They say writing can be a lonely occupation, and when you’re at home all day with a little one it’s essential to have something outside of that, or you face going stir-crazy from the lack of adult company. So after some searching on the internet for something suitable, I decided to join a writers group last week.
I almost didn’t make it to the Northampton Writers Group. I had it in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to find the group’s location and was convinced that I would end up trudging back home in a foul temper from a failed mission – which was to find an outlet for my adult self, away from the fun yet challenging world of motherhood. I was already running slightly late and beginning to worry a little about my lateness, however I arrived in the town with five minutes to spare. I ran down the dank, dull stair case of the multi-storey car park then spilled out on to the electric-lit street and was swept up by hordes of people making their way up the road. Almost everyone was protected by an umbrella and as the fizzy droplets of rain began to soak into my hair, I realised the weather was a lot worse than I had perceived. I marched my way up past the theatre, leaving the wave of night-lifers behind as they entered, only to be met with an oncoming sea of more people. As I dodged my way through them, a sharp sting shot through my toe and I yelped, lifting my injured foot instinctively, before ducking into a doorway out of the rain to investigate the source of the attack. I looked around me; it was cold, it was raining, it was dark. And here I was stood in a doorway with one boot off, looking soggy and bedraggled. Perhaps this wasn’t the best time to remove my sock. I pulled at the material around my toe to no avail, whatever had caused me to flinch wasn’t going to reveal itself so I replaced my boot and continued to storm through the weather, which was getting worse. Droplets of water were beginning to gather at the ends of my fringe; before long it would be dripping from the end of my nose. I used the side of my foot while walking to avert any further embedding of the offending foreign object, and ploughed through town, earning myself some rather strange looks for my hurried hobbling. With the greatest relief, the shops were in sight and I knew my destination couldn’t be far away, the details of the whereabouts of the meet at the forefront of my mind. I walked. Then I walked some more. And I walked, and I walked, desperate for shelter as I felt the puddles begin to filter through my boots. My foot began to throb from the effort of walking at an angle and the sting in my toe was spreading with an unpleasant heat. Just as I was about to turn around and head back to the comfort and safety of my car, my destination revealed itself like a light at the end of the tunnel, as if someone above had cast a light on the building to show me sanctuary. Never more pleased to see an unfamiliar dwelling, I hobbled round the house looking for a way in, slightly perturbed at the lack of notices or lights coming from inside. After trying a dark, uninviting front door, I located a door at the side of the building, which miraculously opened for me, where I was greeted (and clearly expected) by the chair-person of the group – Morgen Bailey – and welcomed inside. With the introductions out the way and me dripping all over the floor, I apologised for my drowned-rat appearance and swiftly excused myself as I ducked into the rest room to dry myself off and inspect my wound, where I found… a thorn in my toe. How it got there is irrelevant. The fact that I soldiered on through pain, doubt and pouring rain to get to my destination was probably the most liberating thing I had done all week.
I met a wonderful group of warming, welcoming writers, where we listened, read our work (apart from me who arrived totally unprepared) and paused for a cuppa, a chat and a custard cream (very thoughtfully provided by another member). I’m so glad I ignored my inner doubts and forced myself to go.
Next week is an Easter theme, for which I’ve written a poignant poem and am looking forward to getting some feedback. For anyone who is thinking of joining a writers group, I strongly recommend it. You’ll meet some wonderful, like-minded, down-to-earth characters. After all, we all need that little bit of something for ourselves.