Sunday, September 23, 2007

In the Presence of Greatness

A couple of weeks ago I took the beginning of one of the millions of versions of The Trelawney Funerals to the writing group and it went down a storm, but since then two weeks have gone by and I was beginning to spot some of the faults with the ending and remembered why this was version 3 of the many versions and why I wasn’t happy about it. Still, that’ what writing groups are about aren’t they? So I took it along regardless to see if my fellow writing fraternity could help me iron it out. As I read doggedly through it I was aware of voices outside the room. There is always a certain amount of distraction just beyond the doorway what with this particular book shop being a major tourist attraction, but you learn to lose yourself in your writing. When Dan the Man (the guy who runs the writing group) crossed the room and removed the tourist stopping chair from the doorway, I may have frowned, but I ploughed on and the two women who crossed the room did so quietly and quickly.

And so I stopped and everyone was struck dumb with the really heavy ending, so I suppose it was quite good that Dan said: “Could you just recap the bit I missed when I went to let Jeanette Winterson cross the room.”

That proved to be quite difficult because my jaw had just clunked onto the floor. “Jeanette Winterson crossed the room when I was reading?”


“Why didn’t you tell me?”

I’m sure I got quite good criticism, but every now and again I was a little distracted by the fact that Jeanette Winterson had walked across the room. “Why did I have to be reading?” I moaned. “I would have bowed down to her excellence,” which I suppose would just have embarrassed me later. “I could have licked her feet.” I was obviously really losing it. “What did she look like?” A slightly more normal question.

I have to say that in the bright midday light, I’m even more gutted. Claire did, in her rather matter of fact, down to earth way ask me later what I would have said had I not had my head buried in 13 pages of double spaced type.

“Uggggh, ehhm, eh, um oh, hello,” I replied.


Sam said...

How funny.
Where is the writing group? In Paris? How lucky!
I have a friend (American) who has just started taking a creative writing class in Paris and she loves it. But she won't show me what she's written!!! (And I'm such a gentle critic, honest I am.)

Shameless said...

Wonderful experience, and it may be a good omen, no? And I LOVE the title of your book. Can't wait to see it when it's published.
Now, also, there's a new writing project up at The Shameless Lions Writing Circle site. Please check it out and I hope you can take part and promote it. Also, check out the "latest news" section.

Verilion said...

Hi sam, yeah it's at Shakespeare and Company, I've written about it before. I wonder where your friend is taking her class. There is another one at Shakespeare and then there's WICE, but that's during the day, so I can't go to that. I'm glad you are a gentle critic, but sometimes you need someone to be really hard don't you? Although ease 'em in gently first.
Hi Shameless, I hope it's a good omen, I'm just still gutted that I didn't even look up. Oooh and a new writing project, I will have a look ASAP.

apprentice said...

Wow that's quite a scalp to hear you reading. She was on BC Radio 4 this week, she has a new book comiing out/out which I fancy getting.

She has a brilliant website too, which I mentioned on my blog.


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