Farewell But Not Goodbye

The time that I'm now using to write this, has been for the last 6 weeks, the time that I used to prepare for my Crime Fiction Writing Class. Halloween saw our last class of the course and with it came a time of reflection. Over the 6 week period, friendships had been formed, murders planned and stories began to take shape. Most importantly though, several writing journeys began in earnest. Though I've been a teacher for 20 years, I'd never done anything like this before and to be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. In reality, I just hoped I wouldn't mess it up.

The outcome was definitely well beyond my expectations. Our work over the 6 weeks, and more importantly, our discussions, led to the makings of several novels and short stories that I can't wait to read. If our last session was anything to go by, it also reawakened something in each of us that not only made us feel good, but also had a positive impact on our work and home lives, a testament to the power of art and the written word, if ever their was one.

One question that I was not prepared for as our last session was closing, was, why I had decided to run the course? My initial answer was that I thought that it would be a bit of craic and that I liked the idea of the challenge of it. When I thought more deeply on it though, I did wonder if I was looking for a sense of validation of my work, as a crime writer,

Clotsworthy House, Antrim Castle Gardens

that teaching can often bring. I'm not sure, is the answer to that one, though I suspect, Yes.

What I do know, is that it had a positive impact on my day to day teaching, giving me the shot in the arm that I needed after twenty years, removed at least some of the imposter syndrome that I (and I suspect, most other writers) have felt along my own writing journey, and finally, spurred me on to get writing properly again.

As the night ended, none of us really wanted to say goodbye...so, we didn't. With future classes and mentoring sessions planned, as well as the renewal of the course for February next year, my new companions will continue to be part of my writing journey, and I, theirs, for a while longer yet. And what's more, now we can add more people to our merry band as we go.

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