I’ve been away. In October I will be starting as writer in residence at a prison, and this week I’ve been on an induction course, in a farmhouse tucked away just inside Wales. No distractions; three miles away from the nearest town – six of us plus various people running sessions. We worked morning, afternoon and evenings – but I’ve still managed to write about 4500 words of The Novel, just because there was nothing else there that I had to do: no gardening, or house-clearing, or emails.
It was an excellent course; nearly all the sessions were interesting, useful and engaging. We learned a lot about how prisons worked, and what we have to consider for security reasons, but some of the workshops – making videos and radio shows, for example – included stuff that was completely new to me and great fun, too. We were a very varied group of people, but everyone was supportive and encouraging and generous with praise. Now I can’t wait to start the residency.
Coming back is always a pain – emails and post and phone messages, and there’s no food in the house so I must go shopping today; and so much prep to do for thie coming week. But the sun is shining at last, and it’s all just stuff. And I’m not locked up. My mind is full of thoughts about the nature and purpose of imprisonment, and I haven’t quite worked it out yet, but I’m sure I’ll be blogging about this a lot over the coming months.
So that’s it for now. Next week will be much more mixed.