Today I attended my final The Creative Hub Creative Writing Class. It was an 8 week course that Brett signed me up for. I can quite honestly say I did not enjoy the first class, but as time as gone on I have really grown to enjoy the classes and I have gained a great deal out of them. In fact I can go from saying it was the worst present ever (and I have) to one of my best. Thank you Brett.
One of the big realisations for me over the last eight weeks is you know what? I run – that make me a runner. I write, I am a writer. I am not a world champion at either of these, but I do it because I enjoy it, it makes me happy, no one gets hurt in the process, and I feel really good about when it is done. Surely reason enough for any activity. And when the World Gin Appreciation Olympics are on, let me know because that is something I do think I could excel at. No classes required, although gladly attended.
Following the first class I was so traumatised I couldn’t verbalise what torture it was. I had to write it down, and that actually was when it all started to click for me. I enjoyed writing my unsolicited feedback for my tutor more than the homework we were set. So every week our tutor would receive my homework – that alone is a miracle, and my reflection on what occurred. I know he was thrilled (no I don’t know that, but I wasn’t banned so we will call that approval)
Anyway below is my first reflection. I also want to say a big thank you to the lovely people in my writing class who were all so supportive, clever and kind. Happy writing.
Where our heroine is sent to a creative writing class as a surprise birthday gift, and receives her first task.
The wise and reasonable but obviously deluded man at the front of the room directs us to write a brief chronology of our lives, noting events with the most significant emotional force. At this point our heroine realises this is not the same as being booked on a spa day and wonders how she can extricate herself out of the situation short of faking a heart attack.
Here’s the thing, you don’t ask a woman in her 50th year to put together a brief chronology of her life and ask her to note events with most significant emotional force. It just isn’t polite or indeed necessary, especially when you have only just met her and you are in mixed company as well.
One does not survive a strong will mother; an equally strong willed but with more ink and piercings 20 something daughter; 3 husbands 2 fair to middling 1 quite magnificent but with a touch of OCD and a propensity to come up with good ideas that aren’t very good, like gifting his wife a creative writing course; saving your sister Julie from getting eaten by pigs and burning down the house, not on the same day admittedly, but I was busy; autoimmune disease, ok it is just a thyroid issue but autoimmune sounds more serious; weakness for gin and sav and hot gay men; a decided lack of any sort of work ethic and a Micawberish need to spend above one’s means; you just do not survive if you have to reflect and/or write about these things. Life is lived by saying tomorrow is another day and paying close attention to when it is the next gin o’clock.
I do this exercise however because I have only been in the class for half an hour and I know I really should make some kind of effort. My husband did buy me this course for a present after all and I should be grateful even though I am feeling quite chagrined, and possibly a bit liverish, although that may be due to the sneaky sav I had just before class.
But when I hit the lows of realising I mentioned the ownership of my two poodles before the birth of my daughter. (Please God never let her find that out, although I am pretty sure she suspects it) And that saving sister Julie from the pigs and burning down the house but not on the same day is the most heroic thing I have ever done or likely to do, and that was by age 6. I feel it really can’t get any worse.
The knife gets twisted in a bit more however, we are directed to think about how our lives would be if some of the events were different. Really you want us to go there? Unbelievable. There just isn’t enough gin in Pt Chev for that kind of crazy.
Then it gets better no it doesn’t. Homework is given. I can now redraft the events of my life in such a way that it follows the narrative structure of a heroes journey. Then send it in to our wise and reasonable and obviously deluded tutor, within 5 days so he can give us feedback. Which really means I get to stew on and hate on my sorry character’s life, who is actually just me because it will take me months to work through -what if I had only got married twice, let alone come up with a character.
So now for the next 5 days I will spend too much time thinking about Homer and the Odyssey, and maybe a bit about Thor the Chris Hemsworth version, because that is as clever as I can get about heroes, and it will distract me from my real task. Actually didn’t Odysseus have issues with pigs and fires?
At this point the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach becomes a churning cancer causing mess. All I can think is I can’t wait to get out of here. Wait till I get home and see my lovely birthday present surprising, what the hell were you thinking, when did I ever say I wanted to do something like this husband.
I drive home on autopilot musing among other things, what I will say to people when they ask me how my class was. Husband number one, why? And will I ever come to terms with the 20 something’s tattoos.
“How was the class”
My lovely (but slightly OCD husband) asks when I get home, as I rummage in the fridge for alcohol and sweet treats.
“Ok, kind of confronting I guess”
“What did you have to do”?
“Write down stuff about my life”
“That doesn’t sound very confronting”
“Well it fucking was,and next time you get a good idea for a birthday present, book me a spa day”