It’s rare that I’m ever in both at the same time. Usually I’m in the wrong place at the right time, or very occasionally the reverse. Once, I missed an entire day of appointments because I’d convinced myself it was yesterday. Or tomorrow. I can’t remember which to be honest, but I know I did a lot of apologising! But rarely do the planets align in my favour …
I received an email from a library in North East Manchester a month or so back. Completely out of the blue – would I be interested in running a science-fiction writing workshop? Well, yes, of course, says I, never one to turn down an opportunity. I mean how hard can it be? I’ve done enough talks and readings and the odd panel about writing; I’m sure I can run a workshop. On science-fiction? OK, I’ve never written much sf – though I grew up in the genre writing world, I’ve always been more of a fantasy writer, but some of my short stories have veered into sf territory and as a teenager, my reading fodder from age eleven was Robert Heinlein, John Wyndham, and all of the classic sf books published by Robert Hale in those rather fetching (not) yellow hardbacks from the library. So I know a bit about sf, I guess.
Out of interest, I ask, where did you get my name?And I find out I’m on some website somewhere as available to speak at events. I’d forgotten I’d even set up a page. But it did what it said on the tin – the library events person had gone hunting for writers who were prepared to go out and do stuff in the community, read my profile and decided I’d be a good fit. I guess it might have had something to do with the Dr Who connection – that IMDb credit as a script-writer is really doing me favours!
I think a few of my co-writers on this blog are experienced workshop leaders, maybe even teachers of adult-education writing classes. I’ve often wondered how one gets into that kind of thing, but I’m not a natural teacher; to be honest, I don’t enjoy teaching at all. I’ve run training courses at work and hated every minute of it – I’m not blessed with patience or tolerance, as anybody who knows me will doubtless testify! But I confess I’m rather looking forward to this event at the end of April. It’s a day out and I can talk a bit about me, about writing, about the Dr Who link. We’ll probably do a few writing exercises and hopefully read them out and discuss them in class. I’ve done some preparatory work, compiled a list of resources – blogs, books, websites, organisations etc and I’ll run a link to them off my own blog, which will get traffic to my blog – and even though I’m not really an sf writer it might at least generate some interest in my books. And they’re paying me too, I might add, so that all helps.
Plus I’m just that little bit chuffed that I was invited! I’m easily pleased …
... having said that, they asked me for a photograph for the events page and published the above link! i don't think the photograph does me any favours, does it?