Mid last week I was in the garden potting up lemon-grass when Stevie came out clutching the phone:
"It's Beulah O'Donahue from community learning for you."
"Beulah O'Donahue from community learning?"
"Yes, Beulah O'Donahue from community learning."
"Do you think I'm making it up?"
My mind raced: what had I done to community learning?
Turned out that a survey of this town disclosed a desire for creative writing classes amongst the population, and my name had been mooted as a possible tutor: "Would you be interested in facilitating classes?"
So yesterday I met with Beulah and her boss, Anne (I've changed their names so as not to upset anyone), and had the most fun I've had in the company of complete strangers ever.
So much fun I didn't actually get anything concrete. I have no idea when they want the classes to start, or for how long a term, or possible numbers of students. I don't know where they might be held, how often, or for how long each one might last. I do know that getting paid is tricky but it will happen. I may have to go on a course, two days, to become a council approved tutor. The other option is I could invoice them for my services but they would have to get quotes from others like me in the area.
The other thing I know is that they run a monthly women's group in which they "have a variety of free, hands-on, creative workshops for [women] to enjoy" (I got this from the poster). Judging by the poster there will be a potter and a jewelery maker, and I know there will be someone who makes gorgeous bags because it is she who passed on my name. The next one is next week and I have now been invited to set up a workshop myself. This doesn't pay, but any expenses will be covered which is fine by me. Tonight there is a meeting in which we will discuss what we plan to do. Hurrah!
At the last women's group they did have a creative writing stand, a last minute conception, on which they put a huge roll of paper for people to write something on. I have that roll on my table now, it's brilliant.
There isn't much on it but what there is is funny and rather sad. I reckon my best option is to expand on that idea. So I was thinking of buying a pack of blank postcards some of which I'd leave blank, but on others write the first line of a novel, short story or poem and invite attendees to write something of their own. They could choose which sort, or even both. What do you think?
I also thought I'd take some visual stimuli: art postcards spring to mind, and my journals which are packed full of newspaper and magazine clippings, quotes, photographs, random thoughts and sketches. All writing related, nothing personal.
And, of course, some actual poems and short stories for them to read. They did this last time too and I have those here. They are all related to the home, but I thought I'd extend that theme a bit this time.
So, do you think that's a plan? I've never done anything like this before, I've taught creative writing to school kids, but I've never been an attraction at a fair.
Any ideas you might like to share with me, please do, and if anyone can provide any first lines for the postcards, or suggest short stories or poems to show, that would be great.