Monday 31 May 2010

The Not So Merry Month of May

First, the good news: I absolutely loved teaching this month's fictionfire courses and I thank all of you who attended. I hope you took useful information away with you, sprinkled with a dusting of inspiration!

As I'd hoped, the weather for both courses was lovely and this meant that Trinity College was looking particularly fine. There were exclamations of pleasure and delight when my students arrived in the gorgeous Sutro Room and several took the chance to stroll around the college and its beautiful gardens.

This photo was taken last autumn so doesn't actually do it justice - but each day course was so hectic, I didn't have time to take more!

I'm now planning new courses - and here are the dates: 9th and 16th of October. I do hope you can join us. I'll announce here and on my website when the course subjects are finalised.

Sadly, the rest of the month was testing. Between my first course and my second, my beloved aunt died: she was the last of my maternal aunts and although she had been very ill for some time, her death when it came, was sudden. I had hoped to be able to visit her at the end of June when my teaching commitments were reduced, but it was not to be. I feel terrible, of course, that I didn't act more decisively and get myself up to Scotland while there was still time. All I could do was dash up for the funeral, by sleeper train because the Icelandic volcano was throwing another fit and I couldn't risk flying. It was an emotionally draining trip, as you can imagine,  and it meant returning the day before my fictionfire course on editing: I was incredibly exhausted. But I'm so glad that I went.

It's not surprising that the throat/chest  bug I was suffering from that week attacked me even more severely as soon as I'd finished my fictionfire course. I've been laid low, pretty much, for the rest of the month, ending up on antibiotics. Even after the cough and wheezing had calmed, I couldn't feel any energy or positivity - I only now feel a bit better in myself, with some return of a desire to engage with the world and to catch up all the tasks my lethargy wouldn't even let me contemplate for the past two weeks.

June will be busy too, as I come to the end of the academic year. My A level students have exams and so do my sons. At the end of the month I'll be teaching at the Winchester Writers' Conference - do please visit the website at if you want to find out more - and I hope I'll have the chance to meet you there!

Sunday 9 May 2010

Learn editing techniques with fictionfire

In less than a week it will be time for my next course, on Essential Editing, once again at Trinity College - I couldn't ask for a better venue. There is still time to book, if you're interested, and I'd love to see you there. Full details of the course and how to book are on my fictionfire website, as usual.

I'm busy with preparations - but very sadly, a sudden death in the family means that I will need to go up to Scotland this week to attend the funeral. That dratted Icelandic volcano has meant I couldn't book a flight as I absolutely must be back in Oxford on Friday - so sleeper train it is. The online booking experience today has aged me by a couple of years.