Back to School
by Jennifer YoungI
|Back to School! Image courtesy of russavia |
(via Wikimedia Commons)
Does she need them? Does she really? With a voice like that? Well, maybe she does – but I know for certain that I, with a (very) modest publishing history behind me, have very much still to learn. It was with that in mind that I signed up for a creative writing course. The course is run by Edinburgh University and led by the inspirational Mary Gladstone and it benefits me not because of what I learn – though I do learn, or am reminded of, a lot – but because it stimulates me.
I’m a strange kind of writer. Maybe I’m a lazy one, who knows? Ideas float past and if I’m lucky I grab one and fix it on the page with a pin like the worst kind of indiscriminate Victorian butterfly collector. What I need is discipline and, though quietly spoken, Mary provides just that. Each week she sets us a task and each week I, the arch procrastinator, produce a piece of up to 500 words on the set topic without a murmur (though I confess to having scribbled a poem in the first part of the class once, in time to produce it for assessment after the break). For someone like me that has to be good.
|You never know where your homework might end up....|
Some years ago I was a member of an earlier class of Mary’s. I was unpublished then. But it was a piece she set – 500 words on the theme ‘dreaming’ that became my first published story in the People’s Friend. A character she inspired me to create became my second story and another exercise (an object must change between the beginning and the end) became my third. And so on. I can’t remember the details but I think I credit those classes in some way with everything I’ve had published since.
So even if I’m not quite sure why Lesley Garret takes lessons, I know why I do. And now I’d best be off and do my homework….