It’s been a long day today. I was up at 6am getting ready for work at 7am. As I awoke, I realised that I still had my earphones plugged in from my night-time meditation session! Did I listen to any of it?! I hoped so! After breaking my routine recently and entering a bad habit of not listening to it every night or day, I really felt as though I was going to need to reassurance this evening.
Only thirty-minutes after arriving home from work, I wanted to be ready and out of the door again for a drive in to the centre of Bristol. Today, was the first in my Short Fiction writing course.
I’ve been secretly looking forward to this for a while, even though I only got around to sending them the cheque last week! It’s not only an opportunity for me to develop my writing skills but I can meet and interact with new people. This is the first time in over two-years where I’ve felt I’m in a position to start learning something and I realised tonight just how much I’ve missed it! It’s an evening course, running for two-hours each week at the Bristol Folk House.
Leaving the house, I was already slightly anxious and, as my van took me closer to the city, I could feel that un-comforting ‘chill’ passing filling my lungs. I knew where I was going to park and how to find the building – I’d studied it rigorously using Google Maps and Street View – how did I ever manage without that?!? 😉 I parked up in the multi-storey, even though I did ‘nudge’ one of the barriers! From there, I followed the signs down to the pedestrian access stairs – I’m getting quite used to these settings, having been to Bath and one other multi-storey in Bristol this year. On the way down, I noticed a sign stating that you should have the correct change to hand (I’m very much a ‘card-man-whenever-I-can‘ and don’t carry many ‘useful’ coins). Until I approached one of the Pay Stations later this evening, I was concerned that I’d entered some kind of prehistoric universe where people are not aware of the concept of plastic…
From there, I passed the O2 Academy and the Ice Skating Rink (which I would like to try sometime) and knew it was up another hill from there (visible from the end of that dead-end road). You can see the cafe from this distance and, after walking the stairs and entering the door, I almost turned around, in fear that I’d entered the wrong room – you know that feeling; how do you turn around and walk out without making it blatantly obvious? Fortunately, I spotted another door (to the left) beside the counter and that was where I needed to go.
There is another access point via. a sign-posted corridor from Park Street. I like the fact that this place remains quite ‘secluded’, even if many regulars to the city are probably very aware of it. Apparently, it’s not the sort of place that gets over-run or ‘ruined’ by chavs and anti-social delinquents so, I’d like to think I could spend some relaxing time here with any future friends.
I rather-confidently asked the man at the desk and he directed me on where to go. I found the room with relative ease and it did help that our tutor is a very friendly, happy person. I was the first one there and first to sit down, shortly before being joined by the next one. Then, the rest began to filter in – and to think; there I was, leaving the house and 16.50; worried that I wasn’t going to get there in time… I was early! 😎
I carried a pen in my back pocket but was otherwise ‘unprepared’, compared to each of the other eight students who had their own notebooks (something I must buy for next week). Straight away, I noticed that I was possibly the youngest (or, one of three). Although, that’s not to suggest that anyone appeared as much as twice my age! We started off with an introduction around the room. I gave a brief outline of my writing history (magazine articles, very short stories and the odd poem) and what I do day-to-day. Somehow, I neglected to mention that I blog. Others had degreess in literature and some had been on novel-writing courses; none of which really matters in this group because I got the warm feeling here that no-one is going to judge. Some are as anxious about sharing what the have written.
My introduction wasn’t too bad. My voice was a bit flat (as it often is when I’m nervous) but, I spoke out in a small-room filled with strangers. We did a few exercises on characters and such and, again, just like everyone else in this room; I was able to share what I had written.
Where some had written a page and a half though, I had barely produced two sentences. I wanted to say this in my introduction to them but, ‘I am a man of few words… But, give me a sheet of paper and I’ll fill it on both sides!‘. That’s certainly true of the writing I do within my own comfort (as any of you will have noticed) but, I found it much harder being around others. There was some kind of block… It wasn’t as though the thoughts weren’t coming through; it was as if each was encased within a thick block of ice. I had to work hard at it for the words to break free and, even then, it was hard to put this down on paper. I was doubting these instinctive words that I wanted to write and also, what I had already written. It was too easy to focus on the pages people either side of me had already half-filled.
So, there’s still some anxiety that I will need to work on and I believe that I can get there. We are expecting a certain amount of homework so, I should at least have something new and true to share each week. We had to spontaneously create a character this week but, I felt that my ideas were a little ‘forced’. They weren’t all so much impulsive thoughts that came to me as they were sometimes terms that I was comfortable using to describe my fictional person.
Our aim, here, is to have written our own short-story by the end of this twelve-week period. We’re not talking 100 words here, either – apparently, we should be aiming for between 2,000 and 3,000 although, there’s still a lot of work to do first. I know already that I’m going to learn a lot from the next three-months; much more than I could ever have anticipated, I think. A personal goal of mine is to be able to interact with others a bit more and I’d like to think that the cafe setting downstairs could help this. It really does seem like a nice place and, as I do have to pay for nearby parking each week, I like to think that I could spend a bit longer in there after each session, if only to sit there on my own and work on my writing, perhaps. Listening to music? Reading a book? Hey, it’s another way of putting myself out there! 🙂
After this one, I’d like to consider another course. Perhaps in art or another creative subject; maybe I’ll finally take some lessons on learning to play the guitar, seeing as how I now have an electric one (plus a small amp) with which to compliment my estranged acoustic guitar!
In time for next week, I need to come up with the basic details of a character that I would be comfortable working with.