You never really know what to expect when you walk into one. Of course it doesn’t help when you’re the late one; all rushed and sweaty trying to balance bag, coffee, phone, inappropriate number of photocopies and dignity.
After doing a year of intense workshops in St Andrews I kind of wondered what it was all about. What was the point? Who was I doing it for? When I got home though I desperately scrambled to find another group with a similar dynamic and energy. Eager to define what I was doing through other people that were doing it. I found myself in groups in places like Cabra Public library with middle agers who gasped if you suggested there was homo-erotic undertones in someone’s writing. At that point I knew that the St Andrews experience could never and probably should never be replicated. It was amazing and special and astounding in its very own unique way. So I sadly gave up my search and reasoned that if I couldn’t do it by myself I couldn’t and shouldn’t do it at all.
Lucky for me the Introductions Series 2010 group is good! In a jest to my lateness I dove right in with a joke, and I felt as though I was right back there, by the sea and the castle with other people who were serious about putting one little word after the next and the eagerness of placing a comma exactly where it should be. Strange, weird, mental but true. We’re a rare breed and in this case we communed around our oasis in the vicinity of St Stephen’s Green. Led by the poet James J. McAuley, the role call went something like this: Andrew Caldicott, Jessica Colley, Martin Dyer, Peter Goulding, Connie Roberts, Andrew Jamison, Simon Leyland, David Mohan, Cliona O’Connell, Edward O’Dwyer, Pauline Hall and Rosie Sheppard.
But in all the seriousness, sometimes even madness, of a workshop nothing finishes it off better than healing a slightly bruised ego at the other oasis of choice- the pub. The numbers dwindled as the pint glasses were stacked up. It was just me and the adorable Jamison (fellow St Andrews Graduate) flying the long haul flag for the class into the wee hours. We reminisced about lattes, beaches and the amazing Don Paterson and we were pretty pleased with ourselves in our alcohol fuelled nostalgia. We even compared notes, grades and gossip. Ever the competitive girl……
Now for the best (read: most pain in the ass) part: finishing the bloody poem. Here’s to May and more pints!