There are groups, and there are groups. I’ve visited quite a few in my time and I happen to think that ours is pretty good any way you look at it.
We have a constant number of about a dozen. We worry that we will be overwhelmed by new people – we are a Library Group so have a commitment to being open to the community; but somehow we stay at that number without any culling, as people come and go, new members join, some take a break to do a course, or write a novel. We have been lucky that no Prima Dona's emerged – nobody monopolising the session, no cliques, no power grabbers – and no shrinking violets either. Even more unusual I'd say is the quality of the writing, the generous and relevant robust comment on work read, the balance between prose and poetry. Strangely, no jealousy either when a member collars a prize that we all feel we could nearly have won – with a bit of luck!
The cream buns and coffee available on-site afterwards are a nice bonus!).
The Teen Group run by Niamh is another plus, because now and then others of us get involved and the young voices and attitudes increase our store of knowledge and keep us on our toes. Sometimes I learn much more there than at our own two hours – their humour is so instant, so un-moulded and free from inhibition.
The Speed Writing exercise we use at the beginning of each session not only wakens us up, but challenges the brain to snap into life. The amazing variety of contributions that emerge never fails to delight – from objects as diverse as Wire Brushes and Feathery Fans - and more often than not these ten-minute-to-create masterpieces re-emerge weeks later, as short stories winging their way to competitions.
Some of our group have spread their wings into Poetry Slams and Electric Picnics and that enervating sort of thing. Our new Radio Star has recharged the batteries of those who may have been slouching or a bit jaded as they are prodded into putting together pieces suitable for broadcasting, and gives a vehicle for showing work, selecting themes and music to match and generally letting the listener discover something about the kind of people who have an urgency to put words on paper.
But, of course, Blogging has practically taken over the lives of most of us………