Some things I want to blog about straight away. Usually things which excite me or small victories.
Others I have no desire to blog about at all. No reader here is my therapist.
Some others I want to blog about but can’t due to it not quite being the time or having other people on a project which would mean blowing cover for them also.
Rarely am I faced with the situation of wanting to blog about something but trying to word it right. Mainly because something has gone a bit wrong. It’s also my fault and nobody else’s.
Earlier this year, around January, I had an idea about creative writing. Mainly an idea to get people into writing stories. I often meet people who perhaps want to write creatively but feel they can’t (anybody can) or people who do write but lack a nurturing audience to show ideas to rather than people who might make them feel ‘silly’. I wanted to take people and show them that writing is a wonderful, human thing to do and there ain’t nothing wrong with it.
So I tweet a local artist’s collective about this idea back in January. It’s a fairly casual ‘I want to get people writing’ kind of thing. They wanted to talk about it but were currently waiting on being let back into their building as it was being refurbished. It was decided that it was wiser to wait until all that was over. In May this year I had a meeting in which I pitched this idea to them. Even as I was going through it on that day I began to realise something was underdone about the whole idea. I had images of being a far less attractive version of Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds. I’d stand in front of class fulls of ex-convicts and troubled youths and show them the wonder of writing from your imagination. Then we’d have some stories at the end. This obviously completely ignores my previously detailed fear of teaching anything.
But then what to do with those stories? At the time of this meeting I was thinking about taking them on a multimedia route by making short films, photography projects and short audio plays. I was fixed on the idea of taking a product of somebody’s imagination, getting them to set it free and then turning that into something we can display. In my head there was a fantastic exhibition with all this on walls or through headphones.
Then came the issue of who would do the multimedia pieces? Like a stupid prat I hadn’t thought of that bit so I initially figured they could be given to students on media courses locally. ‘It happens all the time in the industry’ I thought ‘it’s a lesson you’d have to learn quickly’. The question then become one of wondering if people would want to just hand over what might be the first story they’ve ever written for somebody else to take charge of. Yes, it’s a lesson you’d need to learn quickly but maybe not straight away.
I attended a poetry night in Dumfries in April and the woman who organised it is also part of the collective. We meet each other for coffee and discuss more. We agree on a dry run first with any school pupils/students who might be receptive to the idea. We would run hour long sessions, probably about six of them before coming up with stories we would then make photo books out of. Photo books like the ones you get in newspapers for problem pages but less women sat around in their underwear. We also have the thought that the stories should somehow involve Dumfries to give them some kind of common link. We don’t limit what year the stories are set nor do we say they have to stay in Dumfries but it has to be involved somewhere. The photo story idea is selected because it’s the least labour intensive of all the multimedia options. It does however rely on students who are involved in writing with a passing interest in photography as well. Obviously these people are in absolute abundance across this region, wandering the streets with notepads and cameras.
That last bit was sarcasm.
This is all because I didn’t think this through properly.
A few week’s later the artist collective refer me to somebody who works for the local council in literary development as they have other projects they’re working on right now. This is fair enough, they do some fantastic stuff locally and rightly aren’t going to hand money over to a dithering idiot who has an idea which keeps changing every day. I email the council with this idea. The woman I was meeting before has now moved away, I take fright at teaching any classes on my own so I therefore change the whole thing again by trying to gather up stories from local people, putting them online and having a site that becomes an archive of these stories in which you can click a map to get audio readings or text. I type breathlessly about all this and send it away. With a day I receive a response with ‘Sounds great but what are you asking?’.
Fair point, what exactly am I asking?
I have no clue.
I have yet to respond as I genuinely have no idea what to say. Am I asking for money? Probably but then I’d need to have the time to do the actual task in hand. Am I asking to support? Yes but to achieve what? Am I asking for resources? Yes but what resources exactly?
Essentially I’ve seen the end result, thought that looked great and not thought about what I have to do to get there. It’s a very common theme in my entire life I think.The whole idea has been put very much on the back burner for now and it’s something I might come back to in the future but there are things that I reckon I need to do first regarding my own personal writing career before undergoing a project which involves others.
There’s a phrase about fools rushing in here. Feel free to use it.