(This is generally going to be a weekly blog but posts may be more frequent as and when items of interest arise.)
At lunchtime today I bid farewell to probably the most interesting work experience student we have ever had in our newspaper office and one of the reasons for this may just be the fact that she is a poet, creative writer, musician and future journalist, as well as an incredibly pleasant person (think Zooey Deschanel in looks and personality and you’re there).
Anyway, throughout the course of this working week I have come to appreciate that yes, a 9-5.30 writing job is indeed hard work and it’s ok to say so! The student was knackered after a couple of days doing much less than we full-timers would do, so I think we should all cut ourselves some slack when it comes to the daily toil. Also, this isn’t counting all the after-hours creative writing some of us do… who said a writer’s life was easy?!
My apprentice this week also inspired with the fact that she is “going through my Oscar Wilde/Sylvia Plath phase.” Now, I count myself as a big literary fan, but I have to say I was not in the least bit aware that I should have been going through a similar phase at the age of 17. Indeed, I was not and only just read ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ last year… Sylvia Plath awaits, but in my defence, I just finished James Joyce’s ‘The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ the other week, so I’m onto the classics!
Anyway, back to the student.
It would appear that schools today are hammering nail after nail of ‘advice’ into their malleable pupils, who, according to my insider, are plagued by the pressure of being in every group going, entering every competition and adding, adding, adding to their ‘Record of Achievement’, lest they seemingly fail at life. There may be more opportunities around but it would seem they all have to be taken up – any wonder stress levels are on the rise.
Despite this however, our student remains fresh and creative and definitely brightened up the office for five days, entertaining us with stories – such as how she buys chips for homeless buskers and other such things. She performs, she writes and she inspires and was a welcome reminder that writing and creativity is fun – it’s not all about the work and the hard slog – it’s about being creative and trying everything at least once.
She was “so sad” to hear how some people give up on poetry they find difficult to understand and subsequently never try reading any again, so don’t – find poetry you can read and enjoy it! If not, write your own!
This is exactly what I intend to try on Tuesday, when I will be going along to the best boutique in town – the Hope & Gloria Emporium on Railway Road, Coleraine. Performance poet and now Poet in Residence, El Gruer, will be giving a taster poetry workshop so… we’ll see how it goes!
On the subject of Hope & Gloria – everyone should take note – this is definitely worth a visit. Plus, they welcome people settling down to do their work (with free Wi-Fi) at any time and want the Emporium to be used as a creative space.
As for the student… yes, chocolate changed hands when she left but I assure you – I would be singing her praises anyway!