A complicated word, home, although a great word for a writer to ponder. While many of my stories explore ideas of ‘home’ and ‘family’, today I’m thinking about home in a more literal sense. Partly in terms of our house, which needs to recover from the turmoil of completing an MA Dissertation (and could do with some attention after a week in Malta to celebrate the completion), and partly in terms of where it is.
Two years ago, starting the Birkbeck College Creative Writing MA, I’d have laughed if anyone had told me that I’d have read my work in front of an audience by now, let alone more than once. I’d probably have laughed again if they’d said I’d have a story in print, let alone two. So I’m very proud, and very pleasantly surprised, that these things have happened. More than anything, the company, feedback and encouragement of fellow students helped that happen, and I’m grateful to all of them. But just for now, I’m more proud of something else.
Tonight, I will actually read in my ‘home town’: Milton Keynes. (OK, I didn’t grow up here, except metaphorically – in which sense I’ve grown up quite a lot – but I’ve lived here for twenty years.) As part of the Arts Gateway Networking Mingle event, I’ll read an extract from Switzerland, published last week in Mechanics Institute Review 11.
Hopefully, one day MK will offer an MA in Creative Writing – in the meantime, my apologies to the town that my learning was ‘not made here’, even if the stories were written at a kitchen table in Oldbrook. The literal view (see left) is inspiring, or has been sometimes when I’ve needed it most. Fingers crossed that the metaphorical kind of inspiration responds to a little light touch gardening too.