Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunday at Swanwick

Continuing my one week behind journal of Swanwick and wishing I was still there.

Sunday 14th August 2011.

I was up at ten to eight.
Decided to risk a fried breakfast because it was there. Then it was time for the first (2 part) short course of the week – Re-seeing the right brain.
It was all about using the creative side of the brain to boost ideas and creativity but I got a bit bogged down with some of the terminology.
After that I went to the book room for my first quick browse. I’d put a pile of my own (lulu printed) books up for sale and it was quite a buzz to see my books more or less next door to Kate Moss’s.
After the tea break where cake and biscuits I couldn’t eat thanks to my wheat intolerance were served, it was time for part one of my main course. I chose Crime Writing from the list of five. Other subjects included Fiction for Children, Life writing, Building Your Novel and Contemporary and Literary Fiction.
Simon Hall, author of the TV detective series, was teaching the crime course. He was an instant hit with everyone in the class thanks to his personal approach to the subject It left you feeling you were learning from a friend, not being taught by a teacher.
After lunch it was time for part two of the short course. I switched to a session about writing for radio. I’d been torn between the two subjects so wanted to try both. That’s a big advantage of Swanwick - you don’t have to choose your courses beforehand, which means if one doesn’t suit, or you want to mix and match, you can. Helen Cross was in charge of the radio drama course and she was GREAT. Full of passion and energy for her subject.
After a short break for more tea and cake, I went to my first workshop called Untie That Gag. This was run by a lovely man called Roy York who I’d warmed to immediately when we met on Saturday. I didn’t learn very much, but it was fun.
I then had to dash to another building to prepare for my read, write relax session. These ran most days from 5.15 to 6. You could choose to read out your work for feedback, take part in a writing exercise, again with opportunities for feedback, or relax by listening to music and doing some gentle exercise. I was in charge of the one where people had to write. I’d chosen a picture of a man, with a backdrop of jars and pots of paint, explaining that stories written from a man’s point of view can be easer to sell to a woman’s magazine than those from a female POV.
By the end of that session my head was so full I had to take some time out so instead of going to listen to the speaker after dinner, I went for a walk round the lakes. Bad mistake. It was Helen Cross who’d run the radio drama session and apparently she was brilliant but I did see a rabbit a moorhen and a large grass carp which was some consolation. There’s so much going on at Swanwick, you’re bound to miss something!
My plan was to stay up late that night to see the lengths people went to for the A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES disco. The theme was, you guessed it, the movies. I’d racked my brains, trying to come up with a cheap, easy to put together costume and came up with zilch. It’s lucky I didn’t bother because some people had gone to an awful lot of trouble. There was everything from Marilyn Monroe to the Pink Ladies from Grease, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, to James Bond. I stayed at the disco long enough to take part in a daft game. We were given movie characters names and had to go round the room, finding our partner. Mine was Chewbacca so I was looking for Harrison Ford. When we found each other, my partner had to wrap me in loo roll. There was a prize for which person ended up looking the most like an Oscar. We didn’t win.
It was time to go to bed. It had been a long and exhausting day.

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