging. The tutor, an author, encouraged me to write, but after decades of churning out stultifying business speak my imagination had shrivelled down to zero. Anxiously, I joined her writing class. Anxious because I knew everyone else would be experienced, have published books, poetry collections, written film and TV scripts, probably won the Man Booker. That was eight years ago.
Though class members have come and gone, it makes no difference to what has become a
close knit supportive group – whoever. I discovered early on that the trust required to share often deeply personal work establishes a relationship with the group that transcends friendship. We perform at the annual Lit fest, have set up a monthly poetry open mic night – Soundbites, our own website – Heartlines. During these challenging times we are still meeting every week via laptops and phones, sharing our work and searching out ways to take our scribbling forward.
Cate Anderson April 2020