The Wednesday of Swanwick always seems a little frantic to me; it’s when we realise we are more than halfway through the week and time is starting to run out for all those conversations we were planning to have, those photographs we were planning to take or those books we were planning to buy. But, there also seems to be a growing level of inspiration and more people skipping classes to work on their latest work in progress, put into practice what they’ve learned in a course or from a 1:1.
For me, these were the best moments from this year’s day five:
Simon does it ‘My Way’
Feeling the buzz at breakfast from everyone who’d taken part in the previous night’s Poetry Open Mic and Buskers’ Night.
Sitting in Della’s excellent short story course, believing I’m not very good at writing dialogue before realising, with just three minutes to go, that I could do it;
A certain Swanwick regular singing his impromptu piece ‘The Man Who Broke The Bed in Swanwick Lakeside’;
The wonderful talent on show at the ‘Swanwick Page to Swanwick Stage’ performances; everyone was brilliant, but special mention must go to Cathy Grimmer for bringing an island of poignant drama to a sea of chaos and hilarity; to Phil Collins and Simon Hall for giving us a whole new perspective on Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ and to Katie Write for pulling the whole thing together so well;
The moment when the Top Writers became fully-fledged members of the school with their wonderful musical journey to the belly of a whale – all the more impressive as it was all improvised in 24 hours;
And finally, being invited to share a jug of ‘dirty mother’ cocktails in the smoking tent and listening to stories about the much-loved and greatly-missed Mary Wibberley.
Tonight’s guest speakers were David and Hilary Crystal, talking about their ‘new genre’, which brings together linguistics and travel. They described a journey made throughout Britain, tracing the origins of the English language, illustrated with Hilary’s beautiful photographs. The talk was full of great snippets of information and, as intended, left me wanting to visit such places as North Nibley (to see the Tyndale Tower); Rochdale (to see the Dialect Writers’ Memorial); and Dinefwr Castle which appears to be where Time Lords go to learn English.
David and Hilary Crystal
Writers love language and I’m sure I’m not the only writer who is often accused of pedantry when it come to the use of words, so it was great to be in a room full of people who all understood the (unintentional) comedy of the sign outside a certain church in Stratford: “Holy Trinity Church with Shakespeare’s Grave Inside Open.”
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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