It was great!
Alright, alright. Okay. I’ll say a little more.
*cue exciting music*
It was amazing! It was a terrific week of wonderful writing and people who were all fantastic and inspiring and great and I wish we stayed there far longer!
That enough? *record scratch*
Shit. Ok, now I have to actually articulate something about it that sounds clever, then. Fine, here goes.
I went to the “Experimental Fiction” Course at Totleigh Barton, with the Arvon program, as a bit of a… wild chance. I was in absolutely no way sure what I was going into. I had never done anything like it before, never attended any type of writing course or even really been taught writing—or talked much with other writers. And while these were definitely all reasons that I wanted to go to something like this (I knew that I would get something out of just talking to other writers about… well anything). But that also meant that I had no idea what was going into.
I was more than a little nervous and more than a little unsure and probably a bit scared and curious and naturally shy when I came to the beautiful old English manor with the 15 other people (around that at least, sorry for not having the exact count), all glancing at each other with hopeful, curious, maybe a little anxious looks.
And boy it didn’t take long for me to feel completely comfortable. Let me be honest, I don’t think I have ever felt I was so comfortable with new people that fast ever than I did with these people. (I think some of it stems from the fact that I have just grown a lot over the past two years but still, it was amazing to experience that it was actually possible for me to meet new people and gel within a week.)
And we had two fabulous, phenomenal tutors (Thank you so much, Naomi and Jenni!), who were both wonderfully intelligent, fun to learn from, and complementary to each other and all the things we were being taught were both completely different and truly giving. Man, yeah, I have learned so much already from this one week. And I have gotten way more confident in my writing and my just… general… being-existence. I guess they call that self-esteem? Maybe? (I ask; a shining example of self-esteem :P)
As it was “Experimental Fiction” we immediately started experimenting and doing things that one might call weird or experimental writing (or just plain weird). We put random constraints on ourselves. We analyzed Nicki Minaj (you read that right). We stared at another person’s face for three full minutes (seriously, if you haven’t tried this, get a friend/family-member and try. It’s a really interesting experience). We wrote things that no one but ourselves was supposed to understand.
But of course, as those who went to the course know, weird things are great. Good weird.
And I think that those kinds of experiences, those kind of exercises along with the great people (and the great variance of people) made it just come together in some magical way I don’t think anything will be able to replicate. It was a week impossible, incredible people coming together and doing strange, phenomenal things in the middle of nowhere in Devon and enjoying every minute of it.
I cannot thank anyone who was there enough for all creating an amazing week that gave me both what I hoped it would be and far more.
Also, I’ll be uploading some of the writing I did there really soon, hopefully tomorrow in some form. I’m really pleased with at least two pieces so you’ll see those two up.
[image source: Arvon.org]