The lake edge of Geneva is faceless. She doesn’t see it as she drives through, although she knows it is there. Stripes of blank buildings line the town, an upper-case neon sign on each roof. She passes on towards the airport avoiding the glare, that conglomerate of invisibility which has coated the city to make it any city, every city, while behind and away Geneva lurks. She can hear it waiting, chuckling, busy.
One week to go until Great Writing 2014, to be held at The Huxley Building, Imperial College, London.
Now in its 17th year, Great Writing has become the UK’s biggest international creative writing conference, bringing together writers, scholars, teachers and anyone with an interest from around the world. This will be the eight time I’ve been involved in organising and running the conference: a year’s work arranging fine folk from the USA, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, South Africa, India, Lebanon, Oman, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands etc. etc., as well as the UK and Ireland, to meet up for three days and discuss anything and everything which interests them about writing.
I’ll be speaking about the teaching of creative writing in universities, and what I see as the over-emphasis on craft over thought. See www.greatwriting.org.uk for more details about the conference, and to enquire about next year (June 20th and 21st, London).
She has seen the black and white footage of Brel, the cunning shadows and light to make him historical, a myth. On the stage beneath him the penumbral circles vibrate when he kicks out to emphasise. Hear me, his characters plead. Listen to what I have to say. This is life, my death, and yours.
The lake breathes back to her.
As well as writing creatively I also teach creative writing. Sometimes these actions feed into each other. Sometimes they get in the way, as if I use up all the creative energy I can find by spending my time teaching others.
I recently published a short story on this theme, in Text: The Journal of Writing and Writing Courses . It’s available at http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct13/holloway_prose.htm.
Does it resonate with others, I wonder? Do the actions which we are obliged to perform as part of our daily lives also stop our daily life of writing? Or is our life of writing part of our life, taking sources and solace from all its influences?