It's good to be back in Frome, where creativity oozes from every cranny, with musical art openings and an excellent writers circle meeting as some of the Madabout team limber up for next Friday's words cabaret.
So why do I rush off again, this time to the Cotswolds, to run a one-day story writing course in Farncombe Estate. Highly organised venues always scare me - maybe I'm allergic to delegate tags - but this is a truly gorgeous setting and, though 16 is twice my preferred group size, all the participants stayed focussed amazingly well and produced some great stuff.
Which brings me to this week's post. Occasionally when I catch a glance of my mission statement, up in the corner there with a picture of me last summer, I think it sounds a bit fulsome and gushy. And then I'm sent the finished product of a writerly experience I shared in a small way, and I know I am right to acknowledge these privileges. Step forward Laurence Shelley, if your blisters will let you, and take a bow. "Off the Wall Walking" is simply delightful; for its quirky humour and real humanity, for the candour and sheer excellence of its words.This is a book that doesn't need a journey of a thousand miles; it's written at the spritely pace of each single step, “living at the level of the sentence” as Tobias Wolfe puts it. No website yet, but orders taken at email@example.com.
It's official: Top Wits are all men, and mainly dead too. My personal favourite Mr Wilde takes the gold in this national poll, with Stephen Fry in bronze position. I do like his objection to animal testing: “they get nervous and get all the answers wrong”.
And as I'm on to quotes, Emily came up with this great one from D.W. Winnicott over breakfast in her sunny garden:"My contribution is to ask for a paradox to be accepted, and tolerated, and respected, and for it not to be resolved." Should we crave closure in our lives? Keats saw human excellence in the negative capability of "being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason."
And I'm ending this crop of quips with Eckhart: "An artist is not a special kind of person. Every person is a special kind of artist."
Especially in Frome.