3 February 2011

Drum roll, please, for...

In among the big push for literary exposure and the goal of resurrecting some sort of viable e-living from tinkling the laptop keys, it's easy to forget that many writers write primarily for the sheer joy of expressing themselves and the hope that they break even. I was reminded of this recently, and it's given me pause to reassess my own motivations.

On Saturday I attended the launch at Bridlington Library of a poetry collection Spreading My Wings by Anne Mullender, and to see her glow as friends, well-wishers and the inquisitive gathered round for her to sign copies will stay with me. There was none of your plastic smile and gaze sliding across the buyer's shoulder that I've witnessed all too often at author signings. Anne's attention was as rapt for those buying her book as the buyer's was for Anne and her achievement.

We go back a long way, do Anne and I. She was the morning, I the afternoon, at an administrative job-share. She was fascinated by the fact that I had written short and long fiction, and spoke tentatively of her love of poetry. She says that I encouraged her to take up a pen, though I honestly can't recall doing so. But when I took on an adult education teaching role in the town, there she was, adding to her craft. As her confidence grew she joined Bridlington Writers and was encouraged some more. Her poems started appearing in small press magazines, began to win prizes, encouraging her further still, until... voila!... Spreading My Wings was born. Is she sitting back, basking in her glory? No, she's a local group leader with the U3A (University of the Third Age) encouraging others to take their first steps in creative writing.

Perhaps this is what we all want, perhaps need, to fulfil our dreams, literary or not. A bit of encouragement. Take the time to offer some every day. The benefits could be enormous.

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