Welcome to my adventures and experiments in creativity. Where writing is like running: sometimes I know where I'm going, and sometimes I see where the mood takes me.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Blog Hawk Down

Hello! I hope you’re well.

Sadly, despite the reasonable quality pun of the title, it actually bears no relation to the contents of this post – the words just sprung into my head and I decided to stick with it. Of course, if in the course of writing I suddenly find myself embroiled in a rescue mission to a couple of downed helicopters, I’ll be sure to mention it.

The principal reason for this post is to deal with the recent decline of blogging activity, an occurrence that must be causing consternation around the globe as people cry out, “HAS HE FORGOTTEN US??”. If nothing else, it may be causing a bit of head scratching on the rather dodgy sounding Russian websites that have been unexpectedly cropping up in the blog stats.

While it is true that inspiration for the usual array of random topics that constitute the Repository 2’s output has not been wholly forthcoming, that is not to say I’ve been lazy and/or uninspired. At the end of June I started a writing course run by Stoke-on-Trent libraries (an advanced writing course, no less!), and that has consumed three of the last five Saturdays. In between those Saturdays there has been ‘homework’, as well as feedback to give on the other course attendee’s work, and so the blog has taken a back seat.

The course – entitled ‘What’s The Story’ – has, frankly, been a revelation. On a fundamental level, the opportunity to sit in a group of six or seven people and discuss each other’s writing (as well as writing in general) has been confidence building and inspiring. To have a group of strangers – most female, of all ages, and all from massively different backgrounds and social groups – say they enjoyed something I wrote, particularly something heavily featuring cinema and Formula One, was about the best I could have hoped for.

I’ve learnt a lot from their work too. You don’t realise how little you’ve lived until someone writes about their son’s battle with Hepatitis B, or their desperate search for a counsellor who will help them deal with issues rooted deep in childhood, or their struggles growing up under a religion they don’t identify with in the slightest. The third, and most recent, of the five sessions was by far the best as we all continued to grow more comfortable in each other’s company (there’s no better way to get a feel for people than by reading their work), so it’s a shame that we’ve now gone into a summer break with only two Saturdays left afterward.

The biggest potential long-term impact is the ideas I’ve gained, however. When I started doing blog posts about visiting independent cinemas, the thought never crossed my cluttered mind that anything more could come of it. Now I’m writing a 5000-word course project on the topic, adapting those blog posts into something better and more substantial, and e-mailing the cinemas involved to ask them questions about how they get on being independent. There are many, many angles from which to approach the topic, and I’m beginning to think I could do them all justice. It’s all built to a grand idea that I hope to start enacting in the next few weeks, but I think I’ll keep quiet about it for now…

Ultimately, whatever projects result from it all, the simple fact is that independent cinemas are brilliant and need to be championed. How good would it be if I could be involved doing it? If that should happen in the next six or twelve months, there are seven people that I’d never met five weeks ago who will deserve a great deal of thanks. And who knows, maybe this blog – or a whole new blog – will finally get the direction it has probably been crying out for since I wrote that first post on … yep, indie cinemas. If only I’d known to recognise the signs!


A quick postscript on my poetic efforts (or lack of them) – it won’t come as much surprise that having been so totally consumed by the course and the ideas resulting from it, my poetry writing has suffered. I’ve come to realise there is a place for both things, so I certainly won’t be abandoning poetry completely, I just need to be able to find the time to sit and craft a poem properly rather than rely on thinking one up in ten minutes and hoping it’s good enough. The well of ideas hasn’t run dry, but the mechanism used to raise and lower the bucket is being a bit temperamental and I’m struggling to draw water.

Or something like that.

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