I occasionally think that our group is mildly eccentric – please note, only mildly – and last night was one of those evenings when that word popped into my head. Not because of the subject, the workshop was brilliant in its simplicity. Alan had chosen a single phrase, ESCAPE FROM, and, after suggesting several situations in which it might be relevant, he sent us off to write from either one of those or from our own inspiration. And this is where the eccentric bit rears its head…
The stories and poems which emerged were, I would suggest, almost all at least unconventional, and some downright weird. How about the one that illustrated a poacher escaping from a mantrap by removing his wooden leg (!), or the one about the hotelier who used a large poisonous spider to terrify visitors into paying their bills? Then there was the piece of doggerel concerning an adolescent’s bad case of acne and another involving the somewhat gruesome use of a scimitar.
There were, of course, some less bizarre offerings. Just as well for those of a nervous disposition. A couple of stories about schoolboys and their attempts at truancy, one more successful than the other, brought us back into the realms of normality. Then there was a very poignant one about a huge ‘surprise’ birthday celebration which provoked dread in the heart of the intended (introvert) recipient, and a very surrealistic essay from someone trying to escape from his own ideas. And an absolutely delightful one about a city worker escaping her career to work with orphans in Kathmandu.
I’ve only skimmed the surface here, there were many other tales. Those about an escaping bride, and a disastrous but hilarious attempt to make a good first impression, to mention just a couple more. In fact, I see now that eccentric, is the wrong word, inventive is the one I should have used. Well done and thank you to Alan, and indeed to everyone for another sparkling evening.
Reading week next week, optional theme: The noise was ear-splitting but… and we are at Tesco. See you there. Sally