I'm back home from an event organised by Scratch Books at the London Library. It was an event discussing short stories. In particular, short stories that appear in Scratch's second book Reverse Engineering II. Which is an anthology of stories that sit alongside interviews with the writers, deconstructing how the story came to be.It's a great little book. And there are 2 of them. So far.
At the event were Tessa Hadley, Wendy Erskine and Ben Okri in conversation with Alison MacLeod. Three very different writers. They all shared brilliant excerpts from their work and discussed the craft.
I had a fab night. I was apprehensive about going. I'm socially nervous at the best of times, especially in loud rooms where I need to make myself heard. Soft-spoken fellow that I am. But I met someone outside the door who I had a good chat with throughout the evening. Then I met some attendees of the Goldsmiths course I'm in which was great. I met the creator of Scratch Books who I'd been in contact with only via email before. I even had a brief chat with Wendy before I left. Pretty good I think. Even if I now need some time to recharge my social batteries - I think I did well.
I hope I can make these kinds of events a regular thing. I'm reminded of Austin Kleon's advice in his book 'Show Your Work'. Creativity rarely happens in isolation. The myth of the lone genius is dangerous. Writers, even though we do the majority of our work alone, I do believe need a network. A group of people who will share the same passions, debate their ideas, or just be the one you can get drunk with on occasion. These events I think present a great opportunity to find those people to build your creative network. Though I will continue until my dying day to hate the term... "networking".