If You Want A Good Harvest You Have To Plant The Seeds.

Hey everyone Though the madness of Edinburgh has a few days left to run before the curtain comes down on yet another festival, yesterday for me at least saw a return to normality and my two regular Thursday writers groups at Tollcross and GoMA.

After a short but welcome summer break, it was good to be back amongst friends. Well I do tend to get carried away with myself at the this time of year, so. It was good to get grounded back in to the real world and I reminded myself that if I have had a good time at the fringe and people have complimented me on the quality of my poetry, the foundations of that success are laid at these groups. Well without Tollcross and GoMA I wouldn’t write half as much as I do and I wouldn’t have places to road test new material before declaring it fit for purpose. Its in writing groups such as these that we learn from other poets and writers in an atmosphere of mutual support as we edit our own work and each others.

For as long as I can remember there has been a popular myth that poets are solitary creatures who all work on our own. I believe this myth needs to be shattered as most writers I know are amongst the most sociable people you’ll find anywhere. I mean you only to attend one of any number of performance readings in and around the West of Scotland to know the truth of that. However it is often in groups like these where writers are given a theme and asked to work to it, that many of us acquire the skills and discipline to improve our craft.

As I said it was good to be back amongst friends and see familiar faces. It was also important to regain a sense of perspective which can be all too easily lost if you allow compliments about your ability no matter how genuine to go your head. Just as Olympic athletes worked hard to win their medals so writers must also work hard so that when we perform in our big events be the fringe, aye write, stanza, or wherever we are in the best possible shape to deliver the best quality set we can and as Robin Cairns once said when I was chatting to him after another enjoyable night at Cafe Rio ‘you get nowhere without working at your craft. That’s why I believe writers groups are so important for us all.

So when I get complimented on the quality of my work at Edinburgh 2012 or indeed at any time over the last year or indeed the next I think as I smile, well you do when you get compliments I may just take a minute to reflect and think of the friends who helped me to make it as good as it could be either by suggesting the theme or assisting me with the editing and shaping of the poem in to the work that was praised. Maybe just maybe I could use a sporting metaphor in the sense that If Edinburgh is my biggest event of the season then its time to get in to training for next year now. However I believe that an agricultural metaphor may perhaps be even more appropriate namely if you want a decent harvest you have to plant the seeds and more often than not those seeds are planted on Thursday’s at Tollcross and GoMA.

Love & Best Wishes
Gayle X


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