A Group of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf talked about a room of one’s own. Every writer, I think, needs a group they can call their own.

I’ve been absent (for nearly six weeks!) from the writing group which has become like a circle. It’s a circle around what I write, around my thought processes, around that which I categorise as my writing world. It’s odd to realise the length of my absence as I drive the forty five minutes into Dublin city centre trying to figure out what  I will actually write. I have no idea as even since my week of wonderful intense writing at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in early July I’ve been jumping from thing to thing – or put more precisely from story to story and back to novel.

So when I arrive and we’ve said our hellos and I keep on talking about the summer as if it’s a thing of the past and I’m reminded that it’s not over yet – of course it’s not! – I sit and flick through files. The mouse moving at speed, words spinning by me.

I’ve come back for the chips, a fellow writer commented. And I laugh thinking that he’s not wrong. I had a little ritual of my greasy, salty chips (memories from my teenage years wandering around Dublin) from the fast food place on the corner. I had the habit of thinking as I ate them, blowing them even when they weren’t hot, the salt nearly killing me but loving it all the same.

I made a decision today which revolved around a verbal recognition of what constituted the core of not only what I do but who I am. It was something that had been nagging at me for weeks. A decision which, on the surface, had nothing to do with me whatsoever and involved performing a particular role. The deeper I dug, the clearer it became that what we do in our lives – whether we want to acknowledge this or not – constitutes a large part of who we are. And to be happy we need to have the core of ourselves centred in this.

So I have come back for the chips.

And the bits. And a space where the silence of writing is free save for the tapping of keyboards, the flick of a page, the sigh of either desperation or excitement. (but it doesn’t matter which!)

And the knowledge that you can share – if you want to – and where give and take are part and parcel. And I think that the name on this group Circle is so acurate that I can’t ever imagine not keeping this going in my life: the movment, the chips, the drive, the thoughts, the space which is nothing other than about writing.

And of course the encouragement.

Many of us may have a room of our own but being part of a group or a circle of people who have writing at their core keeps the clock, the pen, the keyboard and the heart ticking over.


Marigolds, orange and yellow: creation and bloom.

Day one over; a few thoughts

Museum in Gijon, Asturias, Northern Spain.

So, day one of full time work is over and, as with everything, once you get back into the rhythm of whatever it is that you’re getting back into, it all seems like you were always doing it. It would seem, also, that the more the mind is active, the more thoughts – even creative ones! – that filter through. Despite the rain, the grey skies, at least that is how today has gone. Habits – as I have titled a short story – die hard.

End of the summer

So it’s not the end of the summer but it feels like to me as I’m due back at work this coming Monday. In a way, it’s part of being spoiled, having too much time off – the more I have the less I want it to end: this new life filled with children and writing. But hey, reality knocks, mortgage rates have gone up and will go up again and bills have to be paid. So I’ve decided to end “my” summer by starting a blog. The idea is that I’ll use it as part of my writing “routine” (when I get one going again) and that I’ll also use it to formulate ideas on writing, to remind myself of writing competitions (by posting about them). Let’s see. For the moment though, I’m heading back to my comfy armchair to fall into the wonderful world Barbara Kingsolver has created in The Lacuna. It helps, of course, that I lived in Mexico in 1994 where I first became obsessed with Frida. Ah. I even bought myself a red lipstick this weekend and a purple frilly dress and had some dear friends over for food and laughs that went on until after 2am. Roll on.

A reminder of the summer: Gijon harbour in Northern Spain.