Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

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Poetry and Girly Screams

I had a great time at the GCU Summer Writing Workshop last weekend. Good food, delightful company. Along with fellow presenters, Toni De Palma and Teresa Link, I got to mingle with our hosts, Connie and Jessica, and a diverse, interesting group of attendees (including my friend, Walt Giersbach, who brought a delegation from the Manchester Writer’s Circle). The setting deserves a mention too. Strolling through the picturesque grounds of the Georgian Court University, I felt like we were on the set of Downton Abbey.

If you’re thinking the ‘Girly screams’ referred to in the title of this post came from the audience at the conclusion of my poetry reading on Saturday night, I’m afraid I must disappoint you. The high-pitched squealing took place much earlier that day, at around four in the a.m. They came from the shower rooms in the GCU’s Maria Residence Hall.

Having woken up far too early, I decided to drive off campus to the nearest 24hr McDonalds, where I could enjoy a cup of coffee while working on my current WiP, Abraham Lincoln Stole My Homework. Being the considerate fellow I am, I stepped into the shower before turning it on, closing the curtain behind me so as to keep the sound of running water to the minimum.

At my house, you get a good half-second between the turning on of the shower and the initial spray, which leaves plenty of time to retreat to the far corner while the water heats up to the required level. The GCU shower cubicles are pretty small, but I felt sure I could still squeeze myself into a safe corner in time.

You can imagine my surprise when, the instant I turned the dial, a jet of freezing cold water practically flattened me against the back wall. I defy anyone to suffer this kind of surprise without a murmur.

Aside from getting sand-blasted with frigid water at the crack of dawn, the day went well. A few people who registered didn’t actually turn up, which is a shame, because I know of at least two writers who tried to book a place on my Saturday workshops, but were turned away due to lack of space. I can’t speak for the folks on the other side of the table, but for my part, I think the sessions went well.

After dinner on the Saturday evening, I gave a shortened version of my ‘Mistakes Writers Make’ talk. I ended with the poem I referred to above. If this shocks you, I quite understand. I was surprised too. I haven’t written a poem since leaving school in the 1970s, and even those don’t really count, seeing as how they usually began with, ‘There was a young man from…’ or something similar. Still, I’m a big believer in forcing yourself to step out of your comfort zone, and the idea of writing my first poem in nearly forty years and reading it aloud to a group of fellow writers certainly qualified.

On the Sunday morning, I hosted a critique session, during which I shared my ‘Critiquee’s Charter, which one of the attendees, MaryBeth Mulhall, kindly blogged about yesterday.

All in all, I think the weekend went very well. At the close, the hard-working folks at GCU asked if I’d like to come back next year, which I’ll take as a good sign.

How about you?

How was your weekend?
Tags: fiction, fun, gcu, workshops, writing

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