As many of you know, I set up my own business – Elementary V Watson – earlier this year. EVW is a proofreading, copywriting and critiquing business. I also “teach” Creative Writing to a wonderful group of people. The sessions are Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Whitley Bay (Di Meo’s on Mondays & Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm and Whitley Bay Library on a Saturday 3-5pm).
My group of merry writers asked me a few months ago if I would set up a performance night for them to showcase the writing they’d done in the group. Now, in all honesty, I was reluctant as I’m not much of a public speaker and I had my reservations about whether, when it came to the crunch, my writers would want to stand in front of people and read their work. Although I did a reading at Newcastle’s Lit and Phil in April, it’s not my favourite thing to do.
Thanks to the lovely owners of The Avalon in Whitley Bay, I arranged a venue for Thursday 11th July and the writers worked towards having something to read on the night. I remained skeptical. I was worried no-one would turn up and that my group may get cold feet. For some of them, it was the first time they’d done anything like this.
By Monday (8th of July), my anxieties were growing by the second and I really thought I’d be left with an empty venue. I couldn’t even escape my fears by going to sleep – I was literally having nightmares about it.
Thursday, 11th of July 2013, is a day that will remain with me forever. The kindness of people who turned up to help makes me realise that my hope in mankind is not misplaced. Ema Lea, one of the organisers of Whitley Bay Film Festival came to help with the microphone and sound, Mick of The Avalon opened his bar to us and looked after the music during the non-performance parts of the evening, and The Boy Wonder drove straight from working a ten hour shift to support me and my group.
I was still concerned I’d have a bar, a microphone and some writers but no-one to listen. I needn’t have worried. Thank you to everyone who turned up to listen to my writers read their work. Your support was so appreciated. And it was really great to meet people I’ve only previously talked to via the wonders of Twitter and Facebook – you know who you are 😀
At the end of the evening, after I got on stage to thank everyone for coming, one of my group got back up on the stage to thank me for everything I’d done for the group. I was almost in tears. I don’t teach because I want to be thanked – I don’t really think I do much to be thanked for if I’m honest – I do it because I love listening to others’ writing and helping them push themselves to create the best work possible. I’m frequently astounded by the talent of those who come to the sessions – and that has nothing to do with me.
I went home that evening walking on air. I was really thrilled that so many people had come out to support their friends and family. One friend even wrote a blog post about it.
So, rather than writing this off as a one-off experience never to be repeated, I’m already planning the next performance evening. I hope you can make it.