Just over a week ago, I returned to the UK after a working trip during which I taught the art of creative writing. Well, that's how it was billed. In truth, nobody can really teach creative writing but it is possible to facilitate, encourage and tease it out into the light. Yep, that's what I tried my level best to do.
I had the sheer joy of meeting up with groups of people on a daily basis, some of whom hadn't put pen to paper for years. By setting up exercises, issuing challenges and projecting them against a backdrop of outrageous ideas, I tried to kick start everyone's creativity. Gradually, the energy of our groups started to change and by the end of the time we spent together, all I could do was stand on the sidelines and watch in awe of how people had begun to experience genuine pleasure in the re-discovery of their natural creativity - something all of us take for granted as children, but relatively few of us nurture as adults.
We started each session with the left brain drain, which decluttered our minds and set us free to fire on all creative cylinders. From there, we explored concepts such as narrative arcs, binary oppositions and characterisations and learned to love song lyrics as much as poetry, comparing 'Sunshine on Leith' by the Proclaimers to 'Ae Fond Kiss' by Robert Burns, finding beauty in both.
The people I met were endlessly fascinating, kind and open to all sorts of new experiences and ideas. There wasn't one moment when they made me feel as if I'd pushed them too far out of their comfort zones, or asked too much of them. They simply rolled their sleeves up, reached for their pens and rised to every creative challenge, and along the way they laughed and chatted and had fun.
What a special time they gave me. What special times we shared. Heartfelt thanks to all.